Description: Mets third baseman David Wright is a career .458 hitter (11-for-21) with a 1.267 OPS against Braves starter Aaron Harang.
Insight: Wright is off to a slow start, batting just .258 with a .641 OPS, but this favorable matchup could get him going. Daniel Murphy, Wright, Eric Young Jr. and Ruben Tejada all have good histories against Harang which could mean plenty of scoring opportunities.
Description: Rays 2B/SS/OF Ben Zobrist is a career .417 hitter (5-for-12) versus Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.
Insight: Zobrist's five hits have all been of the extra base variety, including two homers and a 1.783 OPS. He's batting .268 this season with a .388 OBP due to walking 11 times already. He's a solid play on Friday.
Description: Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy is just 3-for-20 (.150) against Boston right-hander John Lackey.
Insight: Hardy has averaged 25.7 HR per season over the last three years, but he's never had an extra base hit against Lackey. He's also still looking for his first homer this season. It won't likely come on Friday. Avoid this matchup.
Description: Reds third baseman Todd Frazier has a pair of homers and a career .375 batting average versus Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija.
Insight: Frazier isn't batting for much of an average, but he has scored six runs in the past four games. His fantasy owners are hoping he'll rebound from a disappointing 2013 campaign (.234 AVG in 531 at bats).
Description: Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler bopped his second home run of the season Thursday in a win over Cleveland.
Insight: Kinsler, who finished with four RBI, has gone 7-for-17 over his last four games. The former Ranger recorded his third stolen base of the season on Thursday, though he was also caught stealing.
Description: Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes was expected to be ready to return from the disabled list Friday against Cleveland, but bad weather is going to push his return to Saturday, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
Insight: Reyes injured a hamstring in the season opener. He'll be a solid source of runs and steals as long as he can stay healthy.
Description: Brewers shortstop Jean Segura is hitless in nine at-bats versus Pirates starter Edinson Volquez.
Insight: Segura isn't off to a great start, batting .211 after a big April last season (.367). We're begining to think what we saw in the second half of 2013 (.241, 1 HR, 13 RBI in 54 games after the break) is what we're going to get in 2014. He's also been caught stealing a league-high three times already.
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is just 1-for-22 (.045) with 10 strikeouts against Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo.
Insight: The 27-year-old, who tied for the NL lead with 36 bombs last season, already has five homers, 10 RBI and 10 runs despite a .161 batting average. But this is an extremely unfavorable matchup to be avoided.
Description: San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford didn't start in Wednesday's game against the Dodgers and probably shouldn't be in Thursday's lineup based on an unfavorable matchup.
Insight: He's been dealing with a tight hamstring. He's also hitless in 10 at-bats versus Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. Joaquin Arias will likely fill in at shortstop, but has shown little value with a bat in his hand.
Description: Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar is sitting out for the first time this season Wednesday against Kansas City.
Insight: Villar is just one for his last 19 and has now struck out in 32.6 percent of his at bats this year. Marwin Gonzalez is playing shortstop on Wednesday and could see more time there in the future if Villar's struggles continue.
Description: The Mariners have called up SS Nick Franklin from Triple-A Tacoma. Franklin went 17-for-43 (.395) with four homers in his first 11 games at Triple-A to earn a callup.
Insight: Brad Miller, who won the shortstop job with a hot spring, hit two homers in the second game of the year but has batted .214 with a 19/1 K/BB in 56 at-bats this season. Franklin is a former first-round pick and top prospect who started off with a .277 average and 10 HRs in his first 52 games last year but hit .167 with two homers in his final 50. He could see some outfield duty with Logan Morrison (hamstring) out, according to Jon Heyman of cbssports.com.
Description: Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker has hit four home runs over his last five games but he'll run into Johnny Cueto Wednesday against the Reds.
Insight: Walker has five homers in 14 games after blasting six in his final nine last year. He didn't hit his fifth homer in 2013 until his 51st game. Cueto has limited the second baseman to six hits in 28 at-bats (.214), however.
Description: Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is the owner of a .375 average against Dodgers starter Paul Maholm.
Insight: Sandoval is 6-for-16 with two homers and a double against Maholm. The third baseman has batted .164 with two homers in 55 at-bats this season, but he's also shown more plate discipline (12.7 BB%). The low average is mainly the result of a .171 BABIP, which he's posted despite having a 25.6 percent line-drive rate.
