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2021 Fantasy Baseball: Week 13 Hitting Planner

Nearly at the halfway point of the regular season! A Fourth of July all-day slate looming! Decisions, decisions, decisions becoming ever-so-important and our strategy of matchup-hunting continues to find us smart plays for our fantasy baseball offensive lineups. Welcome back to Hitting Planner, a matchup-focused look into the hitters and lineups you can Pick (start and trust given their schedule the upcoming week) or Fade (consider sitting, avoiding on the waiver wire due to a rough upcoming week of matchups). All players mentioned will generally be around the threshold of either ownership or starting/sitting for your fantasy team. 

As usual, I’ll point out the teams and corresponding players with noticeably poor matchups (the Fades) and noticeably great matchups (the Picks). 

Let’s get started with Week 13 (June 28 — July 4). For each team we evaluate, we will note their opponents in italics, including the number of times they play in the week. For this week, stats mentioned from the season until now will be up-to-date as of the end of Friday night games. 

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Week 13 Hitting Planner

Fades: Stay Away

Philadelphia Phillies

Opponents: CIN (1), MIA (3), SDP (3)

The Phillies do get a full 7-game slate this coming week but there’s a good chance they continue their recent streak of pain and can’t take advantage on offense. They kick off the week in the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. However, they have to do it against one of the most surprising breakout stars of the year, Wade Miley, who has posted a 2.85 ERA and 1.057 WHIP in 13 starts in 2021.

The Philadelphia offense then gets six straight games against two of the deepest pitching staffs in baseball, including matchups against Trevor Rogers, Pablo Lopez, Dinelson Lamet, Yu Darvish, and Blake Snell. 

Barring extremely high draft capital stars in your league, bench your Philadelphia Phillies hitters for a week.

Atlanta Braves

Opponents: NYM (3), MIA (3)

Already getting a day off on Monday, the Braves need to have their bats awaken to compete in the division. However, the matchups are deadly. The Mets and the Marlins rank in the upper echelon of pitching staffs in MLB in ERA, xFIP, and SIERA. A big reason for that? The caliber of starters, many of whom will get to show off their talents against Atlanta’s offense. 

On Wednesday, it’s the Mets’ Taijuan Walker (2.38 ERA, 3.72 xFIP, 1.034 WHIP, 9.30 K/9 this season). On Thursday, it’s the Mets’ greatest pitcher ever Jacob deGrom (0.50 ERA, 1.59 xFIP, 0.514 WHIP, 14.63 K/9 this season). Over the weekend, it’s the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara and Trevor Rogers (combined 2.54 ERA this season). Play the MVP-caliber players like Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman. Don’t force yourself into playing anybody else. 

Chicago Cubs

Opponents: MIL (3), CIN (3)

At first glance, it might seem like the Cubs can compete at the plate for the next week against two divisional foes in the midst of a tight NL Central race. A deeper look shows that you really shouldn’t sit around waiting for it. 

It’s incredibly rare to see three starters on the same team contend for appearances on Cy Young ballots this deep into the season. That’s exactly what the Milwaukee Brewers have going with Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. The kicker? That trio is exactly who the Cubs are facing on the first three days of Week 13. That’s just rough. 

Looking for some reprieve after an off-day on Thursday, the Cubs get to heat up against the Reds’ mediocre pitching staff. But don’t be fooled by their overall numbers; Cincinnati will send Tyler Mahle (3.56 ERA, 11.3 K/9), Wade Miley (2.85 ERA, 1.057 WHIP), and Tony Santillan (3.29 ERA, 10.5 K/9 in 3 starts) to the mound, looking to make a statement of their own at home. The Cubs hit at an ugly .219/.288/.378 slash line on the road. 

Ride the return of the former MVP Kris Bryant and keep him in your lineup. Everybody else? They have to earn the lock in your lineup and they just haven’t yet for this kind of schedule. 

Picks: Buy In

Toronto Blue Jays

Opponents: SEA (3), TBR (3)

The Blue Jays are coming off a three-game set against the Orioles where they scored 26 runs and we aren’t even surprised—this offense is electric and continues to be a haven of fantasy baseball production. Can they really sustain it going into next week? Absolutely.

First off, they will spend a 6-game slate staying “home” in Buffalo, one of the most hitter-friendly environments in the big leagues. To start, they get more target practice when they face the Mariners, who rank in the bottom 11 in MLB as a team in ERA, xFIP, SIERA, and K% as a pitching staff. 

Over the weekend, the Blue Jays do get a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays, the franchise most known for building an identity as a fearsome pitching staff. However, the name brand shouldn’t let you get carried away. Not only do the Rays not have a starter yet for the Friday game (likely the bullpen marathon route) but they also are sending left-handers Shane McClanahan and Ryan Yarbrough out to start to finish the week. While both southpaws have had their bright spots throughout the season, they have displayed signs of inconsistency and the ability to give up hard contact, especially recently. The Blue Jays have posted a .744 OPS against left-handed pitching this season. 

Of course, you’d have to be tanking to not start MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. But you also need not have any hesitation about starting Bo Bichette, Marcus Semien, Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and in deep leagues, maybe the versatility of Cavan Biggio

St. Louis Cardinals

Opponents: ARI (3), COL (4)

The Cardinals have been one of the underwhelming storylines of the 2021 season, especially while boasting an offense with the names that they do. This week is all about that ceiling; no excuses, the St. Louis bats just have to break out with the easiest matchup schedule in all of baseball during Week 13. The Diamondbacks and Rockies both rank among the basement teams in ERA, xFIP, and K% as a pitching staff. In fact, the only team worse on the mound by SIERA than Arizona and Colorado? The St. Louis Cardinals.

Stack up those Cardinals; of course, give me some Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt but also sign me up for Tommy Edman, Dylan Carlson, Tyler O’Neill, Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong, and even the latest callup with a name to match the hype, Lars Nootbaar

For more great Fantasy Baseball check out Mick Ciallela’s Rest of Season Rankings! Mick was the No. 1 Ranker on for the 2020 MLB season.

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