Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 1 (4/1-4/7)

The hitters you should start and avoid this week in fantasy.

What’s up everyone! And welcome to the new MLB season! I’m really excited to be here for the sixth year (!) of this article series.

If you’re unfamiliar with this 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.

As a new part of this article series this year, I’ll also be focusing on catchers you can stream each week since we all know that catcher can be an especially tricky position in fantasy.

If you’d like to learn more about when it becomes less risky to stream hitters (and pitchers) and when certain team stats start to stabilize during the year, check out this article.

So let’s take a look at the hitters to start and avoid in Week 1 (April 1 to April 7) 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. 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 – If you’ve read this article series before, you know one of the first things I look to when I’m looking at hitters to stream in a week is “who’s playing in Coors?” This is for a couple of reasons: 1. Coors Field is obviously the most hitter-friendly ballpark in baseball, and 2. The Rockies have one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball (and they still do). Lucky for the Rays, they’ll end their week with three games in Coors Field, which already puts them at an advantage this week.

On top of that, they start the week off with three games against the Rangers where they’ll face Dane Dunning, Andrew Heaney, and Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi can be a tough matchup, but Dunning and Heaney don’t worry me at all, so your Rays should be good this week.

CATCHER TO STREAM: If you’re in a super deep league (I’m thinking those two-catcher NFBC leagues), this week’s matchups are favorable enough that you might be able to squeeze some value out of René Pinto.


Kansas City Royals hitters – The Royals have a full seven-game week this week, starting with three games against the Orioles where they’ll see Dean Kremer, Cole Irvin, and Corbin Burnes. Obviously, the Burnes game is a total avoid (especially given his dominant Opening Day performance against the Angels), but neither Kremer nor Irvin scares me at all from a hitter’s perspective.

After that, the Royals will get four games against the White Sox, a team that had the fifth-worst team FIP in the league last year and whose rotation has not exactly gotten better. The Royals are slated to see Michael Soroka, Erick Fedde, Chris Flexen, and Nick Nastrini.

While Soroka and Fedde seem like interesting guys, none of those pitchers are guys to avoid, so you’re good starting your Royals. This might not be a bad week to get MJ Melendez or Maikel Garcia out there.


Atlanta hitters – Similar to the Royals, Atlanta will also see the White Sox this week, starting their week off with three games in Guaranteed Rate Field where they’ll see Flexen, Nastrini, and Garrett Crochet.

I know Crochet had a pretty good stat line on his Opening Day start, but he’s not someone I think (as of now) can be a reliable starter. He’s got a nasty slider and a nice fastball, but I saw two problems in that start: 1. He was pitching like a reliever (i.e. he was just going with a fastball/slider approach), and 2. He had virtually no command of his pitches. So I’m not worried about Crochet.

After the White Sox series, Atlanta will be off to see the Diamondbacks where they’ll face Tommy Henry, Brandon Pfaadt, and Ryne Nelson, another set of matchups that don’t worry me at all for my hitters.

CATCHER TO STREAM: With a solid slate of matchups and a good lineup around him, Travis d’Arnaud could have some value this week if you’re in need of a catcher to stream.


Philadelphia Phillies hitters – The Phillies have a six-game week this week, starting off with three games against the Reds, a team that had the fourth-worst team FIP in baseball last year. The main difference with this year’s Reds though is the addition of Frankie Montas, who the Phillies will face, but he doesn’t worry me enough to bench my Phillies hitters. The Phillies will also see Andrew Abbott and Graham Ashcraft in that series, and while Abbott certainly has the potential to be good, neither he nor Ashcraft worries me all that much yet.

After the Reds series, the Phillies will face the Nationals where they’ll see Trevor Williams, Josiah Gray, and Patrick Corbin, a series that theoretically should be great for your Phillies hitters. Should be a good week to get Alec Bohm in your lineups and maybe even Brandon Marsh and Johan Rojas in deeper leagues.


Detroit Tigers hitters – The Tigers also have a six-game week this week, starting off with three games against the Mets where they’ll see Sean Manaea, Adrian Houser, and Jose Quintana, three pitchers who should not scare you away from starting your Tigers hitters in the least.

And even better, after that the Tigers will face off against the Athletics where they’ll see JP Sears, Paul Blackburn, and Joe Boyle. Boyle is certainly an interesting guy from a pure stuff perspective but there’s plenty of work still to be done, and the Tigers could be in for a nice full week with some good matchups.

CATCHER TO STREAM: If you need a catcher this week, the matchups are favorable enough that I think you could definitely get some value out of Jake Rogers. While Rogers has strikeout issues, don’t forget the guy posted 21 home runs and a .224 ISO in 107 games last year, so there’s value to be had.




Milwaukee Brewers hitters – The main thing that hurts your Brewers hitters this week is their five-game slate. In weekly leagues, that immediately puts them at a big disadvantage.

What’s worse, they’ll be facing off against the Twins for two games and then the Mariners for three. In that Twins series, they’ll see Chris Paddack and Louie Varland, and then they’ll face Logan Gilbert, Bryce Miller, and Emerson Hancock in the Mariners series. Gilbert may be the only definite ace of the bunch, but pretty much every single one of those guys has the capability of being a big headache for hitters, and that, combined with a five-game week, means you should avoid your Brewers this week.


Cleveland Guardians hitters – The Guardians have a rough six-game slate this week, starting off with three games against the Mariners, a team that owned the second-best team FIP in the league last year. In that series, they’ll see Emerson Hancock, Luis Castillo, and George Kirby.

Then, after that series, the Guardians will head to Minnesota to see the Twins and face Pablo López, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober. All in all, those are at least five matchups that are definite avoids—in daily leagues, I wouldn’t be opposed to starting your Guardians against Hancock.


San Francisco Giants hitters – The Giants have six games this week, starting with three in Los Angeles against the Dodgers where they’ll see James Paxton, Tyler Glasnow, and Bobby Miller. Glasnow and Miller are obvious avoids and certainly Paxton has the potential to be difficult for hitters as well.

After that, the Giants will host the Padres in their very pitcher-friendly home field of Oracle Park where they’ll face Dylan Cease, Michael King, and Matt Waldron. Waldron and King both have the potential to be pretty good and certainly, we know Cease can dominate. Given that they’ll also be in a pretty pitcher-friendly park, those matchups mixed with the tough matchups in L.A. make me hesitant to start my Giants this week.


Minnesota Twins hitters – This is another case of a five-game week really hurting a team’s value. The Twins have just five games this week, starting with two against the Brewers where they’ll see Jakob Junis and Freddy Peralta. Junis doesn’t worry me at all, but Peralta certainly does, so in daily leagues, feel free to start your Twins against Junis.

After that, the Twins will host the Guardians where they’ll see Tanner Bibee, Carlos Carrasco, and Triston McKenzie. Carrasco isn’t someone that concerns me much, but Bibee and McKenzie have the potential to be headaches. With the potentially tough matchups and just a five-game week, it’s enough to make me consider benching my Twins hitters for other guys, especially in weekly leagues.

Ben Palmer

Senior columnist at Pitcher List. Lifelong Orioles fan, also a Ravens/Wizards/Terps fan. I also listen to way too much music, watch way too many movies, and collect way too many records.

One response to “Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 1 (4/1-4/7)”

  1. Nicolas Richards says:

    The only other thing I might add are Mets hitters, simply because it is supposed to rain the next four days in New York. Maybe they get the Monday game in, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to postpone one or both of the Tue/Wed games. Which is also another reason to avoid playing DET hitters.

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