2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 19 Hitting Planner: Solo Show

by Jonathan Chan
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 19 Hitting Planner

I have such a love/hate relationship with the trade deadline. I love the intrigue of which teams will be buyers and sellers. I love seeing the surprise teams that jump into the ring (looking at you Pittsburgh). I absolutely love discussing how the trades will change teams for the better or worse.

Baseball trades are so difficult to evaluate compared to other sports. Each team has so many prospects with such different timelines that fair evaluations of "winners" and "losers" can't be made for years down the line.

It sparks such an interest around the league that all those owners that quit their teams early in the season come back and add start to pay attention again. This brings us to what I hate about the deadline. You know that the inactive last place owner will come in, scoop up the hot new acquisition and leave him rotting on the bench until the end of the season.

You know who you are!

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 19 Hitting Planner

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Offense To Target - New York Yankees

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The Yankees potent offense will receive a big boost next week, facing two of the worst rotations in two of the better hitters parks in the league. First, they'll travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox in a three-game series. The Chicago rotation has been awful, ranking last in the league in BB/9 and 29th in ERA. The Yankees have the third-best walk rate in the majors, and should absolutely feat on White Sox pitching. The scheduled lineup of Dylan Covey, Reynaldo Lopez, and Lucas Giolito should be a massive green light for all Yankees hitters.

New York will then travel back home for a four-game series against the Rangers. The Rangers staff hasn't been quite as bad as the White Sox, but are without Cole Hamels he was traded to the Cubs. The Yankees lead the league with 91 home runs at home, while their slugging percentage and ISO in Yankee stadium are .477 and .209 respectively. The Rangers give up plenty of home runs (1.33 HR/9) and are an easy target for owners this week.

Notable Players

Aaron Hicks is only 65% owned in ESPN leagues and should be universally owned by Monday morning. He has been on fire over the last month and is no longer in danger of losing playing time with Aaron Judge on the DL. If you can stomach the low average and sky-high strikeout rate, Greg Bird makes for a cheap power option with plenty of upside. Owners streaming catchers should take a flier on Austin Romine. Romine will receive the majority of the starts with Gary Sanchez on the DL and has been adequate as far as catchers go. If Miguel Andujar and Gleybar Torres are unowned in your league, go make the add immediately.

Offense To Avoid - Minnesota Twins

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The Twins will have an incredibly tough matchup to start next week. Starting Monday, Minnesota will visit Cleveland for a four-game series against the Indians. Cleveland's rotation ranks second in WAR, top five in K/9, BB/9, and ERA. Any team going up against Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, and Corey Kluber is in trouble.

The Twins will finish the week in Detroit, where owners can finally play them with confidence. Daily league players shouldn't have a problem with this schedule, provided they have proper backups. However, owners in weekly leagues have to decide if three games against Detroit is worth the trouble against Cleveland.

Notable Players

Without Brian Dozier or Eduardo Escobar on the team, Eddie Rosario is a one-man show. Max Kepler is hitting .219 against right-handers and will be facing three of the most dangerous righties in the league. Miguel Sano is back with the Twins but he shouldn't move the needle for anyone until he can hit major league pitching again.

Rosario owners will likely leave him in their lineups, but expectations should be tempered against the Indians.

Offense To Target - Colorado Rockies

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After all the times I've recommended visitors, I think it's time I give some credit to the home team. The Rockies will play the entire week at home, where they're one of the best offenses in the league.

The first team to enter Coors Field will be the Pirates. The Pirates haven't been terrible, as their team 4.18 ERA is just below the league median. However, Pirates starters give up 1.22 home runs per nine innings. In an environment like Coors, I'm willing to bet that number increases. Unfortunately for the Rockies, Nick Kingham was demoted to Triple-A, so the prime matchup is no longer available here. The matchup is still a good one, just not amazing anymore.

By the grace of God, the Rockies will not have to deal with Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers series. Instead, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Walker Buehler will be on the mound. If Rich Hill makes it to next week, he (and his 1.45 HR/9) will be the prime target. Buehler has been inconsistent, which is not unexpected for a rookie, and his start has some blow-up potential as well.

Notable Players

All Rockies batters get upgrades this week, but Carlos Gonzalez is the biggest beneficiary. A quick comparison of his home (.341/.396/.659) and away (.248/.292/.376) splits shows that Cargo is only playable at home. In fact, he's downright valuable in Coors Field. DJ LaMahieu will be off the disabled list and should be in all lineups next week. Owners in two-catcher leagues can look at Tom Murphy, who has earned himself starts in four of the last five games.

Offense To Avoid - Baltimore Orioles

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Don't believe the hype. Since trading Manny Machado, Baltimore leads the AL in runs per game. I was personally victimized by the O's when I tried to stream Sonny Gray against them. This hot streak can't continue with the talent they have and they should cool down in short time.

Without Chris Archer, the Rays rotation is slightly more vulnerable. However, by the time Baltimore arrives at Tropicana Field, Blake Snell will be activated from the DL. Despite their odd methods, the Rays cobbled together a solid rotation (14th in WAR, 12th in ERA) anchored by an All-Star.

Things only go downhill from there, as the Orioles then travel back home to face the Red Sox. The rotation is weaker, now that Chris Sale is on the DL. Even without him the Red Sox staff has been good and should still pose a problem for Baltimore. Sale is eligible to return on August 7th, so it's still possible that he will pitch in this series.

Notable Players

Like Rosario, Adam Jones is bordering on a one-man show in Baltimore. Trey Mancini has not been good that year and the acquisition of Jonathan Villar doesn't move the needle much. You shouldn't play Mark Trumbo or Chris Davis is good matchups, nevermind bad ones.

Platoon Targets

Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF, Chicago Cubs

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Zobrist has two things working for him this week. First, he gets to face the Royals horrid rotation early in the week. Second, he will receive ample playing time against right-handed pitching. This season, Zobrist is batting .320/.421/.485 against righties and has hit all of his seven home runs against them.

He is already swinging a hot bat, recording multiple hits in three of his last four starts. He won't provide much power or speed at his age, but he can be a solid boost to ratios and counting stats in the Cubs league-leading offense.

Check out the rest of our great 2018 Fantasy Baseball content.

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