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

Ben Palmer takes a look at the hitters you should start and avoid in fantasy this week.

Each week, we’ve been taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of and five hitting matchups you should avoid. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for 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 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 White Sox hitters – If you have a member of the White Sox on your team, you should start them this week. They get a seven-game week, which is awesome, and they’ll be seeing some pretty bad rotations, including three games against the Kansas City Royals and four games against the Detroit Tigers. And fun fact: only one pitcher they’ll face this week has better than a 4.20 ERA since the start of 2018 (that’s Brad Keller). So yeah, Tim AndersonYoan Moncada, Yonder Alonso (available in 87% of leagues), Welington Castillo (available in 73% of leagues), toss them all out there this week. Maybe this will even be the week that Daniel Palka gets himself together (who knows?).

Philadelphia Phillies hitters – While the Phillies do start the week off against Noah Syndergaard, the rest of the week should be a cakewalk for them. They’ll face Zack Wheeler, who I do think will be better this year, but isn’t a reason to bench your hitters as of now. And then they get a four-game road trip in Coors Field, which is always a boon for hitters. Worth a look this week are guys like Odubel Herrera who’s slashing .310/.362/.476 over the past two weeks and is available in 42% of leagues, and Maikel Franco, who’s sporting a .290 ISO over the past two weeks.

Minnesota Twins hitters – The Twins are another team that get a seven-game week, which is good, and even better, they’re up against some poor rotations. They start the week off with a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, and then close with a three-game series in Camden Yards against the Baltimore OriolesJorge Polanco (slashing .405/.450/.811 over the past two weeks and available in 56% of leagues), Max Kepler (slashing .300/.349/.550 over the past two weeks and available in 40% of leagues) and Jonathan Schoop (slashing .333/.394/.600 over the past two weeks and available in 36% of leagues) are all worth a look this week.

New York Yankees hitters – Normally, if a team was going up against Chris Sale to start the week, I wouldn’t say that’s a matchup to take advantage of, but with the way Sale has been pitching so far, I think you have to start your Yankees against him this week. As for the rest of the Yankees schedule? One more game against the Red Sox and Nathan Eovaldi, who’s been similarly terrible so far, and then a four-game series against the Royals and their awful rotation. Specifically, Clint Frazier, who’s slashing .333/.353/.633 over the past two weeks and is available in 72% of leagues, represents a sneaky play this week.

Francisco Cervelli – I know how terrible the catcher position is, but if you’re in need of a catcher this week (and you can’t get Welington Castillo), take a look at Francisco Cervelli, who’s available in 48% of leagues. While the Pittsburgh Pirates will only play five games this week, three of those games will be against lefties, which is good news for Cervelli who’s a career .290/.388/.404 hitter against lefties.




Milwaukee Brewers hitters – If you’re in a daily league, there are definitely some matchups to exploit for the Brewers. They start the week against the St. Louis Cardinals, where they’ll see Jack Flaherty, who’s been great so far this year. However, they’ll also see Dakota Hudson and Michael Wacha, which are two matchups I think you can exploit in a daily league. But after that, the Brewers will face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers where they’ll see Julio UriasRoss Stripling, Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda, none of which are going to be great matchups.

San Francisco Giants hitters – The Giants start their week off against the Washington Nationals, where they’ll face off against Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin (in a daily league, I’m fine taking advantage of the Jeremy Hellickson matchup). Then, they’ll head to pitcher-friendly PNC Park to face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chris Archer and Trevor Williams, both of whom have a 2.45 ERA over the past two weeks, and Jameson Taillon. You probably have to start Buster Posey because of how terrible the catcher position is, but I’d avoid starting Brandon Belt or Kevin Pillar.

Boston Red Sox hitters – In the Red Sox’s first game of the week against the Baltimore Orioles, go ahead and play all of your Red Sox hitters. But the rest of the week doesn’t look great for them. They’ve got a two-game series against the New York Yankees where they’ll match up against Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton, and then a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays where they’ll see Blake Snell and Charlie Morton. While there are a couple matchups you can exploit, I’d generally avoid your middle-tier Red Sox hitters this week.

Cincinnati Reds hitters – The Reds get to see Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Walker Buehler to start their week, which isn’t great, and then they travel to pitcher-friendly Petco Park to face off against the San Diego Padres where they’ll get to see Chris Paddack, who has a 1.29 ERA over the past two weeks. They do have a couple decent matchups in San Diego, but playing in a very pitcher-friendly park like Petco will likely mitigate that to an extent.

Leonys MartinLeonys Martin has been pretty solid over the past week, slashing .353/.522/.765, and he’s been leading off for the Cleveland Indians, which is great. But this week, the Indians face three lefties, and Martin slashed .176/.238/.338 against lefties last year.

Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire

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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