Position Players to Start
Asdrubal Cabrera is in the middle of a power surge. The Cleveland Indians shortstop has been hitting well lately and has pulled his average up over .300. Cabrera comes in to this week with the benefit of facing off with four pitchers against whom he has had success. When facing the pitchers he will see this week, Cabrera is a career .464 hitter with a couple of home runs. Make sure you have him active in your lineup this week.
Michael Cuddyer has cooled off a bit lately, but he is still more than capable of contributing to your fantasy team. This week figures to be a good week to have Cuddyer in your active lineup. Cuddyer has two home runs to go with his career .444 average against the starters that he will see this week.
Hunter Pence is often forgotten as a dependable outfielder who is capable of putting up good numbers across the board, because he doesn’t put up eye popping numbers in any one category. Pence should be in position to contribute to your fantasy team this week. He has an impressive home run total against the starters he will face this week, including four long balls in his five career hits off Ricky Nolasco.
Position Players to Avoid
Mike Napoli has not delivered on his lofty draft position thus far this season. Napoli has not hit the ball well lately and this week will likely be more of the same. In his career Napoli only has a .114 batting average against the starters he will face. Look for a better option this week and hope that Napoli catches fire like he did in the second half of last season.
A .153 career batting average is even low for Adam Dunn’s standards, but that is exactly what he is hitting against this week’s starters. Given the terribly low batting average and mediocre track record this is a week that you can sit Dunn on your bench and start a better option.
Freddie Freeman has battled through several issues this season. After returning from an absence due to eye problems, Freeman is now battling through an injury on his finger. With very limited success against the pitchers he will face and the recent challenges, you will want to sit Freeman this week.
Two Start Pitchers
Ryan Vogelsong has been steady in his last three outings. With starts this week at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds, Vogelsong should definitely be active in your lineup.
Mat Latos’ last two starts are indicative of his inconsistency. A week after a solid outing against the Cleveland Indians, Latos was roughed up by those same Indians. This week his two starts come against the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants. He has not had a great deal of success against these two foes. Given his sporadic nature, Latos should probably be benched this week.
Yovani Gallardo has not been overly impressive on the season thus far. He gets two starts this week against the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks. Gallardo is 6-0 against the Diamondbacks in his career. Based on the two starts and success against Arizona, I would roll the dice and include him in your rotation this week.
With two losses to go with two no decisions, Jake Peavy has been somewhat of a forgotten pitcher after storming out to a fast start. With an earned run average under three and a walks-plus-hits per inning pitched below, one Peavy has returned to the form that lead the Chicago White Sox to trade for him before injuries derailed him. Start him and expect more of the same.
Stephen Strasburg may be on an inning limit so you better be sure to get as many innings out of him for your fantasy team while he is still taking the hill. Start him this week against the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves, as he has two shots to register his 10th win of the season.
Daniel Hudson fell off of many fantasy owners’ radars with an early season trip to the disabled list. He has done very little in his return to jump back on your radar. This week he faces off with two teams that have given him a little trouble in his career. I would sit him down this week despite the two starts and wait on him to get back on track before starting him again.
Gio Gonzalez has made the adjustment to the National League quite well. With his history in the American League, Gonzalez has very little history against his foes this week. He is among the league leaders in most pitching categories and has to be in your lineup.
Ricky Nolasco has been rather mediocre up to this point in the season. He gets a start against the St. Louis Cardinals, a team which he has never defeated, and another against Philadelphia. Given his track record and recent inconsistency, I recommend benching him this week.
Tim Hudson might not be the same pitcher he was as he tallied a career 20-4 win-loss record against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals, but the veteran hurler has enough of a track record to suggest starting him. The Braves aren’t exactly slugging lately, but Hudson should pitch well enough to keep them in the games.
Outside of R.A. Dickey, James McDonald has to be the pitching surprise of the season thus far. McDonald has been extremely impressive carrying a 2.19 earned run average with a sub-one walks-plus-hits per inning pitched in to his two starts this week. You know you may not get the wins as he pitches for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he has found ways to contribute thus far and may well again this week.
Yu Darvish’s rookie season has been filled with ups and downs. Fortunately for his owners the ups have outnumbered the lows. Darvish is capable of a phenomenal outing each time he takes the mound. Given that this week he gets two shots, you don’t want to be caught with him on your bench.
His win-loss record isn’t overly impressive, but Dillon Gee is quietly having a productive fantasy season. Gee has seven straight quality starts and is the recipient of two starts this week. The history is mixed, but I would start Gee this week.
Wandy Rodriguez could certainly benefit from a trade to a contender if the rumors that are swirling are true, but for now you have to evaluate him as a starter for the Houston Astros. Rodriguez is having a good season, and while he will not register as many wins as some other comparable starters, he sets up this week to perform well enough to contribute to your team this week.
C.J. Wilson is looking every bit as good as he did during his time with the Rangers. He has an impressive earned run average and walks-plus-hits per inning pitched to go with his 8-4 record. Until further notice, Wilson has earned every outing star status. This week is no exception.
Johan Santana has never lost to the two clubs he will face this week, the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. The results have been mixed since Santana recoded his no hitter, but with the track record he has against this week’s opponents, you have to keep him active this week.
One Start Wonders
Even though these guys get only one start this week, all signs point to them having the opportunity to register good numbers. Make sure to have them active.
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati
James Shields, Tampa Bay
Matt Harrison, Texas
Ivan Nova, New York Yankees
Wait Until Next Week
Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs
Jason Hammel, Baltimore
Edwin Jackson, Washington
Chris Capuano, Los Angeles Dodgers