Photo by Douglas Stringer/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 20 (8/20– 8/26) 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.
Oakland Athletics hitters – The A’s have themselves a very favorable schedule this week, starting with a three-game series against the Texas Rangers and their 4.90 team ERA, good for fourth-worst in baseball. Then they’ll face the Minnesota Twins, and while they will see Jose Berrios, that’ll be the most challenging pitcher they’ll face (and even he can be pretty off and on). The A’s will likely face six righties this week, which is especially good news for Jed Lowrie, who’s slashing .274/.362/.505 against righties this year, and Matt Olson, who has a .245 ISO against righties this year.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters – It’s always good news when the Brewers spend their whole week at home in hitter-friendly Miller Park, and they do exactly that this week. Even better, they’re pitching matchups should be pretty favorable, with a struggling Chris Archer as their likely most difficult matchup. They start off against the Cincinnati Reds who have the seventh-worst ERA in baseball and they miss Luis Castillo‘s turn in the rotation. Then they’ll see the Pittsburgh Pirates and the aforementioned Archer. While you’re already starting your Milwaukee studs, you should also look into Eric Thames, who’s available in 61% of leagues.
Atlanta Braves hitters – The Braves have a nice set of matchups this week, starting with a three-game series against the Pirates where Chris Archer will be their toughest matchup. Then, they’ll get to see the Miami Marlins and their rotation who has the fifth-worst ERA in baseball (including a matchup against Jose Urena which should be….interesting). Your Braves studs obviously warrant starting, but players like Johan Camargo, who’s been slashing .294/.339/.500 over the past month and is available in 66% of leagues, is worth a start.
Colorado Rockies hitters – Lucky for your Rockies players, they’ll be spending their six-game week all at Coors Field, which is nothing but good news for their hitters. They’ll start off against the San Diego Padres who hold the 11th-worst ERA in baseball, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals. They will face Miles Mikolas, but that will be the only matchup that might scare you, and even so, they’re in Coors so it’s hard to sit any of your Rockies.
Harrison Bader – When the Cardinals are in Coors this week, most of their hitters will warrant starting, but Bader is especially worth starting this week. The Cards are expected to face three left-handed pitchers, and so far this year, Bader is slashing .318/.392/.541 against lefties. He’s available in 76% of leagues.
Boston Red Sox hitters – Look, I’m not telling you to sit Mookie Betts or anything, but take a close hard look at your Red Sox hitters this week, because they’ve got some tough matchups. They start off the week with a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians where they’ll see Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, and then they’ll face off against the Tampa Bay Rays where they’ll see Blake Snell. I don’t have a problem starting your Red Sox hitters in the other two Rays games however, as they’ll likely be bullpen games (though it’s worth noting that if Jalen Beeks gets a start, he’s been pitching really well lately).
Washington Nationals hitters – The Nats start their week hosting a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies where they’ll get to see Aaron Nola as well as Vince Velasquez, who, it’s worth noting, has a 3.16 ERA over the past month. Then, they’ll head to face the New York Mets where they’ll see Zack Wheeler, who has a 1.41 ERA over the past month. I don’t mind starting your Nats against Jason Vargas and Steven Matz though.
Kansas City Royals hitters – The Royals have essentially the reverse of the Red Sox schedule this week, starting with a four-game series against the Rays where they’ll see Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, who has a 2.78 ERA over the past month. Then they’ll face the Indians and see Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger. Not that you were starting a whole ton of Royals as it is, but I’d especially avoid them this week.
Los Angeles Angels hitters – The Angels have only five games this week and it should be a tough slate, starting with a two-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks where they’ll see Patrick Corbin and Clay Bucholz, the latter of whom has a 2.36 ERA over the past month. Then, they’ll see the Houston Astros and Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole, all of whom are a hard pass for me. Shohei Ohtani and Kole Calhoun have been pretty useful lately, but this might be the week to bench them.
Seattle Mariners hitters – The Mariners (oddly enough) have basically the reverse schedule of the Angels, starting with a series against the Astros where they’ll see Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton, and then a series against the Diamondbacks where they’ll see Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke. You’re still starting Nelson Cruz and Jean Segura, but I might avoid Ryon Healy or Kyle Seager if you were planning on starting them.
Nelson Cruz will probably just pinch-hit in AZ. Not sure he can really be started safely. . .
Fair point! Didn’t think about that
So the Dee Gordon struggle bus will continue to churn this week.
Most likely unfortunately
Don’t say I never gave you guys anything. Carlos Villanueva and his 1100+ OPS v LHP, takes his game into Coors for three games, 2 v LHP, and three more LHP @ LAD. Count me all in.
I think you mean Christian Villanueva? And yes! That’s a good name to keep in mind, he’s slashing .336/.393/.736 against lefties this year