Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 3 (4/15-4/21)

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

What’s up everyone!

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. 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 3 (4/15-4/21) 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.




Seattle Mariners hitters – The Mariners get a six-game week this week, starting off with three games against the Reds, a team that so far this year has the 11th-worst team FIP in the league. In that series, they’ll face Frankie Montas, Hunter Greene, and Nick Martinez.

Now, certainly Montas and Greene have the potential to be difficult matchups for hitters, and Montas especially has looked good so far, but it’s not enough to make me avoid my Mariners hitters. Especially because of the next series the Mariners get, which is three games against the Rockies in Coors Field.

So in all, we’ve got three decent matchups against the Reds and a great series in Coors Field, so that’s more than enough to warrant starting your Mariners. Ty France has started off the year with a decent batting average, slashing .333/.364/.381 so far. There hasn’t been any power yet, but in some leagues if you need some help with batting average (and perhaps the power will come soon), France could be useful.

Meanwhile, Dominic Canzone is sporting a .334 ISO on the year so far and could be useful in deeper leagues as well. The Mariners are only slated to see one lefty this week, so Canzone should theoretically be in the lineup the majority of the week.


Philadelphia Phillies hitters – The Phillies also have a six-game week this week and just like the Mariners, they also play the Rockies. Unfortunately not like the Mariners, they’ll be hosting the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park and not playing in Coors Field, but that’s okay because the Rockies have the second-worst team FIP in the league, so it’s still a good series for your Phillies hitters.

After that, the Phillies will be hosting a three-game series against the White Sox, a team who has the third-worst team FIP in the league. In that series, the Phillies will see Garrett Crochet, Michael Soroka, and Erick Fedde, and while Crochet has looked pretty good, all in all I’m not especially worried about my Phillies hitters here.

Brandon Marsh has had a great start to the year, slashing .326/.348/.628 so far, and is definitely worth a start this week. And if you’ve been waiting for Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott to start getting it together this year, this might be the week that happens.


Los Angeles Dodgers hitters – The Dodgers have six games this week, starting off with three against the Nationals, a series where they’ll face Patrick Corbin, Jackson Rutledge, and Jake Irvin, none of whom scare me in the least.

After that, the Dodgers will get three games against the Mets where they’ll see Sean Manaea, José Buttó, and Adrian Houser. Manaea has looked decent so far but he’s not someone I’m actively avoiding, and while Butto looked solid in a spot start against the Tigers, he’s again not someone I’m concerned about as of right now, making this week six solid games for you to start your Dodgers hitters.


Tampa Bay Rays hitters – The Rays have a seven-game week this week, which automatically puts their hitters at an advantage in weekly leagues. On top of that, they’re slated to have a pretty decent week from a matchup standpoint.

They start the week off with four games against the Angels, who own the seventh-worst team FIP in baseball right now. In that series, they’ll see Patrick Sandoval, José Soriano, Reid Detmers, and Griffin Canning. Of those, Detmers is the only one I’m really hesitant on, as he’s looked great so far (though it’s only been three games, so I’m not giving him the Cy Young just yet). Other than that, I think you’re fine starting your Rays hitters.

After that, the Rays get three games against the Yankees where they’ll see Clarke Schmidt, Luis Gil, and Nestor Cortes. Admittedly, Gil has looked pretty good so far, Cortes and Schmidt a little less so, but none of them are guys I’m actively avoiding just yet.

So with seven games, all generally pretty solid matchups, I think this is a good week for your Rays hitters, especially in weekly leagues. José Caballero has started off the year hot, slashing .341/.364/.488, and is definitely worth a look this week.

CATCHER TO STREAM: If you’re in a deeper league (or a two-catcher league) and you’re looking for a catcher to stream this week, Ben Rortvedt has actually been pretty decent so far this year, slashing .333/.440/.429 so far. Now the Rays are slated to face three lefties this week, which might mean René Pinto is in for those games, but I still think Rortvedt could have some value if you have a need at catcher.


Kansas City Royals hitters – The Royals have six games this week, starting off with three games against the White Sox where they’ll see Erick Fedde, Jared Shuster, and Chris Flexen, none of whom scare me in the least from a hitter perspective.

After that, the Royals get three games against the Orioles where they’ll see Dean Kremer, Corbin Burnes, and Cole Irvin. Obviously, the Burnes matchup is an avoid, so if you’re in a daily league, I’d bench your Royals hitters there, but neither Kremer nor Irvin are all that scary, so you should be good there.

Nelson Velázquez has started off the year well, slashing .326/.380/.522, and is worth a look this week, as is MJ Melendez, who’s slashing .295/.392/.614 to start the year so far.




Toronto Blue Jays hitters – The Blue Jays have six games this week, starting with three against the Yankees where they’ll see Nestor Cortes, Carlos Rodón, and Marcus Stroman. I mentioned earlier that Cortes has looked decent but he’s not someone I’d specifically be avoiding. However, Rodón and Stroman have both looked excellent to start off the year and could be a serious headache for the Blue Jays.

After that, the Blue Jays will face the Padres for three games where they’ll see Matt Waldron, Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove. I’m not worried about Waldron, so in daily leagues, go ahead and start your Blue Jays there, but I’m not thrilled about facing Darvish and Musgrove. All in all, it looks to be a tough week for your Blue Jays hitters.


Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – The Pirates have six games this week, starting off with three against the Mets where they’ll see Adrian Houser, Jose Quintana, and Luis Severino. I’m not worried about Houser, but Quintana and Severino have both looked pretty solid to start off the year.

Then, the Pirates will see the Red Sox for three games where they’ll face Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, and Garrett Whitlock. Bello doesn’t concern me too much, but both Crawford and Whitlock have looked phenomenal to start off the year.

All in all, it looks like maybe two matchups this week where I’d feel comfortable starting my Pirates hitters. That’s fine in daily leagues, but in a weekly league, it’s not worth it to me.


Miami Marlins hitters – The Marlins get seven games this week, which would normally be pretty exciting, but they’ve got some tough matchups slated for the week ahead. They start off the week with three games against the Giants where they’ll see Kyle Harrison, Jordan Hicks, and Keaton Winn. Hicks has looked excellent to kick off the season, and Harrison certainly has his moments (though I’m less worried about Harrison).

After that, they’ll get four games against the Cubs where they’ll see Shota Imanaga, Jameson Taillon (hopefully), Javier Assad, and Kyle Hendricks. Both Imanaga and Assad have looked really good so far, and Taillon certainly has the potential to turn in a good start (depending on if he is back from injury). Hendricks though, go ahead and start your Marlins hitters against him in daily leagues.

In all, there are a lot of question marks for me regarding the potential for Miami’s hitters this week, a lot of potentially tough matchups, and that makes me shy away a bit from starting my middle-of-the-road Marlins hitters in weekly leagues this week.


Chicago White Sox hitters – The White Sox also have six games this week, starting with three against the Royals, a team that owns the second-best team FIP in the league. In that series, they’ll face off against Seth Lugo, Brady Singer, and Michael Wacha. Both Lugo and Singer have looked excellent to start off the year, Wacha a bit less so though, so there’s value there in daily leagues.

After that, they’ll get three games against the Phillies where they’ll face Spencer Turnbull, Zack Wheeler, and Aaron Nola. I’m not worried about the Turnbull matchup, but I’m definitely concerned about my White Sox hitters up against Wheeler and Nola.

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.

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