(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)
Welcome! 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. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 18 (8/6 – 8/12) of the fantasy baseball season.
Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based on 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.
Colorado Rockies hitters – Normally I’d be really psyched that the Rockies get to spend a full, seven-game week at home in Coors Field. I mean, I am excited, but this isn’t as enthusiastic of an endorsement as you’d expect, because they’re going to see some tough pitchers, including Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, and Kenta Maeda. That being said, it’s a seven-game week in Coors Field, you can’t bench your Rockies hitters no matter who they’re going up against. Just be aware that this week might not be the all-out slugfest a seven-game week at Coors would normally be—it’ll still be good for the hitters, but it’ll be a bit more muted than normal.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – As I always say, if the Rockies are playing in Coors, you should start their opponents too. One of the teams they’ll see is the Pirates, and lucky for the Pirates, they’ll not only spend three games in Coors, they’ll see the San Francisco Giants for four games and miss Madison Bumgarner‘s turn in the rotation. Now, they will see Dereck Rodriguez, who’s been quite good this year, but otherwise, I’m comfortable starting my Pirates.
Los Angeles Dodgers hitters – The other team heading to Coors this week is the Dodgers for four games. But before they head to Colorado, they’ll get a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics where they’ll see Sean Manaea and Brett Anderson—two matchups I’m not overly worried about.
New York Yankees – The Yankees have quite a favorable schedule this week, starting with a three-game series in hitter-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field against the Chicago White Sox, who have the second-worst team ERA in the league. Then, they get to face the Texas Rangers who happen to have the worst ERA in the league. Obviously you should start your Yankees studs, but even guys like Neil Walker, who’s slashing .333/.406/.463 over the past month and is available in 96% of leagues, and Greg Bird, who’s available in 60% of leagues, warrant starts this week.
Jurickson Profar – The Rangers are slated to face four lefties this week, which is good news for Profar who’s slashing .271/.364/.479 this year against lefties. He’s also in the midst of a hot streak, slashing .290/.384/.500 over the past month.
Chicago White Sox hitters – The White Sox have a tough slate ahead of them this week, starting with a three-game series against the New York Yankees where they’ll get to see Luis Severino, followed by a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians where they’ll see Shane Bieber, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco. Outside of Jose Abreu and maybe Avisail Garcia (but probably not), I’m not starting any of my White Sox.
Cincinnati Reds hitters – The Reds will play six games this week, starting with a three-game series against the New York Mets where they’ll face off against Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom. If you’re in a daily league, I don’t mind starting your Reds against Jason Vargas, but that’s it. Then, they’ll host the Arizona Diamondbacks and face off against Robbie Ray and Clay Buchholz, the latter of whom has a 2.92 ERA over the past month. Outside of Joey Votto, and Eugenio Suarez, I’m avoiding my Reds hitters.
Toronto Blue Jays hitters – The Blue Jays start their week against the Boston Red Sox in a three-game series that will see them go against Chris Sale and Rick Porcello. Then, they’ll face off against the Tampa Bay Rays where they’ll get to see Blake Snell. Now, if you’re in a daily league, go ahead and start your Blue Jays hitters in the other two Rays games, as they’re likely to be bullpen starts, but in a weekly league, I’m probably avoiding just about everyone in the lineup—however I can understand starting Justin Smoak as you probably don’t have a better first base option.
San Francisco Giants hitters – The Giants get to spend their entire six-game week at home in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, and on top of that, they’ll have some tough matchups. They start off with a two-game series against the Houston Astros where they’ll see Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel, then they host the Pittsburgh Pirates in a series that will see them go against Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams (who has a 2.33 ERA over the past month) and Joe Musgrove (who has a 3.38 ERA over the past month).
Shin-Soo Choo – While the aforementioned Jurickson Profar is going to benefit from facing four lefties this week, that’s going to prove a problem for Choo, who’s slashing .247/.346/.356 against lefties on his career.
Considering the fact, that A.J. Pollock doesn’t run and steal bases anymore, at least since his return from a thumb injury, wouldn’t Hicks be a better bat with a cherry schedule v Texas @ ChW?