Start and sit hitters for Week 20
Should we trust Kolten Wong's recent power surge? Scott White gives his best bets in the Week 20 edition of start and sit hitters as the Fantasy playoffs inch closer.
Though normally in Fantasy Baseball, you'd start your best players every week regardless of matchups, in those weeks when you do need a fill-in, whether because of injuries or the total collapse of a trusted starter, Scott White is here to help.
At each position, he'll list the players who are "too obvious" for the upcoming week, meaning the ones you wouldn't consider sitting for anyone off the list, and then suggest a start and a sit based on a variety of short-term factors.
All stats are updated through Thursday, Aug. 7.
An unusually high number of interleague games this week could make for some questionable DH situations in Fantasy. The White Sox play two games in NL parks, so what little incentive you have to start Adam Dunn is gone. The Red Sox also play two games in NL parks, but based on the way their recent series at St. Louis went, neither David Ortiz nor Mike Napoli is a lock to sit. The Tigers play two games in NL parks, but they always seem to find a way to keep Victor Martinez in the lineup, usually by shifting Miguel Cabrera to third base and bumping Nick Castellanos to the bench. The Athletics play three games in NL parks, which probably impacts all three of Stephen Vogt, John Jaso and Derek Norris to some degree, but there's no telling which of them is going to start on a given day anyway.
Joe Mauer, out since July 1 with a strained oblique, is on a rehab assignment and could be back as early as Monday. He's worth the gamble over whatever catcher you grabbed off the waiver wire to replace him. Edwin Encarnacion and George Springer, both sidelined by quadriceps injuries, may also return at some point this week, but because the exact date is unknown, you might want to play it safe in standard mixed leagues.
Mark Teixeira needed three stitches after getting spiked in the left pinkie Wednesday. The Yankees have favorable matchups this week, so if he makes it back over the weekend, he's something of a sleeper in Fantasy. Just keep in mind the injury concerns for him don't end with the finger.
And with that, on to the position-by-position breakdown ...
|1.||Corey Dickerson, OF, Rockies||82/67|
|2.||Danny Santana, SS/OF, Twins||63/52|
|3.||Chris Carter, 1B/OF, Astros||78/69|
|4.||Javier Baez, SS, Cubs||84/47|
|5.||Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Diamondbacks||92/59|
|6.||Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals||60/46|
|7.||Billy Butler, 1B, Royals||58/33|
|8.||Yangervis Solarte, 2B/3B/SS/OF, Padres||64/43|
|9.||Jedd Gyorko, 2B, Padres||58/37|
|10.||James Loney, 1B, Rays||64/46|
Start: Caleb Joseph, Orioles
Even after homering in four straight games, Joseph is owned in only 4 percent of Fantasy leagues, so obtaining him shouldn't be an issue for anyone. Trusting him is another matter entirely. He was useless before this power surge, but considering he hit 22 homers at Double-A Bowie last year, it isn't a total fluke. And he showed faint signs of life before it, batting .294 (20 for 68) in 21 games. He has favorable enough matchups against the Yankees and Indians for you to take a flier on him in two-catcher leagues.
Instead of: Travis d'Arnaud, Tyler Flowers, A.J. Pierzynski
Sit: Dioner Navarro, Blue Jays
Navarro preceded Caleb Joseph as the hot waiver claim at the position and is still batting an impressive .322 (28 for 87) over his last 22 games. But over his last five games, that number drops to .211 (4 for 19). If his matchups against Felix Hernandez, Chris Young, Hisashi Iwakuma and Jose Quintana this week aren't enough to keep him down, his six games on the road, where he has a .605 OPS, figure to be.
Instead of: Joseph, J.P. Arencibia, Brayan Pena
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Jose Abreu, Albert Pujols, Anthony Rizzo, Victor Martinez, Freddie Freeman, Todd Frazier, Brandon Moss, Jonathan Lucroy, Buster Posey, Adrian Gonzalez, Carlos Santana, Lucas Duda, Matt Adams, Justin Morneau, Adam LaRoche
Start: Chris Carter, Astros
At some point, this impossible hot streak of Carter's that has him hitting .330 (33 for 100) with 11 home runs over his last 26 games will come to an end, but considering the Astros have the most favorable matchups of any team this week -- going against pitchers like Kevin Correia, Yohan Pino, Kyle Gibson, Allen Webster, Clay Buchholz, Rubby De La Rosa and Joe Kelly -- I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the ride for now. Nobody's saying you have to start him forever.
Instead of: Mike Napoli, Ryan Howard, Michael Morse
Sit: Michael Morse, Giants
Since June 16 -- a span of nearly seven weeks -- Morse is just 52nd-best first baseman in Head-to-Head points leagues, ranking behind Alberto Callaspo, Yasmani Grandal and Chris Parmelee, among others. And yet his early season success earned him enough trust that he's still started in 53 percent of leagues -- more than double those other three combined. I'm thinking standard mixed leagued owners can do better, especially with the Giants playing only five games this week.
