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 4 (4/23 – 4/29) 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.
Chicago White Sox hitters – Not only do the White Sox have a double-header this week (which gives them an eight-game week), but they get to face a lot of easy pitching. They start the week off against the Mariners where they’ll luckily miss James Paxton’s turn in the rotation, seeing Mike Leake, Marco Gonzales, and Felix Hernandez instead. Felix has been off and on so far this year, so that could be a tough matchup, but overall I’m not worried. Then, they head to Kauffman Stadium to face off against the Kansas City Royals. They will see Jakob Junis and Danny Duffy, who could be somewhat tough, but those two are probably the scariest pitching matchups they’ll see all week. They’ll also likely see three lefties this week, which is good news for Tim Anderson, who’s a career .322/.337/.487 hitter against lefties, and Welington Castillo, who’s a .290/.352/.495 career hitter against lefties.
San Diego Padres hitters – It’s time for your weekly edition of “which team is playing at Coors Field?” This week, it’s the Padres, which should be great for their hitters. Not only do the Padres get to play at Coors though, they then head home for a three-game series against the New York Mets where they’ll luckily miss both Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom’s turns in the rotation, seeing Zach Wheeler, Jason Vargas, and Steven Matz instead, which I will gladly take. It’s likely that Manuel Margot and Wil Myers are back this week, so obviously start them, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep on starting the red-hot Christian Villanueva, who’s slashing .366/.469/.659 over the past two weeks.
Atlanta Braves hitters – The Braves get seven games this week: four against the Cincinnati Reds in the hitting-friendly confines of Great American Ballpark, and three in Philadelphia against the Phillies. The Braves will be fortunate enough to miss Luis Castillo’s turn in the rotation when facing the Reds, which means they’ll get all hitter-favorable matchups. They will see Aaron Nola and Nick Pivetta, which could be challenging, but overall your Braves hitters should be worth using. And not just your studs either, both Preston Tucker and Ryan Flaherty are worth a look this week too, as the Braves will be seeing six right-handed pitchers this week.
Seattle Mariners lefties – To be honest, the Mariners have an overalll tough schedule, as they’ll be seeing the likes of Mike Clevinger, Corey Kluber, and Carlos Carrasco, so I can’t really recommend all Mariners hitters, however they will likely be seeing seven right-handed pitchers this week, which is decent news for both Ben Gamel, who is a .272/.328/.412 hitter against righties from last year through this year, and Daniel Vogelbach, who’s a .301/.407/.487 hitter against righties between the majors and minors last year through this year.
Steve Pearce – The Blue Jays will start off their week against the Boston Red Sox and end it against the Texas Rangers, with all six games at home. The matchups aren’t super great for the whole team, but they are likely to see four left-handed pitchers, which is fairly good news for Steve Pearce, who had a .230 ISO against lefties last year and has a .286 ISO against them so far this year.
San Francisco Giants hitters – While the Giants do get a seven-game week thanks to a double-header against the Dodgers, it’s not going to be an easy week for their hitters. First off, they’ll be at home in super-pitcher-friendly AT&T Park all week, and second, they’re going to have some tough matchups. Throughout the week, they’ll get to see Max Scherzer, Alex Wood, and Kenta Maeda. I don’t mind using your Giants hitters in their matchup against Tanner Roark though.
Los Angeles Angels hitters – The Angels are going to get a handful of tough matchups this week, seeing the likes of Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, and Justin Verlander during their three-game series in Houston, and then Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka during their series against the Yankees. That’s especially bad news for the slumping Andrelton Simmons, who’s been slashing .205/.340/.318 over the past two weeks. I believe Simmons will bounce back, but I don’t think that’s happening this week.
Tampa Bay Rays hitters – The Rays start off the week with a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles where they’ll see Dylan Bundy, who has been one of the best pitchers in baseball so far this year. Then they’ll head to Boston where they’ll face off against the Red Sox and see David Price and Rick Porcello, the latter of whom has a 1.40 ERA on the year so far. I don’t mind starting your Rays hitters when they see Alex Cobb (who’s been terrible) and Chris Tillman while they’re in Baltimore.
Matt Olson – I don’t necessarily mind starting your Athletics hitters during their series in Texas against the Rangers, as they won’t really be seeing anyone too threatening, but when they head to Houston for their series against the Astros, they’ll get to see Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, and Gerrit Cole all in a row, which will be rough. However the week could be especially rough for Matt Olson, as the A’s are slated to see three left-handed pitchers this week, whom Olson is a career .189/.277/.365 hitter against.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – The Pirates will spend all week in pitcher-friendly PNC Park, which puts their hitters at a disadvantage. Not only that, but they’ll get to see Michael Fulmer, Carlos Martinez, Miles Mikolas, and Jack Flaherty this week, which should prove to be tough sledding. I don’t mind starting your Pirates hitters in their first two games of the week though, as they’ll see Jordan Zimmerman and Matthew Boyd.