Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 1 (4/1-4/7)
Welcome back to fantasy baseball everyone! It’s good to be back. If you’re not familiar with this column from the past couple years, here’s how it works.
Each week, we’ve been taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of, and five hitting matchups you should avoid. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 1 (4/1–4/7) of the fantasy baseball season.
Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based on projections as of this post’s publication. 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.
Cleveland Indians hitters – The Indians are slated to have six games this week and it should be nothing but great matchups for their hitters. On Monday and Wednesday, they’ll see the Chicago White Sox and their bad rotation, and then they’ll have four games against the Toronto Blue Jays, where they’ll see Marcus Stroman, Clayton Richard, Aaron Sanchez and Trent Thornton. You’re obviously already starting your Indians studs, but this might be a good week to take a look at Leonys Martin (who’s probably leading off and available in 95% of leagues) and Jake Bauers.
New York Yankees hitters – The Yankees have themselves a very nice schedule this week, starting with the Detroit Tigers. Now, they will see Matthew Boyd who just had himself a really nice game and is a talented pitcher, but they’ll also see Tyson Ross and Jordan Zimmerman (and I don’t care that Zimmerman almost threw a perfect game). Then they head to hitter-friendly Camden Yards to face off against the dumpster fire that is the Baltimore Orioles’ rotation. That’s going to include Alex Cobb in what will essentially be a DLH (or I guess it’s ILH now?), Dylan Bundy (who gave up more home runs than anyone last year) and Andrew Cashner. If you have a Yankee, start him.
Chicago Cubs hitters – The Cubs will have a five-game road trip this week, starting off in Atlanta against the Braves where they’ll see Julio Teheran and Max Fried, neither of whom I’m worried about from a hitting perspective. Then they’ll head to hitter-friendly Miller Park to see the Brewers and Brandon Woodruff, Zach Davies and Corbin Burnes. And in case you didn’t notice, that’s nothing but right-handed pitchers, which is good news for Kyle Schwarber, who had a .261 ISO against righties last year.
Los Angeles Dodgers righties – The Dodgers have a decent schedule this week, so I honestly don’t mind starting most of them. However, they will see Madison Bumgarner and Derek Holland, both of whom could be tough. On the flip side, they also get three games in Coors Field, which is nothing but good news. Still, I’m recommending specifically their righties because the Dodgers will see four left-handed pitchers this week. That’s pretty good news for David Freese, who I assume will draw those starts, as he slashed .321/.387/.489 against lefties last year. And while Austin Barnes totally sucked last year, he was markedly better against lefties. And that’s not even mentioning Justin Turner, who slashed .336/.448/.580 against lefties last year.
Jesse Winker – One of my favorite players, Jesse Winker should be in for a nice week this week. Why? Because the Cincinnati Reds will see seven right-handed pitchers this week—three against the Milwaukee Brewers and four against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s good news for Winker, who slashed .321/.418/.455 against righties last year. Also somewhat worth consideration if you need power is Scott Schebler, who had a .196 ISO against righties last year (but a .236 average, so keep that in mind).
Colorado Rockies hitters – I know, I know, the Rockies have three games in Coors Field, why am I saying avoid your Rockies hitters? I think Coors will definitely help mitigate things a bit this week, but this could be a difficult week for your Rockies hitters. They start off in Tampa Bay against the Rays where they’ll see Blake Snell and Charlie Morton, both of whom should prove to be difficult matchups. Then, they’ll head home and go against the Dodgers where they’ll see Walker Buehler, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias. I know Maeda and Urias aren’t exactly studs, but they’re good pitchers, and a combo of seeing Snell/Morton/Buehler this week makes me a little skeptical of my Rockies hitters.
Toronto Blue Jays hitters – It’s a really hot and cold week for the Blue Jays. They start off with three games against the Orioles, which is great for their hitters, but they end the week with four games against the Indians, where they’ll face off against Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger. That’s a hard pass on those four games. If you want to start your Blue Jays in against the Orioles, go for it, but avoid them in Cleveland.
Oakland Athletics hitters – The A’s start their week off with a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox at home where they’ll see David Price, Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez. Not all of those guys are total studs, but none of them are easy matchups either. Then, they’ll face off against the Houston Astros, and while they get to miss Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, they’ll still see Colin McHugh, who’s a pretty good pitcher, and Brad Peacock, who’s also pretty decent. I’m not saying all of your A’s are automatic benches all week, I think some of the matchups should be okay, but I don’t think you’re going to see a really awesome week from some of your more fringe-hitters from the A’s like Ramon Laureano and Chad Pinder
Brian Dozier and Yan Gomes – The Nats have just five games this week, and in those five games they’ll see Noah Syndergaard and Zach Wheeler, both of which should be difficult matchups. But in general, I think you’re fine starting your Nats. However, Dozier and Gomes could prove to struggle this week. Not only will they see Thor and Wheeler along with the rest of their team, but they’ll see nothing but right-handed pitchers this week. On his career, Dozier is a .237/.314/.424 hitter against righties, and Gomes last year hit .257/.293/.438 against them.
Joc Pederson – As I mentioned earlier, the Dodgers will see four lefties this week, and that’s really bad news for Pederson. Last year, he slashed .170/.211/.302 against lefties. He can’t handle them at all, and honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s benched for a good bit of this week.
Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire.