2012 Fantasy Baseball Start Em, Sit Em: Luis Cruz, Carlos Beltran, Josh Beckett and More

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Hitters To Start

Luis Cruz |Los Angeles Dodgers| (26.8%) – Now that the second-coming of Murderer’s Row is complete Luis Cruz looks to gain on the spillover from the deadly hitters around him.  Then again, this is not to discount the work that Cruz has done himself.  Over the last 15 games Cruz has hit .438 with a 1.148 OPS.  He undoubtedly won’t be able to keep this pace going but this could be a sign of things to come. 

This week Cruz will face 7 pitchers, 4 of which are left-handed.  Against left-handed pitching this year Cruz is hitting .348 with a .953 OPS.  His great position eligibility (SS, 3B) add to his value.  If you’re looking to maximize your team’s offensive starts then keeping Cruz in your back pocket could help especially this week.

AJ Ellis |Los Angeles Dodgers| (12.5%) – The starting category of this week’s article should be written in Dodger Blue.  Ellis represents a great addition to a team looking to make the most of its maximum catcher starts.  His first 3 games of the week will be played at the launching pad of Coors Field and then he’ll return to home for the final 4 games of the week to take on the Diamondbacks.  So far this year Ellis has hit 2 homeruns in only 17 at-bats at baseball 3rd best park for the long ball.  In 17 at-bats against the 4 starters he’ll face in Arizona, Ellis is hitting .471 with 2 homeruns as well.

Hitters To Sit

Zack Cozart |Cincinnati Red| (31.8%) – People have started paying attention to Cozart’s power numbers and have responded with a +5% spike in ownership recently.  This week you should consider benching him in favor of another player.  Cozart will play all of his games on the road this week.  While on the road this year Cozart is hitting .226 with a .270 OBP.  This week he’ll face Arizona and Houston for 3 games each.  In 51 at-bats combined against these teams this year Cozart is hitting .216.

Carlos Beltran |St. Louis Cardinals| (100%) – Carlos Beltran’s second-half is nothing like his pre-All-Star success.  After the All-Star game this year Beltran has dropped his average 70 points to an embarrassing .226.  His OBP has fallen over 100 points to .265.  Beltran will start his week in Pittsburgh for a 3-game series.  PNC Park in Pittsburgh happens to be ranked 27th in baseball for homerun production and 29th in baseball for hit production.  This abyss is not what Beltran needs to turn his sub-par second-half around.  After fighting the field in Pittsburgh Beltran then travels to D.C. to take on the Nationals.  Against the 4 Nationals’ starters that he’ll face Beltran is hitting .224.

Two-Start Pitchers To Start

Brett Anderson |Oakland A’s| (25.8%) – Now might be the time to get the newly-healed pitcher onto your team’s radar.  Anderson makes his first start of the week in Cleveland where the entire lineup is hitting only .246 in 57 career at-bats against him.  In 21 career innings against the tribe, Anderson has a spotless 1.29 ERA.  His numbers against the sox are just as good.  In 44 innings against the Red Sox Anderson has a 2.86 ERA.  In 72 combined career at-bats the entire Red Sox lineup is only hitting .250 against Anderson.

Daisuke Matsuzaka |Boston Red Sox| (0.3%) – The easy pick-up of the week comes in the shape of Matsuzaka.  Making only his 6th start of the year the Red Sox pitcher will be able to get his confidence back by facing two of baseball’s weakest lineups, the Royals and A’s.  The Coliseum is one of the best parks for pitchers (22nd in HRs and 23rd in Hits).  Oakland’s lineup is also the 2nd-worst against right-handed pitchers (.232 BAA).  Kansas City’s lineup is ranked a low 26th in homeruns against right-handed pitchers.

Two-Start Pitchers To Sit

Josh Beckett |Los Angeles Dodgers| (53.8%) – Don’t think that Beckett’s sudden exodus from Boston to the pitcher-friendly National League will solve all of his pitching problems.  This week the newly-acquired pitcher will start twice, once in Colorado then returning home to face the Diamondbacks.  Beckett’s career numbers at Coors Field are in line with his career numbers elsewhere.  However, Beckett’s week ends on a low-note against the Diamondbacks at home.  In 36 career innings against the D-Backs, Beckett has a 4.91 ERA and 1-4 record.  BONUS: Aaron Hill owns Beckett.  He has a .412 career average against Beckett in 34 career at-bats.   More than half of those hits are for extra bases.

James Shields |Tampa Bay Rays| (100%) – Shields faces a gauntlet of hitters this week.  He makes both of his starts on the road, the first coming against the Rangers and the next in Toronto.  Shields has pitched a combined 91 innings in these parks and has given up an astonishing 24 homeruns in those 91 innings.  That equates to a 2.37 HR/9IP rate, that’s more than double his career average of 1.16!

Written by James Bryce (@BoltLife4me) exclusively for

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