Each week, we’ve been taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of and five hitting matchups you should avoid.
This is the final article of the season, as most of you are either in the midst of your fantasy championships (congrats!) or you’re done for the year (and in that case, thanks for reading anyways!). I want to thank everyone who has read this column over the year, I hope it’s helped. So without ado, here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 25 (9/23-9/29) 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.
Washington Nationals hitters – The Nats get eight games this week thanks to a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. They are currently scheduled to go against Aaron Nola in that first game of the doubleheader, but he might not pitch if it’s not relevant to the playoffs for the Phillies. Other than Nola, the rest of the matchups for the Nats look fine. Then, they’ll have a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians where they’ll get to miss both Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber’s turns in the rotation. Given the eight games and the decent-to-good pitching matchups, I’m good rolling out my Nats this week. Howie Kendrick has been on fire the past month, slashing .439/.475/.649, and he’s still available in 71% of leagues.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters – The Brewers get six games this week in very hitter-friendly ballparks, starting with three games against the Cincinnati Reds in Great American Ballpark, and closing with three games in Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies. Now, generally I avoid games against the Reds as their pitching staff has been really good this year, and the Brewers will likely see Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo, which could be tough, but given the three games in Coors against a garbage pitching staff and three games in Cincy, I think you’re good with your Brewers. In a daily league, I might avoid the Gray and Castillo games, but otherwise, you’re good. Trent Grisham has been hitting well, slashing .295/.385/.513 over the past month and is available in 95% of leagues.
Minnesota Twins hitters – The Twins get the pleasure of facing two really bad pitching staffs this week, starting with a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers, who own the third-worst team ERA in baseball, and closing with a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals, who own the fifth-worst team ERA in baseball. Obviously make sure you get all your usual Twins hitters out there this week, not to mention Luis Arraez, who’s slashing .359/.423/.457 over the past month and is available in 80% of leagues.
Boston Red Sox hitters – The Red Sox also get to see two bad pitching staffs this week, starting with a three-game series against the Texas Rangers, who own the eighth-worst team ERA in baseball, in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park, and closing with a three-game series at home against the Baltimore Orioles who, as I’m sure you well know by now, have the worst pitching staff in baseball. Now, since the Sox are eliminated from the playoffs, I’m not sure how much time, if any, that their regulars will be seeing, so be wary of that.
Robinson Chirinos – This week the Houston Astros will get to face four left-handed pitchers, which is great news for Chirinos, as he’s slashing .282/.449/.487 against lefties so far this year. If you’re in need of a catcher to stream this week, he’s not a bad one.
New York Yankees hitters – This one is a bit of a weird one. The Yankees do get three games against the Rangers this week, and normally I’d be all about that, but they only play five games this week and, in all honesty, have no reason to play any of their regulars as they gear up for the playoffs. So essentially, I’m expecting the non-fantasy-relevant hitters to be starting for the Yankees, and if I’m in my championship in a weekly league, there is no way I feel like I can trust a Yankees regular this week. I don’t think the potential production from five games is worth that risk (especially when two of those games are against the Tampa Bay Rays, who have the second-best team ERA in baseball).
Atlanta Braves hitters – Same logic here with the Braves as with the Yankees. They only get five games this week, and there’s not really a reason for the Braves to play their regulars much this week at all. Plus, of their five games, three are against the New York Mets where they’re scheduled to face Steven Matz and Jacob DeGrom. Again, the potential production just isn’t worth the risk to me in a weekly league.
Los Angeles Angels hitters – The Angels start their week with a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics, who own the sixth-best team ERA in baseball, and close their week with a four-game series against the Houston Astros where they’ll see Wade Miley, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole. Hard for me to trust any of my Angels hitters this week.
Kansas City Royals hitters – The Royals get just a five-game week this week, starting with a two-game series against the Braves where they’ll see Julio Teheran and Mike Soroka, both of whom have been pretty good this year. Then, they’ll have a three-game series against the Twins where they’ll see Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. I’m just not seeing much value to exploit out of the Royals this week.
Eric Hosmer – This week, the San Diego Padres will face three left-handed pitchers, which is bad for Hosmer as he’s pretty rough against lefties. So far this year, he’s slashing .247/.297/.342 against lefties.
Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire