Photo by: Juan DeLeon/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 19 (8/13 – 8/19) 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.
Kansas City Royals hitters – Believe it or not, the Royals actually have a pretty hitter-friendly schedule this week. starting off with a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays who have the sixth-worst ERA in all of baseball. Then, they’ll head to hitter-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field to face off against the Chicago White Sox, who have the third-worst ERA in all of baseball. Over the past month, Adalberto Mondesi has been slashing .291/.291/.473—he’s worth a look and is available in 90% of leagues. Also, Alex Gordon has been slashing .357/.426/.476 over the past two weeks and is worth a look in deeper leagues (he’s available in 98% of leagues).
Detroit Tigers hitters – The Tigers also get the pleasure of facing off against the White Sox and their poor pitching staff this week, but along with that, they’ll get to see the Minnesota Twins and miss Jose Berrios‘ turn in the rotation (though they will face Kyle Gibson). Obviously you’re already starting Nicholas Castellanos but Jeimer Candelario and Jose Iglesias warrant a look as well.
Cleveland Indians hitters – The Indians have a nice set of matchups this week, starting off with a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark where they’ll see Homer Bailey, Sal Romano, and Anthony DeSclafani. Then, they get to face off against the Baltimore Orioles and their rotation that’s ranked as the second-worst in baseball. It’s an especially good week for Indians lefties, as they’ll see nothing but right-handed pitching, which means you should be starting Yonder Alonso, who’s got a .214 ISO against righties so far this season.
Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto – The New York Mets will be seeing seven right-handed pitchers this week, which could benefit two of their lefties—Nimmo and Conforto. Nimmo on his career has a .200 ISO against right-handed pitchers with a .367 wOBA while Conforto on his career has a .232 ISO and .367 wOBA against righties.
Ben Zobrist – The Chicago Cubs will see six right-handed pitchers this week, which should be good news for Zobrist who’s been slashing .318/.414/.507 against righties so far this season. He’s available in 53% of leagues.
Oakland Athletics hitters – The A’s have a tough slate ahead of them this week. While they do get a six-game week, which is good, they’re going to see some difficult pitchers, including Marco Gonzales, James Paxton, Charlie Morton, Dallas Keuchel, and Justin Verlander. I would be avoiding just about every A’s player I’ve got save for Khris Davis and maybe Matt Chapman.
Houston Astros hitters – The Astros are working with a short week this week unfortunately, with just five games, and it’s going to be difficult to extract a lot of value out of those games. With Jose Altuve and George Springer missing from the offense, the counting stats are likely to go down, plus the Astros will be facing some pitchers who have been hot lately. Guys like German Marquez who has a 3.05 ERA over the past two weeks, Edwin Jackson who has a 2.50 ERA over the past month, and Trevor Cahill who has a 3.18 ERA over the past month.
Tampa Bay Rays hitters – The Rays get the joy of facing their AL East rivals, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox this week. While they will miss Luis Severino’s turn in the rotation, they’ll still see Masahiro Tanaka and Lance Lynn, the latter of whom has a 1.95 ERA over the past month, as well as David Price and Chris Sale. A lot of Rays hitters (like Mallex Smith) have been on major hot streaks lately, those might come to an end this week.
San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres get to spend their whole week this week at home in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, which is already a knock to their hitters. On top of that, they’ll be facing Andrew Heaney, Clay Buchholz (who has a 2.84 ERA over the past month), Zack Godley (who has a 2.90 ERA over the past month), and Zack Greinke, all of which should prove to be difficult matchups.
Kole Calhoun – I know I know. If you’ve read any of my Batter’s Box articles over the past couple weeks, you’ve seen me begging people to start picking up Kole Calhoun because he’s been awesome in the second half. In fact, since July 1, he’s slashing .306/.372/.711. But here’s the thing—the Los Angeles Angels are slated to face four left-handed starters this week, and during that same time span that Calhoun has been hot, he’s slashing .229/.309/.458 against lefties. That’s still a .229 ISO, which is great, but that average is rough to say the least. If you’re in a daily league, go ahead and toss Calhoun out there against righties, but in a weekly league, there are four games that will likely prove tough for him, and I’d avoid.