Description: Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera was a late scratch from Tuesday's lineup due to a sore knee and he has a poor matchup Wednesday.
Insight: If Cabrera plays, he'll face Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies. He's gone 3-for-18 with seven strikeouts against the left-hander. The 27-year-old is batting .340 with six doubles this season, but he has struck out 17 times in 53 at-bats.
Description: Padres third baseman Chase Headley is 8-for-36 (.222) with zero extra-base hits and 11 strikeouts against Jorge De La Rosa of Colorado.
Insight: Another cold start (.160, 1 HR, 11 Ks) has us skeptical we'll ever see the 2012 version of Headley (.286, 31 HR, 115 RBI) again. Remove that season and Headley has just 50 career homers in 683 games.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is 7-for-14 with six doubles against Oakland's Tommy Milone.
Insight: Don't be fooled by Pujols' .237 average. The 34-year-old has hit four home runs in his last seven games and flew out to the deepest part of Angels Ballpark in dead center Tuesday night. He also has struck out just four times and physically looks much better than he did last year.
Description: Mariner third baseman Kyle Seager has had some success against Texas starter Yu Darvish.
Insight: Seager has been a disaster so far, hitting .146 with zero homers and two RBI. He does have a .316 average, four doubles and seven RBI in 19 career at-bats against Darvish, however, so maybe he'll get it going Wednesday despite facing the tough right-hander.
Description: Rangers third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has gone 9-for-20 (.450) with three doubles, one homer and five RBI in six games while filling in for Adrian Beltre (quad), but he's been terrible against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.
Insight: Kouzmanoff is back in the majors for the first time since 2011. He's 3-for-24 (.125) with nine Ks against Hernandez.
Description: Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie blasted a ninth-inning grand slam Tuesday at Minnesota.
Insight: Lawrie has more infield fly-balls (three) than line drives (two) this season and is hitting just .100 on balls in play and .132 overall. However, he has hit three homers and driven in nine runs.
Description: If Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (wrist) can return to the lineup Wednesday against the White Sox, he'll face a pitcher he's gone 2-for-17 against in John Danks.
Insight: Pedroia had a cortisone shot in his sore left wrist on Tuesday and didn't start for the second straight game. He pinch ran in the ninth inning. The 30-year-old has zero homers, one RBI and a .236 average this season.
Description: Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker continued his home run binge with another long ball Tuesday in the second game of a double-header.
Insight: That gives Walker five blasts in 58 at bats this season. Last season, Walker didn't hit his fifth home run until June 12th. Walker's .310 batting average is a noticeable improvement from the .265 clip he hit for in 2013.
Description: Rangers 1B Prince Fielder hit his first homer of the season Tuesday.
Insight: Fielder is batting .185 with nine Ks and seven BBs. His bat slowed down last season and he displayed reduced plate discipline. Moving to a better hitters park in Texas won't do anything to reverse that decline, but he should be able to put up solid numbers once he gets out of his slump.
Description: Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia was given a cortisone shot in his injured wrist. He expects to return Wednesday against Chicago. SOURCE: Gordon Edes, ESPN Boston
Insight: Pedroia played all of last season with a torn muscle in his thumb and only wound up missing two games. You have to admire Pedroia's toughness, though it's a little concerning he only has nine home runs in his last 758 at bats.
Description: Cardinals second baseman Mark Ellis has been activated from the disabled list (knee).
Insight: Kolten Wong should continue to be the Cardinals starter with Ellis filling a backup role. Ellis used to have low-end value when he played with Oakland, but hasn't produced an OPS above .700 since 2011.
Description: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is just a .133 hitter (2-for-15) against Mariners starter Blake Beavan.
Insight: Andrus had an 11-game hitting streak end on Sunday, but got bat on the hit wagon Monday. Still, this is an unfavorable matchup to be avoided as even if he gets on base the struggling Rangers offense (two runs or less in five of last seven) will have problems knocking him in.
Description: Brewers shortstop Jean Segura is hitless in 12 at-bats versus Cardinals' young right-hander Shelby Miller.
Insight: Segura isn't off to a great start, batting .261 after a big April last season (.367). We're begining to think what we saw in the second half of 2013 (.241, 1 HR, 13 RBI in 54 games after the break) is what we're going to get in 2014. He's also been caught stealing a league-high three times already.
Description: Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss is a career .462 hitter with four extra base hits and a 1.423 OPS versus Angels starter Garrett Richards.
Insight: Moss hasn't started hitting the long ball yet (1 HR) but is batting .295 with 11 RBI this season. He didn't start on Monday as the A's gave Daric Barton a start, but should be ready to go Tuesday.
Description: Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon is just 1-for-13 (.077) against Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum.
Insight: Gordon beat out Alex Guerrero for the second base job this spring and has continues to play well, batting .400 through the first 11 games with a league-leading nine steals. Proceed with caution on Tuesday based on the unfavorable matchup with Lincecum.
Description: Rays 2B/SS/OF Ben Zobrist is a career .105 hitter (2-for-19) versus Baltimore right-hander Miguel Gonzalez.
Insight: Zobrist is a career .277 hitter left-handed (.256 right-handed), but hasn't had any success versus Gonzalez. Add in a strong wind blowing in from left field on Tuesday and you have all the ingredients for a low output evening.
Description: Blue Jays infielder Maicer Izturis will miss 4-to-6 months with a complete tear of the LCL in his left knee, according to Shi Davidi of sportsnet.ca.
Insight: Izturis tripped down the dugout steps during Sunday's game and tore the ligament. The 33-year-old has been getting most of the starts at second base but the job will now go to Ryan Goins (3-for-28 this season).
Description: Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss is getting a breather Monday against the Angels.
Insight: Daric Barton is starting at first with LHP Hector Santiago on the mound for Los Angeles. Moss has an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .311 with one homer and 11 RBI in 45 at-bats this season.
Description: Miami second baseman Rafael Furcal (hamstring) will start his minor league rehab assignment on Monday, according to Joe Frisaro of mlb.com. The Marlins anticipate using all 21 days for Furcal's assignment.
Insight: Furcal is one of the rare position players who underwent Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2013 following the procedure and hasn't been a worthwhile fantasy option since he got off to a hot start in the first two months of 2012. His hamstring injury and advanced age mean he won't be looking to run much when he does make his 2014 debut.
Description: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has no fracture or structural damage in his left wrist, according to Rob Bradford of weei.com.
Insight: Pedroia should avoid the disabled list and may even rejoin the lineup Tuesday at Chicago. The 30-year-old missed Sunday's series finale against the rival Yankees and went 7-for-45 (.156) over his last 10 games.
Description: Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson will sit out a second consecutive game.
Insight: He's off to a slow start with just 11 hits in his first 45 at bats. Manager Fredi Gonzalez says he'll be back in the lineup on Tuesday, Ramiro Pena (.231, 1 HR, 3 RBI) will get the start at third base, according to David O'Brien of AJC.
Description: Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto is a career .352 hitter (19-for-54) with seven extra base hits and a .952 OPS against Pittsburgh left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.
Insight: Both of Votto's home runs this season came off left-handers (David Price, Cesar Ramos). Beware, however, that there is rain forecasted for Cincinnati for most of the day and night and they may have trouble getting the game in.
Description: Rays 2B/SS/OF Ben Zobrist is a career .435 hiiter (10-for-23) versus Baltimore left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
Insight: Zobrist is coming off a two-homer afternoon and has hit safely in six of his last seven games to raise his average to .277 with an .871 OPS. Add in a strong wind blowing out to left field on Monday and you have all the ingredients for another solid day with the bat.
Description: White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez hit another homer Sunday against Cleveland.
Insight: Ramirez went 2-for-4 and is now hitting .420 with three home runs, 12 RBI, 11 runs and three steals despite batting mostly out of the seven- and eight-hole. His home run total declined in each of the last three years down to six in 2013 but his steal total increased in the last two up to 30 in 2013. Maybe he can finally put the 20-homer power he flashed as a rookie in 2008 together with baserunning ability he displayed last year.
Description: San Diego second baseman Jedd Gyorko belted his first home run of the 2014 season Sunday against the Tigers.
Insight: He took 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer deep in the second inning. The 25-year-old had 23 homers in 486 at-bats last season but is batting .163 with 16 strikeouts in his first 43 at-bats this year.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols homered for the third time in his last five games Sunday against the Mets.
