Photo by Julian Avram/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 8 (5/21 – 5/27) 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 Cubs hitters – The Cubs start off their week with a two-game series against the Cleveland Indians and luckily miss out on both Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, instead drawing Trevor Bauer and Adam Plutko. After that, they get a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants and their weak starting rotation, so feel free to toss guys like Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, and Albert Almora Jr. out there this week. It’s also worth noting that Addison Russell has been slashing .320/.433/.480 over the past two weeks and is available in 61% of leagues.
Baltimore Orioles hitters – The Orioles have been picking up their offense lately and they get a nice week this week. They start off with a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox and their weak rotation, followed by a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays and their similarly weak rotation (fortunately missing Chris Archer’s turn). You’re obviously already starting Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, but even Mark Trumbo warrants a look this week (and he’s available in 71% of leagues). Also, if you need help at the catcher position, Chance Sisco is available in 98% of leagues, and given that the Orioles recently released Caleb Joseph, it looks like the job mostly belongs to Sisco.
Chicago White Sox hitters – Speaking of the White Sox, they have a nice set of games this week. They get to see the Orioles’ mediocre rotation to start off the week, and even though they’ll see both Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, who have had moments of brilliance this season, they’ve both been inconsistent. They also get to see Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb, which should be hitter-friendly matchups. Then, the White Sox will head to Detroit to face off against the Tigers and fortunately miss both Michael Fulmer and Matthew Boyd’s turns in the rotation. So if you’ve got Welington Castillo (or if he’s on the waiver wire, because he’s 58% available), start him, especially since he’s been slashing .303/.324/.515 over the past two weeks. Also, in deeper leagues, Leury Garcia warrants a look, as he’s been slashing .316/.350/.526 over the past week and should get consistent starts with Nicky Delmonico hitting the DL on Saturday. Also, Yolmer Sanchez—who’s been slashing .286/.314/.418 over the past month—warrants a deep-league look.
Cincinnati Reds hitters – It’s time for the weekly edition of “who’s playing at Coors Field?” This week, the Reds will finish out the week with a three-game series in Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies. They’ll also see the Pittsburgh Pirates to start the week, with Jameson Taillon as the only pitcher of note. It’s specifically worth noting that the Reds will see five righties this week, which is good news for Scott Schebler, who’s got a career .235 ISO against righties, and Scooter Gennett who’s a career .299/.339/.477 hitter against righties.
Jurickson Profar – The Texas Rangers will get to see three left-handed pitchers this week, which is good news for the struggling Jurickson Profar, who’s slashing .324/.425/.647 against lefties this year. The guy has loads of talent and is able to get onto a hot streak pretty quickly—this week might just be the week that jumpstarts that a bit.
Cleveland Indians hitters – The Indians’ two-game series against the Cubs shouldn’t be too bad for their hitters, as they’ll face off against Tyler Chatwood and Jon Lester, but after that, things get rough. The Indians will then have a four-game series against the Houston Astros where they’ll get to see Charlie Morton, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, and Gerrit Cole. If you’re in a daily league, I’d start my Indians hitters against Chatwood and Lester, but that’s about it. In a weekly league, I don’t think it’s worth it (however you’re still starting your Indians studs like Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez).
Houston Astros hitters – Speaking of the Astros, they’ve got a tough slate this week as well. Similar to the Indians, they start off the week with a two-game series that should be fine for their hitters against the San Francisco Giants, facing off against Andrew Suarez and Jeff Samardzija. But after that, they have the aforementioned series against the Indians where they’ll get to see Mike Clevinger, Corey Kluber, and Carlos Carrasco. In a daily league, I’d go ahead and start my Astros hitters against Suarez, Samardzija, and Josh Tomlin, but that’s about it. In a weekly league, I’d likely look elsewhere.
Miami Marlins hitters – The Marlins start the week against the New York Mets, and I don’t have a problem starting your Marlins hitters against Jason Vargas and Zack Wheeler, but after that, they’ll see Jacob DeGrom, followed by a series against the Washington Nationals where they’ll see Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. In daily leagues, I don’t mind picking good matchups for your Marlins hitters, but in weekly leagues, it’s likely not going to be worth it.
Eric Hosmer – The Padres in general have some tough matchups this week, including facing off against Gio Gonzalez, Alex Wood, and Walker Buehler, but I specifically wanted to mention Hosmer as someone to avoid. The Padres will see three lefties this week, which is bad news for Hosmer, who’s slashing .220/.339/.440 against lefties so far this year. I’d likely avoid my Padres hitters in general this week (though I think you can pick and choose some good matchups), but I’d especially avoid Hosmer in those matchups against lefties.
Joey Gallo – You don’t have Joey Gallo for his batting average because his batting average sucks. You have Joey Gallo because he absolutely crushes home runs like it’s nothing. Well, like I mentioned before, the Rangers are facing three lefties this week, and that’s bad news for Gallo, as he’s slashing .140/.245/.419 against lefties so far this year. If you’re in a daily league, go ahead and plug and play Gallo against righties while benching him against lefties, but if you’re in a weekly league, I might look elsewhere.