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Weekly Hitter Rankings: A Fitting Jays-Yanks Finish

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 Sept 28 - Oct. 4

7 GAMES

1. Toronto (at BAL 4, at TB 3) -
It's kind of fitting that when I crunched the numbers for the final column of the season, the two teams slugging it out for the AL East crown ended up in the top two slots. Even though they're on the road the Jays still get the No. 1 spot, as a final-day matchup against Chris Archer is the only potentially dangerous one. Wei-Yin Chen is the only lefty on the slate.

2. N.Y. Yankees (vs. BOS 4, at BAL 3) -
You know the Red Sox would love to play spoiler in the final week of the season against their eternal nemesis, and sending September sensation Rich Hill to the mound should certainly help that cause. The Yankees get three lefties this period (Wade Miley, Hill and Eduardo Rodriguez), so you might get one last burst of production out of Chris Young.

3. Baltimore (vs. TOR 4, vs. NYY 3) -
Caught in the crossfire of the battle for the AL East is the Orioles, who have their own opportunity to play spoiler. They avoid David Price, but Marcus Stroman has looked good since he returned and they get the one-two punch of Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka to close out their schedule. Mark Buehrle is the only lefty the O's will face.

4. Texas (vs. DET 3, vs. LAA 4) -
The Rangers not only get to potentially celebrate their AL West pennant at home, they might even get to decide who takes the league's second wild card, if the Angels and Astros are still duking it out heading into the final weekend. It's a three-lefty week (Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Andrew Heaney) so Mike Napoli gets one final fling with relevance.

5. Cleveland (vs. MIN 4, vs. BOS 3) -
They aren't out of the wild-card hunt yet, but at four games back and with three teams to hurdle just to get the second wild card (after Friday's games, at least), it looks pretty bleak for the Indians. A four-game set at home against one of those teams gives them a bit of hope though. Henry Owens is the only lefty they'll see.

[EDIT - MOVED UP ONE SPOT] 6. Chicago Cubs (vs. KC 1, at CIN 3, at MIL 3) -
The Cubs still have a slim chance of playing host to the NL wild-card game against the Pirates, but given that the visitors are 4-2 since the format was introduced in 2012, they may not want to. John Lamb is the only lefty they're set to face.

7. Kansas City (at CHC 1, at CHW 3, at MIN 3) -
The Royals still have something to play for, namely top seed in the American League, so they may not take their foot off the gas too much. Jose Quintana and the fading Chris Sale make it a two-lefty period.

8. L.A. Angels (vs. OAK 3, at TEX 4) -
As of this writing the Angels are a half-game back of the Astros in the fight for the second wild card in the AL, so they very much hold their fate in their own hands. If the Rangers are more worried about setting up their postseason rotation on the final weekend, though, their path could get a bit easier. At present it's a three-lefty week (Felix Doubront, Derek Holland and Martin Perez).

[EDIT - MOVED UP 2 SPOTS] 9. Minnesota (at CLE 4, vs. KC 3) -
The Twins have quietly gone about their business, and now find themselves just one loss back of the Astros and Angels in the race for the second wild card. The four-game series against the Indians features Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, so leapfrogging them both won't be easy, but who knows who the Royals will send to the mound on the final weekend as they get the rotation set for the postseason. At present it looks like an all-righty week for the Twinkies though, so Eddie Rosario could finish the year in style.

10. Washington (vs. CIN 1, at ATL 3, at NYM 3) -
The Nationals will probably be eliminated from playoff contention by the time the week starts, so while the schedule gives them a high ranking, you may want to use caution rostering any Nats who might get a rest rather than playing out the string. Then again, Matt Williams is old-school enough to send out his "best" lineup even in meaningless games instead of giving some work to kids who might be in the picture for 2016. Why give Trea Turner big-league experience when you can potentially help Ian Desmond boost his value in free agency? Brandon Finnegan and Steven Matz make it a two-lefty period.

11. San Francisco (vs. LAD 4, vs. COL 3) -
The Giants are also all but dead, and a two-game set against the visiting Rockies won't take away the sting of possibly having to watch the Dodgers, of all teams, clinch the NL West at AT&T Park. Facing Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw doesn't help either. Kershaw and Brett Anderson make it a two-lefty week.

[EDIT - MOVED UP 2 SPOTS] 12. L.A. Dodgers (at SF 4, vs. SD 3) -
The Dodgers could already have the NL West locked up, but if not clinching in San Francisco would be pretty sweet. Madison Bumgarner does get one last crack at them, though, and he'll probably be the only lefty they'll see, though the Padres' rotation for the end of the season is still up in the air.

13. Cincinnati (at WAS 1, vs. CHC 3, at PIT 3) -
In theory, the Reds could have an impact on who gets to play host to the NL wild-card game, but otherwise they don't have a lot of skin in their final games. Gerrit Cole is scheduled for the last game of the Pirates set, but he might end up pitching Friday instead to set him up on normal rest for that wild-card game the following Wednesday. Jon Lester and Francisco Liriano would make it a two-lefty week.

14. Boston (at NYY 4, at CLE 3) -
Four games that could let the Red Sox cost their arch-rivals a division pennant should be motivation enough for them, but their season does end with a whimper in Cleveland. They're also set to face both teams' big guns (Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda for the Yankees, Danny Salazar and Corey Kluber for the Indians). CC Sabathia is the only lefty on the slate.

