The fantasy baseball season is finally here! And that means it’s time for my hitter matchups series, a series of articles that I’ve been doing for three years(!) now.
If you’re unfamiliar with this article series, each week I take a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of and five hitting matchups you should avoid, based on who the hitters will likely be facing on the mound.
So here’s who you should start and avoid in Week 1 (4/5-4/11) 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 for any number of reasons, especially given how fluid things are this season. 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.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – If you’ve read this column before, you know that if a team is playing in Coors Field, I’m probably going to recommend them. This week, the Diamondbacks start their week with three games in Coors Field and close with three games against the Reds where they’ll see Tyler Mahle, Jeff Hoffman, and Jose De Leon. Mahle could be tough, but that’s about the only matchup I’m worried about. Josh Rojas has been leading off for the Diamondbacks and is pretty widely available, if you’re looking for a 2B to stream this week.
New York Yankees hitters – The Yankees start their week off against the Orioles, which is always good for your hitters. They will likely face John Means, who just had an excellent performance against the Red Sox on Friday, but still, I think you’re good to start your Yankees hitters against the Orioles. They then close out the week against the Rays and fortunately avoid Tyler Glasnow, so I’d say you’ve got six games you can take advantage of with your Yankees hitters.
Cleveland hitters – Cleveland only has five games this week, but they’re five games I think you can get some good productiono out of. They start with a two-game series against the Royals where they’ll face Danny Duffy and Brad Keller, neither of whom scare me much, and then they close the week with three games against the Tigers, who owned the worst team ERA in baseball last year. Even though it’s just five games this week, I think it’s worth the potential production you’re going to get.
New York Mets hitters – Assuming they actually get to play this week, the Mets start their week off against the Phillies where, yes, they will face Aaron Nola (so in a daily league, dodge that), but they’ll also see Matt Moore and Chase Anderson. They’ll then face off against the Marlins, who owned the 10th-worst team ERA in baseball last year. Sandy Alcantara could potentially prove a tricky matchup, but not enough that I’m benching my Mets.
Evan Longoria – The Giants in general have a decent schedule this week with their six games, especially their last three against the Rockies. However, I’m specifically recommending Longoria this week because the Giants are slated to face three lefties in their six games, and last year, Longoria slashed .308/.339/.519 against lefties.
BONUS: Nick Solak – Normally I only do five for each section, but I wanted to recommend an additional hitters this week – Nick Solak. This week, the Rangers are slated to face three lefties, and Solak is a career .316/.378/.482 hitter against lefties. So if you were debating on putting Solak in your lineup, do it.
Oakland Athletics hitters – The A’s have a really tough week this week, starting with a three-game series against the Dodgers where they’ll see Dustin May, Clayton Kershaw, and Trevor Bauer, and then a three-game series against the Astros where they’ll see Lance McCullers and Jose Urquidy (and also Cristian Javier, who’s kind of hit or miss). Outside of your A’s studs, I’d dodge them this week.
Kansas City Royals hitters – The Royals have just five games this week and they’re five games I’m not too interested in utilizing. They start with the aforementioned two-game series against Cleveland, one game of which will come against Shane Bieber (the other against Logan Allen, so in daily leagues, go ahead and take advantage of that). Then, they’ll have a three-game series against the White Sox where they’ll see Lance Lynn. I’m just not seeing a ton of value in Royals hitters this week.
San Francisco Giants hitters – The Giants begin the week with a three-game series in San Diego where they’ll face off against Yu Darvish and Blake Snell (not to mention Adrian Morejon, who’s a pretty solid pitcher). Then, they’ll host the Rockies in San Francisco and will face German Marquez, who is a very good pitcher outside of Coors Field. All in all, aside from the aforementioned Evan Longoria, I’d probably dodge my Giants this week.
Atlanta hitters – Atlanta starts the week with a really tough three-game slate against the Nationals (assuming they fix their COVID-19 problem), facing off against Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin. Then, they’ll face the Phillies and Zack Wheeler. In daily leagues, the matcuhps against Zach Eflin and Matt Moore are fine to take advantage of, but other than that, I’d dodge my Atlanta hitters.
Yoán Moncada – The White Sox are slated to face four left-handed hitters this week, and while Moncada isn’t terrible against lefties, he’s not especially good against them either. On his career, he’s a .246/.317/.382 hitter against lefties, so if you’re debating between starting Moncada or someone else this week, you might want to bench Moncada. In a daily league, keep him in against righties though.
Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)