Looking for the best fantasy baseball matchups this week? You have come to the right place. FBS provides readers with the top hitter and top pitching matchups going into the week.
1. Alex Rios, OF CHW
Analysis: It wasn’t too long ago that Rios seemed like a monumental bust. After signing a lucrative extension with Toronto, the talented OF failed to meet expectations and was ultimately awarded to the Chicago White Sox via a straight waiver claim last summer. Perhaps the change of scenery has allowed Rios to tap into his talent because he’s been absolutely brilliant all season long for the ChiSox. Specifically, he sports a .342 average in May with six homers and 14 RBI with six SB. I don’t expect him to continue at this pace all season long, but he’s showing no signs of cooling down any time soon. With a season long line of 9/23/.309 and 15 steals, Rios is finally performing like the Roto monster that many expected him to be, including former Blue Jays GM JP Riccardi.
2. Jose Reyes, SS NYM
Analysis: Reyes has been frustrating fantasy owners across the board since his return from injury, but those that stuck with him (myself included) are finally starting to reap the benefits. He has multi-hit games in five of his last six games and is 14 for 32 (.438) with a homer and six RBI over that span. Despite missing the beginning of the season, Reyes now finds himself among the top five in SB in the NL and as he continues to play he should continue to climb those ranks. When healthy, Jose is an elite fantasy SS who is capable of being an absolute fantasy monster in any format. Look for him to continue his torrid pace as he seeks to re-establish his all-star form.
3. Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF TB
Analysis: A lot of fantasy owners were beginning to worry that Zobrist’s career year last year was just a fluke because of his painfully slow start to the season. After going homerless in his first 38 games this season, Zobrist has gone on a tare batting .444 (16 for 36) over his last nine games, raising his batting average 40 points in the process. While many owners may have been frustrated by the slow start, just remember that he began to heat up at just about the same point last season en route to his tremendous season. If the Rays can continue to get Zobrist to produce like he did last season, they’ll truly be a scary team and fantasy owners will begin to remember why they spent a high draft pick on Zobrist.
4. Adrian Beltre, 3B, BOS
Analysis: A lot of people (myself included) were trying to figure out where exactly Beltre fit into Boston’s lineup at the beginning of the season, but he’s blended in extraordinarily. After Wednesday night’s game against the Rays in which he homered twice, Beltre is now batting .516 (16 for 31) over his last eight games. He’s batting an insane .339 this season with five homers and 34 RBI and has fantasy owners grinning from ear to ear. Continue to ride him as long as he remains hot—and now that he’s finally healthy, he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
5. David Ortiz, DH, BOS
Analysis: It’s the same story for Big Papi. When the whole world was willing to call him done and a fantasy afterthought (myself included), something finally clicked for the big man. He’s currently enjoying an absolutely insane month of May (25 for 68) after hitting only .143 in April. Ortiz is now up to ten homers on the season—something many didn’t think he could accomplish if given a full year. Manager Tito Francona continued to stick with him while many were calling for his head and it’s now providing dividends to both the Red Sox and fantasy owners alike. Big Papi is only eligible at the utility spot in most leagues, but one could definitely do a lot worse than the big man and he’s currently still floating on many waiver wires in shallower leagues.
1. Mike Pelfrey, Mets
Analysis: Many people forget about the Mets big right-hander when discussing the game’s young up-and coming croup of talented starters, but fantasy owners should have him firmly entrenched on their radar. Pelfrey is enjoying a breakout season and currently stands at 7-1 with a sparkling 2.55 ERA. While he doesn’t strikeout many, Pelfrey’s new sinker has allowed him to effectively keep the ball on the ground, which has led him to find immense success. He’s currently 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA over his last three starts and with his next start scheduled for Tuesday against the Pads, owners should look to have him in the lineup as he sports a career 1.50 ERA against San Diego. He’s held the opponent to three runs or less in eight of his ten starts and that trend should continue on Tuesday.
2. Johnny Cueto, CIN
Analysis: Cueto has won five straight starts and has looked very impressive over that stretch. Over the month of May, he’s 4-0 allowing only six ER in 34 innings. What’s more impressive is the fact that he’s struck out 37 batters over that same span. For the season, the flamethrower is 5-1 with a 3.25 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Since tossing a complete game one-hitter at Pittsburgh on May 11th, Cueto hasn’t allowed more than two ER in a single start and has been a strikeout machine in the process. Look for him to continue his roll on Tuesday as he takes on PJ Walters and the St. Louis Cardinals.
3. Roy Oswalt, HOU
Analysis: Oswalt is currently enjoying his best year since 2006 and owners are reaping the rewards. He’s really been hot all season long and pitching for the lowly Astros has really overshadowed his success. As if his ERA of 2.35 wasn’t pretty enough for fantasy owners, he hasn’t allowed more than 3 ER in any of his last seven starts, working at least six innings in each outing. With 69 K’s in 69 innings, owners must continue to trot the veteran out there and hope that he gets dealt to a contender (sooner rather than later) so he can increase his win total. He’s pitched far too well to have only three wins on the year.
4. Jon Lester, BOS
Analysis: After a tough few starts to the season, Lester has been the pitcher that everyone expected him to be. He is the true ace of Boston’s staff and has pitched admirably in that roll. In the month of May, Lester is 4-0 over a five-start span and hasn’t gone less than six innings in any start. He has 28 strikeouts in his last 22 innings and continues to lower his ERA in the process. Now 5-2 on the season with 72 K’s in 65 and 2/3 IP, Lester will look to keep it rolling as a two-start pitcher next week. His walk total (28) is a little alarming, but as long as he continues to limit the hits he gives up and strikes out batters at his current clip, that shouldn’t be a problem for the talented young lefty.
5. Shaun Marcum, TOR
Analysis: Marcum may very well be the best-kept secret in Toronto this season. After failing to record a win in any of his first five starts, he’s got four W’s in his last five games. He’s pitched very well all season and has become part of a formidable 1-2 punch atop the Toronto rotation with fellow hurler Ricky Romero. Marcum has a 2.82 ERA on the season with a sparkling 1.00 WHIP. He doesn’t walk a whole lot of guys and limits the hits he allows, so as long as he continues to pitch this way (and there’s no reason he shouldn’t), fantasy owners may find Marcum as a very useful tool in the pursuit of the 1st place spot in your league.