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 19 (8/7 – 8/13) 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.
Minnesota Twins hitters – The Twins have a nice seven-game week ahead of them. Two of their games will be at Miller Park, so they will lose their DH spot (which might affect Robbie Grossman if you own him), but even with that, they have some great matchups this week. Their projected pitching matchups are a whose who of hitter-friendly pitchers, guys like Zach Davies, Anibal Sanchez, and Jordan Zimmerman, among plenty others. You’re already starting your Twins studs, but take a look at Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, and even Byron Buxton this week.
Houston Astros hitters – The Astros have a nice upcoming schedule, similar to the Twins in that they’ll be seeing nothing but mediocre to bad pitchers. Probably the pitcher that gives you the most pause is Carlos Rodon, and even he is off and on. They’ll also be seeing Cole Hamels but they’ll be in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park, and Hamels has been pretty bad, giving up 14 ERs in his last three starts. And even better, the Astros will be seeing four lefties this week, which is especially good news for Alex Bregman who’s slashing .323/.411/.505 against lefties this year.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – Lucky for the Pirates, they get five games on the road against American League teams, which means five games where they get a DH. Gregory Polanco, Josh Bell, and Adam Frazier have all been hitting the ball really well since the All-Star Break. Polanco’s been slashing .316/.333/.579, Bell .297/.346/.486, and Frazier .435/.462/.543. Polanco is somehow available in around 42% of leagues, and Bell and Frazier are both widely available, with league availability at around 68% and 95% respectively. The only matchup that’s slightly scary this week for the Pirates is the one against Marcus Stroman on Friday, but other than that, it’s a nice slate of games.
Javier Baez – The Cubs will get to see four lefties this week, and that gives Javier Baez the most meaningful advantage. This year, he’s slashing .289/.333/.590 against lefties, and even better, one of those lefties will be at Chase Field, which is probably the second-best hitter’s park in baseball. If you’re desperate or in a really deep league, Albert Almora Jr. isn’t a bad play this week either as he’s slashing .343/.432/.529 this year against lefties.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters – The Brewers have a seven-game week this week and spend five of those games at home, which is good news for their hitters. Not only that, but they’ll be seeing a bunch of weak pitching, making them a good play this week. A lot of people dropped Keon Broxton when he was demoted, but he’s back as the starting center fielder and is a good play this week, as is Manny Pina who will be seeing plenty of playing time given that both Jett Bandy and Stephen Vogt are hurt.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley – The Yankees have a pretty tough schedule overall this week, but it’s especially bad for Ellsbury and Headley, because the Yankees will get to see four lefties this week. Ellsbury is slashing .191/.257/.250 against lefties and Headley is slashing .218/.248/.307 against them. Not to mention one of the lefties they’ll be seeing is Chris Sale, so I’d just avoid Ellsbury and Headley in general this week.
Andrew Benintendi against the Yankees – The Red Sox only have five games this week, with two of them against lefties. Those two games will both come against the Yankees, and that’s bad for Andrew Benintendi, as he’s slashing .219/.306/.250 against lefties this year. If you’re in a weekly league, I’d probably avoid him as a whole since there’s not a lot of value to extract, and in a daily league, I’d just avoid the two lefty starts.
Tampa Bay Rays hitters – The Rays have a really tough schedule this week. They start off the week with a two-game homestand against the Red Sox where they’ll see Chris Sale and Rick Porcello. Then they have a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians where they’ll get to see Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, and Corey Kluber. Every single one of those matchups ranges from not great to terrifying. Don’t expect Corey Dickerson’s slump to end this week.
San Francisco Giants hitters – The Giants start the week off with a three-game homestand in very pitcher-friendly AT&T Park against the Chicago Cubs where they’ll get to see Jake Arrieta and Jose Quintana (as well as Kyle Hendricks, but who knows what you’ll get from him). They also have a three-game series against the Washington Nationals where they get to see Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer, so I’d avoid just about ever Giant you can not named Buster Posey.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – The D’Backs have some pretty tough pitching matchups this week, though it’s mediated a bit by the fact that they’ll be at home for all six games this week, and Chase Field will help just about any hitter no matter who they’re facing. That being said, they’ll be seeing Alex Wood, Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, and Jake Arrieta this week, making the non-stud hitters hard to trust.
At the risk of sounding foolish, yet the price to pay for being ahead of the curve….time to give 5 game Mookie a seat on the bench in favor of Polanco? Thames? or even Derek Fisher?
I would probably still play Mookie, I generally say start your studs no matter what. However if there’s a way you can work Polanco into your lineup, I’d recommend it.
i can only keep 5 of these guys moving into next year, and then i can keep 9 the following year. could you rank these guys in order.
conforto, miggy, dom santana, bregman, zimmerman, thames, polanco, segura, carpenter, severino, kyle seagar,
thanks. it;s a 12 team 7×7 obp.
For just next year or for the future?
If we’re just talking next year I’d rank them:
Miggy > Severino > Polanco > Seager > Segura > Conforto > Thames > Carpenter > Bregman > Zimmerman > Santana
Thanks for the advice to sit Benintendi this week.