(Photo by Jimmy Simmons/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 3 (4/16 – 4/22) 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.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters – The Brewers get a great hitting schedule this week, with three games against the Cincinnati Reds and four games against the Miami Marlins, all at home in hitter-friendly Miller Park. The scariest pitcher they’ll see all week is Luis Castillo, who has been struggling mightily lately, otherwise, it’s all easy matchups. I believe in hanging tight with Orlando Arcia through his early-season struggles, and this might be the week for him to break out of his slump (Domingo Santana too).
Cleveland Indians lefties – Indians hitters have been difficult to own, but this week should be decent for them. They’ll see two games against the Minnesota Twins and four games against the Baltimore Orioles (in hitter-friendly Camden Yards). They will see Jose Berrios and Dylan Bundy, which is potentially scary, but the Indians will be seeing nothing but righties this week. That’s good news for guys like Yonder Alonso and Bradley Zimmer who are worth a look this week.
Chicago Cubs hitters – The Cubs are fortunate enough to play three games in Coors Field this week, and while they’ll see Jon Gray’s turn in the rotation, it’s still worth playing them. They’ll also play the St. Louis Cardinals at home, which is better for their hitters than playing in Busch Stadium, and they’ll miss Carlos Martinez’s turn in the rotation. Luckily it seems like Anthony Rizzo will be coming off the DL on Monday, and it’s a good week to consider starting Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber, as the Cubs will face just one lefty all week.
Philadelphia Phillies hitters – The Phillies have a nice set of matchups this week, with three games against the Atlanta Braves and four games against the Pittsburgh Pirates. They will see Jameson Taillon this week, which could prove tricky, but that’s the only scary matchup they’ll have all week. They’re also only seeing one lefty all week, which is good news for both Odubel Herrera, who is a .295/.351/.450 career hitter against righties, and Nick Williams, who is a .287/.336/.488 career hitter against righties.
Detroit Tigers hitters – The Tigers have the benefit of a double-header this week against the Kansas City Royals on Friday, which is good news for their hitters. The only pitcher they’ll see that scares you at all this week is Danny Duffy, which could be tricky, but I’m not overly worried. Otherwise they get to see the Orioles and avoid Dylan Bundy, as well as the rest of the Royals rotation. If you’re desperate at catcher, James McCann could be worth a look, but the person I want to highlight specifically is Leonys Martin, who’s been slashing .320/.393/.520 over the past week. The Tigers will see five righties this week, and while Martin has never lit it up in the average department, he’s a much better hitter against righties (.252 career average) than lefties (.238 career average).
Washington Nationals hitters – The Nationals get a rough schedule this week. They’ll get to see the New York Mets for three games where they’ll see Jacob DeGrom, and then the Los Angeles Dodgers for three games where they’ll see Rich Hill and Clayton Kershaw. Not to mention Hyun-Jin Ryu, who just pitched a six-inning, eight-strikeout shutout last week. Obviously start your Nats studs, but I’d avoid their fringe guys.
Minnesota Twins hitters – The Twins and Indians will get to play two games in San Juan, Puerto Rico this week, which means both have short weeks. The Twins have an especially rough go of it this week, as they’ll get to see Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, and Chris Archer, not to mention Blake Snell who has flashed some solid potential.
San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres have some tough matchups this week, with a three-game series against the Dodgers where they’ll see Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda, and then a three-game series in Arizona where they’ll see Zach Godley and Patrick Corbin. I don’t mind starting them against Taijuan Walker, but there’s just not a lot of potential for success this week from your Padres hitters. If you’ve been riding the Jose Pirela hot streak, you might want to reconsider this week.
San Francisco Giants hitters – The Giants get to start the week against the Arizona Diamondbacks where they’ll see Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray, and Zack Greinke, all of which are very tough matchups. Then they’ll head to Los Angeles for a series against the Angels where they get the joy of facing the red-hot Shohei Ohtani. The Giants’ offense has been a bit rough as it is for fantasy purposes, and this week looks to be a tough one.
Seattle Mariners hitters – The Mariners’ start the week with a really tough slate of matchups, with a four-game series against the Houston Astros where they’ll see Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton. Then they head to Texas, which is better, as Globe Life Park is pretty hitter-friendly, but they’ll also see Mike Minor, who’s been very solid lately. I don’t mind starting your Mariners hitters against Bartolo Colon and Martin Perez, but that’s about it.