Insight: Pujols is hitting just .240 so far, but he extended his hitting streak to nine games Sunday and hasn't struck out in his last seven. Overall he looks much better and healthier than he did in 2013.
Description: One day after Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins went 3-for-5 with a walk-off homer, he was 0-for-5 Sunday against the Marlins.
Insight: Rollins got his average up to .316 after Saturday's performance but he's back down to .279. He has good numbers -- two homers, 10 RBI, seven runs, two steals -- and is worth owning in 12-team leagues because shortstop is so shallow, but we aren't confident he'll keep this up after a horrible 2013 season.
Description: Rays 2B/SS/OF Ben Zobrist went yard from both sides of the plate and drove in four runs Sunday at Cincinnati.
Insight: Zobrist is batting .277 with three homers, six RBI and an .871 OPS so far. As usual, he's walking a ton (8 BBs, 7 Ks). The utilityman is a career .238 hitter in April, but he's off to a nice start for a change.
Description: Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips had three singles in five at-bats Sunday against the Rays and is hitting .327 with a homer and three RBI this season.
Insight: Phillips has 11 Ks in 52 plate appearances and has benefited from a .405 BABIP. He's not a .300 hitter and fantasy owners shouldn't expect this to continue. He also doesn't run much anymore (five steals last year, zero this year).
Description: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is not in Sunday's lineup and is going back to Boston for tests on his sore left wrist. SOURCE: Gordon Edes, espnboston.com.
Insight: If Pedroia has to go on the disabled list, the Red Sox would probably fill the spot with Ryan Roberts, though they may go the bold route and call up Mookie Betts from Double-A Portland. Betts is hitting .457 with six extra-base hits and four steals in 35 at-bats this season and is ranked as Boston's No. 6 prospect by MLB.com. We'll see how Pedroia's tests go.
Description: New York shortstop Derek Jeter is not in the lineup for Sunday's series finale against Boston. SOURCE: Buster Olney, ESPN
Insight: Well this is strange. Jeter will watch from the sidelines for the second game in a row, though the Yankees haven't provided any injury news regarding the 39-year-old. Dean Anna (.214, 1 HR, 1 RBI) will start in his place.
Description: It looks like Danny Espinosa is going to be Washington's everyday second baseman for the next 4-6 weeks while Ryan Zimmerman (thumb) is on the DL.
Insight: Zimmerman broke his thumb Saturday. Espinosa averaged 19 homers and 18 steals per season in 2011-12 but played through an injury and hit just .158 in 44 games last year. He came into Sunady with a .316 average in 19 at-bats this season and could help out NL-only owners looking for middle-infield help.
Description: Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla isn't in the starting lineup for Sunday's game versus the Nationals. SOURCE: Mark Bowman, MLB.com
Insight: Uggla's low batting average becomes a lot more tolerable when he's producing good power numbers. However, that hasn't been the case this season as he's now homerless in 41 at bats. Tyler Pastornicky will draw the start at second base.
Description: Washington 3B Ryan Zimmerman left last night's game with a broken thumb and will now miss 4-to-6 weeks. SOURCE: Mark Zuckerman, Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic
Insight: It's a really tough break for the Nats as Zimmerman had been off to a great start (.364, 2 HR, 6 RBI in ten games). Anthony Rendon (.372, 2 HR, 9 RBI) should see time at third base while he's out.
Description: Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta is not in Saturday's starting lineup.
Insight: Peralta's home run totals have been all over the place in his career. He hit 21-24 in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2011 but 11-15 in 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. So far this season he's hit two homers, but they are his only hits this season (batting .063). Daniel Descalso will get the start.
Description: Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto blasted his first homer of the season Friday against the Rays.
Insight: Votto (.257) took David Price to left field to break a shutout in the bottom of the ninth inning. Votto has just two RBI this season because opponents pitch around him with men on base and he refuses to expand the zone.
Description: Padres minor league prospect Jace Peterson is off to a hot start, batting .345 with a .958 OPS and a couple of steals in his first seven games at Double-A San Antonio.
Insight: Peterson batted over .300 last season and has averaged 44 steals over the past three minor league seasons. He's very similar in game to Evereth Cabrera which may be a problem since that's who he would be replacing.
