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 16 (7/22-7/28) 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.
Cleveland Indians hitters – Cleveland get a pretty nice slate this week, with matchups against two bad pitching staffs. A three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays starts off the week. The Jays have the 10th-worst team ERA in baseball. Cleveland then closes the week with a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals, who have the seventh-worst team ERA in baseball. Jason Kipnis (mentioned last week as well) is slashing .303/.351/.424 over the past two weeks and is available in 92% of leagues. Notably, Jake Bauers is slashing .313/.353/.438 over the past two weeks and is available in 77% of leagues.
Seattle Mariners hitters – The Mariners also have a full seven-game week this week, and they are all at home in T-Mobile Park. The M’s square off against two pitching staffs wherein you can easily take advantage. To start, Dan Vogelbach’s boys have a three-game series against the Texas Rangers, who have the sixth-worst team ERA in baseball. They close with a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers, who have the fourth-worst team ERA in baseball. Even better, the Mariners will miss Matt Boyd‘s turn in the rotation. Over the past month, Mallex Smith is slashing .281/.347/.416 with nine stolen bases and is still available in 39% of leagues if you need some high-average speed.
Los Angeles Angels hitters – This week, the Angels start with a two-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, where they will face Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling. Neither of those are great matchups, so why am I recommending you start your Angels? Because following: they have a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles, in case you have been hiding under a rock, have the worst pitching staff in baseball. In a weekly league, there’s a payoff in a four-game series against Baltimore to overcome the potentially poor value from the two Dodgers matchups. In a daily league, avoid the two Dodgers games and then keep your Angels in there the rest of the week. Over the past two weeks, Andrelton Simmons has been heating up, slashing .302/333/.465 and is available in 59% of leagues. Suprisingly, Albert Pujols has actually been pretty solid lately, slashing .321/.321/.536 over the past two weeks. He’s available in 91% of leagues. And if you’re looking for a flexible play this week, David Fletcher is eligible at a ton of positions and has been slashing .319/.373/.511 over the past two weeks. He’s available in 49% of leagues.
Detroit Tigers hitters – The Tigers actually get a pretty decent week this week. They start with a two-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies where they’ll receive the Nick Pivetta experience (unless he gets bumped from that start, which he should). They will also see Aaron Nola, so that’s something to avoid in daily leagues. But after that quick series, they’ll face off against the Seattle Mariners, who own the third-worst team ERA in baseball. Christin Stewart has been slashing .297/.366/.459 over the past two weeks and is available in 98% of leagues. Also, Jeimer Candelario has quietly been having an excellent month, slashing .318/.384/.621, and he’s available in 96% of leagues.
Jose Iglesias – In general, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start your Cincinnati Reds hitters this week, as they’ve got some decent matchups, but I want to specifically key on Jose Iglesias. This week, the Reds will see nothing but right-handed pitchers, and so far this season, Iglesias has been slashing .292/.320/.412 against righties. If you need a high-average shortstop fill-in this week, Iglesias is available in 97% of leagues.
Colorado Rockies hitters – The Rockies spend all week this week on the road, which is never good for them. Even worse, they’ve got some tough pitching matchups, starting with a four-game series against the Washington Nationals where they’ll see Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and Anibal Sanchez, the latter of whom has a 3.38 ERA over the past month. Then, they’ll have a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds, where they’ll see Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray.
Toronto Blue Jays hitters – The Blue Jays start their week with a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians where they’ll get to see Mike Clevinger, Trevor Bauer, and Shane Bieber, all of which should prove to be difficult matchups. Then, they’ll have a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, who own the second-best team ERA in baseball, including a matchup against Blake Snell.
New York Yankees hitters – The Yankees are another team that gets to spend all week on the road, starting with a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins where they’ll see Kyle Gibson, who’s sporting a solid 3.51 ERA over the past month, and Jake Odorizzi, who has been lights out all year. Then, they’ll have a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox, including matchups against Chris Sale and Andrew Cashner, the latter of whom is sporting a 2.88 ERA over the past month.
San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres start their week with a three-game series against the New York Mets where they’ll get to see Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom, as well as Jason Vargas (who I’m not worried about at all, so go ahead and start against him in daily leagues). Then, they’ll head home to pitcher-friendly Petco Park for a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants where they’ll get to see Jeff Samardzija, who has given up two or fewer earned runs in his last 11 starts, Drew Pomeranz, who has given up two or fewer earned runs in five out of his last seven starts (and has a 3.32 ERA over the past month), and Shaun Anderson, who I’m not concerned about at all.
Ji-Man Choi – The Rays will get to see four left-handed pitchers this week, which is bad news for Choi, who’s got pretty noticeable righty/lefty splits. So far this year, he’s slashing .196/.283/.261 against lefties, so keep him on your bench.
(Photo by Jeff Chevrier/Icon Sportswire)