Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, June 24 at 12:43 p.m. ET.
On tap: It's a remarkably light week on the baseball schedule, with only 89 games and eight teams set to play five games apiece. That puts this week on par with Weeks 2 (88 games played) and 3 (90 played), though keep in mind that rainouts were somewhat responsible for shortening those weeks; they originally had 93 and 95 games scheduled. Fantasy's Week 13, therefore, is the lightest scheduled week to date, and keep in mind it'd have been even shorter if not for two rescheduled contests: New York Mets at Colorado Rockies on Thursday, and Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox on Friday, which creates a doubleheader.
The primary reason for the lighter week is a larger volume of interleague play, 10 series to be exact, seven of them two-game series played on Tuesday and Wednesday. It's the teams that don't have interleague games that will be busiest: The Indians play eight times, thanks to that doubleheader; and the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies each play seven times.
Such a disparity in scheduled games makes it another "volume"-based strategic week, as seven (or even eight) games compared to five represents a handy advantage. This is a week -- if you play in a weekly-transactions league -- to use Mark Reynolds over Josh Donaldson. It's also a week in which you should be especially happy to own any of the eight two-start pitchers ranked in my top 20; there are only 29 two-start pitchers total in Week 13.
Barring postponements between now and then, we'll reach the mathematical midpoint of the 2013 fantasy baseball/regular-season baseball season on the final day of Week 13. That arrives once 12 of the 15 games scheduled on Sunday are in the books, meaning that by the time our "Sunday Night Baseball" game (New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles) begins, we'll be beyond the midway point. Consider this week, therefore, another good time to reassess your team's standing.
Quick click by section, if you're seeking advice in a specific area:
ESPN lineup deadlines | Interleague impact | Projected starting pitchers
Pitching scuttlebutt | Week 12 pitcher rankings | Pitching advantages
Hitting ratings | Hitting advantages
It's a light Monday, with only four games scheduled, none of them with an earlier scheduled time than 7:05 p.m. ET (Indians at Orioles). That gives us a fourth consecutive week with a late start time in weekly formats.
There are also earlier-than-usual games on Wednesday -- frequently a "getaway day" -- and Friday, which is typically a day with only night games. Wednesday's first game kicks off at 12:10 p.m. ET (Blue Jays at Rays), while Friday's action starts at 5:10 p.m. ET (Indians at White Sox doubleheader, Game 1). Thursday's first game begins at the traditional 1 p.m. ET "day game" start time (Rangers at Yankees). Take note, if you play in a league with daily transactions.
This week's interleague series:
• Colorado Rockies at Boston Red Sox (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• New York Mets at Chicago White Sox (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• St. Louis Cardinals at Houston Astros (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• Atlanta Braves at Kansas City Royals (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• Minnesota Twins at Miami Marlins (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• Cincinnati Reds at Oakland Athletics (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• Pittsburgh Pirates at Seattle Mariners (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• St. Louis Cardinals at Oakland Athletics (3 games, Friday-Sunday)
• Chicago Cubs at Seattle Mariners (3 games, Friday-Sunday)
• Cincinnati Reds at Texas Rangers (3 games, Friday-Sunday)
Oddly, just one of this week's 10 interleague series will be played in a National League park, meaning in only two of 23 interleague contests will an American League team be impacted by the loss of the designated hitter: That's the Twins, who have used six different designated hitters to date and not one for as many as 20 games (they've played 69). Losing the DH means that either Joe Mauer or Ryan Doumit needs to sit in either game, or both could play with Doumit in right field, meaning Oswaldo Arcia would sit (if he doesn't shift to center field with Clete Thomas on the bench). Mauer's owners should start him anyway, but in a five-game week, the prospect of one lost game apiece for Arcia or Doumit is enough to lower their value in an AL-only or deep-mixed league.
Matt Adams, who is available in more than 90 percent of ESPN leagues, gets a massive boost in fantasy appeal this week, as a potential Cardinals designated hitter for the four of the team's five interleague games in AL parks that are against right-handed starters. He is, after all, a .311/.346/.554 hitter against righties this season.
The Reds, meanwhile, are the other NL team to play five games in AL parks, but they lack a clear daily option to DH. Jack Hannahan and Devin Mesoraco got their previous two starts at DH during interleague games at AL venues, but the Reds might also use the spot to grant Donald Lutz or Xavier Paul additional at-bats. NL-only owners can keep in mind that there are potentially 20 extra plate appearances to go around for Reds hitters this week; that's five games times four per game.
