Fantasy Baseball Streaming Hitters: Week 4
Fantasy baseball managers are panicking about Jose Ramirez, Mookie Betts, and Anthony Rizzo. They all had an ADP in the top 35, but each man is batting .200 or under as of Friday. Rizzo and Betts both have three home runs, lessening the fantasy damage a bit. Ramirez’s lone homer is only saved by his five steals.
Let us look back at a bit of history. Matt Carpenter was batting .185 with two home runs on April 18 last year. By the start of May, his average dropped to .155 with just two round-trippers. He finished the year with 36 home runs and .257 average.
Do not panic on Ramirez, Betts, or Rizzo. If anything, buy low. They should all be top-40 players by season’s end and can potentially be had a discount right now. While waiting for them to rebound, managers can bolster their offense by adding some short-term matchup plays off the waiver wire.
For managers in head-to-head leagues, taking advantage of the schedule is crucial to winning your matchup. Here is a look at the week ahead to help maximize your games played.
A Look at the Schedule
Week 4 is a standard slate. Nine teams (Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Tigers, Astros, Angels, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers) play seven games. There are just three organizations (Padres, Giants, Blue Jays) with five contests this week. The remaining 18 teams play six games.
It would be difficult to start any five-game player except Manny Machado. The Padres, Blue Jays, and Giants do not have a ton of fantastic fantasy options anyway. Fantasy managers may want to gain the extra game(s) by picking up someone playing seven times off the wire. Here is a look at the top options owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo Leagues.
Mitch Moreland (1B – BOS): 20% rostered
The Red Sox have seven games, all at home, in Week 4. They host the Tigers for four before the Rays come to Boston for a weekend set. Boston is scheduled to face five righties, one lefty, and one opener during that stretch.
Moreland is a career .254/.323/.460 hitter against righties with 132 home runs. The homers work out to a pace of 29 per 600 at-bats. Expect Moreland to have a massive week as the Red Sox look to get back on track.
Christian Walker (1B – ARI): 19% rostered
Walker has played in Triple-A since 2014 in large part because established major league veterans muddled his path to the majors. He was blocked by Chris Davis in Baltimore and then Paul Goldschmidt in Arizona. Walker hit 33, 29, and 34 home runs in the last three seasons in Triple-A, respectively, with batting averages of .257, .309, and .299. The Diamondbacks’ first baseman can hit.
Arizona travels to Pittsburgh for four games to open the week, all against right-handed pitchers. Then the Snakes return home to face the Cubs and two lefties. Walker is a reverse platoon splits guy (right-handed batter hitting better against righties) in his limited major league sample. He is already batting .291 with five home runs through 17 games. Add him for Week 4 and hold him if you need a steady corner infielder.
Shin-Soo Choo (OF – TEX): 37% rostered
Choo is off to a fast start, batting .345 with a .446 OBP through 16 games played. He always hits and gets on base; Choo is career .277 batter with a .379 OBP. He only offered 21 homers and six steals last season, but boosting your average can win weeks in fantasy.
The Rangers play all seven games on the road, with three in Oakland and four in Seattle. Choo feasts on right-handed pitching and he is set to face five in Week 4. Add him with confidence.
Andrelton Simmons (SS – LAA): 39% rostered
Simmons has a reputation as a free swinger and is off to a slow start this season, hitting .229 with one home run. However, he has been productive in his time in LA. For three full seasons and 70 at-bats in 2019, Simmons is hitting .282 for the Angels. If he can emulate 2017’s 14 homers and 19 steals, he would be a valuable fantasy shortstop.
The Angels face the struggling Yankees at home before heading to Kansas City. Week 4 is an opportunity to stream Simmons in your middle infield spot for seven games against non-elite pitching.
Delino DeShields (OF – TEX): 7% rostered
DeShields already has six stolen bases, which is tied for third in the MLB. The Athletics and Mariners are tied for second with 14 stolen bases allowed so far this season. Expect Deshields to swipe multiple bags in Week 4, and that could be enough to sway the category. Add him and enjoy the rewards.
Adam Frazier (2B/OF – PIT): 14% rostered
Frazier is a career .280 hitter with a .347 OBP, but he has never received more than 454 plate appearances in a season. He now has a full-time opportunity as Pittsburgh’s starting second baseman and leadoff hitter. The 27-year-old has already scored 10 runs with two steals in 16 games.
Week 4 sees the Pirates host the Diamondbacks for four games before heading to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. The matchups are not ideal, but Frazier figures to provide batting average and runs atop the Pirates’ batting order.
Josh Reddick (OF – HOU): 4% rostered
The Astros have seven home games in Week 4, as the Twins and Indians visit Houston. They are also scheduled to face seven right-handed pitchers. That presents an opportunity to use Reddick, a career .273/.334/.451 hitter against righties.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF – BOS): 31% rostered
In 2018, JBJ’s platoon splits were stark. He batted .251 against righties and .185 against lefties. Bradley also recorded 11 home runs and 15 steals against right-handers and two of each against lefties.
Diving in further, he hit .277 at home and .193 on the road last season. The Red Sox play seven home games in Week 4 and face five righties. It seems like an ideal opportunity to stream Bradley.
Eduardo Escobar (3B/SS – ARI): 42% rostered
Escobar is playing every day for the Diamondbacks and is coming off back-to-back 20-plus home run seasons. He hits much better against lefties for his career, and although Arizona is only scheduled to face two this week, the options at corner infield can be limited.
Tyler Watts is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Tyler, follow him @tylerpwatts.