Fantasy Baseball

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 4 Hitting Planner: Twin Killing

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Welcome to the second edition of the Week 4 Hitting Planner! Thanks to your awesome reader feedback, we’ve decided to roll back our counter to Week 4. So don’t worry, you haven’t gone back in time. The article you’re reading will go over matchups from April 23rd to April 29th. Last week’s article went over matchups from April 16th to April 22nd.

The first major Tommy John surgery of the year was scheduled on Wednesday, as Taijuan Walker will undergo surgery to repair a tear in his UCL. It’s quite a shame, as Walker looked good in the short time he pitched. He’ll miss the rest of the 2018 season and may be able to return late next season. If teammate Patrick Corbin‘s recovery is any indication, we might not see Walker at his full potential for another two or three seasons.

The Reds fired manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mac Jenkins on Wednesday. I know I’ve been picking on the Reds a lot, so maybe some changes in the coaching staff can help them pick it up a little. You know you’ve gone horribly wrong when Joey Votto is only slashing .258/.315/.273. I didn’t think it was possible for him to carry an OBP that low, but here we are. Hopefully, John Riggleman keeps Billy Hamilton out of the leadoff spot until he learns to get on base because it’s really hard to watch.


2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 4 Hitting Planner

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Offenses To Target

Kansas City Royals (vs. Milwaukee, vs. CWS)

The Royals have the worst offense in the league. They also have one of the worst pitching staffs in the league. How bad are they? This season, Kansas City is 0-13 when their opponents score a run. Let that sink in. The Royals staff needs to shut out their opponents for them to even have a chance to win. They have some great matchups this week and it’s the perfect opportunity to take advantage of some lesser-owned players.

The matchup in Milwaukee isn’t overly easy. They’ll get Chase Anderson and an inconsistent Zach Davies, but both are hittable are shouldn’t be faded. The real target here are the five games they’ll play against the White Sox. Somehow, the White Sox have fallen past the Reds for the worst ERA in the majors at 5.71. They give up an opponents average of .260 (27th) so even the Royals should be able to take advantage.

Players to Target: Whit Merrifield, Mike Moustakas, Lucas Duda, Jorge Soler, Jon Jay
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The White Sox pitching staff walks a ton of batters (13.1%) so high OBP players like Merrifield and Jay should find themselves on base quite a bit over the five games.

Their rotation is also near the bottom of the league in strikeout rate as well (18.9%) so Soler and Duda should have an easier time making contact.

As of this writing, Soler has a four-game hit streak going, and just hit his first home run of the year. Hopefully, he can carry some momentum into the easy matchup. He and Duda especially make for cheap options in DFS leagues that don’t punish strikeouts.

Minnesota Twins (@ NYY, vs. Cincinnati)

The Twins will be without one of their main players, as they’ve lost Byron Buxton for an undetermined amount of time due to migraines. Buxton hasn’t been great this season, but it doesn’t help an offense to lose a dynamic player like that and replace him with Robbie Grossman. Fortunately, their upcoming schedule will soften the blow a bit.

The Twins will open the week with a four-game set at Yankee Stadium. For all the talent the Yankees have on their staff, the starting rotation hasn’t been performing up to standards. The only starter with an ERA under 4.00 is Luis Severino. The schedule lines up perfectly so the Twins will avoid Severino on this trip. Instead, Minnesota will face, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery.

Players to Target: Joe Mauer, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler

The lefties in the Twins’ lineup will have a fun time with the short porch in New York. Mauer doesn’t have much power anymore, but he’s hitting very well this season and should have a great series.

Rosario hasn’t had a great start to the season but he’s slowly coming along and there isn’t a better park for him to find his power stroke again.



I’m less excited about Kepler, as the Yankees have two left-handers scheduled for the four-game set. In the games against Tanaka and Gray, Kepler makes a decent low-end DFS or streaming option.

Offenses To Avoid

San Francisco Giants (vs. Washington, vs. LAD)

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The Giants aren’t an offense you’d normally target anyways, but this is definitely a week you’ll want to avoid them. They’ll end up playing a full slate of games, but all seven will be at AT&T Park, which we all know is one of the worst hitters parks in the majors. To make matters worse, they’ll be facing two of the better rotations in the NL.

First, they’ll go against the Nationals. Luckily they’ll avoid Stephen Strasburg, but will still go up against Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer. Both have been absolutely on fire to start the season and will continue that trend at AT&T. Tanner Roark is the third starter on the schedule but he’s been pretty solid as well, carrying a 3.24 ERA with a career-high 24.5% k-rate.

The Dodgers haven’t been quite as dominant as they were when they held the Giants to two runs over the first four games of the season. Despite the recent struggles, Los Angeles still ranks in the top five in both K% and BB%. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood will be especially tough for the Giants, who have batted .215 with a near 30 percent K% against southpaws this season.

Players to Avoid: Andrew McCutchen, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria

McCutchen’s well-documented struggles against lefties should be enough for owners to bench him against Roark, Wood and Ryu. Crawford is also batting below the Mendoza line against left-handers and shouldn’t be started. Not to say he should be started at any time, but for the 15% of you in ESPN leagues who own him, he should be benched.

Despite their recent heroics, Longoria and Belt haven’t been great all season and owners shouldn’t expect anything different next week.

Philadelphia Phillies (vs. Arizona, vs. Atlanta)

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The Philadelphia offense ranks eight in the majors in total runs scored, but their number are boosted by their 20 run rampage over the Marlins on April 7th.

Not to take away anything from that outstanding performance but it’s definitely skewing their overall numbers. If you replace the 20 spot with seven runs, they fall to 17th in runs scored. The Phillies have a lot of talent in their lineup, but at this point, they’re not the top 10 offense they look to be.

Following an off day Monday, the Phillies will face the Diamondbacks ridiculous rotation. Arizona’s staff ranks top five in runs allowed and top 10 in HR allowed, and strikeouts.

Keep in mind, they’re doing this with Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray giving up nine of their 16 home runs allowed this year. The D’Backs have been a tough draw for everyone and the Phillies will draw both Ray and Greinke in the series.

Players to Avoid: Carlos Santana, Scott Kingery, Maikel Franco,

Santana’s hitting .111 and Franco’s batting .184 against right-handers this season, and they’re scheduled to face five right-handers this week. Kingery’s splits also favor his matchups against left-handers, but it’s not as drastic as Santana or Franco.



Platoon Targets

Odubel Herrera, OF, Philadelphia Phillies

There’s always an exception to the rule. While some of the other Phillies may struggle against the heavy right-hand contingent this week, Herrera should have a pretty good week ahead. He has a .378 average against right-handers and should find himself on base plenty during this stretch of games.


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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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