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Weekly Hitter Rankings: White Sox Set to Pop

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. 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

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.


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)

Chris Sale 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.

3. Cleveland

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.

4. Washington

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.

5. Miami

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)

Michael Bolsinger 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.

11. Toronto

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.

12. Texas

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.

13. Boston

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.

14. Houston

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.

15. Pittsburgh

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 (R)
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.

18. Milwaukee

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.

19. Colorado

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.

20. Detroit

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.

22. Baltimore

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.

23. Oakland

at SEA (3) T. Walker (R), Karns (R), Iwakuma (R)
vs. DET (3) M. Fulmer (R), Zimmermann (R), Pelfrey (R)

Josh Reddick 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.

24. Minnesota

vs. KC (3) Kennedy (R), Volquez (R), Gee (R)
at SEA (3) F. Hernandez (R), Miley (L), T. Walker (R)

Eduardo Escobar 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.

25. Seattle

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.

26. Arizona

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.

27. Atlanta

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)

Shelby Miller 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.

29. Philadelphia

at DET (3) Pelfrey (R), Verlander (R), Anibal Sanchez (R)
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.

30. Cincinnati

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.