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Fantasy Forecaster: April 25-May 1

Fantasy players who drafted Chris Archer hope this two-start week will be the catalyst for a turnaround to a rough beginning to the season. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, April 25, at 9:50 a.m. ET.

On tap: Redemption ...?

A trio of slow-starting fantasy aces are lined up for two starts in Week 4: The Boston Red Sox's David Price, who served up eight runs in 3 2/3 innings' work in his most recent start on April 21, pitches at Atlanta's Turner Field before returning home to face the New York Yankees. The Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke, whose 5.25 ERA is higher than it has been at any point in a season since April 12, 2012 (6.75 through two starts of that year), pitches a pair of home games against the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies. The Tampa Bay Rays' Chris Archer, whose 7.32 ERA is more than double his career number (3.47), pitches two home games of his own against the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.

Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole will make his first career start in Colorado's Coors Field, his first turn in a two-start week that concludes with a much more favorable matchup in a home game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Finally, we'll get quite a pitcher's duel on May 1, as Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants battle Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets in Citi Field. Incidentally, Price's game against the Yankees on that day is the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game.

Quickly jump to any section, if you want specific intel


ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

We've got our first Monday full of nothing but night games, as the first pitch scheduled to be thrown on April 25 will be at 7:07 p.m. ET. Fantasy owners get an additional six-plus hours to get their lineups in order for Week 4.

We were also spoiled during the season's first three weeks, with a heavy volume of day games. During Week 4, there are only six total day games scheduled between Monday and Friday (one apiece on Wednesday and Friday, four on Thursday).

Remember that game times have tremendous influence upon daily planning, so be aware of every day's first scheduled pitch. This week, they are:

Monday, April 25: 7:07 p.m. ET (Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue Jays)
Tuesday, April 26: 7:05 p.m. ET (Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals)
Wednesday, April 27: 3:45 p.m. ET (San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants)
Thursday, April 28: 1:10 p.m. ET (Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers)
Friday, April 29: 2:20 p.m. ET (Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs)
Saturday, April 30: 2:10 p.m. ET (Tigers at Minnesota Twins)
Sunday, May 1: 1:10 p.m. ET (Giants at New York Mets and Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays)


Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:

  • Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves (2 games, April 25-26)

  • Braves at Red Sox (2 games, April 27-28)

  • Cleveland Indians at Philadelphia Phillies (3 games, April 29-May 1)

Red Sox's traditional DH: David Ortiz. Though Ortiz started seven of the Red Sox's 10 games in National League parks at first base in 2015, the situation is considerably different now that Hanley Ramirez, rather than Mike Napoli, is their first baseman. Ortiz could get one start at Ramirez's expense, being that the Braves have an entirely right-handed rotation, but even a five-start week (plus two potential pinch-hit appearances) would be enough to keep Ortiz mixed-league relevant.

Braves' probable DH(s): Rotational. The Braves mixed and matched with their DH in 2015, and they've mixed and matched at three offensive positions so far this season, so expect more of the same in Boston. Jeff Francoeur, Kelly Johnson and Drew Stubbs appear to be the players most likely to pick up a handful of additional plate appearances as a result of gaining a DH.

Indians' traditional DH: Carlos Santana. Santana has extensive experience as a first baseman, so would the Indians play him there over Mike Napoli in Philadelphia? It'll probably happen at least once and maybe twice, considering the Phillies have an entirely right-handed rotation. Napoli and Santana should share the chores evenly enough to keep both viable plays in deep mixed and AL-only.


Projected starting pitchers

The chart below lists each of the 30 MLB teams' schedules and projected starting pitchers, and provides a projected Bill James Game Score for each day's starter.

Projected starting pitchers, April 25-May 1

P: The starting pitcher's projected Bill James Game Score, accounting for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. A 50 is typically deemed a "quality start" by this measure, while a 70 is considered a dominant start.


