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It’s hard to believe, but we are heading into baseball’s fifth week starting tomorrow. Hitting is down across the board, and we need all the help we can get. We should also keep in mind that roster reductions are coming tomorrow, May 2nd, from 28 players to 26 players. This reduction places a premium on getting production from every spot on your roster and will force MLB managers to get more creative with their rosters. The following are some players that may be able to help you out in the short term as you navigate injuries and ineffectiveness.

Deep (15 teams): 15% rostered or less: Hunter Dozier (15%, 4.7 grade)

I know many people feel that Dozier is a forgotten man in Kansas City. But with the season-ending ACL injury to Adalberto Mondesi, playing time may open up for him. Keep in mind that Dozier has 1B/3B/OF/DH eligibility, which will help with the upcoming roster crunch. Whit Merrifield should shift to second base, and Nicky Lopez will play shortstop. But don’t be surprised if the Royals give some looks to Bobby Witt, Jr. at shortstop, especially if Lopez doesn’t start hitting soon. The right field gap vacated by Merrifield represents an opportunity for Dozier, who may only have to fight off Edward Olivares and Kyle Isbel for playing time. Add in that Carlos Santana is hitting lower than Jack Carter’s weight right now, and there is yet another chance for PT.  Josh’s system projects .5/2.5/2.6/.3/.278, giving him a score of 4.7 this week, but he could easily exceed that with an opportunity.

Honorable Mention: Yandy Diaz (14%, 4.3 grade)

Standard (12 teams): 30% rostered or less: Gio Urshela (27%, 4.6 grade)

Urshela has both shortstop and third base eligibility in most leagues. He’s getting everyday at-bats and has excellent matchups this week against Baltimore and Oakland. Against left-handed pitching, he’s been hitting cleanup in a good Minnesota lineup.  The power has not been there yet, but he’s hitting .279 and has eight runs scored. Josh projects him at .4/2.6/2.4/.1/.254 this week.  If you have been having trouble at the corner spots, and who hasn’t, Urshela could be a nice stopgap for you as you wait for reinforcements.

Honorable mention: Jorge Mateo (19%, 4.7 grade)

Mateo is a pure speed play at this point, with seven stolen bases on the year thus far.  He doesn’t seem to be able to hit very well, but the speed plays, and he has 2B/SS/OF eligibility in most leagues.

Shallow (10 teams): Tommy Pham (32%, 7.9 grade)

I know I have mentioned Pham before in this column space, but people don’t appear to be listening! Ha. Pham is rostered in only 32% of leagues yet has an everyday job for the moribund Cincinnati Reds. Josh projects .8/4.1/3.2/.8/.263 this week for Pham, which are numbers you need on your roster. Pham is hitting third daily in the lineup, and his average exit velocity is in the 98th percentile of all hitters. So even though he’s hitting .221 with three homers and a steal right now, expect those stats to jump when the rockets he is hitting start falling for hits. This could be your last chance to buy low on Pham, and you should today.

Honorable mention: Brandon Marsh (41%, 5.9 grade)

I love Brandon Marsh. He’s had a tough series against the White Sox this weekend, but he has two home runs, 15 RBI, and three steals while outplaying the more heralded Jo Adell thus far. Marsh has hit all over the lineup, but manager Joe Maddon has used him in the two slot over the last three games, and if he hits there, he’s got a chance to score runs and steal bases ahead of some heavy hitters in the Angels’ lineup. He’s got a good chance for double-digit home runs and steals and is sitting on your waiver wire.  Scoop him up tonight.

What teams have easy matchups this week?

There are some teams listed below that have easier matchups this week.  Load up on their hitters and pitchers where you can:

Minnesota Twins @ Baltimore, versus Oakland

Pittsburgh @ Detroit, @ Cincinnati

Colorado versus Washington, @ Arizona

Teams with seven games this week: Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston, Los Angeles Angels, Miami, Minnesota, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Toronto.  Everyone else plays six games, with the exception of the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Texas, who only play five games this week.

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