Fantasy Baseball

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 2 Hitting Planner: Fly High

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Welcome to Week 2! Hopefully, everyone’s opening match-up is going well. For a final streaming help for the weekend, take a look at my Week 1 Hitting Planner.

After a full week of games at Chase Field, we finally answer the burning question: “Will the humidor kill the Diamondbacks offense?”. Thus far, the answer has been a resounding no. The D’Backs are tied for sixth in runs, sixth in OBP and are leading the division after completing a three-game sweep of the Dodgers. Even defensive specialist Nick Ahmed is getting in on the fun, ranking third among shortstops with seven RBI.

The one player missing out on the party is perennial All-Star Paul Goldschmidt. Through six games, Goldschmidt has gone 1-for-17 (.059) with two RBI. He’s walking a ton (.407 OBP) but it doesn’t help owners who played in standard 5 x 5 leagues. Given a small sample size what do we know about Goldy’s bad start?


YearO-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact% Soft% F-Strike% Zone%
201724.4% 62.2% 40.9% 64.3% 11.3%57.2%44.4%
201817.4% 56.4% 34.7% 91.7% 18.2%74.1%43.4%

Comparing his stats from last season, it seems like Goldschmidt is taking a super patient approach at the plate. His swing% is down and F-Strike% is way up. At first, I thought teams were purposely pitching around Goldy, but the zone% of the pitches he sees are right in line with last year. When he does swing, he’s making a lot of weak contact on pitches outside the zone. That might be the culprit for his .091 BABIP. These should normalize as the season goes on, but neither Goldschmidt or Torey Lovullo seem to be worried.

What does this have to do with match-ups this week? Not too much, I was just really curious. But if the trend continues, A.J. Pollock and Chris Owings are great targets because Goldy will already be on first base.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 2 Hitting Planner

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Offenses To Target

Toronto Blue Jays (@ Baltimore, @ Cleveland)

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What a week to be a part of the Jays lineup. Starting on April 9th, the Blue Jays will face the Orioles in Baltimore, and the Indians in Cleveland. Toronto-Baltimore series are always high scoring, especially in Camden Yards. As of Thursday afternoon, the Jays rank sixth in the league in home runs, fifth in runs scored and ninth in slugging percentage. The Orioles rotation has been one of the worst in the league thus far, ranking 28th in HR allowed (11) and 27th in ERA (5.43).

The Indians rotation hasn’t been much better, as they rank 20th in ERA (4.64), and have given up 12 HR, good for second last in the league. They will need to face Corey Kluber on Sunday, but it’s looking like they’ll line up with Mike Clevinger and Josh Tomlin as well. Best case scenario as far as I’m concerned. Guess which rotation ranks last in HR allowed? The Blue Jays! This is going to be a fun week for everyone involved.

Players to Target: Kevin Pillar, Curtis Granderson, Yangervis Solarte, Kendrys Morales

Pillar has been great to start the season, and is a no-brainer start all week with these great match-ups. Granderson has been a pleasant surprise, batting .350 and starting in all but one game thus far. Solarte has been a consistent part of the Jays lineup, hitting fourth or fifth in each game he’s started. With the injury to Aledmys Diaz, he should start at shortstop over Gift Ngoepe for most of the week. Morales was in and out of the lineup, as Josh Donaldson recovered from his dead arm. With Donaldson back at third, Morales has his customary DH spot back with six AL games coming up.

Minnesota Twins (vs. Houston, vs. CWS)

Now, this is purely advice for the second half of the week. The only Twin you’ll want to start between Monday and Wednesday is Brian Dozier because the Astros rotation is firing on all cylinders and it could be a long series for the Twins batters.

Starting Thursday, the Twins will welcome the White Sox to Minnesota and a much, much better match-up presents itself. The Sox rotation ranks 29th in ERA and 24th in HR/9. A four-game series is scheduled, and streaming Twins hitters over the weekend could provide sneaky value for those in daily leagues.

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Players to Target: Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Eduardo Escobar, Max Kepler

Sano and Buxton should have a reprieve from the strikeouts that normally fill their boxscores. Points league owners rejoice! Rosario has struggled mightily to start the season, but he could bounce back against a weaker rotation. Escobar is a great option for this week and beyond. A great piece on PitcherList details that Escobar has increased his launch angle, resulting in the same power increase we’ve seen from players around the league. He’s been on fire to start the season and is only owned in 8% of ESPN leagues.

Offenses To Avoid

Oakland Athletics (@ LAD, @ Seattle)

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The A’s have been a middle of the road offense so far, ranking 16th in wOBA and 14th in wRC+. This is not an indictment of their skill as a team, because they have guys that could go off for six HR any given week. However, this week could be tough for owners, as the A’s only play five games, two of which are against the Dodgers. Right now, they’re scheduled to miss Clayton Kershaw, but the Dodgers game on Friday has a good chance of being rained out. If the game gets postponed, the Dodgers could choose to push everyone back, meaning Kershaw and Alex Wood would pitch in Oakland. Definitely not the best match-ups.

Players to Avoid: Matt Olson, Khris Davis, Stephen Piscotty, Matt Chapman

Avoiding Oakland sluggers is an early week suggestion as they only play two VERY tough games before Friday. Owners shouldn’t expect much from them before their series in Seattle. While the Mariners rotation hasn’t been great so far (4.57 xFIP), Safeco Field is still one of the better pitchers parks in the league.

The A’s big three has been struggling with their power stroke to start the season, as Davis and Olson haven’t hit a home run since Opening Day. To make matters worse, neither Davis (.220 AVG) nor Olson (.185 AVG) have the best career numbers against Seattle. Weekly league owners might consider leaving them on the bench this week.

Detroit Tigers (@ Cleveland, vs. NYY)

The Tigers aren’t exactly a powerhouse offense, hitting .225 as a team with just one home run so far. The next week is going to be especially tough for them, as they’ll be facing the Indians DEEP rotation at Progressive field to start the week. The way the schedule is shaping up, The Tigers will be facing Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. The Tomlin matchup isn’t scaring anyone, but the top three are tough games for any lineup, never mind a rebuilding one.

Against the Yankees, the Tigers will get Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery, and Luis Severino. They managed to avoid Masahiro Tanaka and C.C. Sabathia, but Gray and Monty are no slouches.

Players to Avoid: Miguel Cabrera, Nick Castellanos, James McCann

These three are really the only relevant bats on the Tigers, but with such a tough stretch of games coming up it’s tough to count on them for production all week long. Cabrera’s situation is even cloudier as he’s dealing with a strained hip flexor. There’s been no word on the severity of the injury yet, but the strain was bad enough to remove him from Wednesday’s game. With his injury history, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Tigers be extremely cautious in how they handle his return.



Platoon Targets

Corey Dickerson, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

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With the way the schedule is shaping up, the Pirates might face three left-handers in six nights. Clint Hurdle is not afraid to bench Dickerson against ANY southpaw, as he sat out against Ryan Carpenter last Sunday. Dickerson is struggling as it is, and it will be tough for him to get into a rhythm if he only plays three scattered games this week.


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About Jonathan Chan

Winning fantasy leagues since 2004. Losing them for much longer. Follow Jonathan on twitter @jchan_811 and he'll be ready for all your questions!

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