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Weekly Hitter Rankings: Rocky Mountain High

Erik Siegrist

Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.

The Hitter Value Meter is a companion piece to the weekly Pitching Value Meter. While in many leagues offensive roster slots are set 'em and forget 'em, in deeper formats where every at-bat counts, knowing which teams have friendly schedules for hitters, and which platoon bats will be getting more action than usual, can be valuable information, especially in head-to-head formats and leagues with weekly moves instead of daily. The Hitter Value Meter will summarize all that info in one spot, for your roster juggling convenience.

For the week August 31-Sept 6

8 GAMES

1. Colorado (vs. ARI 4, vs. SF 4) -
With eight home games lined up thanks to Tuesday's double-header, this is the week you'll want to plug every scrubby Rockie you have into your active lineup in the hopes of catching some mile-high magic, even players like Daniel Descalso or Kyle Parker. Patrick Corbin and Madison Bumgarner make it a two-lefty week.

7 GAMES

2. Arizona (at COL 4, at CHC 3) -
The D-backs are the other participant in that Tuesday doubleheader and while the series against the Cubs does feature matchups against Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, those four games in Denver still make this an excellent slate. Lester and Yohan Flande are the two scheduled lefties Arizona will face, although the Rockies have yet to decide on a starter for Tuesday's nightcap.

3. San Francisco (at LAD 3, at COL 4) -
Funnily enough, the other team to visit Coors Field this week gets the third spot in the rankings. What are the odds? The Giants have to spend the rest of the week in Chavez Ravine, though, facing both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, which is why they're stuck in third. The Giants face a whopping five lefties this period (Chris Rusin, Jorge De La Rosa, Yohan Flande, Brett Anderson and Kershaw), so if you need a catching boost Andrew Susac could be worth a look.

4. Washington (at STL 3, vs. ATL 4) -
While the series in St. Louis is no great shakes, the home set against the battered Braves gives the Nats something to work with this week. It's all righties all the time this period for Washington, so in addition to Bryce Harper gearing up to swing some heavy lumber, Clint Robinson could be a decent play in deeper formats as he could get some starts spelling Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth.

6 GAMES

5. Toronto (vs. CLE 3, vs. BAL 3) -
The most productive offense in the league not only gets six home games, they avoid the biggest guns in the Indians' and Orioles' rotations, as Danny Salazar and Wei-Yin Chen are probably the most dangerous starters they'll face. Chen's the only lefty the Jays should see.

7 GAMES

6. San Diego (vs. TEX 3, vs. LAD 4) -
A seven-game homestand would look better if it wasn't taking place in Petco Park. The Padres do have to deal with Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke, but the rest of their opposition tends towards mediocre. Hamels, Alex Wood and Brett Anderson make it a three-lefty week, so Clint Barmes could get some extra work.

7. L.A. Dodgers (vs. SF 3, at SD 4) -
The NL West dominates this week's rankings, with five of the top seven slots, but somebody has to bring up the rear among the group. Other than Madison Bumgarner though, none of the starters they face are pitching particularly well at the moment. MadBum's also the only lefty they'll see.

8. Atlanta (vs. MIA 3, at WAS 4) -
The Braves aren't playing well, but a three-game home set against what the Marlins laughingly refer to as a rotation could do wonders for them. It'd better, because the Nats' arms are a lot stingier, even if Max Scherzer won't be pitching in this series. Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley and Gio Gonzalez make it a three-lefty period, so Jonny Gomes could have some value in deeper formats.

6 GAMES

9. Boston (vs. NYY 3, vs. PHI 3) -
This feels like one of those weeks when Fenway produces some goofy box scores. The Yankees are in theory sending their best to the mound, but Michael Pineda looked bad in his first start off the DL and Masahiro Tanaka keeps giving up home runs. As for the Phillies, their three starters have a combined 13 major league starts, and 11 of those are from Adam Morgan, who's also the only lefty the Red Sox will see.

10. N.Y. Yankees (at BOS 3, vs. TB 3) -
The Yankees could also benefit if the box scores in the BoSox series look more like pinball scores, given Boston's inconsistent rotation. They'll get the best the Rays can throw at them back home, though, with Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer bookending the series. Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens makes it a two-lefty period.

