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Raking Twins, Cold Stars and Start/Sit Hitting Decisions for Week 12

Each week Chris Mitchell sorts through the MLB Schedule and helps shed some light on the tough hitting decisions we have to make in our fantasy baseball lineups.

The 2019 Major League Baseball season is more than 60 games and over 200 at-bats in and we have had some interesting developments. New York Mets rookie phenom Pete Alonso, with an Average Draft Position of 230 on, is second in home runs with 21. Franmil Reyes and his 218 ADP is tied for fourth with 19 homers while Jay Bruce and Joc Pederson have both hit 18 taters. Jose Ramirez is hitting .198 while Joey Votto has five home runs and a .256 batting average. Christian Yelich is doing it even better than he had done in 2018 while Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Trea  Turner have had their first round buyers wincing with frustration at their unfair fortunes.

I often write about “Stars on the Hot Seat” in this column and with the oddities and inexactness of the 2019 Fantasy world, it seems fitting that with sample sizes growing we still don’t really know what we actually know. So, how do we do it? How do we make those difficult Start/Sit hitting decisions? Look at the schedule, compare the matchups, and when the choice is toughest, see who’s hot and who’s not. Realize that Stars are probably going to be Stars, but don’t give so much deference that you throw away key mid-season head-to-head series because it’s easier to go with the name brand.

This week I am going to look at what we know and what we’ve seen. Who’s Hot and Who’s Not. Stars on The Hot Seat and a few players that could hit and miss because of the randomness of the Major League Baseball schedule.

In Week 12, the Rockies have seven home games in friendly Coors field while Jose Ramirez and his Mendoza line challenging batting average has five. Max Kepler and C.J. Cron have hit it hard over the last four weeks while Whit Merrifield, Rhys Hoskins, and Lorenzo Cain can’t seem to get it done. And Jose Ramirez. What do we do here?

Stars on The Hot Seat

Lorenzo Cain, OF Milwaukee Brewers

30-Day Sample Size Stats:

27/100 – .270 BA – Zero Home Runs – Three Stolen Bases

I liked Cain entering 2019 because he contributes a little bit of everything. He offers some pop in the box, flashes some speed on the bases and to solidify his Fantasy value, brings better than average BA. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, his contributions have been lite, both for the season and over the last month.

Cain has a .256 BA, .645 OPS and zero home runs away from home this season and the Brewers have a short five-game slate, all on the road. Owners with a difficult Start/Sit hitting decision are justified in benching the multi-category staple due to his lack of robust contributions and limited slate.


Rhys Hoskins, 1B/OF Philadelphia Phillies

30-Day Sample Size Stats:

22/99 – .222 BA – 2 HR – 1 SB

Hoskins isn’t having a bad year. 13 home runs, .856 OPS and he is batting in the middle of a solid, though somewhat disappointing Phillies lineup. That’s how I see Hoskins. He has been good, less so lately, but owners expected more. He had an ADP of 40 in leagues, making him a “Star” but more of one on the fringes of stardom than an established “Stud.”

Hoskins hasn’t gotten it done in the last month but he hasn’t been a 2019 bust. He has a six-game slate, three on the road and three at home and a less-than-overwhelming group of pitching matchups. With his lackluster 30-Day sample size Hoskins owners are justified in making a tough Start/Sit hitting decision here if the alternatives are viable.


Whit Merrifield, 2B/OF Kansas City Royals

30-Day Sample Size Stats:

33-109 – .303 BA – 1 HR – 1 SB

The strikeouts are slightly elevated but the batting average and the home runs are there. What made Merrifield Merrifield for Fantasy owners on draft night was a chance at 40 stolen bases and for some reason, they are way down in 2019. The Royals, as a team, are running, but Merrifield isn’t. I see him as a buy low for that reason.

In Week 12, for owners making those rough and tough Start/Sit hitting decisions in head-to-head formats, his lackluster home run and stolen base contributions over the last month justify a serious look. Small 7-day samples benefit from quick-hit contributors and while Merrifield is a buy-low going forward, his sluggish power/speed contributions over the last month are dragging owners down.


Jose Ramirez, 2B Cleveland Indians

30-Day Sample Size Stats:

18-96 – .188 BA – 1 HR – 6 SB

I have gone easy on Ramirez because it’s difficult to advocate for the benching of a consensus top-five pick regardless of how poor a run he may be having. Unfortunately, I remain reluctant to blow the warning alarms. The reason? The same I have clung to all season. The legs. The guy is still stealing bags and as long as he is on pace for 40 stolen bases, he justifies a starting spot in all formats.

