Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner: Napoli and Craig looking good; Pena and Ichiro not so much

Mother Nature has been kind to the baseball world as of late and that tends to favor the hitters. Swinging the bat is all about warm weather and consistent play, and some players have taken advantage of the trend.

This scoring period marks the second full week off from interleague play before the circus gets started back up. There are many unknown players who are going to have some breakout games and give you the leg up on the competition, as outlined in this week’s hitting planner.


mike-napoliBatting average or homeruns AND RBIs? Choose the latter and pick up Mike Napoli. Although he doesn’t receive a lot of playing time, its hard to look past him with 10 homeruns and 25 RBIs with just over 100 at bats. Same goes for Miguel Montero. He’s a good player who is owned by most but not all owners.

With no glaring differences in play on the road or at home, look for his consistent play to continue this month. Geovany Soto hadn’t seen the field in a few weeks but just recently got back into the Cubs’ starting lineup. A few days of knocking off the rust should do him well as he should be good to go in your lineup this Monday.

Haven’t found a replacement for Buster Posey yet? Give J.P. Arencibia the time of day because his power at the plate is something to take notice to with 8 homeruns and 26 RBIs.

First Base

How can we mention Mike Napoli twice on the hitting planner? Well why wouldn’t we? He’s so valuable with his dual position eligibility that it was most necessary to list him again.

Eric Hosmer broke out of a slump and has been somewhat on fire since coming up from Triple-A.

If you have Carlos Pena in your lineup then it’s time to make a decision. Possessing almost a 90% owned rating; he just hasn’t been producing the way a smart owner would want. Playing in the pitcher friendly Wrigley field doesn’t help either.

Any questions regarding Albert Pujols look in the archives for the past two weeks but for some “diamond in the rough” type help look at Freddie Freeman. He’s only 21 years old but has been swinging the bat like a seasoned veteran as of late.

Second Base

Well, Howard Kendrick is going to be activated very soon and if you sat him because of his hammy then the time is now to get him back where he belongs.

Who was the top rated 2nd baseman last week? Kelly Johnson was and his play was noticed by many fantasy owners. Chances are he’s gone but if you can make a play for him it would be suggested.

Danny Espinosa has been receiving some ROY talk and his play is reflecting that claim. His batting average is low at .214 but the overall production is there.

There is an odd situation in Chicago going on which needs to be addressed fairly quickly. Brent Lillibridge needs some consistent playing time. He was the seventh rated fantasy player at his position for the past week and has under 70 at-bats for the year.

Third Base

Aramis Ramirez isn’t having the type of year that warrants the amount of owners who have him on their team and especially their starting lineup so it wouldn’t hurt to sit him.

Toronto seems to sit Edwin Encarnacion at the strangest times and for the people who have him on their team, it would be better to let him go before the Blue Jays do.

Danny Valencia and Alberto Callaspo have been swinging hot bats lately and are available still due in large part to not being a big named star player.

Evan Longoria looked like he was going to snap out of his funk with a good series against the Cleveland Indians following a strong performance at home against the Rangers. The upcoming scoring period has him playing at the hitter friendly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington so chances are he’s going to resume normal.

Not to get off topic but something needs to be addressed and that is about New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez. Don’t let the overrated talk trick you into putting one of the all time greats onto the bench. He is still batting at a high level this year and is one of the top fantasy players at his position. We can only imagine how one of his teammate feels about the overrated talk.


The answer to that question is; not very good at all. While teammates A-Rod and Joba joked about the poll, Derek Jeter wasn’t amused at all. Perhaps in previous years he shouldn’t have been on the list but this year the spot is well deserved. Sure he is a Hall-of-Famer but he isn’t the best Shortstop in his own city anymore (that title belongs to Jose Reyes) and doesn’t come close to being a top 10 fantasy option.

Look to the underrated Yunel Escobar or recently called up Brandon Crawford. With Crawford’s steady production look for his playing time to stay on course as he continues to start over Miguel Tejada. Rafael Furcal has a hot bat as well. Give him a look with Hanley Ramirez missing extensive time.


There are some unfamiliar players floating around the outfield this week and the time to jump on them is now. Aubrey Huff has all around game at the plate and his versatile play should score you some big points. His teammate Andres Torres is swinging the bat as well and with games against below average pitching staffs in Washington and Cincinnati; look for the streaks to continue.

Jon Jay is another player who needs to see some time in your starting lineup due in large part because he is hitting .370 on the road this year and the Cards start a nine game road trip this Tuesday.

Who is filling Matt Holiday’s shoes? That would be Allen Craig and he is proving to be a more than capable replacement.

It is time to follow the Mariners’ lead and give Ichiro Suzuki a rest. Pirates outfielder Xavier Paul looks poised to go on a hot streak if he is given some steady playing time, watch him carefully over the next few days.


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