Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 sleepers hitters for Week 19 feature Stephen Piscotty, Rougned Odor
Week 19 (July 30-Aug. 5) isn’t shaping up to be a good one for hitters.
It seems like just luck of the draw, with probable pitchers lining up in such a way that makes most every team’s matchups less than enticing — not terrible, necessarily, but clearly not good.
The Athletics aren’t such a team, and given the way they’ve performed recently, going 32-17 with an average of 5.3 runs per game since the start of June, they’re well represented here among my 10 favorite hitters owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
A July power binge (he has hit seven homers for the month) has Stephen Piscotty on pace for similar numbers to the ones he put up in 2016, when he was more or less a must-start Fantasy option. It’s no stretch to think he could keep it going against the makeshift Blue Jays and Tigers rotations.
Jake Bauers continues to stand out in terms of quality of contact, his line-drive and hard-hit rates both rating among the best in the game if he had the at-bats to qualify. At this point, it’s fair to say he’s an advisable start as long as the matchups aren’t working against him, and with three games against the White Sox pitching staff, they certainly aren’t this week.
Rougned Odor has been a different player since the start of June, batting nearly .313 with eight homers and eight stolen bases. He’ll always be streaky thanks to his poor plate discipline, but he’s clearly a hot-hand play now, especially with four games against the Orioles pitching staff.
With two two-homer games in his past six, Maikel Franco is up to seven homers now for the month of July and will face Drew Pomeranz, Trevor Richards, Jose Urena, Wei-Yin Chen and Dan Straily this week.
Ketel Marte didn’t really make good on his sleeper in Week 18 (July 23-29), but his chances are even better in Week 19, with four lefties on the schedule. The 24-year-old, whose rising fly-ball rate has him hitting .288 with a .940 OPS since the start of June, is batting .291 with a .925 OPS against lefties for the year.
Matt Chapman‘s revival at the plate has been one of the keys to the Athletics’ recent success, and he’ll benefit from the same matchups as Stephen Piscotty this week, which include Marco Estrada, Sam Gaviglio, Francisco Liriano, Jordan Zimmermann and Matthew Boyd. He has six multi-hit games in his past eight, homering twice during that stretch.
Avisail Garcia is 8 for 28 with two home runs since returning from his latest bout with a hamstring injury, and has 10 home runs in 25 since returning from the initial bout in June. You’d like to see more walks, of course, so that he’s not so boom-or-bust in Fantasy, but he’s liable to hit a couple more homers against the kind of pitchers the Royals and Rays will throw at him this week.
Johan Camargo, whose BABIP for most of this year suggested better times were ahead, is enjoying some of those better times now, batting .306 (33 for 108) with five homers over his past 29 games. The Braves have even more favorable matchups than the Athletics this week, facing the Marlins and Mets pitching staffs for seven games.
Here’s where I have to stretch a little to make up for the not-so-great matchups across the league. The Marlins aren’t exactly facing chumps in their seven games against the Braves and Phillies, but they are scheduled to face nothing but righties, which is good news for a hitter who tends to sit against lefties. Dietrich has been surprisingly productive when he has played, batting .315 with 10 homers and a .910 OPS in 65 games dating back to mid-May.
He’s a forgotten man since a blistering April and doesn’t have the most favorable matchups, but Christian Villanueva does have four lefties on the schedule and is still a lefty masher, batting .323 with 13 homers and a 1.125 OPS. I hate this recommendation, personally, but if you’re looking for cheap power, I could see him delivering two or three homers this week.
Best hitter matchups for Week 19
1. Braves MIA3, @NYM4
2. Athletics TOR3, DET3
3. Phillies @BOS2, MIA4
4. Nationals NYM2, CIN4
5. Cubs @PIT2, SD4
Worst hitter matchups for Week 19
1. Red Sox PHI2, NYY4
2. Angels @TB3, @CLE3
3. Pirates CHC2, STL3
4. Yankees BAL2, @BOS4
5. Brewers @LAD4, COL3