Pitching scuttlebutt

  • Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman (DL, shoulder), who threw 5 2/3 innings and 91 pitches affording three runs while striking out nine for Triple-A Norfolk on April 20, will rejoin the Orioles' rotation on April 25. Tyler Wilson is also expected to make another start in place of Yovani Gallardo (DL, shoulder) on April 28.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: After Blake Snell filled in as the team's fifth starter on April 23, his return to Triple-A Durham afterward signaled that the team will use the April 28 off day to skip that spot in the rotation during Week 4.

  • Toronto Blue Jays: Drew Hutchison made a spot start on April 24, pushing the rest of the Blue Jays' rotation back by a day apiece. It doesn't seem likely that Hutchison will make another start during Week 4.

  • Chicago White Sox: Miguel Gonzalez will make a spot start on April 25, pushing the rest of the White Sox's rotation back by a day apiece, but also affording the team the ability to push John Danks out of the series in Toronto and back until at least April 28 and perhaps until April 30.

  • Cleveland Indians: Carlos Carrasco (hamstring) is almost assuredly headed to the DL, and the team has options with regard to his next scheduled turn in the rotation on April 30. Trevor Bauer or another pitcher could fill in or, more likely, the team could use the April 28 off day to skip that spot in the rotation.

  • Detroit Tigers: Shane Greene (blister) is questionable for his next scheduled start on April 29, though it is unclear who might fill in if needed. Daniel Norris (DL, back) will make his fourth minor league rehabilitation start, and second for Triple-A Toledo, on April 25. He could be a candidate to rejoin the Tigers' rotation sometime during the weekend, though he wouldn't be on regular rest in time for Greene's spot.

  • Texas Rangers: Cesar Ramos will make a spot start for Cole Hamels (groin) on April 25, though it appears that Hamels should be ready the next time his turn arrives on May 1.

  • Washington Nationals: The Nationals will skip Joe Ross' (blister) turn in the rotation on April 25, using the April 24 off day to push him back until April 30.

  • Cincinnati Reds: Homer Bailey (DL, Tommy John surgery), Anthony DeSclafani (DL, oblique) and John Lamb (DL, back) are all scheduled to begin minor league rehabilitation assignments between April 21-23, but each is expected to make at least two minor league starts -- Bailey at least three -- before being considered for activation, pushing their returns beyond Week 4. Assuming each works on exactly four days' rest while meeting that minimum, the earliest of the three to return would be Lamb, on May 2 (Monday of Week 5).

  • Colorado Rockies: Jorge De La Rosa (flu) was pushed back by a day until April 26.

  • San Diego Padres: Cesar Valdez made a spot start in place of Robbie Erlin (DL, elbow) on April 24, and Valdez wasn't immediately returned to the minors afterward, making it seem that Valdez will start again when that turn in the rotation arrives on April 29.


Tristan's Week 4 pitcher rankings

  • 1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Tue-MIA (Koehler), Sun-SD (Pomeranz)

  • 2. Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Tue-PHI (Velasquez), Sun-@STL (Martinez)

  • 3. Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Mon-CIN (Iglesias), Sun-SF (Bumgarner)

  • 4. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Mon-SD (Pomeranz), Sun-@NYM (Syndergaard)

  • 5. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Tue-@TOR (Dickey), Sun-@BAL (Jimenez)

  • 6. Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- Thu-@LAD (Maeda)

  • 7. Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Mon-@MIN (Milone), Sat-@PHI (Eickhoff)

  • 8. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Wed-MIL (Jungmann)

  • 9. David Price (BOS) -- Tue-@ATL (Wisler), Sun-NYY (Eovaldi)

  • 10. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Fri-@PHI (Morton)

  • 11. Johnny Cueto (SF) -- Tue-SD (Shields)

  • 12. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Fri-@STL (Leake)

  • 13. Vince Velasquez (PHI) -- Tue-@WSH (Scherzer), Sun-CLE (Anderson): It's a risk/reward play, yes, and the two-start bump heavily influences this ranking, but in Velasquez's defense, these two teams do swing and miss a good share of the time, which plays to his specific fantasy strength.

