Turns out Victor Martinez won't be making any starts when the Tigers travel to Pittsburgh to begin the week.
I had hoped maybe they'd shift Miguel Cabrera to third base for a couple games, allowing Martinez, their usual DH, to play first base, but manager Brad Ausmus put the kibosh on that.
"He won't play the field in Pittsburgh," Ausmus told MLive.com Saturday. "He will be a pinch-hitter. He'll be probably the best pinch-hitter in the game."
Pretty straightforward, right?
David Ortiz owners were in a similar spot in Fantasy Week 1 (April 5-12) with the Red Sox opening the season at Philadelphia, but manager John Farrell gave a strong indication going in that Ortiz would start at least two of the three games at first base. And that's exactly what happened.
Even if Martinez pinch hit in all three games at Pittsburgh and then started all three games when the Tigers returned home to end the week, neither of which is guaranteed, it would equate to something like a four-game week. As good as he is, that's a big hole to overcome, so in shallower leagues -- most likely Head-to-Head formats, where you're more likely to have another high-end hitter on your bench -- you may want to give some thought to sitting him.
Best Hitting Matchups for Week 2:
1. Giants: COL3, ARI4
2. Mets: PHI3, MIA4
3. Mariners: @LAD3, TEX3
4. Nationals: @BOS3, PHI4
5. Yankees: @BAL3, @TB3
The Brewers learned the hard way that the Rockies starting rotation does in fact have major-league pitchers in it, but only one of the stalwarts (note the sarcasm) from that season-opening series appears in this three-game tilt with the Giants. The Mets' matchups are notable not only for lack of difficulty but also their right-handedness, which should work to Lucas Duda's, Daniel Murphy's and Curtis Granderson's advantage.
Worst Hitting Matchups for Week 2:
1. White Sox: @CLE2, @DET3
2. Reds: @CHC3, @STL3
3. Phillies: @NYM3, @WAS4
4. Red Sox: WAS3, BAL3
5. Astros: OAK3, LAA3
The White Sox are one of two teams playing only five games this week, but the other, the Indians, aren't on this list. They're bailed out by three games against the Twins' wimpy pitching staff. That the Phillies appear here with a seven-gave slate shows just what kind of pitchers they're looking at. Really, any team facing Nationals is in for a bad week.
And with that, I give you my player recommendations for this week. Remember: For five up, I'm limiting my choices to those owned in less than 90 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, with the assumption being that those owned in more are automatic starts.
All stats are updated through Thursday, April 9.
Devon Travis, 2B, Blue Jays: In his first three games as a
big-leaguer, Travis has drawn two walks and hit a home run. Clearly,
he's not intimidated. If he makes contact as he did in the minors, he
has the kind of skill set that doesn't slump, so I feel comfortable
recommending him even when the Blue Jays' matchups are just
middle-of-the-road, like this week. If you're already set up the middle,
no need to extend yourself for Travis, but if not, he may be more than
just a one-week solution off the waiver wire.
Start instead of: Martin Prado, Brandon Phillips
Travis Snider, OF, Orioles: After a quiet spring training,
Snider has been an on-base machine in the early going, collecting three
hits in the Orioles' first game and three walks in the second. Granted,
he did it against the Rays' patchwork starting rotation, but his
matchups this week against CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi, Joe Kelly and Rick Porcello aren't much better. Seeing as he had a higher OPS than
both Christian Yelich and Kole Calhoun as a part-timer last year, I liked him as a sleeper
coming into this season, so I can get behind him now despite the small
Start instead of: Avisail Garcia, Khris Davis
Angel Pagan, OF, Giants: Pagan entered Friday leading
baseball in doubles with four, and he's always been good at the things
that set hitters apart in Head-to-Head points leagues. In fact, on a
per-game basis, he outperformed Billy Hamilton
in that format last year. But the "on a per-game basis" there is key. He
played only 96 games last year and 71 in 2013. At least for now, while
he's healthy, swinging the bat well and facing bottom-feeders like Eddie Butler, Christian Bergman, Tyler Matzek, Josh Collmenter, Rubby De La Rosa and Jeremy Hellickson,
he deserves the time of day.
