Welcome to week 14, fantasy baseball nerds. We’ve made it. If you’re still sticking around, still reading these articles, and still getting hyped to set your lineup every morning, then you’re my kind of person. I’m glad you’re still here.
Do you know who else I’m glad is still here? Jazz Chisholm Jr. He has absolutely nothing to do with this article, but after watching him tattoo another home run to dead center today, it’s hard not to be excited. Baseball needs more exciting players, and he’s back injecting a shot of good vibes when we need it. You can never have enough excitement in the baseball world.
Now the question is, can we find where the excitement is going to come from in week 14? We’ve been on fire with these articles for the past few weeks. Highlighting some great performances and helping avoid the bad ones. A quick glance at the week 14 schedule and it’s going to be a lot more difficult to pinpoint where the production is going to come from, but don’t worry, I’ve got you.
Fantasy Baseball Week 14 Planner
New York Mets: @ ARI (3), @ SDP (3)
For as overtly bad and underachieving as the Mets have been this season, they’ve still managed to be surprisingly productive on the road. For the season, they’re the third-highest-scoring team with 214 runs. Their 52 home runs on the road are the eighth most, and they’ve also managed a cool .248 batting average. They’re an underachieving team overall, but thankfully in the fantasy baseball world, all you’re worried about is individual player performance.
Arizona is a good team on paper, but they just lost Merrill Kelly for an undetermined amount of time to a blood clot in his leg. Outside of Zac Gallen, they have no other real intimidating starters. They’ve since recalled Brandon Pfaadt, but he has yet to show he can be effective at the major league level. San Diego has a good pitching staff on paper, but right now, Blake Snell is their only starter looking dominant. The Mets bats have a chance.
Players To Watch
Pham has seen a resurgence as of late and has become a legitimate fantasy option in the outfield. His baseball-savant page is also one of the most beautiful you’ll lay your eyes on at this point in the season. Pham is in the 90th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit rate, xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, barrel rate, and chase rate. He’s ridden those impressive numbers to a successful season on the road as well. In 41 games away from home, he’s hit .274 with 13 XBH, 19 RBI, and six stolen bases. In June alone, he’s hitting .321 with 12 XBH. Hot month for Pham, and it looks like he’s poised for a hot start to July as well.
The Polar Bear has finally shaken off the injury rust, and let’s be honest…he’s incredible. Especially away from Citi Field. On the road this season, he’s batting 73 points higher at .252, and the power has followed. 15 of his home runs have come on the road. He’s also mashed righties to the tune of 17 home runs, something he lines up to face in all but one start this week. Alonso currently has a career-high 15.4% barrel rate, and his .396 xwOBA is in the 96th percentile. The guy has been a monster despite his dip in batting average. Look for a big week 14 in the power department.
Cincinnati Reds: @ WSH (4), @ MIL (3)
Honestly wasn’t expecting to put the Reds on here with zero games at Great American Ballpark, but here we are. Their offense has become just too good to ignore, and calling their matchups “favorable” this week is an understatement. They’ve been the second-highest-scoring lineup in June, scoring 146 runs while also stealing a league-leading 49 bases in the month. They’re set to face two lackluster pitching rotations in week 14 at just the right time. Washington had a 4.97 ERA in June, while Milwaukee’s 3.78 team ERA was nice; their 4.47 xFIP told a different story.
Players To Watch
His rookie teammate Elly De La Cruz may be all the rage right now, but McLain has been not so silently tearing the cover off the ball. It’s only taken him 40 games to rack up 22 XBH, four stolen bases, and 25 RBI. He was a bit of a question mark when he got the call, but he’s become one of the best hitters in all of baseball. With a good combination of power (13.3% barrel rate) and speed (91st percentile), he’s managed to turn that into elite fantasy baseball numbers. He’s one of the guys who hit both righties and lefties equally well while hitting at the top of a potent lineup. Start him with confidence during this seven-game week.
