Playing the Matchups

Streaming is far from an exact science. However, many of our league formats promote or even require successful streaming to compete. As we scour sites for two start pitchers and check upcoming schedules of our own rostered pitchers; are we evaluating those matchups correctly? Let’s take a look.

The WORST Road Matchups

1. AT Colorado – No surprise here, but the Coors fear is obviously real. The Rockies have a .893 Home OPS, and it’s not just Home Runs. In fact, it’s your pitcher’s WHIP that takes the biggest hit at Coors. They have a home BABIP of .348. Stay way, but you knew that.
2. AT LA Dodgers – *Checks rosters for MadBum, Greinke and Ray*. The two worst road matchups in baseball are in the NL West, and it’s not all that close. The Dodgers have a Home OPS of .862 and are especially potent against righties. They have the highest wRC+ at home (131) and the third lowest K% at 18.9% at home. There’s nothing to be gained here.
3. AT Milwaukee – Duh.
4. AT Houston
5. AT Minnesota

Honorable Mention: The Mets are a surprising team on this list. With a 121 wRC+, they rank as the 8th worst road matchup for opposing pitchers. This includes a .342 Home OBP.

The BEST Road Matchups

1. AT SF Giants – Oh, Buster!
2. AT Miami – A .100 ISO? Move the fences in!
3. AT Toronto – Look at their lineup…
4. AT Detroit – See above
5. AT San Diego – Now this is interesting. This low OPS ranking also includes the second worst K% at home in all of baseball (Seattle). They have a Home OBP of .288, which is 3rd worst in the majors. Stream away.

The WORST Home Matchups

1. vs Minnesota – The Twins are the toughest Home matchup in baseball for your pitchers and are the most powerful. They lead in Road OPS (.887) and ISO at .253! For context, the median team (KC) has a .171 ISO on the road.
2. vs Seattle – This one surprised me. A .240 ISO and .829 OPS doesn’t lie though.
3. vs Arizona – Another surprise. This includes their Home Run barrage in Philly on Monday, but they’ve been doing a lot of that this year. They are hitting .275 as a team on the road.
4. vs Chicago Cubs – They will strike out a bit, but this team can hit inside and outside of the friendly confines.
5. vs Houston – The most amazing stat regarding the Astros Road offensive success is a 16.9% K rate. For a team, that number is unbelievable. (Believe it or not, the Angels sport a sub 15% Road K rate to lead baseball)

The BEST Home Matchups

1. vs Cincinnati – A .282 Road OBP and a .642 Road OPS clearly make the Reds the best Home matchup for your pitchers. Especially consider the advantage of a Home lefty against this lineup. Dietrich, Votto, Winker may either sit or just be severely disadvantaged.
2. vs Colorado – Here’s the other side of the coin. People forget this reality every year. The Rockies are an abysmal Road offense. 4th highest K rate and 2nd worst Road OPS. It’s been like this for years too.
3. vs Miami – The sky is blue
4. vs Toronto – Circle this matchup, regardless of location
5. vs Cleveland – This is a classic name value mistake. Cleveland was very recently an offense to avoid; things have changed. They don’t do much damage and make guys like Berrios, Boyd and Giolito that much more attractive. This division (outside of the Twins) cannot hit.

Vs RHP and LHP Splits

The WORST Matchups for RHP:

1. Minnesota 
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Texas – They will strike out a bit, but they have the 3rd highest Slug% against righties.
4. New York Yankees – Their compromised lineup has maybe given owners a false sense of confidence against the Yankees. Remember, they still can do damage and especially should be avoided at Yankee Stadium. However, and I assume this changes over the course of the season, the Yankees currently have a higher Road OPS vs RHP than Home. Avoid if you can.
5. Chicago Cubs

The BEST Matchups for RHP:

1. Miami
2. Toronto
3. San Fransisco
4. Detroit
5. Baltimore

None of these are surprising, but this list is also useful.

5 teams with the highest K rates against RHP

1. San Diego
2. Detroit
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Milwaukee – Don’t get too excited; they also have a 10% BB rate against righties.
5. Seattle

The WORST Matchups for LHP:

1. Minnesota – .890 OPS
2. Arizona – Interesting. .884 OPS!
3. Oakland – What? .230 ISO and just a 18.5% K rate. Keep this in mind for your Minor and Miley shares
4. Houston – Just don’t do it.
5. Washington – They have the second highest OBP vs lefties, but I think this is in part because their division doesn’t have many distinguished lefties (get healthy soon, Caleb Smith). But, this is still a bad matchup for those of you tempted to stream Jason Vargas or maybe even Dallas Keuchel owners.

The BEST Matchups for LHP:

1. San Fransisco
2. Miami
3. Kansas City – Just a .126 ISO against lefties makes for an enticing stream. Their park is also very inviting for opposing pitchers.
4. Pittsburgh – Hello Lester and Hamels shares! This is incredible. The Pirates only walk 4.6% of the time against LHP. This is by far the lowest mark in baseball.
5. Toronto

Finally, let’s say you can’t get the premier matchups of Miami, San Fransisco, or Toronto and you are looking for strikeouts at the very least. Here’s your top 5 teams by K%.

1. San Diego Padres 26.9%
2. Detroit Tigers 26.3%
3. Seattle 26.4%
4. Chicago White Sox 25.4%
5. Texas 25%

Happy streaming!


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Colin Dinsmore

Written by 

Avid Fantasy Baseball player, Yankees fan, amateur gambler, dog-lover. @AssemblyColin