11. Houston (vs. SEA 3, vs. MIN 3) -
This is a fairly juice slate for the Astros with Felix Hernandez getting skipped, though even if he were on the sked his recent performances haven't been very King Felix-like. The best the Mariners can muster is Taijuan Walker, who left his last start with a sore hip, and while Twins rookie Tyler Duffey has been pitching well lately, a 4.71 BB/9 rate doesn't suggest he'll keep it up. Vidal Nuno and Roenis Elias make it a two-lefty week.

12. Kansas City (vs. DET 3, vs. CHW 3) -
While the Royals spend the whole week at home, there are some unwelcome visitors coming to town. Justin Verlander has re-discovered his Cy Young form, while Chris Sale never lost his. In between those two games though, Kansas City gets some much more vulnerable opposition, including rookie Matt Boyd and the scuffling Jeff Samardzija. Boyd, Randy Wolf, Jose Quintana and Sale make it a four-lefty period, so Paulo Orlando is likely to see plenty of work.

13. Chicago Cubs (vs. CIN 3, vs. ARI 3) -
The Cubs' offense hasn't been great at home this season, but it has a great chance to get that arrow pointed north this week. Raisel Iglesias has been pitching well, but the Reds don't even know who Monday's starter will be yet while the D-back are equally undecided on their Friday hurler. Robbie Ray and Patrick Corbin make it at least a two-lefty period, but if David Holmberg gets the nod for Cinci he would be southpaw No. 3.

14. Oakland (vs. LAA 3, vs. SEA 3) -
This is probably one of the more volatile slates this period, as the A's face a number of pitchers such as Matt Shoemaker who seem to be rarely average and are instead either really good or really bad. The fact that this group includes Felix Hernandez is a shocker, but there's no denying how erratic he's been. Hector Santiago, Andrew Heaney and Mike Montgomery make it a three-lefty week, so Billy Butler might get a chance to provide a bit of value.

15. St. Louis (vs. WAS 3, vs. PIT 3) -
There aren't too many weak links in the Cardinals' chain this week. Gio Gonzalez hasn't had much luck over the last couple of weeks, but even Charlie Morton has been solid recently for the Pirates, and Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole are always capable of reeling off goose eggs. Gonzalez and J.A. Happ make it a two-lefty period.

16. Detroit (at KC 3, vs. CLE 3) -
The Tigers have get some tough matchups, including Johnny Cueto, a revived Yordano Ventura and Corey Kluber, but Edinson Volquez is stuck in a good start-bad start pattern that points to a nice night for the Detroit offense, as well as homer-prone Indians fifth starter Josh Tomlin. Barring a switch by Cleveland, this is a no-lefty period for the Tigers.

17. Cincinnati (at CHC 3, vs. MIL 3) -
Things fall the Reds' way, as instead of facing Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in Chicago they get Kyle Hendricks, Dan Haren and a fading Jason Hammel, then they come home for batting practice against Kyle Lohse. Jimmy Nelson is arguably the toughest pitcher they'll see all week. Not that they have any real platoons to exploit it, but it's an all-righty period for Cinci.

18. Baltimore (vs. TB 3, at TOR 3) -
From this point on in the rankings, things start to look a bit grim. The O's get Chris Archer at home, then travel to Toronto to face David Price and Drew Hutchison, who would be in the Cy Young discussion if he never had to make a road start (11-1, 2.46 ERA in 14 outings at the Rogers Centre). Drew Smyly, Mark Buehrle and Price make it a three-lefty week, so Joey Butler could be worth a spin.

19. Pittsburgh (at MIL 3, at STL 3) -
A series against the Brewers would normally look promising, but the Pirates only face one of their terrible veteran starters in Matt Garza, and then it's on to St. Louis for the usual treatment at the hands of the most consistent rotation, one through five, in the majors. Jaime Garcia is the only lefty they'll see.

20. Minnesota (vs. CHW 3, at HOU 3) -
The Twins sit just outside the second wild-card spot in the AL, but if they make up any ground this period it'll be because the Rangers' offense had an even worse week than they did. Minny sees both Chris Sale and Scott Kazmir, Carlos Rodon is doing the "wild but unhittable" thing at the moment, Mike Fiers has been (insert favorite fire-related reference here) since joining the Astros and even Lance McCullers looked good in his first start after being called back up. Of the entire slate, only John Danks has looked like a shlub lately. With four lefties lined up, Shane Robinson should get plenty of extra at-bats.

