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 16 (7/24 – 7/30) 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.
Scooter Gennett and Scott Schebler – The Cincinnati Reds have seven games on the road this week, and while playing outside of Great American Ballpark might sound like a bad thing for hitters, it’s actually a good thing for Gennett and Schebler. Gennett has now been named a full-time starter for the Reds, which means an increase in playing time, which is great for him. On the road this year, Gennett’s been hitting .308, which makes him appealing. As for Schebler, his home/road splits are oddly enough pretty drastic. At home, in one of the (probably) five best hitters parks in baseball, Schebler is batting .193 with seven home runs. But on the road, he’s hitting .284 with 15 home runs, so I’d toss him in your lineups as well.
Neil Walker – Walker is expected to be back in action soon (maybe even by Monday) and when he’s active, you should start him. The Mets have a seven-game road trip this week, and that’s actually good news for all Mets, as the team has the fifth-highest team average on the road (.263) and the third-lowest team average at home (.239), but Walker’s splits are even more drastic. At home this year, he’s batting .223 and on the road, he’s hitting .337, so a seven-game road trip is good news for Walker. Assuming he’s active and the news stays the same, you should start him.
David Peralta and Jake Lamb – Last week, I recommended that you start Lamb and Peralta because they were hitting in only hitter-friendly parks and against nothing but righties. And as of this writing (before the games on 7/22), Peralta has slashed .625/.625/1.188 on the week and Lamb has slashed .375/.474/1.188. Now, that’s not to brag (maybe a little), but it’s to tell you that you should start them again, as once again, they’re facing nothing but righties this week in a seven-game week. The parks aren’t as favorable (they’ll have a four-game series in Busch Park) but they do get a three-game series in Chase Field to start off the week. Personally, I would recommend all of your Diamondbacks hitters this week, but especially Peralta and Lamb.
Baltimore Orioles hitters – The Orioles have a very favorable schedule this week, starting with a three-game series in Tampa where the most frightening pitcher they’ll face is the official pitcher of Pitcherlist Jacob Faria. Then they’ll head to Texas in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park where they’ll get to see the Rangers, a team they just demolished for a total of 34 runs over four games. It’s a good week to start Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo, and Trey Mancini, (and probably even Chris Davis), among your usuals.
Chicago Cubs hitters – It’s a great week for the Cubs, as they have a seven-game week against nothing but week pitchers in mostly hitter-friendly parks (the two games at home in Wrigley are the exceptions). They’ll get two games in Guaranteed Rate Field against the White Sox and three games in Miller Park against the Brewers. And what’s more, they’ll be seeing a bunch of mediocre-to-bad pitchers that will include James Shields, Mike Pelfrey, and Zach Davies, among others. Feel confident in all of your Cubs this week.
Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland – The Red Sox will be seeing three lefties this week, which is bad news for Benintendi, as he’s just a .231 hitter against lefties. It’s also bad news in a different way for Mitch Moreland, as he just likely won’t play those three games, making him someone to avoid this week for people in weekly leagues, as he’ll likely only be active for three games.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – The Pirates will get to spend six games in very pitcher-friendly parks, with three games against the Giants in AT&T Park, and three games against the Padres in Petco Park. Not only that, but they’ll get the joy of seeing Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija (the latter of which is, admittedly, off and on) while in AT&T Park. They won’t be seeing anyone in San Diego that’s particularly frightening (though you never know what Dinelson Lamet will do), but given the park factors, I’d avoid them.
Colorado Rockies hitters – As you can imagine, the Rockies home/road splits are pretty significant. As a team, they’re .298 hitters at home and .252 hitters on the road, and they get to spend all week on the road, including a three-game stretch in pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium where they’ll get to see Carlos Martinez. They’ll also have a three-game series against the Nationals and get to see Stephen Strasburg. You’re obviously starting your studs, like Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado, and I’d probably look elsewhere than guys like Trevor Story or Mark Reynolds.
San Francisco Giants hitters – It’s a rough week for Giants hitters, as they’ll be facing off against the Pirates in the aforementioned series in AT&T Park, and then heading to L.A. to see the Dodgers in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. And during their time in two very pitcher-friendly environments, they’ll be seeing Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Clayton Kershaw, so I’d avoid my Giants hitters.
San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres will spend their seven-game week all at home in pitcher-friendly Petco Park as they face the New York Mets for four games and then the Pirates for three games. And not only that, they’ll face off against Jacob DeGrom, Steven Matz (who can admittedly be hit or miss), and Gerrit Cole. Given the park and the pitchers they’ll be facing, I’d personally avoid Padres hitters this week.