If you’re unfamiliar with this article series, each week I take a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of and five hitting matchups you should avoid, based on who the hitters will likely be facing on the mound.
So here’s who you should start and avoid in Week 2 (4/12-4/18) 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 for any number of reasons, especially given how fluid things are this season. 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.
Baltimore Orioles hitters – The Orioles’ offense has been pretty hit or miss so far this year, but this week should be a good one for them, as they start the week off with a four-game homestand in the very hitter-friendly Camden Yards against the Seattle Mariners and avoid Yusei Kikuchi, who is the only Mariners arm I’d be even remotely worried about (and even then, I’m not too worried about him). Then, the Orioles will travel to Texas for a three-game series against the Rangers, who so far own the fifth-worst team ERA in baseball. So seven games, all against bad rotations, and four of them in one of the best hitters parks in baseball? I’m here for it. Cedric Mullins has been starting the year hot, slashing .448/.484/.655 and is still available in a decent number of leagues.
New York Mets hitters – Like I always say, if a team is playing in Coors Field, I’m interested in streaming their hitters, and the Mets get three games there this week (as an aside, I didn’t recommend the Rockies this week because they also have a three-game series against the Dodgers, but if you’re in a daily league, start your Rockies in Coors always and forever). The Mets/Rockies series closes out the week, and the Mets start the week with a four-game series against the Phillies. The Phillies’ pitching has been pretty solid so far, and the Mets do face Aaron Nola, so I’d dodge that in daily leagues, but the combination of three games in Coors plus some beatable matchups against the Phillies (like Chase Anderson for example) make the Mets a very interesting team to utilize this week. Brandon Nimmo has been crushing it so far this season (.429/.579/.571) and is worth a start.
Washington Nationals hitters – The Nats start their week with three games against the Cardinals, one of which will be against Jack Flaherty (so I might dodge that in daily leagues) and they close the week with a four-game series against the Diamondbacks who own the seventh-worst team ERA in baseball so far. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of value to be found in the Nats lineup, as it’s basically studs and no one you’d want to stream with the exception of maybe Starlin Castro, who could be a decent stream this week.
Houston Astros hitters – The Astros get six games this week all against very beatable pitching staffs. They start with three games against the Tigers, who own the sixth-worst team ERA in baseball, and they close against the aforementioned Mariners. Yuli Gurriel has been very hot to start the year, slashing .357/.500/.536, and is worth a start this week (he’s also available in about 20-25% of leagues depending on the site, so check and see if he’s out there and get him).
Jed Lowrie – Lowrie has been pretty decent so far this year, slashing .276/.364/.448, and I think he could be in for a good week. The A’s have six games, three of which will be against left-handed pitchers. That’s good news for Lowrie, who’s a career .278/.346/.421 hitter against lefties. He’s a little harder to play in ESPN leagues where he’s DH-only, but in Yahoo! leagues, he’s 2B eligible and on Fantrax, he’s 3B eligible, so he’s workable if you’re in a deep league and need a guy for this week.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – I know, I know, don’t start your Pirates? What am I, crazy? Well in case you were hopping on the Phillip Evans train this week or enjoying Colin Moran‘s early success, I might be a bit more reticent to start my Pirates this week. They start off with a four-game series against the Padres where they will get to see Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, and Chris Paddack, all of whom should be tough (with maybe Paddack as an exception). Then, they’ll close the week with a three-game series against the Brewers, who own the 10th-best team ERA in baseball so far.
Boston Red Sox hitters – Normally I’d be jazzed about a team getting seven games in a week, but the Red Sox start with four games against the Twins who own the second-best team ERA in baseball so far (and that series will include games against Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios), and they close with three games against the White Sox where they’ll get to see both Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn. Aside from your Boston studs, I’d dodge your Red Sox this week.
Cincinnati Reds hitters – The Reds start their week off in pitcher-friendly Oracle Park for a three-game series against the Giants, who currently own the eighth-best team ERA in baseball (and that series includes games against Kevin Gausman and Johnny Cueto, who have looked solid so far). Then, they’ll face off against Cleveland and both Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie, so I’d avoid your Reds hitters this week, with some notable exceptions of course, like Nick Castellanos. I do also wonder if maybe this is the week where Tyler Naquin finally cools down? Or maybe his hot streak will be matchup-proof, we’ll see.
Miami Marlins hitters – The Marlins also get to face the Giants this week, who as I mentioned, have been pretty good (though, they do get to dodge Gausman and Cueto, so that series grades out a bit more neutral than bad). But they start their week with a four-game series against Atlanta, who currently own the sixth-best team ERA in baseball. I’m not sure there are too many stud hitters on the Marlins for fantasy purposes, so I’d probably dodge just about all of them if I could this week.
Matt Olson – As I mentioned earlier, the A’s are slated to face three lefties this week, and on his career, Olson has been rough against lefties, to say the least, slashing .231/.310/.427. In daily leagues, I’m fine starting him when he’s facing righties this week, but in a weekly league, I worry there’s not enough value there if you only want him starting in half of his games.
Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)