The Fantasy Baseball Forecaster has been updated as of Monday, June 19, at 9:55 a.m. ET.
Welcome to the new and improved version of the Fantasy Baseball Forecaster! This year, we've reorganized the story into four parts; it's the same great intel, but you get right where you need to go as quickly as possible. Good luck this season!
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On tap: Week 12 has another late start, with Monday's action kicking off at 7:05 p.m. ET. It's a fairly busy week, with 16 of the 30 teams playing on all seven days and the remaining 14 each playing at least six times, and that's also true on ESPN, where there are four national broadcasts: Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners at 10 p.m. on Monday; New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers at 10 p.m. ET on both Tuesday and Wednesday; and Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday.
There's no greater hitting schedule in Week 12 than that of the Cleveland Indians. They'll play four games at hitting-friendly Camden Yards, playing a Baltimore Orioles team that has the highest starters' ERA in the month of June (8.32, through June 15), then return home to battle a below-average Minnesota Twins rotation backed by the game's worst bullpen during the past month (6.20 ERA). Dylan Bundy (Monday's scheduled opponent) and Ervin Santana (Sunday's) represent challenges, but it's a plus that the team will miss Jose Berrios during the Twins series. That the Indians will face five right-handers and two left-handers makes digging deep within their roster difficult; they effectively employ straight platoons in center field (Bradley Zimmer is the lefty, Austin Jackson the righty) and right field (Lonnie Chisenhall and Daniel Robertson) and a near-even split of the catching chores (Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez). Still, that's enough volume to drive Zimmer and Chisenhall into the AL-only conversation, considering their .288/.373/.596 and .277/.327/.606 rates against right-handers this season. It's also a schedule that grants struggling Francisco Lindor (.184/.200/.265 in 12 June games) and Carlos Santana (.136/.230/.295 in 12) fantastic rebound opportunities; keep both of them in there for this week.
Though they've been one of the hotter offenses of late, ranking sixth in the game with a 5.75 runs-per- game average in June, the Detroit Tigers took a hit with the loss of Victor Martinez to injury and will absorb another blow with the loss of the designated hitter during their series in San Diego's Petco Park. It also doesn't help that they'll face three lefty starters, which mutes the value of hot-starting catcher Alex Avila. The team's counting numbers are bound to take a hit, meaning you should limit your Tigers exposure to the obvious Miguel Cabrera-Ian Kinsler-J.D. Martinez-Justin Upton quartet.
Scooter! Yes, Scooter Gennett, who hit four homers in a June 6 game, warrants a look even in shallow mixed leagues, as his Cincinnati Reds play all six of their games against right-handed starters -- while missing Chris Archer and Max Scherzer -- and gain the advantage of the designated hitter during their three-game, week-opening series at Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field. Gennett is a .304/.328/.545 hitter against righties this season, has started 11 of the team's past 16 games against a righty starter, and is available in more than 85 percent of ESPN leagues.
Speaking of righty-heavy schedules, the Arizona Diamondbacks get a huge boost by facing only right-handed starters in their six games, as they have the widest wOBA split (54 points) favoring success against righties (.356) over lefties (.302) this season. They'll play three of those games at Colorado's Coors Field before returning home to face hittable Philadelphia Phillies pitching, so this should be a huge week for Jake Lamb -- he's one of the 25 best hitters to play in Week 12 (if not better). David Peralta, a .320/.370/.471 hitter against righties, is also a must. For those digging deep, Gregor Blanco, a .316/.443/.456 hitter against righties who has led off for the team in five of its past seven games against a righty starter, warrants a look.
In case you've noticed that the Los Angeles Angels have performed adequately during Mike Trout's absence -- they're 9-8 and have averaged 4.88 runs per game -- be forewarned that their Week 12 schedule presents them awfully tricky matchups. They'll play all six of their games on the road, bad news for a team that is six games worse on the road than at home (through June 15), while visiting a pair of tough competitors in the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. While the Angels' hitting rating isn't the league's worst, keep in mind that without Trout, this has been a speed-oriented team with .142 isolated power (27th in the league during that time span), a .409 soft-contact rate (30th) and 50.8 percent ground-ball rate (28th). That's a poor mix when facing Gary Sanchez, a middle-of-the-pack catcher in terms of reining the running game, though one with a strong arm, and Boston's tandem of Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez, who rank among the most effective in baseball at preventing stolen bases. Cameron Maybin and Eric Young Jr. are mainly worth keeping active because of their solid play against the Yankees this past week, but temper your stolen-base expectations for each considering those matchups. Albert Pujols and Andrelton Simmons are easily the only two "automatics" from the Angels in Week 12.
Squeeze some value out of Pittsburgh Pirates lefty-hitting Adam Frazier (13.3 percent owned in ESPN leagues), John Jaso (0.6 percent) and Gregory Polanco (69.8 percent), as they all enjoy favorable weekly matchups thanks to all seven of the team's games being played against right-handed starters. Four of those games will be played at hitter-friendly Milwaukee's Miller Park and four will be played against pitchers with wide platoon splits (Matt Garza, Zach Davies, Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn). It's likely a deeper-than-standard-league tidbit, but if you're hurting at any of those particular positions, give them a look.
As if the New York Mets hadn't already been dealing with horrific luck in the injury department, they now draw one of their worst possible schedules. They'll make a west-coast swing to a pair of pitchers' parks, Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium and San Francisco's AT&T Park, beginning the week facing Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and totaling five games against lefty starters. Why is that an issue? Simple: The Mets have a mere .303 team wOBA against left-handers, 39 points beneath their number against right-handers (.342), and have a roster full of lefty hitters. In fact, the only four Mets who have hit lefties with any kind of authority in 2017 are Yoenis Cespedes (.531 wOBA), Michael Conforto (.405), Travis d'Arnaud (.596) and Wilmer Flores (.365), so limit your Week 12 Mets exposure to only those four.
The Toronto Blue Jays might not quite seem to be firing on all cylinders offensively despite the May 26 returns of both Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki, but a look at their underlying numbers since that date suggests they absolutely are: .348 team wOBA (10 points greater than the league's average), .189 well-hit average (fifth in the league), 4.8 percent home run rate (second), 25 percent chase rate (second-best). Now they get four games at Texas' Globe Life Park against their recent-playoff-series rivals the Texas Rangers, then three at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium against the Kansas City Royals' middle-of-the-road pitching staff. All six of their widely-owned hitters need to be universally active for this schedule, and Russell Martin appears to be getting healthier and is well worth a pickup in shallow mixed.
The Tigers' Jordan Zimmerman (11.3 percent owned in ESPN leagues) and Chicago Cubs' Mike Montgomery (4.9 percent) are the two-start pitchers to add for Week 12, in large part because both pitchers will make one of their starts against the light-hitting (and strikeout-prone) San Diego Padres. Zimmermann, a pitch-to-contact pitcher, has posted three consecutive quality starts, with his past two coming against better offenses than the ones he'll face this week. Montgomery, meanwhile, built his pitch count up to 88 in his June 14 turn, minimizing worry about future limits, and he has a 2.47 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 21.3 percent strikeout rate in the past calendar year.