I know I shouldn't kick a player when he's down, but can we talk about Alex Avila for a bit? He signed in Arizona this offseason in order to replace the tandem of Chris Herrmann and Chris Iannetta. He was solid at the dish in 2017, hitting .264 with 14 home runs with the White Sox and Cubs.
Unfortunately, he's spent much of his time in the desert being booed by his home fans. Despite the Diamondbacks recent offensive outburst, Avila has remained quiet at the dish. At one point today, his batting average was lower than the temperature in Phoenix (Credit: /u/ Papageorgio7). To be fair, he did hit a home run and drive in three runs on Thursday, but the cherry-picked stat was too funny to ignore.
I'll be discussing Diamondbacks targets later in the Hitting Planner but, suffice it to say, Avila won't be a player of note.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 13 Hitting Planner
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Offense To Target - Seattle Mariners
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The Mariners bats have a good opportunity this week, as they'll be facing two of the weakest pitching staffs in the league.
First, they'll travel to Baltimore for a four-game series with the Orioles. While their staff isn't performing as badly as their bats, they still rank 25th in the league in WAR, 28th in ERA and 28th in HR/9. Dylan Bundy is the lone bright spot in their rotation, and even he can be maddeningly inconsistent.
For the weekend, the Mariners will travel home for a series against the Royals and their league-worst pitching staff. Baltimore has a bad staff, but the Royals just about out-do them in every category, ranking last in WAR, K/9, HR/9, and ERA. The trio of Jake Junis, Jason Hammell, and Brad Keller should be no match for the Mariner bats.
In addition to Bundy, the Orioles will send Andrew Casher, Kevin Gausman, and Alex Cobb to the mound. This season they have combined for a 1.78 HR/9 in their 217 combined innings. Nelson Cruz, Mike Zunino, Mitch Haniger, Kyle Seager, and Ryon Healy are excellent plays for people looking for power production. Bundy just happens to be the AL leader in stolen bases allowed, so Jean Segura and Dee Gordon owners should expect a couple extra SB next weekend.
Offense To Avoid - Tampa Bay Rays
Boy, the Rays have gotten the short end of the stick lately, haven't they? I had them here in Week 12 because they had to face the Astros and Yankees. Things will get worse this week, as Tampa will face the Astros again, this time for four games. As an added bonus, they'll get to face the Nationals dynamic duo of Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez.
At this point it's tough to recommend starting any batters against Scherzer, never mind Rays batters. He has a 2.06 ERA, 39 percent K-rate and a ridiculous 5.9 percent BB%. His 17.7% swinging strike rate leads the league, where he holds a full two percent advantage over Jacob deGrom. Gonzalez is no slouch himself, as he looks to lower his ERA under 3.00 for the second straight season.
I don't think I have to go over the Houston rotation again. I'm just here to let you know that the rotation for the series will be: Lance McCullers Jr., Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Charlie Morton.
Wilson Ramos has been pretty good lately, even having success against the Houston rotation this week. I wouldn't bet on him doing it again, but owners who need catcher production are gonna have him in the lineup anyways. C.J. Cron only has three hits in his last 10 games. Granted, they've all been home runs, but he's not someone I would trust in daily or weekly lineups. Despite ample playing time, I don't see Mallex Smith getting on base enough to contribute with his speed.
Offense To Target - Arizona Diamondbacks
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It doesn't seem like that long ago that I advised avoiding the D'Backs while they were in their awful slump. Things have completely changed in the desert, thanks to the re-emergence of Paul Goldschmidt. Over the last two weeks, Goldschmidt is slashing an incredible .417/.517/1.000 leading Arizona to the third highest wRC+ in that span.
Arizona will have the benefit of two great matchups this week, starting Monday in Miami. The Marlins staff is pretty bad, ranking 28th in WAR and 25th in ERA. With the way the D'Backs have been hitting the ball, I'd expect plenty more fireworks in Miami.
Next, Goldy and Co. will travel back home for a series against the Giants. The San Francisco rotation hasn't been great this season (4.52 ERA) and will line up their three worst starters for the series. Andrew Suarez, Derek Holland, and Dereck Rodriguez will be no match for the red-hot Arizona offense.
The addition of Jon Jay has done wonders for the top of the Arizona lineup, he gets on base a ton and should score plenty of runs with Goldschmidt hitting everything thrown his way. Owners needing middle infield help should take a flier on the improving Ketel Marte. David Peralta has cooled off following a power binge last week but could rebound again with the good matchups.
Offense To Avoid - Philadelphia Phillies
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The Phillies offense has only been middle of the road this season. Ranking 17th in WAR and 20th in runs scored this season. They've been much better over the last two weeks (fifth in runs) but will run into a couple of very tough rotations in Week 13.
The Yankees will come to Philly for a three-game series on Monday. With Masahiro Tanaka on the shelf, and Sonny Gray struggling, you would think that the rotation behind Luis Severino would be pretty average. Well, you thought wrong. Over the last two weeks, the Yankees rotation has the third highest WAR in the league, with a league-best 2.33 ERA. In addition to Severino, the Phillies will need to face CC Sabathia and promising rookie Jonathan Loaisiga.
For their second series, the Phillies will welcome the Nationals to Citizens Bank Park. Just like the Rays before them, Philly will deal with Gonzalez and Scherzer. In Week 13, the Phillies face too many good pitchers for owners to trust them in weekly leagues. Daily owners wanting to pick on Tanner Roark or Erick Fedde are more than welcome.
I doubt anyone is benching Rhys Hoskins, especially with the way he's swinging the bat. He may see his ratios dip a bit this week, as his 26.1 percent K-rate may leave him susceptible against the elite starters. Carlos Santana has had issues driving in runs, and I don't see it improving this week. Odubel Herrera makes a lot of soft contact, and could really struggle against Sabathia, who is generating nearly 28 percent soft contact, good for second among starters.
Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox
This week's platoon section focuses more on players to avoid thanks to their strong platoon splits. Benintendi (.197 AVG) is one of several Red Sox who is going to have a tough time this week. He, along with Rafael Devers (.214), Eduardo Nunez (.169), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (.118) all struggle against lefties. As luck would have it, the Red Sox are scheduled to face three consecutive southpaws against the Angels.
None of them have been sitting against lefties, but owners shouldn't expect too much from them early in the week. Right now, they aren't lined up to face any lefties in their weekend series against the Yankees. However, Severino is lined up to pitch Sunday, and owners will probably want to avoid that game as well.
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