6 GAMES

15. Arizona (vs. COL 3, vs. HOU 3) -
The Diamondbacks don't have much to play for in the final week, though the two-game set against the Astros could help decide the second wild card in the AL, but five games in the desert still has value. Houston could be sending Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel to the mound if the games matter for them, though. Yohan Flande joins Keuchel to potentially make it a two-lefty period.

16. Detroit (at TEX 3, at CHW 3) -
How the heck did the Tigers end up in the AL Central basement? Cole Hamels is one of three lefties they face this week (Carlos Rodon and John Danks are the others), so James McCann could wrap things up with a flourish.

17. Philadelphia (vs. NYM 3, vs. MIA 3) -
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs ... err, sorry, the Phillies finish their season at home (sorry, but given their recent lineups the confusion is completely understandable) and Jose Fernandez is the only big-time arm they're set to face, so if you have to use any of their hitters, they at least have a decent sked. Jon Niese and Brad Hand make it a two-lefty week.

18. Pittsburgh (vs. STL 3, vs. CIN 3) -
The Pirates can still catch the Cardinals in the NL Central, but they might need a sweep here to do it. St. Louis, meanwhile, might be stuck deciding whether to give their flagging rotation some rest or lock up the division crown. Brandon Finnegan is the only lefty the Bucs should see.

19. N.Y. Mets (at PHI 3, vs. WAS 3) -
This should be a victory lap for the Mets (their magic number was one heading into Saturday's play) so who knows what kinds of lineups they might use. The surprising Jerad Eickhoff is the only really tough pitcher on tap, though, as the Nats have Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark lined up to close things out. Gio is also the only lefty the Mets should get.

20. Houston (at SEA 3, at ARI 3) -
The Astros have gone from AL West favorites to a team clinging to the second wild card in the blink of an eye, so they certainly won't be phoning it in this week. In theory it's a three-lefty period thanks to the Mariners, with Roenis Elias, James Paxton and Vidal Nuno set to pitch, but Paxton is iffy to make the start due to yet another injury.

21. St. Louis (at PIT 3, at ATL 3) -
They should be able to clinch the NL Central pennant at some point during the series against the Pirates, but even if things go south there, the Cardinals still have two games against the woeful Braves in their back pocket. They also duck Gerrit Cole, though Julio Teheran may have finally turned things around. J.A. Happ and Jeff Locke make it a two-lefty period.

22. San Diego (vs. MIL 3, at LAD 3) -
The Padres may have gone all-in last offseason, but they apparently did it while holding jack-nine suited. There will be worse schedules this week, though. The Brewers' rotation is so scrubby at this point that I could make up a couple of the names of their starters for this series and you'd never know the difference, and while the Dodgers are set to have Zack Greinke pitch the final game of the year, that could easily change if they do any juggling to set up for the postseason. Alex Wood is the only lefty they're set to see.

23. Atlanta (vs. WAS 3, vs. STL 3) -
There's still a chance that, with a really bad week, the Braves could end up with the worst record in the majors. They aren't likely to tank, but you might want to sit your marginal Atlanta hitters, just in case. They also get Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, so it could be hard to tell if they are tanking. Jaime Garcia is the only lefty on the slate.

[EDIT - MOVED UP 2 SPOTS] 24. Milwaukee (at SD 3, vs. CHC 3) -
There's a chance the two-game set against the Cubs could affect who plays host to the NL wild-card game, but the Brewers have looked like they're just playing out the string for weeks now, so there's no reason to expect anything different now. Jake Arrieta is also set to go Friday, giving him one last start in which to make his Cy Young case and also keep him on regular rest for that NL wild-card game. There are no lefties on the slate, though, which should at least make anyone with Adam Lind shares happy.

25. Seattle (vs. HOU 3, vs. OAK 3) -
They don't have a storied rivalry or anything, but the Mariners do have a chance to ruin the Astros wild-card hopes, and they'll avoid facing Dallas Keuchel to boot. Sonny Gray is also set to go Friday, but second-half Sonny Gray apparently just has cable, as opposed to the Direct TV-having first-half Sonny Gray. Scott Kazmir is the only lefty on the M's schedule, but Barry Zito (for realsies!) could get the nod Saturday for the A's.

26. Chicago White Sox (vs. KC 3, vs. DET 3) -
Now that the games don't matter, the White Sox have started picking up the pace a bit, but this is still a shockingly bad home offense given their ballpark and talent level. Johnny Cueto is the only starter on their schedule this week they really need to worry about, though, while Randy Wolf is the only lefty.

27. Miami (at TB 3, at PHI 3) -
I guess Giancarlo Stanton isn't making it back from his hand surgery after all. Look, this is my surprised face. Matt Moore and Drew Smyly make it a two-lefty week for the Marlins.

28. Tampa Bay (vs. MIA 3, vs. TOR 3) -
I'd like to say something nice about the Rays season, but here's a picture of a baby sting ray's surprised face instead. David Price returns to Tampa on Friday to add insult to injury. Adam Conley joins Price to make it a two-lefty period.

29. Oakland (at LAA 3, at SEA 3) -
The A's have a golden opportunity to stick it to the Angels as they scramble for the second wild card in the AL, but otherwise they've already got the worst record in the league sewn up. Felix Hernandez is still set to pitch Friday, but Hisashi Iwakuma has been the better pitcher lately anyway. Hector Santiago is the only lefty Oakland will see.

30. Colorado (at ARI 3, at SF 3) -
If there's one lesson to take away from this, the first season of the Hitter Value Meter, it's that you should never, ever use Rockies hitters on the road if you can help it. Even if one of them happens to have a decent game, the other eight guys around them won't. Robbie Ray and Patrick Corbin make it a two-lefty week.