There's a hot streak and then there's whatever Matt McLain is doing. pic.twitter.com/cor3A4ifsN
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 28, 2023
Benson has come from seemingly nowhere to be one of the most under-the-radar fantasy baseball studs in the last month. Since May 30th he’s hitting .365 with eight XBH, 17 runs scored, and five stolen bases. What’s more impressive is the changes he’s made at the plate. He’s walking (18.2%) more than he’s striking out (16.9%), and that walk rate is fourth in baseball over that timeframe. He’s now chasing just 20% of pitches while upping his zone contact rate to 88.3%, a full 6% higher than his career number. He does struggle against lefties (which he’ll face two of this coming week), but he should crush the righties. Big week coming for the barely rostered Will Benson.
Matchups To Avoid
Los Angeles Angels: @ SDP (3), @ LAD (2)
Five-game weeks are a quick way to find yourself on the matchups-to-avoid list. Everyone knows the best ability is availability, and when you just flat out don’t play two games you’re already at a disadvantage. Outside of their 25-run game and Ohtani’s 16 home runs this month, they really aren’t a great lineup. Take out that 25-run game, and they’d be in the bottom half of the league in runs scored in June. They face a Padres’ pitching staff who, again, isn’t overly impressive, but they do start the week against Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove. The two pitchers in that rotation you really don’t want to face right now. They then have to go on the road and face the resurgent Clayton Kershaw. Not ideal all around.
Hitters To Avoid
The biggest red flag for Moniak in week 14 is at this point, he exclusively starts against right-handers. So the Angels lining up to face both the left-handed Snell and Kershaw during a five-game week is all you need to know. At best, Moniak gets three starts this week. With how easy it has been to find consistent output at the outfield position off the waiver wire, it’s hard to justify starting Moniak. He was solid in June once again, hitting over .300. He again just isn’t going to start enough this week to have any fantasy relevance outside of very, very, very deep leagues.
This hurts my soul to add the Fishman to this list. It really does. But I’d be doing you all a disservice if I didn’t. The reality of the situation is you’re likely not sitting Trout. Ever. He’s been too valuable all year long, and he’s one of the greatest hitters of all time. The problem is the June he just strung together was one of his worst months as a professional in a long time. He hit just .190 with a 28% strikeout rate, and he seemed almost void of power with just four home runs and seven XBH in total. I’m sure he’ll break out of the slump eventually. He’s just been struggling for long enough at this point that you need to temper your expectations until he proves otherwise.
Mike Trout goes yard now! He goes back to back with Ohtani! pic.twitter.com/NX1Tkk86Ud
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 24, 2023
Philadelphia Phillies: @ TB (3), @ MIA (3)
My co-host on the Baseball Money Is Fake Fantasy Baseball Podcast isn’t gonna like this one, but when you look at the schedule, you almost have no choice. Philly has certainly turned it around as of late, especially on the offensive end, but I’m not sure they’ve faced a lineup of pitchers on this level in the same week in a while. They’re set to face Zach Eflin, Shane McClanahan, Sandy Alcantara, Braxton Garret, and Jesus Luzardo. Say what you want about Alcantara this year; he still has it in him to be dominant, as do the other four. That’s a tall task for any hitter to find success against, especially on the road.
Hitters To Avoid
Harper hit a grand total of zero home runs in the month of June. Coming back from his elbow injury as quickly as he did was surely going to come with a slight dip in power…but not this slight. Much of Harper’s fantasy value over the years has been due to his immense power. Without that, he’s seemed mortal, and let’s be honest, a mortal Harper isn’t offering much to fantasy baseball managers. With multiple lefties on the docket, a healthy Harper’s weakness, it’s easy to see why this week is likely to be yet another bummer.
As of late, Marsh has been playing out of his mind. He just hit two home runs on the 28th and has five multi-hit efforts in his last six games. Because of this, he’s going to be a hot commodity on the waiver wire heading into week 14. The problem with Marsh this week, much like Harper, is the fact that he’s just flat-out not good against lefties. This season in 60 ABs against left-handed pitching, he’s hitting just .217 with a .660 OPS. Both are terrible when it comes to what you look for in a successful hitter to be targeting. He also strikes out 45.5% of the time against lefties this season. With him set to face McClanahan, Garrett, and Luzardo, it’s not likely to go down as a successful week for the bearded one.