However, Ramirez isn’t a buy low. I am not ready to label him a “buy bad,” but there is enough of a sample to be legitimately concerned. He is hitting under .200 with only four home runs for the season. That’s too bad for too long for my comfort and too much sample to be aggressive about trading for him.

In Week 12, owners can bench him. The Indians have five games and with the limited at-bats, his contributions may not have enough good to buoy the bad.


Scrubs Hittin’ it Hard

C.J. Cron, 1B Minnesota Twins

30-Day Sample Size Stats:

32/101 – .317 – 7 HRs

Cron’s having a nice follow up to his 2018 breakout and has been at his best over the last 30. Owners shouldn’t expect him to bat over .300 going forward, but when making Start/Sit hitting decisions owners need to be riding the high. He has six road games in Week 12 and three of them are against the homer-prone Seattle Mariners pitching staff. He is a Must-Start while he’s mashing and that’s especially true this week.


Max Kepler, OF Minnesota Twins

30-Day Sample Size Stats:

26-94 – .277 BA – 8 HRs – 1 SB – 23 RBIs – 23 Runs Scored

The Twins are killin’ it and Kepler is one of their best over the last 30. As a team, they lead the league in home runs and Kepler faces a Mariners pitching staff that ranks second worst in home runs allowed.

He is currently active in 84% of leagues while only owned in 77% of Yahoo ones. I am not sure what Yahoo owners are missing or what those 16% of Fantrax league players are thinking, but Kepler is a Must-Start in week 12.


Avisail Garcia, OF Tampa Bay Rays

30-Day Sample Size Stats:

30/94 – .319 BA – 6 HR – 4 SB

The Rays are tied for first and Avisail Garcia is raking. He is even stealing bases. He is going to finish 2019 with career a high in home runs and shatter his previous best stolen base season. For owners making Start/Sit hitting designs this one’s easy – START. For those making buy/Sell decisions – SELL. It doesn’t get higher than this for Avisail. It’s time to cash in.


Schedule Stats to Know


The Colorado Rockies

Seven games at Coors Field. Trevor Story. Charlie Blackmon. Nolan Arenado. Obviously all starting. The Start/Sit hitting decision to consider is how deep in the well to go? How greedy for the Coors Field injection are we?

Here is some relevant statistical evidence to chew on.


David Dahl, OF Colorado Rockies

2019 Coors Field Splits:

39/101 – .386 BA – 4 HRs – 1.060 OPS

2019 vs. Left Handed Pitching:

18/53 – .340 BA – 0 HRs – 2 RBIs –  .880 OPS

Tough Start/Sit call. He has made a lot of contact without much to show for it, especially against left-handed pitching, which he will face four of six this week. With Blackmon back from injury and Ian Desmond on something of a roll, Dahl could sit a game or two. Raimel Tapia is in the mix for at-bats too.


Ian Desmond, 1B/OF Colorado Rockies

2019 Coors Field Splits:

22/85 – .259 BA – 2 HR – .799

2019 vs. Left Handed Pitching:

18/67 – .269 BA – 4 HR – .911 OPS

Desmond is batting .317 in the last 14 days and .295 over his last 30, but it’s empty. Coors field is a boost for most, but it doesn’t look like the injection is providing much pop for owners. Lean sit here. Coors is good, but it can’t turn water into wine.


Raimel Tapia, OF Colorado Rockies

2019 Coors Field Splits:

30/98 – .306 BA – 4 HRs – .930 OPS

2019 vs. Left Handed Pitching

14/51 – .275 – 2 HR – .753 OPS

Too many reasons for concern to be bullish about Tapia in Coors this week. The seven-game slate could provide enough at-bats, but it may not. Blackmon is back and Dahl hits well in Coors and Tapia isn’t stealing bases. If I thought he would steal two or three bases regardless of how much playing time he receives that would provide the floor I needed to justify optimism, but owners can’t based on the lack of running this season. I want to take advantage of “The Coors Effect,” but I can’t get fully on board here.

Also check out Mick Ciallela’s Rest of Season Rankings!

You can follow me on Twitter @CJMitch73 or on Facebook in the Fantasy Sports group “A Podcast To Be Named Later” and we will have a Podcast coming in the not-too-distant future, so keep an eye-out. And, if you’re a Cape Cod League fan, I will be interviewing players, fans, and managers and Podcasting about the league this summer.

Fantrax was one of the fastest growing fantasy sites of 2018 and things are only getting better in 2019! With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at

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