Each week, I’ll be 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 (7/27-8/2) 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.
San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres get the joy of playing in Coors Field this week, which is always good for hitters, and they open the week against the San Francisco Giants. In the Giants series, they’ll have to face Johnny Cueto, who can be trick, but aside from him, they’ll get Jeff Samardzija and Kevin Gausman, neither of whom scare me at all. Your usual Padres studs all warrant starts for sure this week, as does Tommy Pham (if he’s not in the class). And in deeper leagues, Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, Jurickson Profar, and Trent Grisham are all interesting streamer options.
Miami Marlins hitters – The Marlins have themselves a nice schedule this week, with a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles (arguably the worst pitching staff in baseball) and two of those games in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Then, they’ll have a three-game series against the Washington Nationals where they’ll get to miss most of the team’s best pitchers, though they will have one game against Patrick Corbin, so maybe sit your Marlins in that game in daily leagues. Otherwise, they’ll see Anibal Sanchez and Austin Voth. Corey Dickerson, Jesus Aguilar, and Brian Anderson are all worth a look if you’re looking for hitters to stream this week.
Boston Red Sox hitters – The Red Sox start their week with a four-game series against the New York Mets, and in that series, they will have to Jacob DeGrom, so in daily leagues, I’d sit my Red Sox hitters. Otherwise though, I’m fine starting my Red Sox hitters against the rest of the Mets’ rotation. Then, the Sox will face off against the New York Yankees and, similar to their series against the Mets, will have one matchup you want to avoid—Gerrit Cole. Other than him, they’ll get a TBD spot start and J.A. Happ, so I’m good with all of that. You’re likely starting a lot of Red Sox hitters anyways, but guys like Michael Chavis and Christian Vazquez are interesting.
Kansas City Royals hitters – Lucky for the Royals, they get a seven-game week against two pretty bad pitching staffs. First, they get a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers and then they’ll close with a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox where they’ll get to dodge Lucas Giolito. It’s nothing but hitter-friendly pitching matchups for the Royals, which means if you were psyched up to play Jorge Soler and Franchy Cordero this week, be free and do it.
Jean Segura and Scott Kingery – The Philadelphia Phillies will get to see at least three left-handed pitchers this week, which is good news for both Segura and Kingery. Last year, Segura slashed .289/.342/.563 against lefties while Kingery slashed .293/.318/.561 against them.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – The Diamondbacks start their week off with a two-game series against the Texas Rangers and get to dodge their best pitchers, so generally, I’m fine with my D’backs for those two games (though, Kyle Gibson has proven to be trouble for hitters in the past). But after that, they’ll get a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers where they’ll face Ross Stripling, Alex Wood, Julio Urias, and Walker Buehler, all of which will either be very hard or fairly hard matchups.
Los Angeles Dodgers hitters – Speaking of the Dodgers, I’d avoid my non-stud Dodgers this week too. Why? Because they get a two-game series against the Houston Astros where they’ll see Justin Verlander (and Framber Valdez, who’s shown flashes of stuff in the past, but nothing I’d count on), and then they get the aforementioned four-game series against the Diamondbacks, where they’ll see Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, and Luke Weaver, all of whom are likely to be tricky matchups at best. In daily leagues though, I’m fine starting my Dodgers against Valdez and their likely final D’backs matchup against Merrill Kelly.
San Francisco Giants hitters – The Giants will have all six of their games this week at home in pitcher-friendly Oracle Park, which is always tough. Worse, they’ll have a three-game series against the Padres where they’ll face Chris Paddack (and Dinelson Lamet, who, similar to Framber Valdez, has shown flashes of stuff but isn’t someone you should immediately avoid), and they’ll close the week with a three-game series against the Rangers where they’ll see Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, and Corey Kluber, all of whom are tough matchups.
Minnesota Twins hitters – The Twins get two pitching staffs this week who were top-five in ERA last year—the St. Louis Cardinals (fifth-best ERA) and the Cleveland Indians (fourth-best ERA), with matchups against the likes of Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco, as well as Carlos Martinez who was a pretty scary pitcher not that long ago. Unless you don’t have better options, I’d generally avoid my Twins hitters this week.
Didi Gregorius – Like I mentioned earlier, the Phillies will see at least three, maybe four lefties this week, which is bad news for Didi, who was very very bad against lefties last year, to the tune of a .216/.266/.466 slashline. In daily leagues, I’d just dodge the lefty matchups. In weekly leagues, I’d look to see if I’ve got a better option.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)