RotoWire Partners

Weekly Hitter Rankings: Arizona's Turn to Mash

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 Weekly Hitter Rankings is a companion piece to the Weekly Pitcher Rankings. In many leagues, your offensive roster slots are "set 'em and forget 'em." In deeper formats though, 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. This is especially true in head-to-head formats and leagues where moves are made weekly rather than daily. The Weekly Hitter Rankings will summarize all that info in one spot, for your roster-juggling convenience.

For the period May 9-15

NOTE: I've begun to incorporate 2016 offensive performance into the home/road splits for each team, and will gradually increase the weight as the season progresses.

7 GAMES

1. Arizona

at COL (3) – Chatwood (R), Rusin (L), Bettis (R)
vs. SF (4) – Cueto (R), Samardzija (R), Peavy (R), M. Cain (R)

Three games in Coors, four games at home in the desert, and they avoid facing Madison Bumgarner to boot. What more could Diamondback hitters ask for? If you've jumped on the Brandon Drury bandwagon, note that Arizona only faces one lefty this period, which could limit his playing time.

2. Boston

vs. OAK (3) – S. Gray (R), Manaea (L), Surkamp (L)
vs. HOU (4) – Keuchel (L), McHugh (R), Fiers (R), Devenski (R)

The Red Sox enjoy a long homestand at Fenway this period, and the trio of lefties coming to town could make Chris Young worth a spot if you're scrounging for at-bats, particularly in leagues with mid-week transactions so you can sub him out on the weekend.

3. NY Mets

at LAD (4) – Kazmir (L), A. Wood (L), Maeda (R), Kershaw (L)
at COL (3) – J. Gray (R), Butler (R), Chatwood (R)

The Mets' hitters also get to enjoy some altitude, but having to face Clayton Kershaw (and, for that matter, Kenta Maeda) at sea level keeps them from the top of the rankings this week. A three-lefty slate could give Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores some extra at-bats.

4. Baltimore

at MIN (3) – Berrios (R), Hughes (R), Nolasco (R)
vs. DET (4) – Pelfrey (R), Verlander (R), Anibal Sanchez (R), Michael Fulmer (R)

While the Orioles don't get any games in extreme hitter's parks, they do get to face a motley collection of opposition hurlers. The all right-handed slate could make Pedro Alvarez worth getting back into your lineup if he's been parked on your bench (or even the waiver wire) in shallower formats.

5. NY Yankees

vs. KC (4) – C. Young (R), Medlen (R), Ventura (R), Kennedy (R)
vs. CHW (3) – Sale (L), Quintana (L), Miguel Gonzalez (R)

The third AL East team in the top five does have to step in against Chris Sale, but they're at home all week and with the Royals' staff struggling, this still looks like a juicy slate. Aaron Hicks also finally homered, if you're looking for an excuse to use him for the White Sox series.

6. Kansas City

at NYY (4) – Nova (R), Tanaka (R), Pineda (R), Eovaldi (R)
vs. ATL (3) – Teheran (R), Foltynewicz (R), Wisler (R)

The Royals aren't at home all week, but their home series is against the woeful Braves. They'll also get to launch some shots at the Yankee Stadium short porch just as the weather starts to warm up, although Mike Moustakas' ill-timed injury robs him of that chance. Eric Hosmer, a career .311/.377/.525 hitter in 61 at-bats in Yankee Stadium, looks like a must-start in any format.

7. San Francisco

vs. TOR (3) – Aaron Sanchez (R), Happ (L), Stroman (R)
at ARI (4) – S. Miller (R), Corbin (L), R. De La Rosa (R), Ray (L)

There are some danger spots, and the three lefties are inconveniently staggered which makes it tougher to use someone like Kelby Tomlinson, but this still shapes up to be a solid slate for the Giants' hitters. Hunter Pence's back has been acting up, so Gregor Blanco could get more playing time than expected.

8. Detroit

at WAS (3) – Strasburg (R), J. Ross (R), Scherzer (R)
at BAL (4) – M. Wright (R), Tillman (R), Tyler Wilson (R), Gausman (R)

Even with Max Scherzer struggling, the series in D.C. looks formidable, and the Tigers will have to do it without DH at-bats from Victor Martinez. Cameron Maybin finally seems close to returning, but the all-righty slate means Anthony Gose should see most of the center-field playing time anyway.

9. San Diego

at CHC (3) – Lester (L), Hendricks (R), Lackey (R)
at MIL (4) – Nelson (R), J. Guerra (R), W. Peralta (R), Z. Davies (R)

This might be a surprisingly high ranking given their recent offensive performance, but the Padres have seven road games in good hitter's parks, and the patchwork Brewers' rotation could be awfully generous. Brett Wallace should continue to dominate the third base playing time with only one lefty on the slate.

10. Washington

vs. DET (3) – Anibal Sanchez (R), M. Fulmer (R), Zimmermann (R)
vs. MIA (4) – Koehler (R), Nicolino (L), J. Fernandez (R), Conley (L)

A Saturday day/night doubleheader saves the Nationals from six-game ignominy this week, and they also welcome back Jordan Zimmermann during the homestand, although that doesn’t do much for their hitters. With only lefty on the slate, Stephen Drew might pick up some extra playing time as the team tries to keep finding excuses not to call up Trea Turner to play shortstop.

11. Houston

vs. CLE (3) – Kluber (R), Bauer (R), Salazar (R)
at BOS (4) – Price (L), S. Wright (R), Buchholz (R), E. Rodriguez (L)

The Astros are stuck facing both their opponents' aces, and get a knuckleballer thrown into the mix for good measure. With Evan Gattis temporarily out of the DH picture, Preston Tucker should see a boost in playing time.

12. Milwaukee

at MIA (3) – J. Fernandez (R), Conley (L), Chen (L)
vs. SD (4) – Shields (R), Cashner (R), C. Vargas (R), Rea (R)

The new configuration on Marlins Park continues to make it a little bit hitter-friendly, so even with Jose Fernandez on the horizon this isn't a terrible period for the Brewers' bats. Domingo Santana's recent slump has turned right field into a platoon with Alex Presley, so Presley could be a sneaky play for the Padres' series.

13. Miami

vs. MIL (3) – W. Peralta (R), Z. Davies (R), Chase Anderson (R)
at WAS (4) – G. Gonzalez (L), Roark (R), A.J. Cole (R), Strasburg (R)

A.J. Cole getting a spot start in the Saturday doubleheader makes sense but isn't yet confirmed, and Thursday's off-day could allow the Nats to keep their rotation on schedule, which would put Joe Ross on the Marlins' slate instead. Of course, they could also blow everyone's minds by bringing up Lucas Giolito. The home series against what the Brewers laughingly refer to as a major league rotation is where Miami's hitters should make their hay.

14. LA Dodgers

vs. NYM (4) – Matz (L), deGrom (R), Syndergaard (R), Colon (R)
vs. STL (3) – Wainwright (R), Wacha (R), Leake (R)

This Dodgers’ slate may not be quite as tough as the name-brand pitching would suggest, but it's still not a fun way to spend a week at home. With only one lefty on the sked, Joc Pederson could be worth returning to your lineup if you have him benched.

6 GAMES

15. Texas

vs. CHW (3) – M. Gonzalez (R), Rodon (L), Latos (R)
vs. TOR (3) – Dickey (R), Estrada (R), Aaron Sanchez (R)

The period's top six-game slate sees the Rangers at home against a relatively unimpressive collection of arms, although having a knuckleballer lead off the Jays' series could mess up their timing for the weekend. Only one lefty means you can probably leave Ryan Rua on your bench.

16. Colorado

vs. ARI (3) – R. De La Rosa (R), Ray (L), Greinke (R)
vs. NYM (3) – Harvey (R), Matz (L), deGrom (R)

The Rockies finally get a homestand, but then face a bunch of aces that -- at the very least – will make things overcast and force them to bring an umbrella, if not raining on Colorado's parade completely. (Hopefully I didn't just jinx the Rockies with a bunch of rainouts now). With the outfield healthy again, expect first base to become a platoon situation again, although at the moment Ben Paulsen appears to be the odd man out and may not get as much playing time as you'd expect.

17. Toronto

at SF (3) – Peavy (R), M. Cain (R), Bumgarner (L)
at TEX (3) – Griffin (R), M. Perez (L), C. Lewis (R)

Truth be told, there's a clear divide at this point in the rankings, so if you can at all avoid using hitters on teams from here on down, you might want to think about it. The Jays' offense hasn't been the juggernaut it was last year, although they’ve shown some signs of rising their slumber. Losing the DH in San Francisco could force Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak to split starts at first base.

18. St. Louis

at LAA (3) – Santiago (L), Cory Rasmus (R), Weaver (R)
at LAD (3) – Stripling (R), Kazmir (L), A. Wood (L)

The Cardinals get to spend the week in La-La Land -- how nice for them. Maybe they'll check out Disneyland on their day off. We currently have Rasmus taking another start Tuesday, but if the Angels look for a more permanent option to fill the hole left by Garrett Richards' injury, Nate Smith has managed to keep his ERA under 4.00 through six starts for Triple-A Salt Lake. If he gets the call, that would give St. Louis four lefties on their slate, which could put the squeeze on Matt Adams for at-bats.