Description: Red Sox minor league 3B Garin Cecchini is off to a fast start, batting .320 through his first nine games.
Insight: Cecchini has batted over .300 for the past two seasons and on many clubs would be in the majors, but his way is blocked by Will Middlebrooks. It may take an injury or trade to get him to the majors.
Description: Cardinals minor league prospect Aledmys Diaz is off to a blazing start at Double-A Springfield. The young shortstop is batting .458 with six extra base hits and a 1.273 OPS.
Insight: The Cuban signed a four-year deal with St. Louis and figures to join or replace Jhonny Peralta before his contract is up. Particularly if he keeps pounding the ball as he's done in his first minor league action.
Description: Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson is a career .111 hitter (2-for-18) with eight strikeouts against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez.
Insight: Donaldson has not started out the season like last year, batting just .220 through the first nine games. Last season he was a huge fantasy surprise batting .314 in April, .330 in May and .303 in June before cooling off a bit. This unfavorable matchup isn't going to help.
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo doesn't have much success against St. Louis right-hander Joe Kelly.
Insight: Rizzo is 1-for-13 in their matchups. Normally Rizzo hits right-handers 55 points better than left-handers (.259 vs. .204), but this matchup is the exception. Although Rizzo is off to a flying start (.371 through nine games) avoid this matchup.
Description: Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier is a .556 hitter against Royals starter Bruce Chen (5-for-9) with three extra base hits and a 1.822 OPS.
Insight: After starting 0-for-13 to start the year, Dozier is starting to hit the ball with authority. He's homered in his last two games and leads the league in runs scored (9). Add in the favorable matchup and he's a solid play on Friday.
Description: Houston third baseman Matt Dominguez is not normally on many fantasy radar screens, but he's faced Texas ace Yu Darvish 11 times and has taken him deep three times.
Insight: Dominguez is an all or nothing option. He doesn't hit for much of an average, but can hit the long ball. He's batting just .129 in 10 games this season, but does have a pair of homers after blasting 21 last season.
Description: Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is hitless in 11 career at-bats versus Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran.
Insight: Zimmerman should be avoided on Friday and knowing the condition of his arthritic shoulder should probably be avoided completely as it's just a matter of time before it gets in the way of his playing the game.
Description: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has yet to produce a hit against Miami right-hander Jose Fernandez.
Insight: Howard is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts against Fernandez. He's not alone. Marlon Byrd, Domonic Brown and Chase Utley are also hitless. It would probably be best to avoid all Phillies hitters on Friday.
Description: White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez has started the season on fire.
Insight: Ramirez is 16-for-38 (.421) with four doubles, two homers, nine RBI, two steals, eight runs and a 2/3 K/BB. He has driven in seven runs over the last five games. The 32-year-old's homer total decreased in each of the last three seasons down to six last year but his steals increased from seven in 2011 to 30 last season.
Description: Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu had his second two-homer game in three days Thursday against the Indians.
Insight: Abreu is the latest Cuban position player to get off to a fast start in the majors, following Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig. He's hitting .300 with three doubles, a triple, four homers, an MLB-leading 14 RBI and seven runs in 40 at-bats.
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has gone 11-for-21 with two homers and six RBI over his last five games.
Insight: Castro batted .297 over his first three MLB seasons but Cubs brass tried to get him to be more patient last year. His first-pitch swinging percentage was .296 over his first three years but just .211 last season and his new approach resulted in a .245 average. He's back to unloading on the first pitch more often this season.
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 1-for-5, but his one hit was a big three-run homer Thursday against the Cubs.
Insight: Alvarez' shot came in the top of the seventh inning and put the Pirates ahead 5-4. The 27-year-old, who tied for the NL lead with 36 bombs last season, already has five homers, 10 RBI and eight runs. Alvarez also has a 6/6 K/BB (14.6% K rate) in 41 plate appearances; his K rate ranged from 30.3% to 30.7% in each of the last three years.
Description: Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson went 2-for-22 over his first five games this season but he's 7-for-19 with three doubles, a homer, five RBI and five runs over his last four.
Insight: Donaldson hit his first homer of the season Thursday at Minnesota. However, he also struck out two times and has a 13/1 K/BB in 41 at-bats. Donaldson's K/BB in 2013 was 110/76 and he batted .301 with 24 HRs and 93 RBI.