Josh Satin is a deep NL-only sleeper, as the Mets are virtually assured of playing him every day at either first base or DH with Lucas Duda now on the disabled list. A .305/.420/.491 hitter for Triple-A Las Vegas to begin the season, Satin is a .375 hitter through his first six games for the big club, though he has made only three starts to date.
The chart below lists each of the 30 MLB teams' schedules and projected starting pitchers, and provides a matchup rating for each day's starter. Pitchers scheduled to start at least twice this week are in gold/beige boxes.
• The Baltimore Orioles named Zach Britton their Monday starter, but neither his nor Freddy Garcia's second scheduled turns this week is guaranteed. They're likely to be evaluated on a start-by-start basis, especially with Wei-Yin Chen (oblique) potentially ready for activation by the weekend.
• With Clay Buchholz (neck) not ready to return to the Boston Red Sox's rotation early in the week, the team will need a spot starter for Saturday. Allen Webster is likely to get that turn, reports the Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.
• It is unclear whether Alex Colome will make another start for the Tampa Bay Rays. With an off day Thursday, the Rays could demote him and go with four starters, though as of Monday morning it appeared he'd pitch Friday.
• Ian Kennedy will be eligible to return from his 10-game suspension in time to start the Arizona Diamondbacks' game Saturday.
• Marco Estrada (hamstring) is scheduled to make a rehabilitation assignment during the weekend of June 21-23, perhaps setting him up to rejoin the Milwaukee Brewers' rotation sometime midweek. He'd presumably bump Donovan Hand once ready.
• The St. Louis Cardinals demoted Tyler Lyons to Triple-A on June 22, meaning they'll go with four starters this week. Joe Kelly will serve as their fifth starter the next time the team needs one.
The San Diego Padres placed Clayton Richard (shoulder) on the disabled list on June 22, meaning they'll need a starter to fill in beginning on Wednesday.
• Though X-rays on Chad Gaudin's forearm were negative, it's unclear whether he'll be able to make his next start for the San Francisco Giants.
1. Cliff Lee (PHI) -- Mon-@SD (Stults), Sat-@LAD (Ryu)
2. Yu Darvish (TEX) -- Tue-@NYY (Kuroda), Sun-CIN (Latos)
3. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Mon-@LAD (Ryu), Sun-@COL (Nicasio)
4. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Tue-ARI (Cahill), Sun-@NYM (Wheeler)
5. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Wed-SF (Lincecum)
6. Max Scherzer (DET) -- Fri-@TB (Colome)
7. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Tue-NYM (Wheeler), Sun-CLE (Masterson)
8. Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Sat-WSH (TBD)
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) -- Mon-SF (Bumgarner), Sat-PHI (Lee)
10. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Fri-CHC (Wood)
11. Adam Wainwright (STL) -- Sat-@OAK (Parker)
12. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Wed-PIT (Gomez)
13. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Wed-ARI (Miley)
14. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Thu-ARI (Corbin)
15. Mike Minor (ATL) -- Wed-@KC (Mendoza)
16. Ervin Santana (KC) -- Tue-ATL (Medlen), Sun-@MIN (Correia)
17. Jeff Samardzija (CHC) -- Sat-@SEA (Harang)
18. Shelby Miller (STL) -- Fri-@OAK (Colon)
19. Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) -- Tue-TEX (Darvish), Sun-@BAL (Tillman)
20. Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- Tue-MIN (Correia)
21. Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Fri-@TEX (Perez)
22. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Fri-ARI (Delgado)
23. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Sat-@TB (Archer)
24. Doug Fister (DET) -- Thu-LAA (Weaver)
25. Kris Medlen (ATL) -- Tue-@KC (Santana)
26. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Wed-@SD (TBD)
27. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Sat-@BAL (Britton)
28. Jarrod Parker (OAK) -- Sat-STL (Wainwright)
29. Mat Latos (CIN) -- Sun-@TEX (Darvish)
30. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Wed-@HOU (Harrell)
