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 14 (7/3 – 7/9) 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.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters against the Baltimore Orioles – It’s not a terrible week to start all of your Brewers hitters, as they get what should be an easy three-game series at home against the horrible Orioles starting rotation, then a game against Mike Montgomery in Chicago against the Cubs. However then they get a three-game series in New York against the Yankees where they’ll see Jordan Montgomery, who’s been pretty good, Luis Severino who basically looks like an ace now, and Masahiro Tanaka, who we honestly have no idea how he’ll perform. But, while the Orioles are in town, you should start your Brewers, as they’ll be facing Wade Miley, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Chris Tillman. If the Orioles have any bright spots in their rotation, those three aren’t it, and being that they’ll be in hitter-friendly Miller Park, load them up.
Cincinnati Reds hitters – Oh it should be a nice week for the Reds, as they get to play in the two most hitter-friendly parks in baseball. They’ll start off with a four-game road trip against the Rockies in Coors Field, and then head to Chase Field to face off against the Diamondbacks for a three-game series. Now, in all of that, they will be facing Zach Grienke, which is never good, and they’ll be facing Jon Gray, who’s proven to be a solid pitcher, but overall the advantage of the park is too good for me to bench any of my Reds. If you’re in a daily league and want to avoid the Grienke matchup, go ahead, I don’t blame you, but in a weekly league, I’m starting all of my Reds.
Baltimore Orioles hitters – The first three-series the Orioles have this week against the Brewers will be somewhat tricky, as they’ll lose their DH. I would imagine they’ll want to get Mark Trumbo in the lineup somehow, but I don’t know that for sure, so be aware of that. However, if Trumbo is starting, you should play him along with all your other Orioles this week. As I said earlier, Miller Park is a nice place to hit, and the only pitcher that seems threatening is Jimmy Nelson, and even he has been somewhat inconsistent at times. After their trip to Miller Park, they’ll be heading to Target Field to face off against the Minnesota Twins. Target Field is a somewhat neutral park, though it does favor right-handed power, which is good news for the Orioles, as nearly their entire lineup is right-handed, and they mash home runs. I do somewhat worry a bit about their matchup against Jose Berrios, but in general, I’d say start your Orioles.
Colorado Rockies hitters – Like I always say, that Coors Field advantage works both ways, and luckily for the Rockies, the Reds and the White Sox don’t exactly have an incredible starting rotation. That’s right, the Rockies get to spend seven straight days in Coors Field, which is wonderful, and the only pitcher they’ll be facing that gives you any level of pause is Jose Quintana, as he’s been pitching pretty well lately. But other than that, start your Rockies, because you can’t ask for a better situation than seven days in Coors.
Chicago White Sox hitters – The joy of having so many games in Coors Field this week is that it means a lot of good hitting matchups. The White Sox start off their week with a three-game series in Oakland against the A’s, where they’ll face Sonny Gray and that’s about it, and then they travel to Colorado for a three-game series against the Rockies. There’s really no tough pitching matchups for the White Sox this week, so them with confidence.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – The Pirates will be spending the week away from home, which is bad news, as only Francisco Cervelli and Adam Frazier have batting averages above .300 on the road this year. Josh Bell, Andrew McCutchen, and Gregory Polanco are collectively hitting a whopping .227 on the road this year. If you don’t have options better than McCutchen and Polanco, I can understand it, but if you can avoid them and other Pirates, I would.
Kevin Pillar and Kendrys Morales – The Blue Jays will see nothing but right-handers this week, which is bad news for both Kevin Pillar and Kendrys Morales, as they don’t have great splits against righties. Pillar is batting .225 against righties this year, compared to a .365 average against lefties, and Morales is hitting .240 against righties compared to .319 against lefties. They’re borderline guys generally, but this week, I’d bench them.
Tampa Bay Rays hitters – The Rays have a really tough schedule this week. First, they spend two games in Chicago against the Cubs, where they’ll face Jon Lester and be without a DH spot. Then they head home to face the Red Sox where they’ll get to see Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, and David Price. And given that they’ll be facing four lefties this week, that bodes especially poorly for Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison. Generally speaking, I’d avoid your Rays hitters.
Atlanta Braves hitters – The Braves start of the week with a two-game series at home against the Houston Astros, which shouldn’t be an awful series, though Brad Peacock has shown some pretty impressive ability at times. The real bummer is going to be after that during their four-game series against the Washington Nationals. They’ll get the pleasure of seeing Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Joe Ross. Gonzalez isn’t all that intimidating, though you never know, but that set of pitchers isn’t great. You should still start Matt Kemp, but I’d avoid guys like Matt Adams, Brandon Phillips, and Dansby Swanson.
New York Mets righties – In general, I’d say avoid most of your Mets this year. While they’re going to be on the road all week (which believe it or not, is actually a good thing for their hitting as they’re better on the road than at home), they’ll have some tough matchups, including facing Strasburg, Ross, and Carlos Martinez. And along with that matchup against Martinez is a three-game series in pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium, which doesn’t help much. But I specify righties because that’s all the Mets will see this week: right-handed pitchers, which is even worse news for guys like Wilmer Flores and even Jose Reyes, who’s hitting .196 against righties this year.