Description: Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has a Grade 1 quad strain, which is the least severe one. SOURCE: Dallas Morning News
Insight: The Rangers pushed back Colby Lewis' promotion from Saturday to Monday or Tuesday so they can keep Beltre, two backup infielders and seven relievers on the active roster to give Beltre a few more days to get healthy before they place him on the DL.
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez had another two-homer game Wednesday against the Cubs, but has an unfavorable matchup on Thursday.
Insight: Alvarez is just 1-for-15 (.067) with six strikeouts against Cubs starter Travis Wood. The Pirates slugger has continued where he left off last season (36 HR), but this matchup should be avoided.
Description: Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder) had two hits in his return to the lineup Wednesday.
Insight: Zimmerman has been dealing with shoulder inflammation for at least two and a half years, and Washington manager Matt Williams said Monday night that the third baseman has an "arthritic shoulder." He's working on throwing the ball sidearm to first base to avoid another injury.
Description: Phillies third baseman Cody Asche (hamstring) doubled during a pinch-hitting appearance Wednesday night against Milwaukee.
Insight: Asche was out of the starting lineup due to a tweaked hamstring, but it must not be too serious. The third baseman went 3-for-4 with a homer, a double, two RBI and four runs on Opening Day but he has managed just four hits in 18 at-bats since then while striking out seven times.
Description: Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki won't start Wednesday's game against Chicago. SOURCE: ESPN Denver
Insight: Tulowitzki (.407, 1 HR, 5 RBI) strained his quad Monday but was able to play yesterday without issue. We'll consider this a maintenance day for the three-time All-Star until we hear otherwise.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols drove in two runs Tuesday against the Mariners, giving him 1,501 RBI for his career.
Insight: Only 52 players in MLB history have reached that milestone. Among active players, he's second behind New York's Alex Rodriguez. Pujols (.219, 1 HR, 3 RBI) could realistically move into the top-40 before the end of this season.
Description: White Sox second baseman Marcus Semien ripped four hits Tuesday in a victory over Colorado.
Insight: It's the seventh multi-hit game of Semien's career and his first of the four-hit variety. The jury's still out on Semien's fantasy potential but at least he's hanging in there with a .273 average in the month of April (9-for-33).
Description: Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu showed off his power by swatting two long balls Tuesday in a blowout win against the Rockies.
Insight: Coors Field, aka Hitter's Paradise, was up to its usual tricks on Tuesday night. In total, seven balls left the yard with six of those round-trippers belonging to the White Sox. Abreu is tied with Minnesota's Chris Colabello for the league-lead in RBI with 11 through eight games.
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro launched two homers Tuesday in a loss to Pittsburgh.
Insight: This is the Castro we all know and love. We're not sure what happened to him in 2013 (.245, 10 HR, 9 SB in 161 games) but Castro has looked like an All-Star through his first seven games (.310, 6 RBI, .552 SLUG).
Description: Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is having a great series against his former team.
Insight: He went 3-for-5 Tuesday and is now 6-for-10 against Texas over the last two games. Napoli (.364, 2 HR, 8 RBI) is usually a swing for the fences guy but all six of his hits this series have been singles.
Description: Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes will begin running on a treadmill Tuesday, according to Shi Davidi of sportsnet.ca.
Insight: Reyes strained his left hamstring near the end of spring training and aggravated it on Opening Day. He said his hamstring feels good but he'll be careful about progressing too quickly in his rehab.
Description: Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder) hopes to play Wednesday, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
Insight: Zimmerman has been dealing with shoulder inflammation for at least two and a half years, and Washington manager Matt Williams said Monday night that the third baseman has an "arthritic shoulder." Zimmerman had surgery to repair inflammation in his AC joint and fraying in his labrum and rotator cuff in 2012 after changing his throwing mechanics in 2011 following abdominal surgery. He was on the field four hours before Tuesday's game trying out a new sidearm throwing motion.
Description: Red Sox newly-acquired infielder Ryan Roberts will make his debut on Tuesday night at third base.
Insight: Roberts was cut by the Cubs last month after hitting .237 in spring training. He's insurance for the injured Will Middlebrooks. The last time he was fantasy relevant was 2010 when he smacked 19 homers and stole 18 bases for Arizona.
