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 6 (5/6-5/12) 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.
Houston Astros hitters – The Astros get the fortune of a seven-game week against two pretty poor pitching staffs. They start off with a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals who own the fifth-worst team ERA in baseball, and close the week with a four-game series against the Texas Rangers, who own the third-worst team ERA in baseball. Obviously you’re starting your Astros studs. In addition, consider Josh Reddick, who’s slashing .344/.394/.469 so far this season (including .378/.440/.556 over the past two weeks) and is available in 77% of leagues. Robinson Chirinos, who’s slashing .281/.368/.438 over the past two weeks and is available in 75% of leagues, is also prime consideration for those streaming backstops.
Chicago Cubs hitters – The Cubs are set up to have a hitter-favorable schedule this week, starting with a four-game series at home against the Miami Marlins who own the ninth-worst team ERA in baseball. Yes, they will face the love of my life Caleb Smith, but that’s the only matchup I’m worried about. Then, they’ll host the Milwaukee Brewers whose pitching staff owns the fourth-worst ERA in baseball. All in all, it looks like a good week to start your Cubs.
Minnesota Twins hitters – The Twins have a seven-game week, including a double-header against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday. The matchup offers plenty of opportunities for fantasy goodness as they’ll miss Matt Boyd’s turn in the rotation. Then, they’ll see the Toronto Blue Jays in hitter-friendly Rogers Centre. In a weekly league, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a team that could you could squeeze more value out of given how hot the Twins have been. The club has sported a .342 wOBA as a team so far this year, which good for fourth-best in baseball. Jorge Polanco is somehow still available in 36% of leagues (WHY?!) despite his .327/.400/.618 slashline on the season. Meanwhile, Jonathan Schoop has been slashing .306/.333/.612 over the past two weeks and is still available in 40% of leagues.
Colorado Rockies hitters – This one is pretty simple—the Rockies spend six games all at home in Coors Field this week, and while they will see Madison Bumgarner, I’m not concerned about any other pitching matchups. More to the point, it’s Coors Field. I would be hard pressed not starting every member of the Rockies when they’re playing at home.
Brandon Belt – Generally speaking, it’s not a bad idea to start your San Francisco Giants this week. They get three games in Coors Field. However, I want to specifically call out Brandon Belt, who is scheduled to see nothing but right-handed pitchers this week. Belt sports a career .270/.363/.468 hitter against righties (he’s also a career .319/.379/.562 hitter in Coors Field). He’s available in 87% of leagues.
BONUS: Generally speaking, I highlight five teams/players worth starting and five teams/players worth avoiding in each article, but there seems to be a glut of good hitting matchups this week, and there’s one more team I wanted to mention—the Los Angeles Angels. Why? They’ll be seeing the Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles (in Camden Yards) this week, which is likely a boon for their hitters. If you need some power, Kole Calhoun has put out a .334 ISO over the past two weeks and is probably a safe bet to homer in Baltimore. A team that gives away home runs like candy on Halloween. Andrelton Simmons, who’s available in 42% of leagues, is slashing .345/.368/.545 over the past two weeks.
Texas Rangers hitters – The Rangers spend their six-game week on the road this week, starting with a two-game series in pitcher-friendly PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates. They’ll see Joe Musgrove and whoever takes Jameson Taillon’s spot in the rotation (which might already be announced by the time you read this). Those matchups likely won’t be too bad, but they’re not awesome either, especially in PNC. Then, they’ll see the Houston Astros and Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Beyond the study, they will see Wade Miley, who’s sporting a 3.09 ERA over the past two weeks.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters – Now, I know, the Brewers have a pretty good offense. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to sit your Brewers studs. However, they are slated to have some tough pitching matchups this week, starting with a three-game series against the Washington Nationals where they’ll see Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Then, they head to Chicago to face off against the Cubs. While I am not worried about the Cole Hamels matchup, they will see Jose Quintana. Quintana has been quietly solid this year, throwing to the tune of a 3.48 ERA and 10.16 K/9 on the season. If that weren’t enough, Jon Lester, who’s been excellent, sporting a 1.73 ERA on the year (including a 0.75 ERA over his past two starts) will round out the series.
New York Mets hitters – The Mets start their week with a three-game series in pitcher-friendly Petco Park against the San Diego Padres. Now, you may not necessarily think of the Padres as a good pitching team, but they own the fifth-best team ERA in baseball. The Mets will be seeing their “aces” in Chris Paddack and Matt Strahm, the latter of whom has a 3.00 ERA over the past two weeks. The Mets then have a three-game series against the Miami Marlins, and while I said earlier that the Marlins pitching staff hasn’t been great, the Mets are slated to face off against the team’s two best pitchers in Pablo Lopez, who has a 3.00 ERA over the past two weeks, and Caleb Smith, who has been absolutely lights out this year.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – The Diamondbacks will start off on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays. They have the unfortunate task of seeing Blake Snell, Charlie Morton, and Tyler Glasnow. Woof. After that series, they will host a couple of tough Atlanta Braves arms, including Mike Soroka (1.54 ERA over the past two weeks) and Max Fried (3.38 ERA over the past two weeks). They’ll also see Mike Foltynewicz, who is still regaining form, and Julio Teheran, whom I think is a matchup you can take advantage of in daily leagues.
Jesse Winker – Listen, I love Jesse Winker. I really do. He’s one of my favorite hitters. That said, I don’t think you can start him this week. I know he’s been hot (.313/.411/.583 over the past two weeks), but here’s the deal—the Cincinnati Reds will see four left-handed pitchers this week, and Winker is a career .172/.300/.269 hitter against lefties. He’s got some mad platoon splits, and in all honesty, I’d be surprised if the Reds even started him in those lefty games. Even if they do, you have to bench him because there’s no way he’s going to help your team. That leaves just three games against righties that Winker could be useful. In a daily league, go a head and start him in those games. In a weekly league, however, I think you’ve gotta look at other options.
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