This is the first of a planned series of articles in 2022 that will take a general look ahead at the upcoming month. The goal is to look at good and bad matchups for both hitters and pitchers, park factors, schedule quirks, what to watch out for in FAAB, and any other tidbits that I can think of. If you have any suggestions for items that you’d like me to include here, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @JennyButler830.
Since I’m getting a late start this month (my apologies), the April preview is looking at Monday, April 11 through Sunday, May 1. I will try to focus the preview on Monday – Sunday scoring periods to help with planning in weekly lineup leagues. I am not going to attempt to predict specific pitching matchups, since one postponed game could throw everything off. Instead, I will look at the general strength of a pitching staff as a whole.
- Eight teams play 20 games in a 21-day span: PHI, WAS, MIL, STL, PIT, BOS, TOR, CLE
- Six teams play at least 14 days in a row: WAS, PIT, ARI, BOS, CLE, OAK
- There are quite a few 7-game weeks, but only three 5-game weeks: ARI and HOU (4/11 – 4/17) and OAK (4/25 – 5/1).
- Because of the few off days, there don’t seem to be any obvious situations where a team will not need to use their 5th Texas may be able to survive Jon Gray’s trip to the IL (see below) without needing a 5th starter.
- During the week of 4/11, the Cubs play 2 games @PIT and 4 games @COL. Look to add Cubs hitters for that week.
- During the week of 4/25, the Pirates and Rangers will have some tough pitching matchups. The Pirates play 6 games vs. MIL and SD, and the Rangers play 7 games against ATL and HOU.
- The Guardians play three straight series against SF, CWS, and NYY between 4/15 and 4/24. The CWS have lost two of their top starters, but they are left with a staff of all righties. Combined with the SF and NYY starters, it will be a tough stretch for the Guardians hitters, especially righties who are in a platoon.
- Three teams will be visiting Colorado in April: CHC, PHI, CIN. The cold weather may dampen the effects of Coors field a little, but it’s still a great place to hit.
- The Diamondbacks pitchers will face the Dodgers, Mets (2x), Astros, and Cardinals lineups during this three-week period. It might be best to keep these pitchers on your bench or stream them to the waiver wire.
- The Blue Jays pitchers will be facing the Red Sox and Astros lineups for two series each to close out April. It’s possible that the lineups will be a bit softer at Toronto (see below), but both lineups are formidable. Batters will also be able to get multiple looks at each pitcher.
The A’s, Red Sox, and Astros will be traveling to Toronto. Players on visiting teams must be vaccinated in order to enter Canada. We don’t know yet who may be affected, but pay attention to the news when the teams are getting ready to make the trip and when the lineups are announced. We may get some news that will allow us to make some quick roster moves.
It’s a bit early to have a firm grasp on which teams will be platooning. Teams are giving some hitters extra rest because of the short spring training. The Rays and Giants have been the teams that have platooned the most over the past couple of years, but some new contenders might emerge over the next few weeks. Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) has been doing some great work with lineups for the past couple of years. He pointed out the Brewers, Cubs, Reds, and Pirates as teams to keep an eye on.
Another effect of the shortened spring training is that starting pitchers were not able to ramp up as they normally would. MLB has allowed teams to carry 28 players in April, and most have chosen to use those extra roster spots on relief pitchers. It is likely that starting pitchers will have shorter outings early in the season, and bullpens will be more heavily relied upon. Fantasy managers can take advantage of this by rostering an increased number of middle relievers. These pitchers can provide good ratios while picking up the occasional win.
|Injured Player||Possible Replacement(s)|
|Chris Sale||Rich Hill/Garrett Whitlock|
|Dylan Floro||Bender/Bass/Sulser committee|
|Evan Longoria||Wilmer Flores|
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||C.J. Abrams/Ha-Seong Kim|
|Jack Flaherty||Jordan Hicks|
|Jacob deGrom||Tylor Megill|
|James Kaprillian||Daulton Jeffries/Paul Blackburn/Adam Oller|
|James Karinchak||Nick Sandlin|
|Jon Gray||An additional starter may not be needed|
|Jose Barrero||Kyle Farmer|
|Josh Rojas||Drew Ellis|
|Ken Giles||Steckenrider/Sewald/Castillo committe|
|Kyle Lewis||Julio Rodriguez|
|LaMonte Wade Jr.||Darin Ruf|
|Lance Lynn||Vince Valasquez/Reynaldo Lopez|
|Lance McCullers||Jake Odorizzi|
|Lucas Giolito||Vince Valasquez/Reynaldo Lopez|
|Luis Castillo||Hunter Greene/Nick Lodolo|
|Luis Urias||Jace Peterson|
|Mike Clevinger||Nick Martinez|
|Mikey Moniak||Matt Vierling|
|Shane Baz||Ryan Yarbrough|
|Wade Miley||Drew Smyly|
|Yoan Moncada||Jake Burger, Gavin Sheets, Leury Garcia|
April can be a confusing time to manage a fantasy team. Ideally, a fantasy manager can strike a balance between not overreacting to small sample sizes while jumping on emerging breakouts. Keeping bench spots as flexible as possible can help managers to hold on to struggling players while still allowing them to make speculative pickups.
Any feedback on this article series would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @JennyButler830.
Good luck in April!