21. Chicago White Sox (at MIN 3, at KC 3) -
This schedule would look better if the White Sox were at home, or if another team was on this road trip. As it is, Tyler Duffey and Tommy Milone have been surprisingly effective for the Twins, and while Johnny Cueto has stumbled lately he's still capable of shutting them down. Milone and Danny Duffy make it a two-lefty week.

22. Tampa Bay (at BAL 3, at NYY 3) -
Tampa gets the good half of Baltimore's rotation, especially if the good version of Gausman shows up, and while in theory they miss the Yankees' two aces, don't tell that to Luis Severino or Nathan Eovaldi, who have been out-pitching their name-brand rotation-mates as of late. Wei-Yin Chen is the only lefty on the slate.

23. Cleveland (at TOR 3, at DET 3) -
This road swing for the Tribe starts off with the Tigers' ex-ace in David Price and ends with their once and future ace Justin Verlander. There's not a lot of fun in the rest of the Jays' series either as Marco Estrada continues punching above his weight, but at least they get an off-day after R.A. Dickey mucks with their hitters' timing. Buck Farmer and Alfredo Simon at least give them a chance to get something going in the first two games in Detroit.

24. Milwaukee (vs. PIT 3, at CIN 3) -
Once they get Gerrit Cole out of the way Tuesday, things gradually get better for the Brewers over the course of the week, as the Pirates give way to the horror show that is the non-Raisel Iglesias portion of the Reds' rotation. If David Holmberg is still around as Cinci's fifth starter, this will be a four-lefty week (Jeff Locke, Francisco Liriano, John Lamb and Holmberg), which is bad news for Adam Lind but potentially good news for Domingo Santana.

25. N.Y. Mets (vs. PHI 3, at MIA 3) -
If you were just judging them based on the starters they're facing this week, you'd think the Mets had been relegated to the International League. The Phillies offer up retread Aaron Harang, their one true pitching prospect in Aaron Nola and a third guy not named Aaron, while the Marlins counter with a dizzying array of sixth starters and swing men. Brad Hand and Chris Narveson, who before being press-ganged into the Miami rotation last had a big-league start in 2012, make it a two-lefty period.

26. Seattle (at HOU 3, at OAK 3) -
About the only good thing you can say about the Mariners' slate is that they don't have to face Sonny Gray. Even Scott Feldman's been pitching great for the Astros, and with the exception of Jesse Chavez the rest of the A's pitchers remain stubbornly effective. Dallas Keuchel and Felix Doubront make it a twwo-lefty week.

27. L.A. Angels (at OAK 3, vs. TEX 3) -
Much the same applies to the Angels, only instead of ducking Sonny Gray they're stuck dealing with him but duck Cole Hamels instead. It's still a three-lefty period though (Felix Doubront, Martin Perez and Derek Holland) so some extra playing time could fall Shane Victorino's way.

28. Miami (at ATL 3, vs. NYM 3) -
The cupboard is so bare in Atlanta that the Braves are potentially looking at Edwin Jackson as their fifth starter, but the Marlins still have to face Shelby Miller as well as two-thirds of the Mets' Three K-Sketeers in Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. It's a lefty-free week, so give Derek Dietrich's value a boost.

29. Texas (at SD 3, at LAA 3) -
The Rangers' hitters could well be saying "No man, I don't think so" after this trip back to Cali. Ian Kennedy's been fantastic lately while both Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner have been solid, and in Anaheim even Jered Weaver was inexplicably good after returning to the rotation, though he did get kicked around last Tuesday by the Tigers. Hector Santiago is the only lefty Texas will see.

30. Philadelphia (at NYM 3, at BOS 3) -
The numbers here probably don't adequately account for the Phillies' recent surge, but at the same time they have six road games and have to face Matt Harvey and a suddenly-deadly Joe Kelly, so it's not like they should leap into the top 10, or even the top 20, this week. Jon Niese and Wade Miley make it a two-lefty week.