Let me take you back to January 2018. The NFL playoffs were in full swing, and baseball was the last thing on most people's minds.
To get people thinking about the boys of summer, MLB Network released a series of position ranking videos. Now, these videos were hardly gospel, but it gave birth to one of the most erroneous lists of all time.
Didi Gregorious not even making the top 10 here is the biggest injustice in any list ever created pic.twitter.com/j1RbnLDlZO
— Eric Hubbs (@BarstoolHubbs) January 14, 2018
In hindsight, it's easy to say that they made a mistake leaving Didi Gregorious off the list, but come on. This wasn't a Fantasy list, so Didi's incredible defense (4th in fielding percentage) should have put him on the list right away. His offense was strong as well! Among shortstops, he finished third in RBI, third in HR, fifth in AVG, and fifth in OPS.
Unless you live under a rock, you know that Gregorious has been absolutely lighting the world on fire. He's hitting .347 with nine home runs and a league-leading 29 RBI. As of this writing, he's the second-best Fantasy player based on ESPN's player rater. He probably won't continue hitting like this, but it's been an amazing watching Sir Didi set the league on fire.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Hitting Planner
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Offenses to Target
Cleveland Indians (vs. Texas, vs. Toronto, @ NYY)
It's been a rough start to the season for the Indians offense. Cleveland ranks 27th in wOBA and they've only scored 73 runs all season, the same as the Marlins. Yikes!
If there was ever a time for them to turn it around, it would be this week. Thanks to a couple of postponed games earlier in the season, the Indians will play eight games, including five at home.
They'll start against Texas at home, where they'll draw Matt Moore, Cole Hamels and Doug Fister. None of them have been particularly impressive this season, especially Moore and Hamels, who are both surrendering hard contact rates of 49% and 46% respectively.
A little extra hard contact could go a long way to correcting the Indians league-worst .255 BABIP.
Cleveland will finish the week in New York against the Yankees. They'll get the back end of the Yankees rotation in one of the leagues friendliest hitting environments.
Encarnacion is starting slow for the second straight season, but this could be the week he shakes out of his cold streak.
He's historically his pretty well against the Yankees, and the short porch in right field should help him out. Brantley has been hitting pretty well when healthy and he should produce a ton of hits with eight games on the docket.
Owners in need of cheap power should look at Alonso, who is locked into a sweet lineup spot behind Encarnacion.
Toronto Blue Jays (@ Minnesota, @ Cleveland, @ Tampa Bay)
Thanks to the lovely April rain on the east coast, the Jays will be the other team who get to play eight games this week.
They'll start the week in Minnesota, where they'll face the 26th ranked Twins rotation. Even better, they'll avoid Jose Berrios and face Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, and Phil Hughes. Gibson is the best of the three with a 4.29 ERA and 3.62 FIP, so the Jays are must-starts during this series.
Over the weekend, the Rays will send Yonny Chirinos, Jacob Faria and Chris Archer to the mound. Chirinos has slowed since his hot start to the season and has given up eight runs in his last two outings. He's yet to make it through the sixth inning so you know the Rays already taxed bullpen will have to work overtime.
Faria is working hard to come back after a rough start to the season but he's still walking 14 percent of the batters he faces.
With Josh Donaldson out of the lineup, owners should target some of the Jays lesser owned power guys.
Hernandez has been on a tear since being called up and has shown much-improved discipline, only striking out 23% of the time.
Solarte has been the full-time third baseman with Donaldson out and is on a good run right now, hitting four home runs in his last eight games.
Morales has been off the DL for a week and could provide some very cheap counting stats hitting in the middle of the Jays lineup.
Offenses to Avoid
St. Louis Cardinals (vs. CWS, vs. CHC)
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Despite the Cardinal's schedule being pretty decent, they find themselves in the "avoid" section due to a lack of games.
St. Louis only plays five games this week, three of which will be against a decent Cubs rotation. Over the weekend the Cards will face Jose Quintana, Tyler Chatwood and Jon Lester. Quintana is obviously better than he's been pitching and Lester is always a tough draw.
However, owners in weekly leagues should probably avoid St. Louis hitters if they have viable alternatives. Two off days is a lot to overcome and can mean the difference between a good or bad week.
With the way DeJong is hitting you're not going to sit him anyway, so I won't tell you to. Ozuna has been really bad and hasn't been playing every day as it is, so he isn't trustworthy as it is.
Fowler hasn't been bad since moving to the lineup full time again, but he's not someone I would trust in a weekly lineup.
Texas Rangers (@ Cleveland, vs. Boston)
It's not going to be a great week for the Rangers players or their owners. Not only will they be without Adrian Beltre, but they're up against a two of the best rotations in the majors.
First, they'll visit Cleveland for a three-game set against the Indians. The only reprieve in Cleveland's entire rotation is Josh Tomlin and the Rangers don't get the luxury of facing him. Instead, they'll take on Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and Corey Kluber. All have been great to start the season and the Rangers 22nd ranked offense might be overmatched with the heart and soul of their lineup on the disabled list.
It will be more of the same in their weekend series at home against Boston. Barring any changes, Boston will trot out David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Chris Sale. Three of them being left-handed batters doesn't make much of a difference for the Rangers as a whole, as their splits thus far are pretty even between lefties and righties.
Mazara hits pretty well against lefties, but he still strikes out 27 percent of the time when facing them.
Choo also has strikeout issues versus lefties, also at a 27 percent clip.
Everyone knows about Gallo's strikeout problems, but honestly, 31 percent doesn't even seem that bad for someone who whiffs as much as he does. I always second guess benching Gallo anyways, because you'll never know when he'll hit something into the seats. I don't blame you if you want to keep Gallo in your lineup.
Unless the wind created from the whiffs can move DeShields around the bases, I don't see him scoring many runs this week. However, a few steals might be in store as the Rangers get desperate to create some offense.
Chris Owings, OF/2B/, Arizona Diamondbacks
With the injuries in the Diamondbacks outfield, Owings and Jarrod Dyson have carved out a nice platoon for themselves.
This week, the Diamondbacks will be facing the Dodgers, who will throw four left-handers to the mound in their series. Owings is on the left heavy side of the platoon and will likely get four games in a row to start the week. He will likely get to play one more game in the Houston series against Dallas Keuchel as well.
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