Description: Phillies second baseman Chase Utley will miss Tuesday's game due to flu-like symptoms.
Insight: Utley is pounding the ball this spring, batting .458 with a pair of homers through the first two series, but is just a .148 lifetime hitter against Tuesday's starter right-hander Kyle Lohse. Hopefully he won't miss more than a day or two.
Description: O's third baseman Manny Machado still has no timetable for return.
Insight: His recovery from offseason knee surgery took a setback last month and he's running on a treadmill in a pool. We hope to see Machado (.283, 14 HR, 71 RBI) back on the field in May, but until they announce a schedule we're just guessing.
Description: Mets third baseman David Wright is a career .524 hitter (11-for-21) with a 1.434 OPS against Braves starter Aaron Harang.
Insight: Wright is off to a slow start, batting just .238 with a .701 OPS, but this extremely favorable matchup could get him going. Daniel Murphy, Wright and Ruben Tejada all have good matchups against Harang which should mean plenty of scoring opportunities.
Description: Rangers 1B Prince Fielder appears to be pressing early in the season and is batting just .148 without a home run.
Insight: Fielder has been chasing a few pitches out of the strike zone of late, but that will eventually stop. His Tuesday matchup, however, is unfavorable and he should be avoided. He's 0-for-6 against Boston left-hander Felix Doubront.
Description: Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is just a .148 lifetime hitter against Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse (4-for-27).
Insight: Utley is pounding the ball this spring, batting .458 with a pair of homers through the first two series. Fantasy owners would probably like to put him out there given the wind blowing out to right on Tuesday, but his lack of success against Lohse makes that a gamble.
Description: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has a career .455 batting average with a pair of homers and a 1.311 OPS versus Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse.
Insight: Howard has hits in five of six games this spring, but he's still striking out too much (9 times in 25 at-bats). We'll take a flier on him Tuesday with a strong wind blowing out to right field at Citizen Bank Park.
Description: Angels third baseman David Freese is not in Monday's starting lineup against Houston.
Insight: Freese is off to an ugly start (.162, zero homers, two RBI) and will sit while Ian Stewart gets the start. Stewart has just one at-bat this season. A solid power guy in Colorado, he's yet to prove he can hit elsewhere.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas will hit the bench Sunday with Chris Sale on the mound for Chicago, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: The Royals acquired Danny Valencia for his ability to hit lefties, and he'll start Sunday. A second straight scorching spring training has led to a second straight ice cold April for Moustakas, who is 0-for-15 this season. It's still early, but fantasy owners don't have much patience for the 25-year-old third baseman after underwhelming seasons in 2012 and 2013.
Description: Brewers shortstop Jean Segura will not play Sunday, according to Adam McCalvy of mlb.com.
Insight: Segura went 3-for-6 with a steal in Saturday's 11-inning affair against the Red Sox and is hitting .222 this season. This is already his second day off of the season, likely because he dealt with a shoulder injury during spring training.
Description: Nats third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder) is not in the lineup Sunday.
Insight: Zimmerman said he doesn't know if he'll need to go on the disabled list, but says his shoulder hasn't felt this bad in a while, according to Chase Hughes of csnwashington.com. The Nationals are awaiting the results of the third baseman's MRI.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has gone 4-for-20 with seven strikeouts against White Sox starter Chris Sale.
Insight: A second straight scorching spring training has led to a second straight ice cold April for Moustakas, who is 0-for-15 this season. It's still early, but fantasy owners don't have much patience for the 25-year-old third baseman after underwhelming seasons in 2012 and 2013.
Description: Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto hasn't offered any power in the first five games this season and he hasn't had an easy time against Mets starter Jon Niese.
Insight: Votto (.316) has gone 2-for-15 (.133) with seven strikeouts against the Mets southpaw, though one of those hits left the park. The Reds first baseman batted .251 with nine longballs against lefties last year and is 0-for-3 against them in 2014.
Description: Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta launched his second homer in three games Saturday at Pittsburgh. His only two hits this season left the yard.
Insight: Peralta's home run totals have been all over the place in his career. He hit 21-24 in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2011 but 11-15 in 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. His batting average has been similarly unpredictable the last three years (.299 in 2011, .239 in 2012, .303 in 2013).
Description: Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval hit his first homer of the season Saturday against the Dodgers.
