Championships are won by making the right little decisions through the season and micromanaging your lineup well can be the difference maker. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of this week, and five hitting matchups you should avoid this week. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 15 (7/17 – 7/23) of the fantasy baseball season.
Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based off of projections as of this writing. It is entirely possible that the actual matchups could change either because of injury, weather, or anything else. Keep in mind, this article is geared toward middle-of-the-road players, meaning you should be starting top of the line bats regardless of the matchup. Always start your studs.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – The nice thing about the Pirates schedule this week is that they get to play a full seven games, with three those games being in Coors Field against the Rockies. Plus, they’ll have four games at home against the Brewers, and aside from a matchup against Jimmy Nelson, none of the pitchers they’re slated to go against look intimidating at all. Not only that, they’ll be facing at least five righties (one Brewers pitcher is still TBD as of this writing, so it could be six), which means Josh Bell should definitely be started, and in deeper leagues, so should Adam Frazier. And if you’ve been concerned about Gregory Polanco, don’t worry, I think this could be a good week for him.
Colorado Rockies hitters – Like I always say, that Coors Field advantage works both ways, and even better, the Rockies get six games at home this week, with a three-game series against the Padres, and the aforementioned series against the Pirates. And even better, the projected pitching matchups are very hitter-favorable, as they’ll be seeing the Padres rotation that has a collective 4.64 ERA on the season, and they’ll be missing Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole during their turn against the Pirates, so start your Rockies with confidence.
San Diego Padres hitters – COORS FIELD! COORS FIELD! Yes, the beauty of the Rockies playing at home all week is that many teams get to enjoy Coors Field, and the Padres are another one of those teams. Now, I definitely recommend starting your Padres hitters in Coors, but the three-game series in AT&T Park against the Giants is a little tricky. Yes, they’ll be facing Madison Bumgarner, and if you’re in a daily league, I might avoid that, but they’ll also be facing Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore, both of whom have been struggling (though side note: I still think Samardzija is a good buy-low pitching candidate, but that’s another conversation). Plus, they’ll be seeing three lefties, which is good news for Hunter Renfroe, who’s hitting .325/.400/.625 against lefties.
New York Yankees hitters – The Yankees have a really full week, playing all seven days of this upcoming week plus a double-header on the Sunday before the week starts, but they have some really nice projected matchups. Outside of a matchup against Jose Berrios (and no, I’m not worried about their game against Felix Hernandez), it’s nothing but hitter-friendly matchups for them. You’re already starting your Yankees studs, but give Didi Gregorius and Clint Frazier a shot too.
Jake Lamb and David Peralta – I would say that generally Diamondbacks hitters are a good start this week as they’ll be in nowhere but hitter-friendly parks, but I’m singling out Lamb and Peralta because they’ll be seeing nothing but righties this week, and they hit righties very well. Lamb is slashing .314/.412/.596 against them, and Peralta is slashing .319/.368/.470 against them, so make sure you start them this week.
Carlos Santana – I probably don’t need to do a whole lot to convince you to bench Carlos Santana (he’s been unfortunately quite underwhelming), but if you’re in a weekly league, you should. The Indians will start off their week in a three-game series at AT&T Park against the Giants, which means they’ll be losing their DH spot, and considering how well Edwin Encarnacion was hitting into the All-Star Break, I would imagine it’s Santana who will be on the short end of that stick. He hasn’t been hitting all that well to begin with, and considering you’ll only get him for their series in Toronto, it’s not worth it in a weekly league.
Chicago White Sox hitters – It’s a tough week to start your White Sox, as they’ll only have five games this week, and they’ll be seeing Clayton Kershaw, Ian Kennedy, and Jason Vargas. You’re still starting Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier (especially with the streak he’s been on), and probably Avisail Garcia too, but I’d avoid all of your other White Sox this week, especially in weekly leagues, there’s just not enough potential value there.
San Francisco Giants hitters – The Giants will be spending all week at home at the extremely pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, and while there, they’ll be facing off against Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco. Considering those matchups, plus the fact that they will be in such an extreme pitchers park all week (and how much their offense has been struggling in general), it would likely be best to avoid your Giants. I still think Brandon Belt is worth a start (especially in OBP leagues), and obviously Buster Posey, but I’d stay away otherwise.
Atlanta Braves hitters – There’s just a whole slew of bad matchups for the Braves hitters, making this a really tough week for them. While they’ll be playing seven games, they’ll be seeing Jon Lester, Brandon McCarthy, Alex Wood, and to top it all off, Clayton Kershaw. Those matchups all range from not great to terrible, and for those matchups against the Dodgers, they’ll be in Dodger Stadium, a park that leans pitcher-friendly. I’m avoiding my Braves this week outside of Freddie Freeman and Matt Kemp.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hitters – Angels hitters are especially rough to start if you’re in a weekly league because they’re only playing five games, and in those five games, they’ll be seeing Gio Gonzalez, David Price, and Eduardo Rodriguez. For me, if you’re in a weekly league, there’s just not enough potential value here with the few amount of games and difficult pitching matchups to justify starting my Angels hitters. I don’t think I need to tell you to start Mike Trout, but I will just to be safe, but your other Angels (especially Kole Calhoun as they’ll be seeing three lefties) I would avoid.