  • 14. Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Wed-CIN (Moscot)

  • 15. Drew Smyly (TB) -- Fri-TOR (Sanchez)

  • 16. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Fri-KC (Medlen)

  • 17. Rich Hill (OAK) -- Tue-@DET (Pelfrey), Sun-HOU (Fister): On paper, these matchups are terrifying. Still, Hill has a way of dishing out the completely unexpected, and the dude has a 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, a blistering 33.9 percent strikeout rate and eye-popping .195/.287/.286 rates (plus a 34.0 percent K rate) against right-handed hitters in eight starts since his September 2015 return to a big-league rotation.

  • 18. Chris Archer (TB) -- Mon-BAL (Gausman), Sat-TOR (Happ)

  • 19. Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Sat-SF (Cain)

  • 20. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Wed-PHI (Hellickson): The Phillies have been flat-out awful against lefties thus far, with .150/.224/.283 team rates and a 34.1 percent strikeout rate.

  • 21. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Fri-CIN (Straily)

  • 22. Jon Lester (CHC) -- Thu-MIL (Davies)

  • 23. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Wed-HOU (McHugh)

  • 24. Jeff Samardzija (SF) -- Wed-SD (Cashner): Through April 21, the Padres had the worst strikeout rate (27.7 percent) and second-worst wOBA (.248) against right-handed pitching.

  • 25. Aaron Sanchez (TOR) -- Fri-@TB (Smyly): It's three starts, sure, but Sanchez has shown an exceptional level of improvement against left-handed batters thus far (.158/.273/.342 rates allowed), and the Rays lack much sock from the left-handed side.

  • 26. Marcus Stroman (TOR) -- Mon-CWS (Gonzalez), Sun-@TB (Odorizzi)

  • 27. Raisel Iglesias (CIN) -- Mon-@NYM (Syndergaard), Sun-@PIT (Cole)

  • 28. Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Tue-@TB (Odorizzi), Sun-CWS (Sale): The computer loves him, and it's as simple as the 24.6 percent K rate and .084 well-hit rate in his past eight starts dating back to last September. These are plus matchups, so don't dismiss Jimenez outright.

  • 29. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Tue-@SEA (Karns)

  • 30. Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Mon-@ARI (Greinke), Sat-WSH (Ross)

  • 31. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Wed-@DET (Verlander)

  • 32. Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Mon-HOU (Fister), Sun-KC (Kennedy)

  • 33. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Tue-MIL (Nelson), Sun-ATL (Wisler)

  • 34. Ian Kennedy (KC) -- Mon-@LAA (Richards), Sun-@SEA (Walker): He's pitching a lot better than you think, and the Angels are baseball's worst offense thus far against righties (.241 wOBA), while the second matchup is at pitching-friendly Safeco Field.

  • 35. Aaron Nola (PHI) -- Thu-@WSH (Roark)

  • 36. Drew Pomeranz (SD) -- Mon-@SF (Bumgarner), Sun-@LAD (Kershaw)

  • 37. Mike Fiers (HOU) -- Fri-@OAK (Surkamp)

  • 38. Nathan Karns (SEA) -- Tue-HOU (Keuchel)

  • 39. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Tue-@COL (De La Rosa), Sun-CIN (Iglesias): That second start is more than tantalizing enough to overcome what's a high-risk opening assignment at Coors. If you get the quality-start minimum and five K's from Cole at Coors, consider that a huge victory.

  • 40. Jordan Zimmermann (DET) -- Mon-OAK (Graveman), Sat-@MIN (Santana)

  • 41. Kevin Gausman (BAL) -- Mon-@TB (Archer), Sat-CWS (Latos): It's an aggressive projection and ranking for a pitcher fresh off the DL, but in Gausman's defense, he's getting a ton of swings and misses during his rehab assignment -- 19 K's in 11 innings total -- which bodes rather well facing these two plus matchups. That's a Tropicana Field (pitching-friendly) matchup, by the way, and the Rays have whiffed at an obscene rate against righties thus far (26.2 percent of PAs).