Insight: Sandoval has gone 4-for-23 (.174) in his first six games, though he's drawn five walks already. The 27-year-old has never been known for his plate discipline and pitchers know that. Sandoval saw the lowest percentage of pitches in the strike zone of any qualified hitter in the majors last season, and it wasn't even close (33.9 percent for Sandoval, 38.2 percent for Giancarlo Stanton in second place).
Description: Athletics shortstop Jed Lowrie had two hits, including a solo homer, Saturday against King Felix and the Mariners.
Insight: Lowrie's homer broke up Hernandez' shutout in the ninth inning. The 29-year-old infielder hit a career-high .290 with 15 homers, 75 RBI, 80 runs and a .790 OPS last season. Lowrie never played more than 97 games in his first five years in the majors but played 154 last year.
Description: Mets first basemen Ike Davis hit a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam Saturday against the Reds.
Insight: Lucas Duda hit two homers and drove in all four runs for the Mets Friday after manager Terry Collins named him the starting first baseman over Davis, but Duda went 0-for-4 with three Ks Saturday. Neither player is a very exciting fantasy option.
Description: Mike Carp was scratched from Boston's lineup Saturday due to lower-back tightness, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
Insight: David Ortiz is not in the lineup so Carp was starting at first base and Mike Napoli at DH in the initial lineup Saturday. Daniel Nava will move to first and Jonny Gomes will start in left field against the Brewers.
Description: Diamondbacks third baseman Martin Prado left Friday's game with a lacerated left index finger but he's in the lineup Saturday, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
Insight: Prado is off to a 4-for-28 (.143) start. The utilityman hit just .238 with five home runs and a .623 OPS in his first 73 games last season, but he batted .322 with nine homers and an .862 OPS over his last 82 games.
Description: New York first baseman Mark Teixeira left Friday's game with a strained hamstring and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Insight: Multi-positional Kelly Johnson will move over to first base with help from Francisco Cervelli. Yangervis Solarte is likely to get the start at third. Teixeira has been an injury-prone mess for the past year and can't be counted on this season.
Description: Rays first baseman James Loney won't start Friday against the Rangers.
Insight: Though left-hander Joe Saunders is throwing for Texas, Loney actually hit the same against lefties as he did against right-handers last season (.299). Sean Rodriguez will get the start at first tonight with Loney likely to return on Saturday.
Description: Tigers shortstop Alex Gonzalez was to get Thursday afternoon off (rained out) and will still get a day off on Friday with Andrew Romine starting at shortstop for Detroit.
Insight: Gonzalez went 3-for-8 over the first two games with a pair of RBI. He's no Jose Iglesias and fantasy owners should probably look elsewhere for shortstop help as his last fantasy-worthy season was 2010.
Description: Nationals second baseman Anthony Rendon is back in the lineup after a day off.
Insight: Rendon is 4-for-10 with a home run and five RBI in the first two games and appears to be solidly entrenched as a fantasy-worthy second baseman. He'll bat second against Braves starter David Hale.
Description: Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is back in the lineup for Friday's game against Chicago, according to Philadelphia staff writer Matt Gelb.
Insight: Rollins left the club for the birth of his baby. Once a top-five fantasy shortstop, Rollins' numbers have faded to the level of a low-end starter. He can still steal 20-plus bases, but the days of 20 HR and 40 SB are long gone.
Description: Diamondbacks third baseman Martin Prado is just 1-for-11 (.091) versus Rockies starter Juan Nicasio.
Insight: Prado is a fantasy favorite because of his versatility. He's eligible at 2B, 3B and outfield. At some point, however, he'll be dropped as the team's cleanup hitter for someone who can provide more protection for 1B Paul Goldschmidt. For now he's in a great spot, but should not be started on Friday in this unfavorable matchup.
Description: Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez is just 1-for-12 (.083) against Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong.
Insight: Ramirez is off to a cold start with just two hits in 19 at-bats. He's one of the top-two fantasy shortstops and will certainly snap out of it. Probably not on Friday, however, and he should be avoided.
Description: Rays utility man Sean Rodriguez has been placed on paternity leave.
Insight: Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy got some heat on talk radio for beginning the season on paternity leave though we doubt Rodriguez will receive as much criticism. The Rays don't really have a spot for Rodriguez right now and neither should fantasy owners.