19. Pittsburgh

at CIN (3) – Straily (R), Simon (R), Adleman (R)
at CHC (3) – Hammel (R), Arrieta (R), Lester (L)

The Pirates continue racking up divisional games, but the front half of their slate this week looks a lot more inviting than the back half. Only one lefty is good news for John Jaso.

20. Chicago White Sox

at TEX (3) – C. Lewis (R), D. Holland (L), Hamels (L)
at NYY (3) – Severino (R), Nova (R), Tanaka (R)

This is a thoroughly bland sked in almost every way. Blah. The White Sox don't even have any hitters who can really take advantage of Yankee Stadium's short porch.

21. Cleveland

at HOU (3) – Fiers (R), Devenski (R), Fister (R)
vs. MIN (3) – E. Santana (R), Duffey (R), Berrios (R)

The Indians face nothing but righties this period, and since none of them are exactly elite, players like Lonnie Chisenhall become a bit more appealing if he's on your active roster bubble.

22. Cincinnati

vs. PIT (3) – Niese (L), Nicasio (R), Liriano (L)
at PHI (3) – Hellickson (R), Nola (R), Morgan (L)

The even lefty-righty split, and the way they're spread across the week, makes the Reds' left field platoon of Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler much tougher to navigate. Avoid the whole mess if at all possible.

23. Minnesota

vs. BAL (3) – T. Wilson (R), Gausman (R), Worley (R)
at CLE (3) – Tomlin (R), Kluber (R), Bauer (R)

Here’s another all-right-handed slate, which might give Oswaldo Arcia some extra playing time. The surging Byung-ho Park probably isn't giving up many at-bats, though, and Joe Mauer isn't going to sit either.

24. Chicago Cubs

vs. SD (3) – Vargas (R), Rea (R), Pomeranz (L)
vs. PIT (3) – Locke (L), G. Cole (R), Niese (L)

This is the one team that seems ranked way too low. Even though they're getting more respect for their awesome offensive start to 2016, expectations should still be tempered given the sample size. That said, if you want to include the Cubs at the top of the six-game rankings with the Rangers and Rockies, go for it. Three lefties on the slate means -- and I can't believe I'm saying this -- that Tommy La Stella could be a good option this week.

25. Oakland
at BOS (3) – Buchholz (R), Owens (L), Porcello (R)
at TB (3) – Odorizzi (R), Moore (L), Smyly (L)

The even lefty-righty split makes a lot of A's hitters tough to use this week given how often they platoon and play matchups. Do you risk Stephen Vogt, knowing he might only get three starts? Do Josh Phegley or Billy Butler become options? It’s hard to say.

26. Philadelphia

at ATL (3) – Wisler (R), Chacin (R), Blair (R)
vs. CIN (3) – Finnegan (L), J. Lamb (L), Straily (R)

There's another drop from 25 to 26 in the rankings, so consider this the spot at which the sub-basement begins. If the Phillies could hit, though, this slate would look pretty good.

27. Atlanta

vs. PHI (3) – Morgan (L), Eickhoff (R), Velasquez (R)
at KC (3) – Volquez (R), C. Young (R), Medlen (R)

Wow, the Braves are ahead of three other teams this period? That's kind of amazing, and kind of terrifying for those other teams. With only one lefty on the sked and DH at-bats available in Kansas City, Reid Brignac could be worth a look in deep NL-only formats if you're desperate, and Kelly Johnson in shallower leagues.

28. Tampa Bay

at SEA (3) – F. Hernandez (R), Miley (L), T. Walker (R)
vs. OAK (3) – Hahn (R), Graveman (R), S. Gray (R)

King Felix and Sonny Gray have both been pitching below expectations this year, but facing the Rays' hitters could change that. Despite the righty-heavy slate, Steve Pearce still appears to be the only first baseman worth rostering from the Rays.

29. Seattle

vs. TB (3) – Moore (L), Smyly (L), Archer (R)
vs. LAA (3) – Tropeano (R), Shoemaker (R), Santiago (L)

The three lefties on the Mariners' slate could give Franklin Gutierrez a chance to wake up, but I wouldn't recommend using him until he does. Dae-Ho Lee could also be worth a look.

30. LA Angels

vs. STL (3) – Leake (R), J. Garcia (L), C. Martinez (R)
at SEA (3) – Karns (R), Iwakuma (R), F. Hernandez (R)

It’s funny how the bottom-three teams all play each other, with the common denominator being games in Safeco Field. The righty-heavy slate does line up well for Daniel Nava's return to the lineup, though.