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 5 (4/29-5/5) 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.
Tampa Bay Rays hitters – The Rays have almost certainly the best schedule for hitters this week, playing seven games against two really bad rotations. They start off the week with a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals who own the sixth-worst team ERA in all of baseball, and then they close the week with a three-game series in hitter-friendly Camden Yards against the Baltimore Orioles, who own the worst team ERA in all of baseball. I think there’s a decent bit of value to be had here, and I’d recommend starting just about every Ray you have. Avisail Garcia, who owns a .311 ISO over the past two weeks (available in 86% of leagues), Yandy Diaz, who’s slashing .268/.377/.512 over the past two weeks (available in 55% of leagues), and Brandon Lowe, who’s slashing .304/.360/.652 over the past two weeks (available in 49% of leagues) are all worth a start this week.
Boston Red Sox hitters – The Red Sox have another week of solid matchups worthy of exploiting this week, starting with a three-game series at home in hitter-friendly Fenway Park against the Oakland Athletics who own the 12th-worst team ERA in baseball, followed by a four-game series in hitter-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field against the Chicago White Sox, who own the third-worst team ERA in baseball. Rafael Devers has finally started picking things up, slashing .282/.391/.359 over the past two weeks and is worth a start, as is recent call-up Michael Chavis, who’s available in 91% of leagues.
New York Mets hitters – The Mets also have a seven-game week this week, which is great, starting off with a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. Now, they will face Luis Castillo this week, who’s been looking really good, and in daily leagues I’d avoid that matchup. But otherwise, I’m not overly scared of the Reds’ rotation. Then, the Mets will head to hitter-friendly Miller Park to face off against the Milwaukee Brewers, who own the seventh-worst team ERA in baseball. They’re also facing nothing but righties, which is good news for Brandon Nimmo (available in 48% of leagues) who slashed .275/.424/.521 against righties last year, and Jeff McNeil (available in 45% of leagues) who slashed .345/.396/.470 against righties last year.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters – The Brewers have a seven-game this week all at home in one of the best hitters parks in baseball. And fortunately for them, they’ve got some good matchups to exploit, starting with a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies. Now, they will see German Marquez, who I’d avoid in daily leagues, but that’s the only matchup I’m worried about. Then, as previously mentioned, they’ll host the Mets and get to miss both Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard‘s turns in the rotation. While I’m a Zack Wheeler believer and think he could pose a tough matchup, generally I think you’ll be good to start your Brewers.
Nick Ahmed – Nick Ahmed‘s quietly been having a pretty decent season, slashing .270/.306/.430 on the year so far, including .280/.357/.520 over the past week. This week, the Arizona Diamondbacks will be facing three left-handed pitchers, which is good news for him, as he’s been slashing .448/.433/.724 against lefties so far and is a career .283/.325/.459 hitter against them.
Minnesota Twins hitters – I know it’s going to be hard to bench some of your Twins, and in all honesty, I’m not saying you should bench Jorge Polanco (god no I would never say that) or Eddie Rosario or Nelson Cruz. However some of the more middle-of-the-road hitters like C.J. Cron and Max Kepler, I’d advise sitting. Why? Because the Twins start the week with a four-game series against the Houston Astros where they’ll see Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Colin McHugh, and Brad Peacock, all of which should prove tough matchups. Then they’ll see the New York Yankees and James Paxton and Domingo German, the latter of whom is sporting a 1.84 ERA and 11.05 K/9 over the past two weeks.
St. Louis Cardinals hitters – The Cardinals also have a difficult series of games this week, starting with a four-game series against the Washington Nationals where they’ll see Patrick Corbin, Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg. Then they’ll face the Chicago Cubs where they’ll see Jose Quintana, who’s got a 1.29 ERA over the past two weeks.
San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres start their week off with a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves where they’ll see some good pitchers, including Mike Soroka (who’s got a 1.69 ERA in his past two starts), Max Fried (who’s sporting a 2.30 ERA on the season so far), and Mike Foltynewicz who will be one start removed from his DLH (or I guess we’re calling it his Still Sick start now?).
Cincinnati Reds hitters – As previously mentioned, the Reds will start off the week with a four-game series against the Mets, where they’ll get to see Zack Wheeler, Jacob DeGrom, and Noah Syndergaard, none of which are great matchups for your Reds hitters. Then they’ll see the San Francisco Giants and Derek Holland (who, admittedly, can be a bit off and on, but is a better pitcher than I think his stats show this year), Dereck Rodriguez (who has a 2.53 ERA over the past two weeks), and Jeff Samardzija (who’s looked solid this year with a 3.00 ERA). In daily leagues, there are some worthwhile matchups to exploit, specifically the ones against Jason Vargas and Drew Pomeranz, but in weekly leagues, I think it’s going to be difficult to find much in the way of value here.
Joc Pederson – The Los Angeles Dodgers get to see four left-handed pitchers this week, and you know what that means—it’s the week to avoid starting Joc Pederson if you can. Throughout his career, Pederson just hasn’t been able to hit lefties, slashing .177/.260/.308 against them on his career and a miserable .083/.083/.083 (yes, really) against them so far this year.
(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)