  • 42. Alex Wood (LAD) -- Fri-SD (Vargas)

  • 43. Kenta Maeda (LAD) -- Thu-MIA (Fernandez): Based upon things like "look" and "feel," Maeda makes a compelling case for a Game Score projection of 60-plus, and a ranking that's borderline top 10. But the computer reminds that the regression bug lurks, so even coming off an impressive outing at Coors, keep your expectations at least somewhat realistic as opposing teams continue to build a book on him.

  • 44. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Tue-BAL (Jimenez), Sun-TOR (Stroman)

  • 45. John Lackey (CHC) -- Fri-ATL (Blair)

  • 46. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Sat-@SEA (Miley)

  • 47. Josh Tomlin (CLE) -- Wed-@MIN (Gibson)

  • 48. Ross Stripling (LAD) -- Mon-MIA (Chen), Sat-SD (Rea)

  • 49. Zack Greinke (ARI) -- Mon-STL (Garcia), Sat-COL (Bettis)

  • 50. Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Mon-KC (Kennedy), Sun-@TEX (Hamels)

  • 51. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Wed-@SEA (Iwakuma)

  • 52. Steven Wright (BOS) -- Wed-ATL (Norris): Yes, knuckleballers can be extremely unpredictable, but let's face facts: Wright is 6-for-11 in quality starts with a 3.60 ERA and 1.20 WHIP as a starter since the beginning of last season, and the Braves are a bottom-10 offense.

  • 53. Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Sat-ATL (Teheran)

  • 54. Cole Hamels (TEX) -- Sun-LAA (Richards)

  • 55. Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) -- Sat-CLE (Salazar): Eickhoff is getting more swings and misses against lefties this season (25.6 percent K rate through three starts), which gives him more of a fighting chance against an Indians team renowned for better offensive totals against right-handed pitching.

  • 56. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Thu-OAK (Bassitt)

  • 57. Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Tue-@ARI (Miller), Sun-WSH (Scherzer)

  • 58. Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Thu-PHI (Nola): No one picked up more rankings points since our initial Friday publishing date than Roark. That's what a 15-strikeout masterpiece will do for a pitcher, not to mention the significant boost in matchup by moving out of the series at St. Louis' Busch Stadium and into the series against the Phillies.

  • 59. Brandon Finnegan (CIN) -- Tue-@NYM (Colon): It might seem that the Mets "mash lefties," but consider that almost all of those juicy numbers came against James Russell, Brett Oberholtzer, Elvis Araujo and Ross Detwiler. Adam Conley's gem against them was more representative of the Mets' matchups risk against lefty starters, so lean more towards an appearance by the "good" Finnegan.

  • 60. Scott Kazmir (LAD) -- Wed-MIA (Cosart)

  • 61. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Wed-@TB (Moore): I frequently caution not to put too much stock into career histories versus an individual opponent or in a specific venue, but in this case, Tillman's track record at Tropicana Field emphasizes how much more favorable a matchup it is for a pitcher with his skill set than Camden Yards. He has a 2.93 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in his nine career starts there.

  • 62. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Fri-@BOS (Owens)

  • 63. J.A. Happ (TOR) -- Sat-@TB (Archer): It sure looks like Ray Searage's tutelage traveled with Happ to Toronto, and this is simply so much better a matchup for the lefty than one at Rogers Centre.

