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 5 (5/1 – 5/7) of the fantasy baseball season.
Note: 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.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – Here’s a quick rundown of the pitcher the Pirates are scheduled to face this week: Amir Garrett, Scott Feldman, Rookie Davis, Tim Adleman, Matt Garza, Zach Davies, and Wily Peralta. Do any of those names scare you? No. No they don’t. Because not a single one of those pitchers has an ERA under 3.84 since the beginning of the 2015 season. And thank god, because the Pirates could use some offense, and this is the week to start your Pirates hitters. You should especially strongly consider starting Josh Bell, who has been coming on as of late (a little bit) and is a career .274/.376/.425 against right-handed pitchers.
Christian Arroyo – Christian Arroyo has a lot of talent, that’s obvious when you look at his .446 batting average in the minors this year until he got called up. But Arroyo is good against left-handed pitching, and the Giants will be facing potentially three lefties this week. They’ll definitely be facing Julio Urias and Amir Garrett, but we’ll see whether Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, or Rich Hill will be pitching for the Dodgers on Monday. If it’s Kershaw, avoid it, but if it’s Ryu or Hill, go ahead and start him. Arroyo in general is worth a grab just based on his talent, but he’s worth a start against the lefties this week.
Cleveland Indians righties – The Indians get to face four lefties this week in Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, Jason Vargas, and Danny Duffy. Of all those names, only Duffy is somewhat scary. Now, it’s been difficult to own some of the Indians hitters, like Edwin Encarnacion, and Carlos Santana, but start them both this week, especially against lefties. Santana is a career .274 hitter against lefties, and Encarnacion had a .385 wOBA against them last year. They should be good to start this week. Also consider Brandon Guyer, who had a .437 wOBA against lefties last season.
Scott Schebler – If you’re the type to stream hitters while they’re on a hot streak, then Scott Schebler is the man for you. His average has been rough this year, but the power has been awesome. And, as a bonus, since the beginning of 2016, Schebler is a .281/.346/.450 hitter at home, and a .260/.331/.465 against righties. And all this week, the Reds will be facing nothing but righties at home.
St. Louis Cardinals hitters – The Cardinals have been on fire against right-handed pitchers lately, and guess what? They have seven matchups against right-handed pitchers this week, with four of them being in Busch Stadium. Players like Jedd Gyorko, who is a .325/.426/.625 hitter against righties this year, and Randal Grichuk, who is a .266/.309/.453 against righties so far, are worth a start.
New York Yankees hitters – The Yankees have a relatively unfavorable schedule this week. Outside of games against Brett Anderson and Mat Latos, the Yankees will see Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada, Kyle Hendricks, and Jon Lester. Those matches range from not great to really bad. The Yankees have been on fire lately, but they’ve been hitting right-handed pitching a lot better than left-handed pitching, and they’re set to face three lefties this week. Also, if you have Matt Holliday on your team, be prepared to bench him, because the Yankees will be on the road against the Cubs, which means they won’t have a DH position, which means Holliday will likely be relegated to a pinch hitter. I’m still starting Starlin Castro and Aaron Judge, but that’s likely it.
Toronto Blue Jays lefties – Blue Jays lefties have a tough slate this week. If they’re not facing a left-handed pitcher, they’re facing a good all-around pitcher. Their first matchup is against Luis Severino, who has been tough to hit, then they get Masahiro Tanaka, who’s never an easy guy to hit. That’s followed by lefty C.C. Sabathia, then Chris Archer, and then Erasmo Ramirez, who has a career .306 wOBA against lefties. Based off of all that, I’d generally avoid your Blue Jays lefties if you can.
Detroit Tigers hitters – The Tigers have a schedule that doesn’t grade out in their favor this week. They start with an ok matchup against Trevor Bauer, followed by three straight hard matchups against Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar before heading into Oakland for another couple ok matchups. They end the whole thing facing Sonny Gray, which, while it may not be extremely scary, it’s still not great. Obviously start your studs, but if you were on the fence about someone like Nick Castellanos, or Victor Martinez, I’d probably look elsewhere.
Los Angeles Angels hitters – This week is a somewhat rough week for the Angels. They start off with the red-hot James Paxton, followed by two ok matchups, which is then followed by a visit to Houston to see Dallas Keuchel, and then Lance McCullers. Overall, those are some pretty tough matchups, and at best, you’re hoping for a hitter to take advantage in an ok matchup. If you were thinking about using Yunel Escobar, or Kole Calhoun, I’d look elsewhere if possible.
Philadelphia Phillies hitters – It’s a rough week for the Phillies. Including matchups against Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, Stephen Strasburg, and Joe Ross. The Phillies are going to have a rough go of it in the coming days. If you weren’t sure about whether to start Cesar Hernandez or Tommy Joseph, I think you should be looking to other members of your team.