Photo by Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire
Welcome! 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. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 13 (6/25 – 7/1) of the fantasy baseball season.
Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based on 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.
Seattle Mariners hitters – The Mariners get a very hitter-friendly schedule this week, with four games against the Baltimore Orioles in hitter-friendly Camden Yards and three games against the Kansas City Royals at home. The Orioles have the fourth-worst ERA in baseball at 4.85 and the Royals have the worst ERA in baseball at 5.25. Nelson Cruz has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball, hitting .324/.402/.735 over the past month, so make sure he’s in your lineup, but even guys like Ben Gamel (slashing .386/.435/.491 over the past month and available in 99% of leagues) and Denard Span (slashing .309/.368/.471 over the past month and available in 78% of leagues) are worth a look too.
Los Angeles Angels hitters – The Angels will start off the week with a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox where they’ll be fortunate enough to miss both Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez’s turns in the rotation. They will see David Price though, so that might be tough, but they’ll also see Steven Wright, who’s fresh off a start in which he gave up 10 earned runs in 3.1 innings. Then, the Angels will see the Orioles who, as I previously mentioned, have a real bad starting rotation. Kole Calhoun is fresh off the DL and has looked solid, hitting .308 with three home runs and a stolen base since his return.
Detroit Tigers righties – The Tigers will get to see at least three lefties this week, and that’s good for some of their righties. Specifically, Nicholas Castellanos (.414/.461/.586 against lefties this year), John Hicks (.333/.420/.500 against lefties this year), and Jose Iglesias (.333/.380/.556 against lefties this year). Switch hitter Jeimer Candelario is also solid against lefties, slashing .297/.375/.578 against them this year.
Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed – After a brutal start to the year, Ketel Marte has looked pretty solid lately, slashing .289/.330/.622 over the past month, and that’s likely to continue this week, as the Arizona Diamondbacks are slated to face three lefties this week, and Marte is slashing .296/.349/.510 against lefties this year. His teammate, Nick Ahmed has been similarly good against lefties, slashing .286/.337/.558 against them this year. Both are widely available, as Marte is available in 66% of leagues and Ahmed is available in 94% of leagues.
Billy Hamilton – Whoa, Billy Hamilton? Hasn’t he been terrible? On the year, yea, he’s been rough, but lately he’s been heating up, slashing .297/.366/.459 over the past two weeks. And lucky for him, the Cincinnati Reds will be facing off against the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. Why is that good? Well, for two reasons. First, none of the pitchers they’re facing are particularly scary, and second (and most important), Manny Pina, Tyler Flowers, and Kurt Suzuki (the latter two of whom are in a platoon for the Braves) are all pretty bad at throwing out baserunners, so don’t be shocked if Hamilton runs wild this week.
Tampa Bay Rays hitters – The Rays have a really rough stretch this week. They start off with a two-game series against the Washington Nationals where they’ll see both Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer, and then they’ll see the Houston Astros where they’ll face off against Lance McCullers, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton. I will pass on each and every single one of those matchups.
Philadelphia Phillies hitters – The Phillies have a couple matchups worth taking advantage of this week, but most of them look to be pretty tough. They start off the week against the New York Yankees where they’ll get to see Luis Severino, so I’ll pass real fast on that one. They’ll also see C.C. Sabathia, who’s got a 2.64 ERA over the past month, and Jonathan Loaisiga, who I think is ok to start your hitters against. However, don’t be super shocked if Loaisiga turns in a good start, he’s shown it before. The Phillies then face off against the Washington Nationals, and while they’ll miss Max Scherzer, they’ll still see Gio Gonzalez.
Chicago Cubs hitters – Assuming nothing crops up later, the Cubs are slated to face off against Clayton Kershaw this week, along with Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, and Alex Wood in their four-game series against Los Angeles Dodgers this week, all of which should prove to be challenging. Then they’ll get to see the Minnesota Twins and Jose Berrios, though they’ll also see Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn, so if you’re in a daily league, take advantage of those matchups.
Colorado Rockies hitters – Unfortunately for the Rockies, they spend all week on the road, and to the surprise of, I’m sure, literally nobody, the Rockies aren’t great outside of Coors Field, slashing .229/.300/.383 as a team on the road. They start off their road trip with three games in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park against the San Francisco Giants where they’ll get to see Madison Bumgarner as well as Chris Stratton, who has a 2.91 ERA over the past month. Then they’ll head to L.A. to see the Dodgers and Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Ross Stripling, all of which should prove to be difficult matchups.
Brett Gardner – The Yankees get the pleasure of facing three tough lefties in their series against the Boston Red Sox, as they’ll see Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, and David Price. That’s gonna be tough for the whole team, but it’ll be especially tough for Brett Gardner, who is slashing .226/.293/.226 against lefites this year.