Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 15 (7/15 – 7/21)
Each week, we’ve been 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 15 (7/15-7/21) 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.
Boston Red Sox hitters – The Red Sox get just about the most favorable week they could this week, with a full seven-game slate against two pretty bad pitching staffs in two very hitter-friendly parks. First, they start off with a four-game homestand against the Toronto Blue Jays, who own the eighth-worst team ERA in baseball so far this year. Then, they’ll head to Camden Yards to face off against the Baltimore Orioles who, as I’m sure you know by now, have the worst team ERA in baseball. It looks like it could especially be a nice week for Christian Vazquez, as the Red Sox are likely to face a handful of lefties this week, and Vazquez is slashing .316/.361/.579 against lefties this year.
Minnesota Twins hitters – I think it’s hard to find a week you’re not starting most of the Twins’ offense, however this week is especially a good one to start them. They start off with a brief two-game series against the New York Mets where they’ll avoid Jacob DeGrom and instead face the volatile Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz. Then, they’ll host the Oakland Athletics, where they’ll see a host of pitchers that don’t scare you much at all, including Brett Anderson, Daniel Mengden, and Chris Bassitt.
Cleveland Indians hitters – While the Indians’ offense hasn’t exactly been stellar so far this year, they get a nice slate of matchups this week, starting with a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers, who own the sixth-worst team ERA in baseball, and closing the week with a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals, who own the fourth-worst team ERA in baseball. Jason Kipnis has low-key been slashing .293/.368/.524 over the past month and is available in 91% of leagues—he’s worth a look this week. Oscar Mercado has also been hitting well lately, slashing .283/.320/.413 over the past month and is available in 77% of leagues.
Houston Astros hitters – The Houston Astros get the benefit of facing two pretty poor pitching staffs this week, starting with a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, who have the 10th-worst team ERA in baseball so far this year, and finishing with a three-game series against the Texas Rangers, who own the 11th-worst team ERA in baseball. They will face Mike Minor this week, but that’s just about the only matchup that gives me any pause. Go ahead and roll your Astros out there this week.
Jesse Winker – The Cincinnati Reds will likely face nothing but right-handed pitchers this week, which is good news for Winker, as he has some serious lefty/righty splits on his career. Fortunately, he’s much better against righties, slashing .310/.388/.506 against them on his career. He’s available in 71% of leagues and warrants a look this week.
Texas Rangers hitters – The Rangers have a really short week this week, playing just five games, and none of the five games seem particularly viable for fantasy production. They start with a two-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have the 12th-best team ERA in baseball, and finish the week with a three-game series against the Astros, who own the fourth-best team ERA in baseball. Given the short week and the tough matchups, I’m not too interested in my Rangers this week.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters – The Brewers start their week with a three-game matchup against the Atlanta Braves, who have the 11th-best team ERA in baseball right now, and close their week with a four-game series against the aforementioned Diamondbacks, with matchups against Robbie Ray, Zack Greinke, and Merrill Kelly, the latter of whom has given up three or fewer earned runs in six out of his last seven starts.
Oakland Athletics hitters – The A’s start their week with a two-game series against the Seattle Mariners, who generally aren’t all that scary, but they’ll see Marco Gonzales, who has been pitching to a 2.84 ERA over the past month and has looked pretty solid. They’ll also see Tommy Milone, so feel free to start your A’s against him. Then, they close the week with a four-game series against the Twins where they’ll see Jake Odorizzi and Jose Berrios, both of whom have been excellent this year, as well as Kyle Gibson, who hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in each of his past four starts.
San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres start their week with a three-game series against the Miami Marlins where they’ll see Caleb Smith, who’s been great this year and looks back to form since returning from his injury. Then, they’ll finish the week with a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs, who have the eighth-best team ERA in baseball right now.
Nick Senzel – Like I said earlier, the Reds will likely see nothing but right-handed starters this week, and while that’s good news for Jesse Winker, that’s bad news for Nick Senzel, who’s slashing .228/.299/.396 against righties so far this year.
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)