The Weekly Hitter Rankings is a companion piece to the Weekly Pitcher Rankings
. While in many leagues your 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 where you make moves weekly instead of daily. The Weekly Hitter Rankings will summarize all that info in one spot, for your roster-juggling convenience.
For the period May 23-29
: 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.
1. Chicago White Sox
vs. CLE (4) – Clevinger (R), Cody Anderson
(R), Tomlin (R), Kluber (R)
at KC (4) – Duffy (L), Ventura (R), Kennedy (R), Volquez (R)
A Monday doubleheader puts the White Sox way ahead for the top spot this week, especially in a period with so many weak six-game slates. Seriously, don't underestimate the value of those two extra games and the counting stats that can come with them, even if the ChiSox aren't the most potent offense around.
2. Kansas City
at MIN (3) – Nolasco (R), E. Santana (R), Duffey (R)
vs. CHW (4) – M. Gonzalez (R), Rodon (L), Latos (R), Sale (L)
excepted, that's a pretty juicy sked for the Royals' hitters. The two weekend lefties could make Paulo Orlando
worth a look as a midweek sub if you're scrounging for production.
at CHW (4) – E. Johnson (R), Latos (R), Sale (L), Quintana (L)
vs. BAL (3) – Gausman (R), Jimenez (R), Tillman (R)
Fill-in starter Erik Johnson
getting the nod for Chicago during the Monday doubleheader gives a boost to what otherwise looks like a fairly tough slate of pitchers. The Indians' only platoon is in right field, but it's hard to recommend Marlon Byrd
given the quality of the lefties he'll be facing.
vs. NYM (3) – Colon (R), Harvey (R), Matz (L)
vs. STL (4) – Leake (R), J. Garcia (L), Wainwright (R), Wacha (R)
The Nats get a solid homestand that kicks off with a Mets team that just got spanked pretty good in Citi Field. Matt Harvey
could (and probably should) be skipped, but whether that means Jacob deGrom
moves up to the Wednesday start or Logan Verrett
gets the nod in Harvey's place remains to be seen.
vs. TB (2) – M. Moore (L), Odorizzi (R)
at TB (2) – Andriese (R), Smyly (L)
at ATL (3) – W. Perez (R), C. Kelly (R), Teheran (R)
This week's interleague madness comes from Florida, where the Marlins and Rays get the home-and-home four-game set, but Miami getting a series against the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves should certainly help their offense. Oh, that's Atlanta's big league rotation now? Yikes. Ichiro Suzuki
and Chris Johnson
are the likeliest candidates to pick up the extra DH at-bats in Tampa.
6. St. Louis
vs. CHC (3) – Lackey (R), Hammel (R), Arrieta (R)
at WAS (4) – J. Ross (R), Scherzer (R), G. Gonzalez (L), Strasburg (R)
It's kind of amazing that the Cardinals don't bring up the rear among the seven-game slates given the aces they'll be facing. Matt Adams
seems to be the first baseman du jour in St. Louis, so he stands to benefit the most from the righty-heavy sked.
7. Tampa Bay
at MIA (2) – Chen (L), Koehler (R)
vs. MIA (2) – Nicolino (L), J. Fernandez (R)
vs. NYY (3) – Tanaka (R), Pineda (R), Eovaldi (R)
Without the DH available for the two games in Miami, expect Corey Dickerson
and Brandon Guyer
to platoon in left field instead. The Yankees' rotation looks more dangerous than they've actually shown on the mound this year, so Logan Morrison
might be heating up at exactly the right time.
8. LA Dodgers
vs. CIN (3) – Finnegan (L), Straily (R), Moscot (R)
at NYM (4) – deGrom (R), Syndergaard (R), Colon (R), Undecided
This is a bit weird. The Dodgers and Mets both have a day off Thursday, but rather than start their series early to accommodate a makeup game, they're playing a doubleheader Sunday instead. LA would be flying cross-country to do it, though, so those travel concerns must have won the day. The Mets' undecided starter could be Harvey, Verrett, or a fill-in callup from Triple-A.
9. NY Mets
at WAS (3) – G. Gonzalez (L), Strasburg (R), Roark (R)
vs. LAD (4) – A. Wood (L), Maeda (R), Kershaw (L), Bolsinger (R)
getting the nod for Sunday's doubleheader isn't confirmed but makes sense, as he'll be eligible to be called back up by then. Three lefties should get Juan Lagares
some extra work, if you're in a deep NL-only league.