31. James Shields (KC) -- Sat-@MIN (Gibson)
32. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Tue-CLE (Masterson), Sun-NYY (Kuroda)
33. Yovani Gallardo (MIL) -- Wed-CHC (Feldman)
34. Bartolo Colon (OAK) -- Fri-STL (Miller)
35. Homer Bailey (CIN) -- Wed-@OAK (Griffin)
36. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Thu-PHI (Pettibone)
37. Eric Stults (SD) -- Mon-PHI (Lee), Sun-@MIA (Eovaldi)
38. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Tue-@DET (Porcello), Sun-@HOU (Lyles)
39. Tim Hudson (ATL) -- Sat-ARI (Kennedy)
40. Justin Masterson (CLE) -- Tue-@BAL (Tillman), Sun-@CWS (Sale)
41. Matt Cain (SF) -- Sat-@COL (De La Rosa)
42. Kyle Lohse (MIL) -- Tue-CHC (Jackson), Sun-@PIT (Morton)
43. Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Tue-@SEA (Saunders)
44. Zack Wheeler (NYM) -- Tue-@CWS (Sale), Sun-WSH (Gonzalez)
45. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Sat-MIL (Figaro)
46. Tommy Milone (OAK) -- Tue-CIN (Arroyo), Sun-STL (Westbrook)
47. Ricky Nolasco (MIA) -- Fri-SD (Volquez)
48. Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Thu-@WSH (Strasburg)
49. Rick Porcello (DET) -- Tue-LAA (Wilson), Sun-@TB (Hellickson)
50. Matt Garza (CHC) -- Thu-@MIL (Peralta)
51. Travis Wood (CHC) -- Fri-@SEA (Iwakuma)
52. Josh Johnson (TOR) -- Fri-@BOS (Doubront)
53. Kyle Kendrick (PHI) -- Tue-@SD (Marquis), Sun-@LAD (Fife)
54. Paul Maholm (ATL) -- Sun-ARI (Cahill)
55. Jacob Turner (MIA) -- Sat-SD (Cashner)
56. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Sat-@MIA (Turner)
57. Ryan Dempster (BOS) -- Tue-COL (Nicasio), Sun-TOR (Buehrle)
58. Dillon Gee (NYM) -- Fri-WSH (Detwiler)
59. Esmil Rogers (TOR) -- Mon-@TB (Hellickson), Sat-@BOS (Webster)
60. Jeremy Hellickson (TB) -- Mon-TOR (Rogers), Sun-DET (Porcello)
61. Trevor Cahill (ARI) -- Tue-@WSH (Gonzalez), Sun-@ATL (Maholm)
62. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Fri-MIL (Hand)
63. Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Sat-SF (Cain)
64. Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) -- Thu-CLE (Kluber)
65. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Thu-@BAL (Gonzalez)
66. A.J. Griffin (OAK) -- Wed-CIN (Bailey)
67. Mike Leake (CIN) -- Sat-@TEX (Tepesch)
68. Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Tue-@TB (Moore), Sun-@BOS (Dempster)
69. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Thu-@DET (Fister)
70. Matt Moore (TB) -- Tue-TOR (Buehrle)
71. Jordan Lyles (HOU) -- Sun-LAA (Wilson)
72. Felix Doubront (BOS) -- Fri-TOR (Johnson)
73. John Lackey (BOS) -- Wed-COL (Oswalt)
74. David Phelps (NYY) -- Fri-@BAL (Garcia)
75. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Wed-@TB (Hernandez)
Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues:
Kevin Correia (MIN) -- Tue-@MIA (Fernandez), Sun-KC (Santana)
Stephen Fife (LAD) -- Tue-SF (Gaudin), Sun-PHI (Kendrick)
Edwin Jackson (CHC) -- Tue-@MIL (Lohse), Sun-@SEA (Bonderman)
Jake Westbrook (STL) -- Tue-@HOU (Bedard), Sun-@OAK (Milone)
No-thank-yous, among two-start pitchers:
Zach Britton (BAL) -- Mon-CLE (Jimenez), Sat-NYY (Sabathia)
Ubaldo Jimenez (CLE) -- Mon-@BAL (Britton), Sat-@CWS (Axelrod)
Juan Nicasio (COL) -- Tue-@BOS (Dempster), Sun-SF (Bumgarner)
• Just in case you are tantalized by Roy Oswalt's 11-strikeout 2013 debut, be forewarned: Ten of his K's, 14 of his 15 outs and eight of his nine hits came against his fastball, which averaged 92.5 mph, up from the 91.4 mph he averaged with it in 2012. Fastball command is obviously critical to Oswalt's success, and keep in mind that the opposing Boston Red Sox have the majors' best team OPS (.903), walk rate (13.5%) and wOBA (.391) against fastballs this season.
• Matt Moore's fantasy owners might want to root against him picking up that second turn this week, because if he pitches a second time, it'd be Sunday against the Detroit Tigers. He has a 10.61 ERA and 2.36 WHIP in four starts in the month of June, and the Tigers rank second in the majors in wOBA (.337), third in OPS (.775) and fourth in runs per game (4.93). Thankfully, as of Monday morning it appeared that Moore's next turn following his Monday assignment would come in fantasy's Week 14.