  • 64. Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Thu-ATL (Chacin)

  • 65. Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Wed-CWS (Quintana)

  • 66. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Wed-OAK (Gray)

  • 67. Kris Medlen (KC) -- Fri-@SEA (Hernandez)

  • 68. Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Mon-@ATL (Teheran), Sat-NYY (Pineda)

  • 69. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Wed-@TOR (Estrada): Despite the Blue Jays' pedestrian year-to-date numbers against left-handers, this remains a matchup to avoid when possible. After all, lurking beneath those so-so stats are .183 isolated power and .155 well-hit averages, both of which rank the Blue Jays amongst the league's 10 best.

  • 70. Joe Ross (WSH) -- Sat-@STL (Garcia)

  • 71. Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Sat-DET (Zimmermann)

  • 72. Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Sat-@TEX (Holland)

  • 73. Adam Conley (MIA) -- Fri-@MIL (Anderson)

  • 74. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Mon-BOS (Porcello), Sat-@CHC (Hammel)

  • 75. A.J. Griffin (TEX) -- Tue-NYY (Severino)

  • 76. James Shields (SD) -- Tue-@SF (Cueto)

  • 77. Steven Matz (NYM) -- Fri-SF (Peavy): Readers have asked about Matz's modest projections, so to explain, one major reason the computer doesn't like him is the Mets' conservative usage of the lefty, as he has averaged just 85 pitches and five innings in his past nine starts (postseason included). If you're more confident the leash will be removed here -- to be clear, I'm not -- he'd be more apt to draw a 57 Game Score projection and a ranking amongst the top 40.

  • 78. Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Sat-@BOS (Porcello)

  • 79. Matt Moore (TB) -- Wed-BAL (Tillman)

  • 80. Nick Tropeano (LAA) -- Wed-KC (Young)

  • 81. Carlos Rodon (CWS) -- Fri-@BAL (Wright): The Orioles are mashing thus far, Rodon has already identified for us his single-game floor, and it's a Camden Yards game to boot.

  • 82. Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Fri-@TEX (Lewis): The Rangers are clobbering lefties thus far -- .324/.345/.478 rates -- which explains Santiago's modest projection/ranking despite his hot start to the season.

  • 83. Adam Wainwright (STL) -- Wed-@ARI (Corbin): Scary. This is a cozier ballpark, much cozier than Busch Stadium, and Wainwright doesn't look right thus far (pun unintended).

  • 84. Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Fri-DET (Greene): It'll be with him on my bench, but Hughes' outing is one I'm watching closely. Extreme fly-baller off to a decent start but facing a powerful, righty-heavy lineup? Hmmm, good test.

  • 85. Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Tue-@LAA (Weaver)

  • 86. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Tue-CIN (Finnegan)

  • 87. Cesar Vargas (SD) -- Fri-@LAD (Wood)

  • 88. Matt Cain (SF) -- Sat-@NYM (deGrom)

  • 89. Luis Severino (NYY) -- Tue-@TEX (Griffin)

  • 90. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Thu-@ARI (De La Rosa)

  • 91. Cesar Ramos (TEX) -- Mon-NYY (Eovaldi)

  • 92. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Wed-@SF (Samardzija)

  • 93. Doug Fister (HOU) -- Mon-@SEA (Walker), Sun-@OAK (Hill): If there was ever a time to use Fister -- and to be clear, this pertains to AL-only and more desperate chasing of counting numbers -- these are the matchups to do it, both of which are in pitching-friendly ballparks.

  • 94. Wei-Yin Chen (MIA) -- Mon-@LAD (Stripling), Sat-@MIL (Peralta)

  • 95. Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Mon-@DET (Zimmermann), Sat-HOU (Feldman)

  • 96. Jake Peavy (SF) -- Fri-@NYM (Matz)

  • 97. Mat Latos (CWS) -- Sat-@BAL (Gausman)

  • 98. Charlie Morton (PHI) -- Fri-CLE (Kluber)

  • 99. Wade Miley (SEA) -- Sat-KC (Ventura)

  • 100. Derek Holland (TEX) -- Sat-LAA (Shoemaker)

  • 101. Jon Moscot (CIN) -- Wed-@NYM (Harvey)

  • 102. Tyler Wilson (BAL) -- Thu-CWS (Danks)

  • 103. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Tue-KC (Volquez)

  • 104. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Wed-@TEX (Perez)

  • 105. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Tue-CWS (Sale)

  • 106. Ricky Nolasco (MIN) -- Tue-CLE (Anderson)

  • 107. Chris Bassitt (OAK) -- Thu-@DET (Sanchez)

  • 108. Shane Greene (DET) -- Fri-@MIN (Hughes)

  • 109. Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Wed-STL (Wainwright)

  • 110. Chris Young (KC) -- Wed-@LAA (Tropeano)

  • 111. Colin Rea (SD) -- Sat-@LAD (Stripling)

  • 112. Dan Straily (CIN) -- Fri-@PIT (Liriano)

  • 113. Mike Leake (STL) -- Fri-WSH (Strasburg)

  • 114. Henry Owens (BOS) -- Fri-NYY (Tanaka)

  • 115. Aaron Blair (ATL) -- Fri-@CHC (Lackey)

  • 116. Scott Feldman (HOU) -- Sat-@OAK (Graveman)

  • 117. Jeremy Hellickson (PHI) -- Wed-@WSH (Gonzalez)

  • 118. Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Tue-@CHC (Hendricks), Sun-MIA (Koehler)

  • 119. Cody Anderson (CLE) -- Tue-@MIN (Nolasco), Sun-@PHI (Velasquez)

  • 120. Tommy Milone (MIN) -- Mon-CLE (Salazar), Sun-DET (Pelfrey)

  • 121. Chase Anderson (MIL) -- Fri-MIA (Conley)

  • 122. Miguel Gonzalez (CWS) -- Mon-@TOR (Stroman)

  • 123. Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Tue-@LAD (Kershaw), Sun-@MIL (Nelson)

  • 124. Shelby Miller (ARI) -- Tue-STL (Martinez), Sun-COL (De La Rosa)

  • 125. Zach Davies (MIL) -- Thu-@CHC (Lester)

  • 126. Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Wed-CLE (Tomlin)

  • 127. Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Fri-COL (Lyles)

  • 128. Mike Wright (BAL) -- Fri-CWS (Rodon)

  • 129. Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Wed-@CHC (Arrieta)

  • 130. Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Mon-@TEX (Ramos), Sun-@BOS (Price)

  • 131. Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Fri-LAA (Santiago)

  • 132. Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Sat-MIA (Chen)

  • 133. Bud Norris (ATL) -- Wed-@BOS (Wright)

  • 134. Eric Surkamp (OAK) -- Fri-HOU (Fiers)

  • 135. Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Thu-STL (Wacha)

  • 136. Jarred Cosart (MIA) -- Wed-@LAD (Kazmir)

  • 137. Jon Gray (COL) -- Wed-PIT (Niese)

  • 138. Jhoulys Chacin (ATL) -- Thu-@BOS (Buchholz)

  • 139. Alfredo Simon (CIN) -- Sat-@PIT (Locke)

  • 140. Martin Perez (TEX) -- Wed-NYY (Sabathia)

  • 141. Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Tue-BOS (Price), Sun-@CHC (Hendricks)

  • 142. John Danks (CWS) -- Thu-@BAL (Wilson)

  • 143. Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Mon-@COL (Bettis), Sat-CIN (Simon)

  • 144. Jonathon Niese (PIT) -- Wed-@COL (Gray)

  • 145. Juan Nicasio (PIT) -- Thu-@COL (Chatwood)

  • 146. Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Tue-PIT (Cole), Sun-@ARI (Miller)

  • 147. Tyler Chatwood (COL) -- Thu-PIT (Nicasio)

  • 148. Jordan Lyles (COL) -- Fri-@ARI (Ray)

  • 149. Mike Pelfrey (DET) -- Tue-OAK (Hill), Sun-@MIN (Milone)

  • 150. Chad Bettis (COL) -- Mon-PIT (Locke), Sat-@ARI (Greinke)


  • Hitting ratings

    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.

    Hitting matchup chart, April 25-May 1
    H: Hitters' matchup rating, which accounts for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days) as well as ballpark factors.
    L: Hitters' matchup rating accounting only for left-handed hitters.
    R: Hitters' matchup rating accounting for only right-handed hitters.
    S: Base stealing matchup rating, which accounts for the opponent's catchers' ability to gun down opposing base stealers.
    Ratings range from 1-10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst.


    Hitting advantages

    Here are this week's "volume plays," defined as the teams that play the most home games, or games against right- or left-handed starters:

    • Total games: Baltimore Orioles 7, Boston Red Sox 7, Chicago White Sox 7, Detroit Tigers 7, Oakland Athletics 7, Atlanta Braves 7, Miami Marlins 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 7, St. Louis Cardinals 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 7, Colorado Rockies 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 7.

    • Home games: Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 7, Tampa Bay Rays 6, Minnesota Twins 6, Seattle Mariners 6, Texas Rangers 6, New York Mets 6, Chicago Cubs 6, Red Sox 5.

    • Versus RH: Red Sox 7, White Sox 7, Athletics 7, Twins 6, Braves 6, Cubs 6, Pirates 6, Cardinals 6.

    • Versus LH: Orioles 4, New York Yankees 4, Toronto Blue Jays 4, Milwaukee Brewers 3, Rockies 3, San Diego Padres 3.

    By far the most favorable schedule of Week 4 belongs to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who play four games at Colorado's Coors Field, three back home versus the Cincinnati Reds, six total against right-handed starters and only one against a starter projected for better than the league's 52 Game Score average. That one starter is Raisel Iglesias (May 1), who has a 4.70 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in three career starts against the Pirates, so even that one might not be a matchup to avoid.

    These Pirates rank among the best offenses against righties thus far, with .301/.384/.423 triple-slash rates and a .171 hard-hit average that ranks fifth best in the game. That's due in part to the scorching start of John Jaso, a .375/.429/.500 hitter against righties who has led off for the team in 14 of its 15 games against a righty starter. He's well worth using facing this schedule, as are right-handed hitting Francisco Cervelli, the usual No. 5 hitter and a .311/.407/.400 hitter against righties, and David Freese, the usual No. 3 hitter and a .291/.391/.327 hitter against righties. Daily-league players might also extract some value from Matt Joyce, a .253/.349/.447 career hitter against righties, if he sneaks in a start or three.

    Trevor Story's owners should be happy for another week, as the Rockies have a favorable schedule of their own, in part due to their facing Pirates ace Gerrit Cole and Diamondbacks one-two starters Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller at the probable low points of their seasons. Story already homered twice off Greinke and once off Miller, and he'll face three lefty starters; in 14 trips to the plate against a left-hander this season he has two singles, a double, two home runs and a walk. Beyond Story, Ryan Raburn is a scorching .327/.412/.603 hitter against lefties since the beginning of last season, numbers good enough to earn him a probable three starts against those left-handed starters in Week 4, and putting him on the NL-only radar.

    Among platoon-advantage players to consider: The Red Sox's Travis Shaw is a .268/.346/.454 hitter against righties since the beginning of last season, and he has been typically batting sixth for the team; the Yankees' Aaron Hicks has started all four of the team's games against a lefty starter and has batted .278/.352/.443 against left-handers since the beginning of last season; the White Sox's Melky Cabrera is a .291/.338/.417 hitter against right-handers since the beginning of last season, and he typically bats fifth; the Twins' Oswaldo Arcia has started six of the team's past seven games against a right-handed starter and is a .258/.343/.452 hitter against righties since the beginning of last season; and the Diamondbacks' Jake Lamb has started three games in a row as the No. 2 hitter against a right-handed starter, and he has hit .284/.351/.434 against righties since the beginning of last season.