Fantasy Baseball Week 24 Hitting Planner: Friar Yuck

by Jonathan Chan
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 24 Hitting Planner

Welcome back to the Hitting Planner! I apologize for not being able to put out pieces for the last couple weeks as I was on vacation in Florida with my family. Disney World is fun no matter how old you get!

The big news this week is the health of Shohei Ohtani. It was revealed on Wednesday that doctors have recommended he undergo Tommy John Surgery. Ohtani's health was a concern to start the season but he elected to rehab instead of undergoing TJS. There has been no official word on his decision yet, but electing for surgery would certainly mean no pitching in 2019.

As everyone frets over his health, Ohtani continues to amaze. As I'm writing about his torn UCL (Wednesday night), he just smacked his second homer of the night. Who needs working elbow ligaments anyways?

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 24 Hitting Planner

Offense To Target - Arizona Diamondbacks

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The Diamondbacks will get both sides of the coin next week, but the good will be well worth the bad. First, Arizona will spend four games in Colorado. I'm sure everyone knows about Coors Field at this point, but since I've been gone two weeks I'm going to go over the stats again. By runs scored, Coors is the second best hitters park in the league, and by far the best in doubles allowed. A full four-game series will be a huge matchup bonus for all Diamondbacks hitters.

However, their second series against the Astros will present some problems. The Astros rotation is still the best in the league, but the injury to Charlie Morton will make the matchup a little easier to swallow. Minute Maid Park is an above average hitter park for home runs, so owners can hope for some power against Houston. However, owners in daily leagues may want to look elsewhere over the weekend if they have better options.

Notable Players

Paul Goldschmidt owners are going to have an amazing time next week. In 23 at-bats in Coors Field this season, Goldy is slashing .522/.593/1.348 with eight extra-base hits. That's an OPS of 1.941! David Peralta will have the perfect opportunity to break out of his September slump, while Nick Ahmed can provide sneaky production for owners starved for a middle infield option.

A.J. Pollock has been in a horrible slump himself, but if you're not going to play him in Coors Field you should probably just drop him.

Offense To Avoid - San Diego Padres

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Unfortunately, the Padres are the only team in the league next week with just five games on the schedule. Their first two games will be in Seattle against the Mariners. As of now, San Diego is scheduled to face Wade LeBlanc and Mike Leake, who are solid in their own right. However, the Mariners could elect to move James Paxton up a day to pitch on regular rest. If that happens, the matchup becomes much worse for the Padres.

Their next series against the Rangers will be much easier, as the Texas rotation ranks 25th in the league. However, the series will not take place at Globe Life Park and the Rangers rotation is significantly better on the road than at home. On the road, their ERA is nearly 1.4 runs lower than their home ERA.

Notable Players

Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer should be firmly stapled to the bench during the short week. Despite his recent surge, Austin Hedges is a very tough play with only five on the schedule and should be dropped for a catcher with better matchups.

Young sluggers Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes have upside thanks to their power, but it could be boom-or-bust for owners playing them in weekly leagues. Despite their recent surges, I would advise against Renfroe and Reyes this week if there is another option with a better schedule.

Offense To Target - Chicago White Sox

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Chicago won't play a full seven-game schedule, but the degree of difficulty will be low enough to make up for it. The White Sox will play against two of the worst rotations in baseball, starting in Kansas City. As I've mentioned before, the Royals rotation ranks last, or close to last in most of the usual metrics. They're dead last in WAR, 29th in ERA, K-BB%, and 26th in HR/9. There's really no bright spot for the Royals pitching staff, with the exception of Jake Junis' development. Fortunately for the White Sox, Junis isn't scheduled for the series, and Danny Duffy was just shut down for the season.

I bet you're wondering who could possibly be worse than the Royals pitching staff. Despite holding a slight lead in WAR, the Orioles happen to be the one team that has a worse ERA and K-BB% than the Royals. Their HR/9 also stands at a league-worst 1.45. The Orioles just have a massive problem developing pitchers, just look at Kevin Gausman's performance in Atlanta. Whatever the reason, the Orioles are an easy matchup to pick on, and the White Sox lineup should be extremely productive next week.

Notable Players

Jose Abreu hopes to come off the DL this weekend and should be an automatic start if he is in the lineup. Matt Davidson looks to be starting one of his patented hot streaks and could be a huge power contributor against these two rotations. As always, Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada will be good options if you're okay trading your ratios for power/speed.

Offense To Avoid - Tampa Bay Rays

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I had a tough time choosing between the Rays and Marlins for this spot, but I'll go with the Rays because they have one fewer game than Miami does. They both face one elite and one average rotation, but the Rays happen to line up with the tougher parts of the opposing rotations. If you have any Marlins (i.e. J.T. Realmuto) I would advise benching him against Noah Syndergaard, but the rest of the Mets/Phillies rotations are fair game. If the Marlins lined up against Jacob deGrom or Aaron Nola, they would be an easy choice here.

The Rays will first host the Indians elite rotation. The absence of Trevor Bauer takes them from dominant to very, very good. However, Tampa will still need to contend with Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. The Cleveland staff as a whole ranks third in WAR and second in K-BB%. The Indians have a tendency to allow home runs, but the Rays are one of the worst home run hitting teams in the league, and I would be surprised if they are able to capitalize.

The Rays will remain at home for their second series against the Athletics. The A's rotation has been solid, but unspectacular this season. Trevor Cahill and Edwin Jackson have been surprisingly good this season and should do a decent job holding down the Rays.

Notable Players

Tommy Pham is scheduled to return from a groin injury this weekend but should be on the bench against Kluber and Carrasco. Mallex Smith and Joey Wendle should definitely hit the bench against Cleveland. However, Smith will be a good daily option against Cahill, who is 10th in the AL in steals allowed.

Platoon Targets

Scott Schebler, OF, Cincinnati Reds

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Schebler's teammate Eugenio Suarez also works in this spot, but I'm hoping he's already an everyday starter so I'll recommend Schebler as this weeks platoon target.

Somehow, the Reds will face off against left-handed pitchers in ALL of their six games this week. Schebler is slashing .344/.392/.500 against southpaws this season, a massive difference from his .241 average against right-handers.

Schebler will have plenty of RBI opportunities batting behind Suarez, Scooter Gennett, and Joey Votto. At just eight percent owned in ESPN leagues, Schebler is a great addition for Week 24.

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