10. San Francisco
vs. SD (3) – Pomeranz (L), Shields (R), Friedrich (L)
at COL (3) – Chatwood (R), Bettis (R), Rusin (L)
Oh happy days! A home series against the Padres leading into a visit to Coors makes the Giants' hitters almost must-starts this week. San Francisco doesn't platoon much, but a three-lefty week could give Kelby Tomlinson
and Trevor Brown
some extra at-bats.
at NYY (3) – Eovaldi (R), Nova (R), Sabathia (L)
vs. BOS (3) – J. Kelly (R), Porcello (R), Price (L)
The Jays' bats have shown signs recently of waking up, and David Price
excepted, this slate of pitchers could be a jolt of adrenaline right to their heart. Devon Travis
should return sometime this week to reclaim the job at second base, giving them another boost.
vs. LAA (3) – Tropeano (R), Chacin (R), Santiago (L)
vs. PIT (3) – Niese (L), Nicasio (R), Liriano (L)
Six home games is always good news for Rangers' hitters (yes, even you, Prince Fielder
), and the weak slate of hurlers they'll face is an added bonus. Three lefties should make Ryan Rua
a worthy play in deep formats, even with Shin-Soo Choo
off the DL.
vs. COL (3) – Rusin (L), J. Gray (R), Butler (R)
at TOR (3) – Happ (L), Stroman (R), Dickey (R)
The league's most potent offense so far in 2016 shouldn't slow down much against this group of arms. Travis Shaw
and Josh Rutledge
should continue to platoon at third base, reducing Shaw's value, but Blake Swihart
is likely to get steady work in left field.
vs. BAL (3) – Tillman (R), T. Wilson (R), M. Wright (R)
at LAA (3) – Shoemaker (R), Weaver (R), Tropeano (R)
The biggest drop in this week's rankings falls here, as the Astros are further behind the Red Sox than the 22nd-place Orioles are behind the 'Stros. The lack of lefties on this slate is good news for Luis Valbuena
and Tony Kemp
and probably bad news for Evan Gattis
, but anyone with Gattis shares right now is just anxiously awaiting the day he qualifies at catcher again, so any production he gets in the meantime is either gravy, or wasted on their bench.
vs. ARI (3) – S. Miller (R), R. De La Rosa (R), Corbin (L)
at TEX (3) – Darvish (R), Hamels (L), D. Holland (L)
No, you're not seeing things, Yu Darvish
is about to come off the DL and make the rest of the AL West regret not putting some distance between themselves and the Rangers when they had the chance. Three lefties on the Pirates' slate means you should consider sitting John Jaso
if you have a reasonable alternative. There's no obvious candidate for those DH at-bats in Texas, so don't be surprised if Matt Joyce
, David Freese
and Sean Rodriguez
each get a turn.
16. NY Yankees
vs. TOR (3) – Dickey (R), Estrada (R), Aaron Sanchez
at TB (3) – Archer (R), M. Moore (L), Odorizzi (R)
Kicking the Jays' series off against R.A. Dickey
could mess up the timing of the Yankees' bats for the whole series. The righty-heavy slate should leave Aaron Hicks
and Austin Romine
mostly parked on the bench.
17. Chicago Cubs
at STL (3) – Wainwright (R), Wacha (R), C. Martinez (R)
vs. PHI (3) – Morgan (L), Eickhoff (R), Velasquez (R)
It seems like the Cubs should rank a bit higher, but their bats have cooled down a bit and with Adam Wainwright
showing flickers of life, this could be a tougher slate than advertised. Only one lefty could give Tommy La Stella
some extra playing time.
at ATL (3) – Teheran (R), Foltynewicz (R), Wisler (R)
vs. CIN (3) – J. Lamb (L), Simon (R), Finnegan (L)
You couldn't pick two better pitching staffs for the Brewers to face, although they do get what counts as the tough part of the Braves' rotation. The two weekend lefties could make Keon Broxton
worth a look if you have midweek transactions.
at BOS (3) – Price (L), S. Wright (R), Buchholz (R)
vs. SF (3) – M. Cain (R), Bumgarner (L), Cueto (R)
Note that as of the beginning of this period, the Rockies will have played the fewest home games of any team in MLB (tied with the Mariners). If you're going to try and acquire any Colorado bats, now is the time to do it. Two tough lefties makes Tony Wolters
the Rox catcher to deploy if you have to use one.
vs. PHI (3) – Velasquez (R), Hellickson (R), Nola (R)
at OAK (3) – Manaea (L), Hahn (R), R. Hill (L)
The Tigers' semi-platoon between Cameron Maybin
and Steven Moya
would seem to favor Moya this week, but this is a surprisingly tough slate, especially if Oakland's younger arms start to figure things out.
