Each week, we’ve been taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of and five hitting matchups you should avoid. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 23 (9/9-9/15) 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 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 – The Rockies get to spend all week (six games) in Coors Field this week, so naturally, you know what that means—it’s time to start your Rockies. They’re facing the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres, two not bad but not great pitching staffs, but being in Coors should mitigate that enough to warrant starting your Rockies this week. Ryan McMahon has some serious home/road splits and loves Coors Field, as he’s slashing .292/.354/.557 there. He’s available in 59% of leagues and warrants a start this week. Also, rookie Sam Hilliard has been getting some starts, and while he’s struggled to hit for average in his nine games so far this year, he’s still sporting a .214 ISO. And don’t forget, he clobbered 35 home runs in Triple-A this year (and stole 22 bases, for what it’s worth). He’s available in 98% of leagues and warrants a look in deep leagues (and dynasty leagues).
St. Louis Cardinals hitters – As I mentioned, the Cardinals get to visit the Rockies this week in Coors Field, and considering the Rockies have the second-worst team ERA in baseball this year, that’s nothing but good news for your Cardinals hitters. Then, after Coors, the Cardinals get to face the Milwaukee Brewers, who own the 12th-worst team ERA in baseball. Kolten Wong has been having an excellent month, slashing .370/.440/.580 with five steals, and he’s available in 60% of leagues, surprisingly. Also, Tommy Edman has been slashing .340/.369/.538 over the past month and is available in 60% of leagues as well. Both warrant pickups and starts this week.
Detroit Tigers hitters – The Tigers aren’t typically a source of fantasy goodness, but they could be this week. They start the week with a three-game series against the New York Yankees where they’ll face face Domingo German and J.A. Happ, the former of which could prove tricky, but that’s about it. Then, they’ll see the Baltimore Orioles for four games, and as I’m sure you well know by now, the Orioles have the worst team ERA in baseball, which is great news for the Tigers. Victor Reyes has been leading off for the Tigers and is slashing .372/.385/.513 over the past month. He’s available in 94% of leagues.
San Francisco Giants hitters – Generally, when the Giants spend a week at home in Oracle Park, I’m not too fond of starting their hitters. However, they’ll be facing two pretty bad pitching staffs this week in the Pittsburgh Pirates (sixth-worst team ERA in baseball) and the Miami Marlins (10th-worst team ERA in baseball). Over the past month, Mike Yastrzemski has been slashing .282/.337/.682 and has typically been leading off. He’s available in 75% of leagues. Also over the past month, Evan Longoria has been slashing .337/.368/.520 and is available in 78% of leagues. And there’s Kevin Pillar, who’s slashing .343/.370/.667 over the past month and is available in 48% of leagues. All three are worth looks this week.
J.D. Davis – J.D. Davis has been a really nice surprise this year, and yet he’s still available in 55% of leagues. You should grab him, especially this week, as the New York Mets will get to face four left-handed pitchers this week and Davis is slashing .305/.379/.517 against lefties this year.
Oakland Athletics hitters – The A’s have a pretty tough slate this week, starting with a four-game series against the Houston Astros where they’ll get to see Zack Greinke, Wade Miley, Framber Valdez, and Justin Verlander. Then, they’ll face the Texas Rangers, including a matchup against Mike Minor. The other two matchups in Texas (against Lance Lynn and Brock Burke) are fine to use in daily leagues, but that’s about it. Two out of seven games to me says bench your A’s (that aren’t your studs).
Kansas City Royals hitters – The Royals also get to face the Astros this week, closing their week out with a three-game series against them where they’ll get to see Gerrit Cole, Greinke, and Miley. That’s bad news, as are their matchups against Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez in their opening series against the Chicago White Sox. Lopez is a bit hit-or-miss, but he’s fresh off a complete game, one-run, one-hit, 11-strikeout game and I could see him easily pitching well against this lineup. The opening game of that series is against Ivan Nova, however, and I’m fine starting my Royals against him in a daily league.
Minnesota Twins hitters – The Twins start their week with a three-game series against the Washington Nationals where they’ll get to face Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. Then, they’ll get a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians, who own the fourth-best team ERA in baseball. In that series, they’ll get to face Aaron Civale (who has a 2.43 ERA over the past month), Mike Clevinger, and Shane Bieber. Outside of your Twins studs, I’d avoid your Twins this week.
Los Angeles Angels hitters – The Angels open their week with a three-game series against the aforementioned Indians and close their week with a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, who own the second-best team ERA in baseball. In that series, they’ll get to face Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow, and Ryan Yarbrough, the latter of whom owns a 2.30 ERA over the past month.
Shin-Soo Choo – Shin-Soo Choo has been really useful this year, but this week could be a good week to avoid him. The Rangers will face three (potentially four) left-handed pitchers this week, and Choo struggles against lefties, slashing .218/.297/.367 against them this year.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire