Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 1 (4/2 – 4/9)

Ben Palmer here and I’m excited for the first edition of Hitter Matchups for the 2017 season. Championships are won by making the right little decisions through the season and...

Ben Palmer here and I’m excited for the first edition of Hitter Matchups for the 2017 season. Championships are won by making the right little decisions through the season and micromanaging your lineup well can be the difference maker. 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 this week. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 1 (4/2 – 4/9) of the fantasy baseball season.


Evan Longoria – Typically, I tend to avoid games at Tropicana Field, it’s a park that tends to lean pitcher-friendly in just about every category, but Longoria has handled Tropicana pretty well, with even home/road splits. What I’m specifically interested in is Longoria’s matchup against CC Sabathia on Tuesday, as Longoria has had Sabathia’s number throughout his career. In 72 at-bats against Sabathia, Longoria is batting .403/.500/.819 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs. Those are some really solid numbers, and you should take advantage of them.

Giants Hitters – The Giants get a nice opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks for the beginning of the week, and this should definitely be taken advantage of, as Chase Field is one of the best hitters parks in baseball, especially when the roof is open (and it will be). While the opening day matchup could be tricky, as they’ll be facing Zack Greinke, the rest of the way should be smooth sailing, as they’ll be facing Patrick Corbin, Taijuan Walker, and Robbie Ray. These matchups are especially good for righties, so take a good look at guys like Hunter Pence, Buster Posey (you’re already starting him), and Eduardo Nunez.

Gerardo Parra – It’s always nice when a player is hitting in Coors Field, and lucky for Gerardo Parra, he gets to do that as the Rockies starting left fielder. Also fortunately for Parra, he’ll be facing a handful of right-handed pitchers in Coors during the Rockies series with the Dodgers, and Parra has extreme splits between righties and lefties, in favor against righties (a career .285 average against them). Parra has been killing it this spring, and he gets a really nice matchup against Brandon McCarthy in Coors. Obviously Parra’s matchup against Clayton Kershaw will be difficult (though he has decent career numbers against Kershaw), but overall, Parra is someone to take advantage of in this series.

Dodgers Hitters – The Dodgers have a niceeeeeee week this week. They start off with a solid series at home against the San Diego Padres joke of a rotation (especially Thursday’s matchup against the slow-pitch softballer Jered Weaver), and then they travel to the hitter’s paradise of Coors Field for three games against the Rockies. While you’re obviously already starting guys like Corey Seager, players like Logan Forsythe, Yasiel Puig, and Adrian Gonzalez should be taken seriously this week.

Cleveland Indians hitters – While the Indians have to face Yu Darvish on opening day, they have some really good matchups the rest of the week. They get Cole Hamels on Tuesday, which will be very good for their right-handed hitters, and they get a nice series in Arizona at Chase Field at the end of the week. As the Indians will be traveling to a National League park, they’ll lose their DH spot, however it seems that Carlos Santana will be playing in the outfield during their time in Arizona, so take advantage of him in an awesome ballpark. Their matchup versus Greinke could be tough, but they also get to face Patrick Corbin and Shelby Miller. Indians platoon guys, like Brandon Guyer and Austin Jackson, along with the standard Indians starters, should be under strong consideration this week.


San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres have an exceptionally difficult week this week, starting off with a three-game series against the Dodgers where they’ll get to face Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, and Rich Hill. Then, they come home to Petco Park for a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants, which will see them face off against Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. Their first game against the Giants will be against Matt Cain, and if there’s ever a day to start Padres this week, it’s probably that day, but aside from that, avoid all Padres hitters not named Wil Myers (and even then, if you have a better option, consider it). I would maybe consider Manuel Margot or Travis Jankowski against the Dodgers, simply because Yasmani Grandal isn’t exactly the best at throwing out baserunners, but at the same time, Margot and Janko will have to get on base to steal, and that could be hard.

St. Louis Cardinals hitters against the Cubs – The Cardinals get a tough matchup out of the gate this week with a three-game series at home in Busch Stadium, a definite pitchers park. They’ll face Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, and John Lackey, three very difficult pitchers (though Lackey’s matchup should prove a little better for lefties). However, things get a little better on Friday as they begin a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds and their mediocre pitching staff. Being in Busch Stadium will obviously give the advantage to the pitcher, but when you’re going against Bronson Arroyo and Scott Feldman, I think you’ll be OK. As an added note: I would still consider your speedsters (Dexter Fowler, Aledmys Diaz) against the Cubs, as you can easily run on Wilson Contreras, just be cautious.

Miami Marlins hitters – The Miami Marlins have one heck of a week one schedule, with a six-game road trip. Three games at the Washington Nationals and three games at the New York Mets. Both Nationals Park and Citi Field are pitchers parks, so that already poses Marlins hitters at a disadvantage, but add in the fact that their road trip will include games against Stephen Strasburg, Noah Syndergaard, and Robert Gsellman, and you’ve got a difficult series of games for the Marlins. I’d still recommend starting your studs, like Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and Dee Gordon, however if you were thinking of starting Justin Bour or Marcel Ozuna, I’d look elsewhere.

Hyun-Soo Kim and Seth Smith – This is really more for AL-only leagues and deep leagues, as Hyun-Soo Kim and Seth Smith aren’t owned in your standard 10-team leagues (maybe Kim in an OBP league), but aside from their matchup against Luis Severino, every matchup the Orioles have this week is a bad one for lefties. Kim and Smith are both in platoons on either side of the corner outfield and will only start against righties. The Orioles have only five games this week (so that sucks for weekly leagues) and three of them are against righties, which includes Marco Estrada, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka. Again, the only matchup there that doesn’t scare you is Severino (and maybe Estrada). So really, there’s one single game this week where Kim and Smith are usable, so just avoid them altogether.

Rays hitters not named Evan Longoria – I mentioned earlier that I’m not all that concerned about Evan Longoria this week, but for the other Rays hitters, I’d avoid them. The Rays get a tough slate of games against the Yankees and the Blue Jays which features matchups against the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Marcus Stroman, Francisco Liriano, and Aaron Sanchez. And all of these games will be in Tropicana Field, a park that leans pitcher-friendly. So if you were considering using guys like Corey Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier, Brad Miller, or Steven Souza, I’d think twice.

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.

4 responses to “Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 1 (4/2 – 4/9)”

  1. Andrew says:

    Wow this is exactly what I was looking for as I’m in a weekly categories league. Thanks for starting this serise! Thoughts on starting Hunter Renfroe this week? I gotta choose 3 OF and the options I have are Trumbo (only have 5 games this week), Piscotty, Kiermaier, DeShields, and Kiermaier.

  2. DJ says:

    Need a quick answer here- weekly league would you start jhonny peralta or steve pearce?

  3. Ben Palmer says:

    Hmmm this sounds familiar, did I answer this question on Reddit?

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