Instead of: Billy Butler, Mark Trumbo, James Loney
Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Jose Altuve, Anthony Rendon, Dee Gordon, Brian Dozier, Ian Kinsler, Matt Carpenter, Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley, Daniel Murphy, Jason Kipnis, Ben Zobrist, Josh Harrison, Howie Kendrick
Start: Kolten Wong, Cardinals
After a brief cold stretch to end July and begin August, Wong hit two home runs Thursday, giving him eight in 25 games since returning from a shoulder injury. He now has nine on the year to go along with 17 stolen bases in less than half a season's worth of at-bats. Granted, he's still a platoon player -- or at least the Cardinals treated him as such when they last faced a lefty July 25 -- but with six righties on tap, it's not an issue this week. And those righties include pitch-to-contact types like Tom Koehler, Jarred Cosart, Nathan Eovaldi and Odrisamer Despaigne.
Instead of: Martin Prado, Arismendy Alcantara, Tommy La Stella
Sit: Dustin Ackley, Mariners
Ackley is arguably the hottest player at the position right now, batting .367 (29 for 79) with four home runs in his last 19 games, which makes the timing of this selection a little odd. But Ackley has teased us enough in the past -- including hitting .321 (45 for 140) over his final 41 games last year -- that I'd rather not mess with him, especially since he's not a great source of power or speed anyway. He also closes this week with three games against the Tigers' ace-tastic rotation.
Instead of: Wong, Jedd Gyorko, Luis Valbuena
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Anthony Rendon, Todd Frazier, Josh Donaldson, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Kyle Seager, Matt Carpenter, Carlos Santana, Josh Harrison, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, Pablo Sandoval
Start: Casey McGehee, Marlins
Hey look, McGehee is regressing in the second half just like we thought he would, batting .130 (7 for 54) in his last 15 games. Pretty cool, right? Well, hopefully he can take a break from that for just one week. At a position with little depth, we need him to take advantage of the Marlins' favorable matchups against Shelby Miller, Justin Masterson, Chase Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Josh Collmenter. The seven games at home should help. McGehee's OPS is about 100 points higher there than on the road.
Instead of: Lonnie Chisenhall, Chase Headley, Chris Johnson
Sit: Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
With manager Clint Hurdle recently declaring Josh Harrison the preferred option at third base, Alvarez's playing time is in question even with Andrew McCutchen sidelined. After all, he's started just four of the Pirates' last 16 games. Granted, his knee was hurting for a few of those games, and he missed three more for personal reasons. But it's clear the Pirates' don't trust his bat or his glove right now. And given their matchups against Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister this week, you shouldn't trust him either.
Instead of: Aramis Ramirez, McGehee, Trevor Plouffe
|1.||Pirates||DET2, @DET2, @WAS3|
|3.||Mets||@PHI1, WAS3, CHC3|
|5.||Blue Jays||@SEA3, @CHW3|
Start: Danny Santana, Twins
OK, so Santana has gone hitless in three games since his five-hit performance Aug. 3 at the White Sox, bringing his batting average since he returned from the DL down to a tepid .270. But I actually think that's right on the money for him. I'm most encouraged by his .514 slugging percentage during that same time -- a continuation of the unexpected power surge than made me skeptical of his every move for the first seven weeks of his career. Now, with favorable matchups against the Astros and Royals pitching staffs this week, I expect continued continuation.
Instead of: Arismendy Alcantara, Jean Segura, Alcides Escobar
Sit: Erick Aybar, Angels
After playing over his head for the first 15 weeks, Aybar is making up for lost time, so to speak, batting .197 (13 for 66) with just one extra-base hit in 18 games since the All-Star break. But Fantasy owners have been slow to catch on, starting him in 66 percent of leagues still. Granted, shortstop is a thin position, but enough players have emerged there in recent weeks that you shouldn't have to start Aybar with only five games on tap. That's speaking from a mixed-league perspective, of course.
Instead of: Santana, Javier Baez, Yangervis Solarte
OutfieldToo obvious: Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, Yasiel Puig, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hunter Pence, Michael Brantley, Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Matt Holliday, Melky Cabrera, Jason Heyward, Jayson Werth, Nelson Cruz, Billy Hamilton, Matt Kemp, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, Jay Bruce, Alex Gordon, J.D. Martinez, Brett Gardner, Lucas Duda, Ben Zobrist, Josh Hamilton, Charlie Blackmon, Josh Harrison, Marlon Byrd, Kole Calhoun, Nick Markakis, Gregory Polanco
Start: Corey Dickerson, Rockies
After setting an impossible standard with what he did in July, Dickerson has mostly frustrated Fantasy owners over the last month or so. But sitting against left-handers certainly hasn't helped. The Rockies have none of those on tap for their seven games this week, which should allow Dickerson to put his .330 batting average against righties to good use. They're also home for four games, where Dickerson is batting .371.
Instead of: Khris Davis, Austin Jackson, Starling Marte
Sit: Curtis Granderson, Mets
If you own him in Fantasy, you're probably already aware: Granderson stinks right now. He's batting .133 (8 for 60) in his last 16 games, and nothing about the Mets schedule this week works in his favor -- not the return home, where he's hitting .208, or the abundance of righties, against whom he's hitting .215, or the matchups against ace-caliber pitchers like Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg and Jake Arrieta. In other words, don't get your hopes up.
Instead of: Dickerson, Carlos Beltran, Christian Yelich
Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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