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 4 (4/22-4/28) 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.
Boston Red Sox hitters – I know, I know. You’re frustrated with your Red Sox hitters. I get it. You want to give up hope. I understand. But if there’s a week the Red Sox can bounce back and start hitting the way you expected they would when you drafted them, this is the week. They have a seven-game week, which is great, and all seven of those contests are at home in hitter-friendly Fenway Park, which is even better. And, on top of all that, they’ll have four games against the Detroit Tigers (and avoid Matt Boyd’s turn in the rotation). Then they’ll see the Tampa Bay Rays. Blake Snell might pitch the first game of the series, and if that’s the case, I’m still OK starting Red Sox, because if there’s ever a time to face Snell, it’s during his DLH (though I guess it’s time to change that to ILH?). Still, I think you’re OK starting guys like Rafael Devers and even Jackie Bradley Jr./strong>.
Colorado Rockies hitters – Good news, everyone! The Rockies have a three-game homestand this week against the Washington Nationals, and they’ll miss both Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. They’ve still got to face Patrick Corbin, so in a daily league that might be something to avoid, but otherwise, you’re good starting your Rockies in Coors. And then after that, they’ll head to Atlanta to face off against a Braves rotation I’m not particularly scared of. They’ll see Touki Toussaint, Max Fried, and Kevin Gausman—all good pitchers but not enough that I’d consider benching my Rockies. Also, while SunTrust Park hasn’t been the greatest for home runs so far this year, it’s been one of the top 10 parks for hits.
Chicago White Sox hitters – The White Sox start their week with the best possible situation: a three-game series in Camden Yards against the Baltimore Orioles who have, and this is not a joke, a 5.93 team ERA (worst in the majors) as of this writing. Then, they’ll get a three-game series against the Tigers, and while they will see Boyd, I’m still fine starting White Sox this week. In a daily league, I might dodge the Boyd matchup, but otherwise, start your White Sox, especially guys like Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada, who have been on fire the past couple of weeks. Also worth mentioning is Leury Garcia, who’s available in 93% of leagues and has been leading off for the White Sox and is good for some speed if you need it.
Philadelphia Phillies hitters – With Jacob deGrom’s elbow injury, the Phillies will get to miss both him and Noah Syndergaard when they start the week against the New York Mets, which means they get to see, among others, Jason Vargas, who has given up nine earned runs in his last 5.1 innings pitched. Then the Phillies will have a four-game series against the Miami Marlins, and while the matchup against Caleb Smith could prove to be tricky (I’d avoid in daily leagues), the rest of the series should be solid, as the Marlins have the 11th-highest team ERA in baseball.
Jose Martinez – Fortunately for Jose Martinez, the St. Louis Cardinals will see nothing but right-handed pitchers this week, and last year Martinez slashed .313/.366/.468 against righties. He’s available in 66% of leagues.
New York Yankees hitters – While the Yankees will see some somewhat favorable pitching matchups this week, they’ll be hitting in nothing but pitcher-friendly parks, and serious pitcher-friendly parks at that. They’ll start the week with a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in pitcher-friendly Angel Stadium, followed by a three-game series in very pitcher-friendly Oracle Park, where they’ll also get to face Madison Bumgarner and Derek Holland, as well as Dereck Rodriguez, who’s coming off two great starts.
San Diego Padres hitters – I know, it’s kind of easy to just blanket say “avoid the Padres,” but seriously, I’d specifically avoid them this week. They only get a five-game week, which sucks, and for two of those games they’ll see Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. So that means there’s really only three games, maybe, that you can feel OK starting your Padres, and in a weekly league, I think you’ve got better options.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – The Pirates start their week with a four-game homestand in pitcher-friendly PNC Park against the Arizona Diamondbacks. While I think the matchup against Zack Godley is worth taking advantage of, they’ll also see Luke Weaver, who has a 2.76 ERA over the past two weeks, and Zack Greinke. They’ll also see Merrill Kelly, who’s been off and on this year, but I just think he’s a good pitcher and could be in for a good start. Then they’ll head to L.A. to face off against the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda. So there are some rough-looking matchups ahead for the Pirates, and as a result, I might reel in guys like Melky Cabrera (if you picked him up for his hot streak), Josh Bell, and Adam Frazier.
Toronto Blue Jays hitters – This is pretty specifically for weekly leagues, because the Toronto Blue Jays are the other team that has just five games this week. The pitching matchups aren’t terrible, though they’ll see Jeff Samardzija, who’s been solid this year, and Brett Anderson, who’s got a 2.84 ERA over the past two weeks, but the main issue here is the five-game week. In a weekly league, I don’t think you can afford to start any non-stud players who are just playing five games. In daily leagues, I think there are a couple matchups you can take advantage of with the Blue Jays (especially the Mike Fiers matchup), but in weekly leagues, I’d avoid.
Juan Soto – This is, again, really for weekly leagues, though it bears a warning for daily leagues as well. The Nationals will see four left-handed pitchers this week, and Soto so far this year has been rough against lefties, slashing .211/.286/.474. In a daily league, you’re starting Soto against every righty, but I’d consider benching him against lefties if you have a better option. And in a weekly league, I’d also consider benching him if you have a better option, since four of his games this week will be against lefties.
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