• The Philadelphia Phillies' west coast swing should be a boon to their pitchers, especially the three-game, week-opening series at San Diego's Petco Park, where Wednesday starter Cole Hamels has won four consecutive games, each of them a quality start, with a 0.60 ERA. Two-start pitcher Cliff Lee is an obvious play in all formats, but take a look at Kyle Kendrick, who is available in more than 60 percent of ESPN leagues. He's 5-for-7 in quality starts with a 3.77 ERA and 1.17 WHIP on the road this season, but one of the two poor outings was at Colorado's Coors Field.
• New York Mets rookie Zack Wheeler is a two-start pitcher this week, and his second assignment is particularly attractive: He faces the Washington Nationals, a .235/.290/.375-hitting team in the month of June, at Citi Field, one of the game's most pitching-friendly environments. But what of Wheeler's first start? He'll work Tuesday at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field, granted a much more hitting-friendly venue, but also home to a Chicago White Sox team that has the majors' fourth-worst OPS in home games (.673, .232/.293/.380 rates).
• Don't be so quick to write off Houston Astros pitchers during their weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels. After all, would you believe that the Astros have won seven of their 10 meetings thus far this season, and six of their past seven? How about this: Bud Norris has won all three of his starts against the Angels, every one of them a quality start, with a 0.43 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Jordan Lyles, too, has won both his starts against the Angels, albeit with a 4.22 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.
You'll notice that neither Norris nor Lyles, both available in more than 85 percent of ESPN leagues, ranks among my "Streamer's Delight" picks below. The reason is that, history or not, an Angels matchup remains a challenging one, especially with the team sporting .289/.354/.436 triple-slash rates and a mere 14.1 percent strikeout rate in the month of June. But if you're digging deep, especially in an AL-only league, Norris and Lyles belong on your list of candidates.
• Here are this week's Streamer's Delight picks. Note that players need to be available in at least 75 percent of ESPN leagues as of our publishing time (Fridays):
Ricky Nolasco (SD, Friday): He has five quality starts in his past six games, and he managed a 73 Game Score on May 8 against these San Diego Padres.
Dillon Gee (WSH, Friday): He has defeated the Washington Nationals twice this year, and has a 2.70 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in eight career games against them.
Andrew Cashner (@MIA, Saturday): Jacob Turner (SD, Saturday): He has a solid curve and slider, and the San Diego Padres have the majors' eighth-worst K rate against breaking stuff (32.5%).
Samuel Deduno (KC, Thursday): He's 2-for-2 in both wins and quality starts with a 0.73 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in his career against the Kansas City Royals.
Edinson Volquez (@MIA, Friday): Since Giancarlo Stanton's return, the Miami Marlins have .224/.269/.344 team rates. Yes, it's still a favorable matchup.
The chart below lists each of the 30 teams' total number of scheduled games, home games and games versus right- and left-handed pitchers, and provides a matchup rating for the week's games in terms of overall offense, offense for left- and right-handed hitters and base stealing. Matchup ratings for each individual game are listed under the corresponding date.
• Here are this week's "volume plays," which are defined as the teams that play the most home games, or games against right- or left-handed starters:
Home games: Baltimore Orioles 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 7, Boston Red Sox 6, Chicago White Sox 6, Tampa Bay Rays 6
Versus RH: Chicago Cubs 6, Minnesota Twins 6, Chicago Cubs 6
Versus LH: Cleveland Indians 4, New York Mets 4, Toronto Blue Jays 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 3, Philadelphia Phillies 3, San Francisco Giants 3
• The reason Mark Reynolds, mentioned above, is such a favorable fantasy play is that he plays eight games, four of them against left-handed pitching. Though he's a mere .253/.344/.481 hitter against lefties so far this season, he has a lifetime OPS that is 71 points higher against them than righties (.854-.783).
Reynolds' Indians as a whole benefit from this packed, lefty-heavy schedule. This team has the majors' third-best OPS against southpaws (.763), and the team has three "lefty-killers" who might be widely available in your league: Yan Gomes (.571 slugging percentage against lefties), Ryan Raburn (.306/.393/.612 triple-slash rates) and Drew Stubbs (.274/.379/.425).
• That righty-heavy Twins schedule, DH implications (discussed above) notwithstanding, makes rookie Oswaldo Arcia a potential sleeper for Week 13. He's a .267/.351/.500 hitter against right-handed pitchers at the big league level this season after sporting .333/.431/.667 triple-slash rates against them for Triple-A Rochester. It's also a good rationale for keeping Joe Mauer locked in, and it might inspire Justin Morneau to improve his numbers as well.
• The ice-cold Arizona Diamondbacks have a heck of a week ahead: They face Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg in Washington to begin the week, then battle Julio Teheran, Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm in Atlanta. There's every reason to shy from such struggling Diamondbacks bats as Jason Kubel, Miguel Montero, Didi Gregorius or Martin Prado.