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 12 (6/19 – 6/25) 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.
Cleveland Indians hitters – You need to start basically all of your Indians hitters this week. They get seven games this week, starting off with a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yards. As an Orioles fan, it’s painful to talk about this, but the Orioles pitching has been absolutely pitiful. Through June 15, their rotation has an 8.32 ERA. In fact, as of this writing, the team has given up 10 or more runs in four out of the last seven games. Yea, it’s been that bad. The Indians will get to see basically the only worthwhile starter on the O’s, Dylan Bundy, so that could be somewhat challenging, but otherwise it’s gonna be a cakewalk. They then get to go back home to play the Minnesota Twins, luckily missing Jose Berrios in the rotation, though Ervin Santana could prove somewhat challenging, but the Twins’ bullpen has a 6.20 ERA so far in June, so there’s that. You were obviously already starting your studs, but I’m saying start everyone. Start Yan Gomes, start Lonnie Chisenhall (when he’s platooned in), start Bradley Zimmer and Austin Jackson as they come in and out of the lineup. Start them all.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – The D’Backs get to start off their week with a three-game series in Coors Field, and that’s always a good thing. Then they go home to Chase Field (Coors Light) to see the Philadelphia Phillies for two games. Oh and two other things I should mention: First, they don’t see a single scary pitcher at all this week, and second, they’re facing all righties, and the D’Backs have a .356 wOBA against righties this year. David Peralta is slashing .320/.370/.471 against righties this year, you should definitely start him, as well as Jake Lamb, Chris Owings, and even Gregor Blanco, who’s slashing .316/.443/.456 against righties this year and often leads off for the team.
Pittsburgh Pirates lefties – Fortunately for the Pirates, they get to see nothing but righties this week and they get to play four games in Milwaukee. It’s not a bad week to start your Pirates hitters in general, as none of the pitching matchups are particularly scary (maybe Chase Anderson will do something, but who knows), but it’s especially a good week for their lefties. The only lefties on the team are Gregory Polanco, John Jason, and Adam Frazier. Now Polanco I’d recommend starting in all leagues this week. Frazier and Jaso are more deeper league plays if you need help.
Toronto Blue Jays hitters – It’s a good hitting week for the Blue Jays, as they get seven games this week all against pitchers that are not even the least bit intimidating. They start off with a four-game series at hitter-friendly Globe Life Park in Texas and luckily get to miss Yu Darvish in the Rangers rotation. Then they head to Kauffman Stadium to face the Royals “bleh” rotation. Kevin Pillar, Russell Martin, and Troy Tulowitzki along with your standard Blue Jays studs (and I’m saying Justin Smoak is included in that for now) are all good plays this week.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters – As I mentioned before, the Brewers will get to see the Pirates for a four-game series at home to start off the week, and other than facing Gerrit Cole, I’m not all that worried about the pitching matchups (including Ivan Nova). Then they get to head to Atlanta to see the Braves and their inconsistent-at-best rotation. As a bonus, it’s an especially good week to start the Brewers speedsters (e.g. Keon Broxton and maybe even Hernan Perez if he decides to start stealing more) because while they’re playing the Pirates, that means they get to face off against Francisco Cervelli who is one of the worst catchers in the league at catching runners stealing.
New York Mets hitters – Because the universe is cruel and life doesn’t quite suck enough for Mets fans, they get a rough week this week. They’ll get to head to Dodger Stadium and face Clayton Kershaw, and then head to AT&T Park (one of the best, if not the best, pitchers parks in baseball) to face the Giants. And even better, they get to see five lefties this week, and the Mets have a .303 wOBA against lefties this year. You should still start Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto, but otherwise, I’d avoid the Mets in general (and yes, I’m suggesting it might be a good week to sit Jay Bruce unless it’s a daily league and you can start him against the righties).
Miami Marlins hitters – What luck! Here are some of the pitchers the Marlins get to face this week as they go up against the Nationals and the Cubs: Max Scherzer, Jake Arrieta, and Jon Lester. Not to mention that you have no idea how good Tanner Roark or Gio Gonzalez will be. So yea, it’s a bad week for the Marlins hitters. You’re still starting your studs (and I’d likely include Justin Bour in that classification for now, though if you say him against Scherzer and Lester, I wouldn’t blame you), but I’d avoid your Marlins if you can.
Kansas City Royals hitters – The Royals will have a five-game homestand this week against the Red Sox and the Blue Jays, and lucky for them, they get see Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, and Marco Estrada. Oh, and I should mention, they get to see four lefties this week (including Sale and Pomeranz), which is especially bad news for Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Alex Gordon. In general, I’d avoid your Royals hitters if you can.
Baltimore Orioles hitters – This article is a double-whammy for me as an Orioles fan, because not only is their pitching likely to get shelled, they’ll likely not be able to hit well either. During their four-game homestand against the Indians, they’ll get to see Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Mike Clevinger (who, despite his most recent start at Coors, has been good). Then, they head to Tampa Bay and get to see Chris Archer. You should still start Manny Machado, despite his struggles, as he could turn it around at any moment, but if you’re thinking of starting Trey Mancini, Jonathan Schoop, or even Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones, I’d look elsewhere (though with those last two, I don’t mind starting them, as they’re good enough hitters that they could salvage something, but if you have better options, do it).
Colorado Rockies hitters – “But Ben!” you say, “the Rockies have four games in Coors!” I know they do, and if you’re in a daily league, go ahead and start them against Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin, but they’ll get to see Zach Grienke and I don’t care if Zach Grienke is pitching on the moon, I’m avoiding facing him. But on top of that, the Rockies get the joy of seeing Clayton Kershaw in L.A. this week, so while there are some decent matchups for daily leagues, if you’re in a weekly league, I’d avoid your non-stud Rockies hitters this week, including benching (but not dropping! He’ll get better, I promise!) Carlos Gonzalez this week.