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 9 (5/29 – 6/4) of the fantasy baseball season.
Note: 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.
Atlanta Braves lefties – The Braves get an eight-game week this week thanks to a double-header they’ll be playing against the New York Mets on Saturday. They’ll only be facing one lefty all week, and none of the matchups are particularly scary. Traditionally, a matchup against Aaron Nola wouldn’t be great, but he hasn’t exactly been lighting things up since he got back from the DL. It’s a good week to start Matt Adams, Ender Inciarte, and Nick Markakis, all of whom have strong slash lines against righties.
Cleveland Indians hitters – While the Indians only have a five-game week, they get some excellent matchups this week. They’ll get to see Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland in Coors Field and then Miguel Gonzalez, David Holmberg, and Jose Quintana in Chicago against the White Sox. While traditionally Quintana might be a tough matchup, he’s been struggling mightily, making this week’s matchup about as favorable as possible. Start all of your Indians except for one: Bradley Zimmer. Zimmer hasn’t started against a lefty yet and the Indians will be facing three lefties, making it very possible that he only starts two games. The Indians will lose their DH while in Colorado, which means Carlos Santana will be moving to the outfield so Edwin Encarnacion can play first base, which puts Santana all that much closer to outfield eligibility, as he’s played five games there already this year.
New York Mets hitters – The Mets get two games in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park in Texas where they’ll gain a DH spot, and then three games against the Atlanta Braves where they’ll get to see three pitchers that are not particularly scary. This means it’s a good week to start Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, Lucas Duda, and even Curtis Granderson. And, if you’re lucky, Yoenis Cespedes might pop up this week too, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t.
St. Louis Cardinals hitters – It’s been rough owning a handful of the St. Louis Cardinals hitters. Dexter Fowler, Matt Carpenter, Aledmys Diaz, and Stephen Piscotty have all been struggling. But this week is the week to start them, because I don’t know if their hitting matchups could be more favorable. They get to face two of the worst starting rotations in baseball in the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies. Looking at the projected starters, only Aaron Nola gives you a minute level of hesitation, and like I mentioned earlier, he hasn’t been great. So throw your Cardinals out there with confidence, they should have a good week this week.
Chicago Cubs hitters – The Cubs offense has been rough, but they face a whole bunch of poor-to-mediocre pitchers this week, the best of which is probably Dan Straily, and no one can seem to figure out whether he’s actually good or not. You’re already starting Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, obviously, but it’d be a good idea to toss Ben Zobrist, Javier Baez, and Jason Heyward, not to mention Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ.
Boston Red Sox lefties against the Yankees – During the Red Sox three-game stint in New York against the Yankees, they’ll get to face Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia, and Michael Pineda. Now, while Tanaka hasn’t exactly been himself, he did toss a CGSHO against them. CC Sabathia he’s still a lefty after all these years and that’s bad news for the Red Sox left-handed bats . And Pineda has just been good all around. So while the Sox are in New York, I’d recommend benching the struggling Andrew Benintendi as well as Jackie Bradley Jr.
Chicago White Sox hitters – The White Sox get six games this week, all against righties, and they’ve got some tough matchups, including a game against Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, and Carlos Carrasco. Not to mention they’ll get to see Trevor Bauer, and while Bauer has a high ERA and could very well give up some runs, he’s volatile, and could easily shut down the White Sox too, if they’re not careful. You’re still starting Jose Abreu, but if you’ve been riding the Avisail Garcia or Leury Garcia train, you might want to reconsider.
Detroit Tigers hitters against the Red Sox – The Tigers get a three game series to end the week in Boston, and while that would typically be a good thing as Fenway is a pretty good hitter’s park, here’s who the Tigers get to face: Chris Sale, David Price, and Drew Pomeranz. That’s not exactly a good set of pitchers to face, especially for the lefties. Now, the two lefties the Tigers typically have in their lineup, Alex Avila and Alex Presley, are part of platoons, so they’ll sit. But if you were thinking of starting Victor Martinez or Nick Castellanos, I’d look elsewhere in Boston.
Colorado Rockies hitters – This one’s a bit tricky, because the Rockies do get two games against the Cleveland Indians in Coors Field this week, and that’s typically an automatic start. I don’t have an issue starting them against Mike Clevinger who’s been good but not great. But the next game is going to be against Corey Kluber, and that’s never good. Plus, they then travel to Wrigley Field for a four-game series against the Cubs where they’ll see Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Jake Arrieta. Not a great slate, and if you’re in a weekly league, I might leave Mark Reynolds and Trevor Story alone. If you’re in a daily league, go ahead and start them against Clevinger in Coors, but bench them otherwise.
Baltimore Orioles hitters – This week is tricky for the Orioles. They’ll get to see the still surprisingly-good Ivan Nova when they have their two game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which doesn’t bode well for them. They’ll also get to see Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka in New York against the Yankees. Again, Tanaka hasn’t been great, but he could be, and even so, the Orioles can’t hit lefties for some reason. However, they get a favorable matchup against Chad Kuhl and an ok matchup against Jordan Montgomery, so if you’re in a daily league, start your Orioles against Kuhl and Montgomery but avoid the rest. If you’re in a weekly league, I’d just avoid hitters like Trey Mancini, Jonathan Schoop, and probably Chris Davis too this week, as one good matchup and one ok matchup isn’t worth dealing with the three tough matchups.