Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire
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 6 (5/7 – 5/13) 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.
Baltimore Orioles hitters – I know, I know, Orioles hitters, really? The Orioles have been terrible to start the year (sigh) and it isn’t just the pitching like it usually is, it’s the offense too. But this week, the Orioles have some favorable matchups. First, they’ll face off against the Kansas City Royals and their mediocre rotation, then they’ll get to have a series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Now, they will see Jacob Faria and Chris Archer in their series against the Rays, but generally speaking, I think this week works well for your Orioles hitters, especially since they’ll be at home in hitter-friendly Camden Yards all week. Obviously you’re starting Manny Machado even if he’s matching up against the ghost of Satchel Paige, but this might also be a worthwhile week to start Trey Mancini. Mancini’s been struggling as of late, but luckily the Orioles will get to see at least three lefties this week, and Mancini is slashing .314/.385/.571 against lefties this year. There’s also the chance that Jonathan Schoop is back from the DL this week, so he warrants a start, as does potentially Danny Valencia who is a career .311/.370/.493 hitter against lefties and is available in 99% of leagues.
Colorado Rockies hitters – It’s time for the weekly edition of “Are the Rockies playing at home this week?” The answer: yes they are, and not just for a few games, but for all six of their games this week. And I’ll do you one better — the pitching matchups are great. They’ll start off with a two-game series against the Los Angeles Angels where they will see neither Shohei Ohtani or Garrett Richards, and then they’ll host the Milwaukee Brewers where the only somewhat-threatening pitcher they’ll see is Chase Anderson. But still, it’s in Coors, so I don’t really care who they’re facing. Given the matchups though, I’m starting just about every member of the Rockies I have — I’m talking Ian Desmond, Carlos Gonzalez, and if he’s starting, David Dahl.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters in Colorado – Oh, I assume you saw this coming? Generally speaking, if the Rockies are playing in Coors, you probably want to start their opponents’ hitters too. However, the Brewers start off the week with a two-game series at home against the Cleveland Indians where they’ll see Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. While being in hitter-friendly Miller Park helps, I’m avoiding those two matchups if I’m in a daily league. After that though, they’ll head to Coors, and I’m good starting my Brewers there. Now, if you’re in a weekly league, you don’t get the luxury of avoiding the Cleveland matchup, so should you start your Brewers? I think so. You’re likely not going to get much from the Kluber matchup, but Carrasco has been off and on (he does have a 3.95 ERA on the year so far), so there’s a chance the Brewers could get some runs off of him. Either way, four games at Coors is worth it.
Kevin Pillar and Teoscar Hernandez – The Toronto Blue Jays will get to see five left-handed pitchers this week, which is good news for both Pillar and Hernandez. Pillar is a career .291/.328/.443 hitter against lefties, and Hernandez has a career .227 ISO against them. Now, one of those lefties they’re going to see will be Chris Sale, so that will be tough, but otherwise, they should make for good matchup plays this week.
Philadelphia Phillies hitters – The Philles get to spend all week at home, and fortunately for them, they get to take on some pitching rotations that have some significant injury questions. They start off with a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants where they’ll miss Johnny Cueto thanks to his injury. Then, they’ll see the New York Mets, and while they’ll likely see Noah Syndergaard, there’s a chance that both Steven Matz and Jacob DeGrom (the other two starters they’re projected to see) miss their games with injuries (we’ll find that out later in the week). If that’s the case, I’m good with starting my Phillies.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – The Diamondbacks have a tough series of matchups at home this week, starting off with a two-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers where they’ll get to see Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood. Then, they’ll see the Washington Nationals and Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Now, they’ll also see Jeremy Hellickson, and I’m fine with starting your Diamondbacks in that matchup if you’re in a daily league, but otherwise, I’d avoid.
Oakland Athletics hitters – The A’s get to see two of the best pitching staffs in baseball this week, starting off with a series at home against the Houston Astros. There, they’ll get to see Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, and Gerrit Cole. Then, they head to New York to face off against the Yankees where they’ll see Luis Severino. I don’t have a problem starting your A’s against Domingo German, whom the A’s are likely to see in New York, but that’s about it.
Miami Marlins hitters – The Marlins start off their week in Chicago against the Cubs where they’ll see Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, and Jose Quintana, all matchups that lean favorably to the pitcher. Then, they’ll head home to host the Atlanta Braves and they’re surprisingly good pitching staff, including Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, and top prospect Mike Soroka, the latter of whom was quite impressive in his debut.
Cincinnati Reds hitters – The Reds may luck out at the beginning of the week in their series against the Mets and miss out on Jacob DeGrom if he’s injured. If that’s the case, I don’t necessarily mind starting my Reds against Jason Vargas and especially Zack Wheeler. However, after their Mets series, the Reds will head to L.A. to see the Dodgers and face off against Walker Buehler (who has been killing it), Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, and the one and only Clayton Kershaw. I’m avoiding my Reds there.
San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres get to spend all week at home in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, and they’ll see some tough matchups while they’re there too. They start off with a series against the Washington Nationals where they’ll see Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, the latter of whom has been pitching well with a 2.33 ERA on the year so far. Then, they’ll see the St. Louis Cardinals with Miles Mikolas, Luke Weaver, and Carlos Martinez. Given the matchups they’re likely to see and the pitcher-friendly environment, I think I’m gonna pass on most of my Padres.