If you’re unfamiliar with this article series, each week I take a look at some hitting matchups you should take advantage of and some hitting matchups you should avoid, based on who the hitters will likely be facing on the mound.
So here’s who you should start and avoid in Week 4 (4/26-5/2) 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 for any number of reasons, especially given how fluid things are this season. 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 – The Red Sox get maybe the best schedule in terms of hitter-friendly matchups this week, with six games all against pretty bad pitching staffs. They start with a three-game series against the Tigers, who own the worst team FIP in baseball right now, and close the week with three games (out of a four-game series that bleeds into the following week) against the Orioles in Camden Yards. Over the past two weeks, Alex Verdugo has been on fire, slashing .359/.419/.538, so make sure he’s in your lineups this week.
Chicago White Sox hitters – The White Sox only get five games this week, but they’re five games I think you can take advantage of. They start with a two-game series against the Reds where they’ll face Jeff Hoffman and Sonny Gray, neither of whom have been particularly impressive this year. Then, they’ll close the week with a three-game series against the Royals where they’ll dodge the two best members of that pitching staff so far this year—Danny Duffy and Brady Singer. And as an added bonus, all five games will be on the road, and both Great American Ballpark and Kauffman Stadium are top-10 hitters’ parks, per Statcast. If he’s still available in your league, grab Nick Madrigal this week, as he’s been slashing .364/.389/.576 over the past two weeks.
Atlanta hitters – Atlanta has six games this week, starting with a three-game series against the Nationals where they’ll dodge Max Scherzer and instead face the rest of the Nats bad pitching rotation. Then, they’ll close the week with a three-game series against the Phillies, and while they will face Aaron Nola in that series (which I would dodge in daily leagues), the rest of the series looks fine. Over the past two weeks, Austin Riley has been slashing .455/.571/.788 and warrants a start this week.
Minnesota Twins hitters – The Twins have themselves a seven-game week this week, starting with a four-game series against the Rangers, who own the eighth-worst team FIP in baseball so far this year. Then, they’ll close the week with a three-game series against the aforementioned Tigers and their terrible pitching staff, all of which adds up to be a nice week for your Twins hitters.
Yandy Díaz – Díaz hasn’t exactly been great so far this year (or even good), but if you’re in a deep league and are looking for a guy to stream this week, he might be your guy. The Rays have a seven-game week and are slated to face four left-handed pitchers, and on his career, Díaz is a .291/.403/.437 hitter against lefties. And while he’s been really bad so far this year, it’s been mostly against righties that he’s struggled. In an extremely small sample size, Díaz is hitting .300/.447/.367 (I know, the slugging is bad) against lefties this year. Again, this is more of a deep-league add if you’re looking for a guy to slot in this week who is likely on the waiver wire and will be basically free (or literally free) in FAAB.
St. Louis Cardinals hitters – The Cardinals spend all week at home in pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium this week and start their week off with a four-game series against the Mets where they’ll get to see Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Taijuan Walker, all of whom have been excellent so far this year (but you didn’t need me to tell you deGrom is good). Then, they’ll close their week against the Rockies, and while two of those matchups (against Austin Gomber and Chi Chi González) aren’t all that scary, I’m always wary of facing Germán Márquez outside of Coors. In daily leagues though, Gomber and Gonzalez are worth taking advantage of.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – The D’Backs get six games this week, starting with a three-game series against the Marlins where they’ll see Sandy Alcantara and Pablo López, both of whom have been excellent so far this year. Then, they close the week with a three-game series against the aforementioned Mets (who, by the way, own the best team FIP in baseball). And guess what? They get to see deGrom too.
Kansas City Royals hitters – The Royals have seven games this week, which normally would be exciting, but they have some tough matchups. They start with a four-game series against Cleveland where they get to see Aaron Civale and Shane Bieber, and they close the week with three games against the White Sox where they’ll get to see Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito. There are a couple matchups you can take advantage of here, but in weekly leagues, I don’t know that there’s enough value to be had this week.
Cincinnati Reds hitters – The Reds only get five games this week and essentially get the reverse of what the Royals get, starting with two games against the White Sox where they’ll get to face Carlos Rodón, and closing with three games against Cleveland where they’ll also see Aaron Civale. With just five games this week and at least two of them being really tough matchups, I’d dodge my Reds hitters this week in weekly leagues.
Brandon Lowe – It’s been tough being a Brandon Lowe owner this year, and I think this week is going to continue to be tough. As I previously mentioned the Rays are slated to face four left-handed pitchers this week, and on his career, Lowe is a .216/.289/.449 hitter against lefties. And it’s facing lefties that’s really been bringing him down so far this year. It’s still early, but against righties, Lowe is slashing a decent .250/.366/.517, but against lefties so far, he’s at .036/.156/.036.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)