21. LA Angels
at TEX (3) – D. Holland (L), M. Perez (L), C. Lewis (R)
vs. HOU (3) – Fiers (R), Keuchel (L), Fister (R)
At least the Angels duck the Rangers' aces. The even lefty-righty split should make left field a straight platoon, although whether Rafael Ortega
is splitting time with Shane Robinson
or Craig Gentry
(who could come off the DL mid-week) remains to be seen.
at HOU (3) – Fister (R), McHugh (R), McCullers (R)
at CLE (3) – Bauer (R), Salazar (R), Clevinger (R)
The Baltimore offense has surprisingly been a bit more dangerous on the road this season, but don't expect that to continue. The all-righty slate makes Pedro Alvarez
a consideration despite his weak numbers on the season so far.
at SEA (3) – T. Walker (R), Karns (R), Iwakuma (R)
vs. DET (3) – M. Fulmer (R), Zimmermann (R), Pelfrey (R)
picked a bad time to get hurt, as this seems like a slate tailor-made for him. If you're in truly desperate need of a hitter, Max Muncy
could get some DH at-bats given the lack of lefties the A's face this period.
vs. KC (3) – Kennedy (R), Volquez (R), Gee (R)
at SEA (3) – F. Hernandez (R), Miley (L), T. Walker (R)
should return from the DL to begin the week, which doesn't make him a viable play but does sabotage Eduardo Nunez
's value. Juan Centeno
might also get more than one start this week given the righty-heavy slate.
vs. OAK (3) – R. Hill (L), Graveman (R), S. Gray (R)
vs. MIN (3) – Dean (R), Hughes (R), Nolasco (R)
Given that this pitching thing doesn't seem to be working out for him this year, there's a Sonny Gray
Real Estate joke somewhere in his visit to Seattle, but I'm not going to kick the guy while he's down. Against this group of right-handed starters, it could be time to pull Adam Lind
out of the mothballs in shallower formats.
at PIT (3) – Liriano (L), Locke (L), G. Cole (R)
vs. SD (3) – Vargas (R), Rea (R), Pomeranz (L)
This is where the sub-basement begins in this week's rankings. With three lefties on the sked, Michael Bourn
could find it tough to get into the lineup on a regular basis, and Jake Lamb
will lose at-bats too.
vs. MIL (3) – Nelson (R), Guerra (R), W. Peralta (R)
vs. MIA (3) – Conley (L), Chen (L), Koehler (R)
A six-game homestand at least gets the Braves out of the 30th spot. As long as he keeps hitting, Chase d'Arnaud
should keep getting playing time, especially at second base over Kelly Johnson
against those Marlins lefties.
28. San Diego
at SF (3) – Cueto (R), Samardzija (R), Peavy (R)
at ARI (3) – Ray (L), Greinke (R), S. Miller (R)
isn't anything close to the pitcher he was last year, but then again, neither is Jeff Samardzija
, so it kind of balances out for the Padres this week. Travis Jankowski
has started to get more playing time and could be a sneaky play this week if you need steals.
at DET (3) – Pelfrey (R), Verlander (R), Anibal Sanchez
at CHC (3) – Lester (L), Hendricks (R), Lackey (R)
This slate actually doesn't look too scary, especially without Jake Arrieta
on the bump for the Cubs. Last year's terrible road performance for the Phillies still weighs heavily, though, and they haven't exactly lit it up this season either. Getting the DH in Detroit does make Tommy Joseph
an interesting play.
at LAD (3) – Kershaw (L), Stripling (R), Kazmir (L)
at MIL (3) – Davies (R), Chase Anderson
(R), Nelson (R)
Not even a trip to Milwaukee can salvage the Reds' hitters this week, and facing Clayton Kershaw
right off the jump certainly doesn't help.