Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 5 (8/24 – 8/30)

The hitters you should stream and avoid this week

Week two of my pinch-hitting duties as we take 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 5 (8/24-8/30) 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, especially given how fluid things are this season. 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.




San Diego Padres hitters – If you’ve learned anything about me, it’s that I love to attack poor bullpens. This week, the Padres get two three-game sets against the Mariners and the Rockies in Coors. Over the last 14 days, the Mariners bullpen has posted a 5.12 ERA, while the Rockies have put up a 6.21 ERA. Not that the Mariners and Rockies have any scary starters, but the only slightly difficult matchup during the week is German Marquez in Colorado. While there aren’t many fringe players from the Padres, this schedule makes Jake Cronenworth and Jurickson Profar starts for the week.

Tampa Bay Rays hitters – The Rays bats make this writeup easy as they’re super hot. Over the last 14 days, the Rays have posted a league-best .380 wOBA. They get seven games this week as they wrap up their weekend series Monday against the Blue Jays before having two three-game sets with the Orioles and the Marlins. Continuing my trend of attacking bad bullpens, the Orioles have posted a 5.01 ERA over the last 14 days, while the Marlins have put up a 6.36 ERA. Over the week the best starters the Rays will face are Pablo Lopez and Tommy Milone. The Rays are masters of the platoon, so in weekly leagues, you might not get a full seven games out of all these fringe Rays players. However, guys like Willy Adames, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Manuel Margot, and Michael Brosseau are all in play.

Toronto Blue Jays hitters – Like the Rays, the Blue Jays hitters make this an easy pick as they’ve been hot. Over the last 14 days, they’ve put up a .367 wOBA, which is third-best in that time. They have a tough matchup to start the week, as they face Blake Snell, but it’s all sunshine and rainbows after Monday. From Tuesday on, the Jays get three games against the Red Sox followed by a three-game set against the Orioles. The Red Sox bullpen, who just traded away their best arm in Brandon Workman, has posted a 7.05 ERA over the last 14 days, while the O’s have put up a 5.01 ERA. As you already know, the Red Sox and Orioles don’t have any scary starters. Like the Padres, the Blue Jays don’t have a lot of fringe players, but Rowdy Tellez and Danny Jansen could be nice streamers this week.

Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – The Diamondbacks get seven games this week. Four will be played against the Rockies in Arizona, followed by three against the Giants. While they will play games against German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, and Johnny Cueto, they’ll also face bullpens that have put up a 6.21 ERA and 6.93 ERA, respectively. I’m looking to add Nick Ahmed and Carson Kelly for this stretch of games.

Martin Maldonado – If you’re playing that streaming catchers game, Maldonado just may be your guy. The Astros are currently slated to face five lefties this week, and the Astros catcher has been good against southpaws to open the year. In 27 plate appearances this year, Maldonado has posted a .442 wOBA against lefties. While I like some of those lefties – Jesus Luzardo and Andrew Heaney – it should still be a decent week for Maldonado.




Atlanta Braves hitters – Just a week after the Braves were clear “starts” due to having games against the Phillies, they’re now “avoids” despite more games on the docket against the Phils. What gives? First off, the Braves only play 5 games this week – two against the Yankees and three versus the Phillies. Of those games, Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler are on the mound for two of them. Those matchups and lack of games make all the fringe Braves players sits, and I’m even considering sitting Travis d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson, depending on the replacements.

Texas Rangers hitters – To be fair, the Rangers have done nothing so far this year to make you even considering starting any of their fringe guys, but just pretend with me. The Rangers get a full seven-game week with 4 coming against the Athletics followed by 3 against the Dodgers. When we look at those bullpens, they rank 1 and 2 in ERA over the last 14 days. To be honest with you, I don’t even feel like I have to check the starting pitchers to know that I’m sitting most of my Rangers bats. If we assume the bullpen is coming in for at least 3 innings per game, the Rangers will face arms that allow a sub-3.00 ERA for 21 of the 63 innings they play this week. However, since I know you’re curious, they’ll face Jesus Luzardo, Dustin May, Ross Stripling, and Julio Urias.

