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 17 (7/29-8/4) 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.
Special note for this week: The MLB trade deadline is this Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, so it is entirely possible (and likely) that some of these pitching matchups will be off a bit as some people get traded. So just keep that in mind.
San Francisco Giants hitters – The Giants have been on absolute fire lately, with the best record and the most runs scored per game in the National League in the month of July. This week, they get a three-game matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies in hitter-friendy Citizens Bank Park, where they’ll see Vince Velasquez, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Eflin, none of whom scare you from a matchup standpoint. Then, they get to close the week with a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field, which is always good news for offense. Alex Dickerson has been killing the ball over the past month, slashing .383/.439/.783, and he’s available in 88% of leagues. Similarly, Brandon Crawford has been slashing .289/.372/.526 over the past month, and Mike Yastrzemski has been slashing .269/.298/.513. They’re available in 92% and 93% of leagues respectively.
Los Angeles Dodgers hitters – The Dodgers also get to spend some time in Coors Field this week, starting the week off with a three-game series there. Then, they finish the week out with a four-game series at home against the San Diego Padres, and while they will see Chris Paddack, I’m not overly worried about the remainder of their matchups against the Padres. Combined with a three-game series in Coors Field, that makes your Dodgers hitters worth a look. Believe it or not, A.J. Pollock is still 28% available, but regardless, you should start him, as he’s been slashing .318/.367/.614 since returning from the IL. And if you’re looking for an interesting dart throw at catcher, Will Smith is slated to become the Dodgers’ primary starting catcher going forward. In Triple-A this year, he’s slashed .269/.381/.605 with 20 home runs, and hit three more home runs in the nine games he spent in the majors earlier this year. In two-catcher leagues, definitely grab him, and if you’re just kind of using boring waiver wire fodder at your catcher position, he’s worth a flier.
Colorado Rockies hitters – So speaking of Coors Field, I’m sure you gathered by now that the Rockies get to spend all week at home in Coors, which is great news for them. Now, unfortunately, three of those games will be against the Dodgers, where they’ll see Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu, as well as whoever the Dodgers put in Ross Stripling‘s place now that he’s on the IL. Those are generally tough matchups, but I can’t sit there and pretend like I’m not starting every member of the Rockies I have with a full week in Coors.
Toronto Blue Jays hitters – The Blue Jays get a full seven-game week this week against two of the worst pitching staffs in baseball, starting with a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals, who own the eighth-worst team ERA in baseball right now, and closing with a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles, who own the worst team ERA in baseball, in hitter-heaven Camden Yards. If you’re looking for some power, Teoscar Hernandez owns a .274 ISO over the past month and is available in 98% of leagues. And I know Danny Jansen has been struggling lately, but I would bet he picks things back up this week. Also, Eric Sogard has been slashing .294/.348/.447 over the past month and is available in 79% of leagues.
Carson Kelly – Looking for a catcher for this week? Well, luckily the Arizona Diamondbacks will be facing three left-handed pitchers this week, and Carson Kelly absolutely destroys lefties. So far this year, he’s slashing .385/.475/.808 against lefties and has a .316/.395/.618 slash line against them on his career. He’s worth a stream this week and is available in 95% of leagues.
Atlanta Braves hitters – The Braves have a bit of a tough slate this week, starting with a three-game series against the Washington Nationals where they’ll see Patrick Corbin, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez, the last of whom has a 2.70 ERA over the past month. Then, they’ll close the week with a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds, who own the fifth-best team ERA on the season. In that series, they’ll see Anthony DeSclafani, who has a 2.28 ERA over the past month, and Sonny Gray, who has a 1.62 ERA over the past month. They’ll also get to see Alex Wood, though I have no idea how he’ll look since it’ll be just his second start off the IL. Still, he’s got the potential to be very good.
Miami Marlins hitters – The Marlins start their week off with a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins, who own the seventh-best team ERA in baseball, where they’ll see Jake Odorizzi, who, aside from a bad start against the New York Yankees, has been pretty solid, and they’ll see both Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda, the latter of whom has a 2.37 ERA over the past month. Then, they’ll close the week with a two-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, where they’ll see Yonny Chirinos and the ever-great Charlie Morton.
Chicago White Sox hitters – The White Sox kick off their week with a three-game series against the New York Mets where they’ll get to see Noah Syndergaard (assuming he hasn’t been traded by then), Jacob DeGrom, and Zach Wheeler (assuming he isn’t traded, which I’m betting he will be). Then, they’ll close the week with a three-game series against the Phillies where they’ll get the pleasure of seeing Aaron Nola as well as Drew Smyly. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Ben, Drew Smyly? Who cares?” Well, I do, because he looks like he’s tweaked his pitch mix a bit since joining the Phillies, and in his first start with the team, he looked really good, pitching six innings of one-run ball with two walks and eight strikeouts. It’s just one start, so it may be nothing, but I feel like there might be something here.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – The Pirates will start off the week with a three-game series against the Reds, who as I mentioned before, have been pitching lights-out lately. They’ll get to see the aforementioned Sonny Gray as well as Luis Castillo, neither of which is a positive matchup for their hitters. Then, they’ll face the Mets where they’ll see Noah Syndergaard (if he doesn’t get traded) and Steven Matz, who has given up two or fewer runs in his past five starts.
Andrew Benintendi – This week, the Boston Red Sox are expected to see five left-handed pitchers, and that’s bad news for Benintendi, because he doesn’t hit lefties particularly well. So far this year, he’s had an underwhelming .265/.382/.386 slash line against lefties, and on his career, he’s slashed .241/.327/.343 against them.
(Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire)