With the intense battle over playoff positioning or the need to pickup valuable spots within the rankings, every Fantasy Baseball decision is a big one at this time of the year. Plenty of these key decisions involve starting pitchers, either streaming or deciding whether or not to sit a starter.
Given that it has been over two months since we last looked at team hitting stats, this week seems like as good of a time as any. You want to tilt the odds into your favor anytime you have a starter on the hill, and knowing the caliber of their opponent is vital information.
As a reminder, we use the OPS statistic as our proxy for a team’s hitting capabilities since it covers the entire spectrum; batting average, batting eye, and power.
In the week’s Fantasy Lookout, we will get into which teams, based on OPS, are targets to stream against and which teams are ones to stay away from. We will state the Top 5 teams to target and avoid over a number of splits, with the relevant ones being all situations, home, away, vs. righties, and vs. lefties.
Now, let’s get into the rankings.
Team Hitting OPS; Who to Target and Avoid
Overall (all situations)
Boston, Colorado, St. Louis, Chicago Cubs, Baltimore
Target: Kansas City, New York Yankees, Oakland, Philadelphia, Atlanta
Avoid: Colorado, Boston, Cleveland, Baltimore, Texas
Target: New York Mets, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Atlanta, Philadelphia
Avoid: St. Louis, Chicago Cubs, Washington, Boston, Minnesota
Target: Colorado, Cincinnati, New York Yankees, Atlanta, Kansas City
Avoid: Arizona, Chicago Cubs, San Diego, Boston, Washington
Target: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dodgers, Atlanta, Philadelphia
Avoid: Boston, St. Louis, Colorado, Baltimore, Cleveland
Target: Oakland, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Diego
Avoid these good hitting teams
Boston Red Sox
Just avoid Boston as they rake everywhere and against anyone. They are also the only team to be ranked within the “Avoid” category for all of the splits.
Colorado appears to have a strong hitting team overall, but not surprisingly this has plenty to do with the Mile-High air. They feast at home but struggle mightily on the road. In terms of ESPN’s Park Factors, Coors adds an additional 55-percent to the average run production, while the second ranked stadium comes in at just over 27-percent.
St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis plays in the 22nd ranked park with respect to total runs, so that helps explain their road hitting dominance. Overall, they are a force to be reckoned with; however, they do struggle against lefties as they rank just 24th in that situation.
The North-Siders of Chicago are not quite on the same level as Boston, but they can boast that they place within the top half of all of the splits.
Baltimore is clearly a good hitting team even away from Camden Yards, as they also rank 13th in road OPS. Their only kryptonite appears to be when there is a southpaw on the hill.
Target these weak hitting teams
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium has been the third friendliest hitter’s park when it comes to total runs, and this has helped their home OPS come in 13th. All of their other splits rank within the bottom half of league.
New York Yankees
The 2016 New York Yankees will never been confused with the Bronx Bombers, as they place within the bottom half of the league across all splits.
Oakland is really feeling the effect of playing in the second-worst ranked hitter’s park. Once they hit the road, their hitter’s eyes light as their road OPS sits just outside Top 10 at 11th. Unfortunately, that is where the good news ends as they rank near the bottom in all of the other splits.
Philadelphia has been one of the best teams to stream against. Other than their mediocre 18th ranked road OPS, Philly ranks within the bottom five in all of the other splits.
Atlanta has been the mirror opposite of Boston, as they hold the “Target” title in all of the relevant splits. Just look at calendar and know they are always a must start.
Splits to know
Tampa Bay Rays
Mainly due to playing their home games in the Trop, which ranks as the 25th most hitter friendly park, Tampa Bay owns the eighth best road OPS and the second worst home OPS.
Thanks to Progressive Field being the best hitting environment outside of Coors, Cleveland has been the third best hitting team at home, but just 22nd on the road.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers really struggle when a left-hander takes the mound as they own the third-worst OPS against southpaws. They offset these struggles with the 11th ranked OPS when facing right-hander.
San Diego Padres
The most extreme hitting split belongs to San Diego. They mash lefties as evidenced by their third place ranking; however, they become T-Ball hitters when facing righties as they are the worst hitting team in baseball in that situation.
There are plenty of starting pitchers that are matchup proof and are must starts every time out. However, for all of the other hurlers, gauging the opposing lineup becomes a necessity. By knowing your target and avoid lists, you should be off on the right foot. Until next week’s Fantasy Lookout, enjoy the games!
Data courtesy of www.espn.com
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