Milwaukee Brewers hitters – While the Brewers bats are still struggling against right-handed pitching, they have heated up a little against lefties. Unfortunately, they’re only projected to face one lefty this week in Steven Brault. As for the righties they’re scheduled to face, the Brewers get Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo, and Sonny Gray back to back to back. That’s a big pass for me despite the fact that both the Pirates and Reds bullpens have not been good.

Cleveland Indians hitters – The Indians hitters have heated up nicely against right-handed pitching, posting a .345 wOBA over the last 14 days. They’re currently scheduled to face five righties this week, so what’s the problem? Of those righties, they face Jose Berrios, Kenta Maeda, and Jack Flaherty. So if you’re telling me they’ll have tough matchups in four out of six games and have to deal with a Twins bullpen that has posted a 2.62 ERA over the last 14 days, that puts me on that fade train.

Kevin Pillar – Pillar has been leading off for the Red Sox against left-handed pitchers, making him a valuable streamer when they face southpaws. Unfortunately for Pillar, they’re not projected to face any lefties this week, making him an easy sit.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Rich Holman

Tax Auditor by day (I promise I'm not the devil), dad to twin velociraptors by night. Complete sports junkie. Philly fan that only boos occasionally.

6 responses to “Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 5 (8/24 – 8/30)”

  1. Chucky says:

    Embarrassment of OF riches……I don’t mind sitting a presumed starter for a chance at a $250k lottery ticket for the week. 6×6 OBP league, Betts ( I know I can’t not start him), so basically here’s the remaining stable. Need the best 2, aside from Betts. My choices in order: Winkler, Grischuk, Grossman, Franmil, Robert and everyone’s newest BFF Kyle Lewis?

    • Rich Holman says:

      Alright, Grichuk gets 4 lefties and great matchups this week so he’s a definite start. Franmil gets just one lefty this week and some tough matchups. Lewis gets 6 games featuring Paddack, Lamet, Richards, and Bundy, so I think I’m sitting Franmil and Lewis.
      So we’re down to Robert (5 games), Grossman (7 games – but primarily plays against righties – 5 games) and Winker (8 games – 2 DHs). I think when we go Robert vs. Grossman, Robert wins – so Grossman is a sit. Robert vs. Winker. Boy oh boy, this is tough, but Winker has been so hot. Batting .452 with 6 bombs over the last two weeks. Robert has hit for power (5 bombs over the last 10 days) and the average has been decent in that time (.269), but the lean goes to Winker.
      Betts, Grichuk, and Winker are my starts. Robert, Grossman, then Lewis, then Franmil if you were curious about the ranking of the others. Good luck this week!

      • Chucky says:

        My rationale as well, that’s why I had Winkler and Grischuk at 2/3. Is Kyle Lewis legit? All the experts were posting the “sell high” brand, but I’m not so sure. I’ve been promoting the Kyle Lewis = Mookie lite, in trade inquires. You gotta love the Avg and OBP, it appears he has a good understanding of the strike zone.

        • Rich Holman says:

          So I see where people are coming from when they say to sell high. He’s not going to post a .464 BABIP all year and his value is probably at his peak. That being said, he’s been a beast and all of the plate discipline stats are impressive. I was a little worried that he was just smashing fastballs, but he’s been very good against sliders and curveballs also. For your situation, I’d say if you have a position that you view as weak and can get a significant improvement by moving Lewis, I’d be in for that. But if you can’t get the value that you’re looking for, just enjoy the ride!

  2. Tyler says:

    I’ve got Darnaud starting with Bart on the bench. Kelly, Maldonado, and Jansen available. Who are you starting over Darnaud, if any?

    • Rich Holman says:

      If it’s a weekly league, I think I’d roll with Maldonaldo over d’Arnaud. If Kelly or Jansen were rolling with the bat I’d consider them, but d’Arnaud’s proven he can get the job done in tough matchups (ie Nola this week). I’m excited for Bart’s bat and would hold onto him, but he faces a murderer’s row of matchups featuring Kershaw and Buehler.

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