Start instead of: Ben Revere, Steven Souza
Michael Taylor, OF, Nationals: For being such an easy
strikeout victim, Taylor held his own against strikeout artists Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey on
Wednesday and Thursday and should find the going a little easier this
week with three games at Boston, where he'll be swinging for the Green
Monster, and four games at Philadelphia, where he'll face stalwarts
(again, note the sarcasm) like Aaron Harang,
David Buchanan and ... whoever the
Phillies dig up to start Friday's game. Particularly in Rotisserie
leagues, you'll want to take advantage of Taylor's power/speed combo
while Denard Span is on the DL.
Start instead of: Marlon Byrd, Anthony Gose
Chris Iannetta, C, Angels: Owned in 9 percent of leagues,
Iannetta is basically a non-entity in Fantasy, and no one in a
one-catcher league should have reason to go so deep. But he belongs on
your radar in two-catcher leagues for weeks such as this one, with the
Angels set to face three left-handers. He had an .880 OPS against
lefties last season and has an .869 OPS against them for his career. And
the three righties on tap for the Angels -- Nick Martinez, Roberto Hernandez and Scott Feldman -- aren't likely to slow him down.
Start instead of: Jason Castro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies: You know how when the rest
of the Rockies lineup was torching every pitcher the Brewers threw out
there in the season's opening series, Blackmon was only going 2 for 14?
There's a pretty simple explanation for it: The Rockies were on the
road, away from that atmospheric marvel known as Coors Field, where
Blackmon hit .331 with a .915 OPS last year, and much closer to sea
level, where he hit just .241 with a .617 OPS. With the Rockies on the
road for six games this week, including three against the top of the
Dodgers rotation, you may want to try someone else.
Sit instead of: Gregory Polanco, Brett Gardner
Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Diamondbacks: Yeah, he missed three
months with a stress fracture in his foot last year, but even after
returning, Trumbo hit just seven homers in 247 at-bats. And you know he
didn't bring anything else to the table during that time. After such a
poor finish, the one-trick pony deserves a short leash to begin the
year, so unless he turns things around over the weekend, you might as
well bench him in a week he's scheduled to face six right-handers. Even
in 2013, his last "good" season, he hit just .223 with a .685 OPS
Sit instead of: Steve Pearce, A.J. Pollock
Adam LaRoche, 1B, White Sox: LaRoche isn't off to a roaring
start for the White Sox, which is worth noting since he's 35 and coming
off what was an exceptional season in many ways, but the bigger reason
to sit him in Fantasy Week 2 (April 13-19) is the matchups. I mentioned
earlier that the White Sox are only playing five games this week, and
those five games are against Carlos Carrasco,
Trevor Bauer, David Price, Anibal Sanchez and Shane Greene. You won't see too many slumps broken against them.
Sit instead of: Eric Hosmer, Matt Adams
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Rangers: Choo picked on Kendall Graveman as did every other Ranger Thursday, golfing a home run
against him, but he may not find a matchup to his liking with three
lefties on tap this week. Last season was obviously a lost season, but
as good as he was with the Reds in 2013, he hit only .215 against
lefties that year. And in 2012, he hit only .199. In fact, for his
career, he's batting .242 with a .679 OPS against lefties compared to
.300 and .907 against righties. Then consider that two of three righties
on tap are Matt Shoemaker and Felix Hernandez, and yeah ... bad week coming.
Sit instead of: Curtis Granderson, Michael Morse
Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds: True, the Reds have some of the
toughest matchups this week, facing pitchers like Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha over a six-game stretch, but Phillips' place here in five
down is more of a call to bench him in general. He was only the
23rd-best second baseman in Head-to-Head points leagues last year and
the 24th-best in Rotisserie. And given the way he's trended over the
last few years, it's not like no one saw it coming. If you're rostering
him in a mixed league, it's only because you don't know who else to
roster, so let me suggest a couple names ...
Sit instead of: Rougned Odor, Devon Travis