Fantasy Baseball Interleague Impact: Opening Week
Published: Apr 02, 2021
Throughout the course of the Major League Baseball season, each week we are going to take a look at the upcoming week of games and find those pesky interleague matchups. Then, we will take a look to see at who gains/loses fantasy value heading to a National League stadium, or vice versa! This is a special edition coming Wednesday, so that you’re ready for the opening weekend of games! Moving forward, you’ll see this article here on Fantasy Alarm on Sundays!
Baseball is finally here and it’s time to dive into a trio of interleague matchups to begin the 2021 Major League Baseball season. Without further ado...
Twins @ Brewers
The Minnesota Twins will head to Milwaukee to open the year and the Twins have a guy they exclusively use as its designated hitter. Yes, I’m talking about Nelson Cruz . Since the start of the 2019 season, you and I have played more games in the outfield than Cruz. He hasn’t appeared in the field all spring, so it seems likely that we may not see much of Cruz this opening weekend, outside of pinch-hitting duties.
If Cruz were to somehow accidentally end up in the outfield, which spot is going to give? Cruz has yet to log an inning in the outfield for the Twins, and if we go back to 2018, Cruz last played right field (a whopping 26.1 innings that year). Minnesota outfielders without the last name “Buxton” might find their way to the bench, as the Twins will likely need Buxton in center field to help cover ground that Cruz wouldn’t be able to cover.
Winners: Brewers (since they likely won’t get more than one at-bat per game from Cruz
[Conditional] Losers: Minnesota outfielders not named Buxton (if Cruz goes to the outfield, which seems unlikely)
Rays @ Marlins
Ji-Man Choi was looking like a guy that could be a winner, but he’s dealing with a setback, so the outlook is a bit more bleak here. In fact, we likely won’t see him at all.
Tampa Bay’s three primary outfielders should be Austin Meadows , Manuel Margot and Randy Arozarena. So, Kevin Kiermaier and his excellent glove could serve as more of a late-game defensive replacement this weekend in Miami.
As forward thinking as the Rays are, expect them to rely on splits when setting up their infield alignment, as mentioned in the Tampa Bay Times, "Though the Rays will miss Choi, Yoshi Tsutsugo has played well since shifting to first base in his absence and will get the opportunity to play there, at least against right-handed starters. Yandy Díaz is likely to get the starts against lefties, with Mike Brosseau also in the mix."
Three games against the Marlins means that the Rays likely see Sandy Alcantara , Pablo López and Elieser Hernandez , meaning three righties to open the year.
Winners: Yoshi Tsutsugo
Losers: Kevin Kiermaier , Mike Brosseau , Yandy Díaz (to a certain extent)
Giants @ Mariners
Alright, #FAmily we finally get to gain one here!
With San Francisco heading to Seattle, the Giants have a couple different things they can do.
At the ripe age of 35, they could have Evan Longoria serve as the team’s designated hitter this weekend, allowing Tommy La Stella to man third base. They could also have those two switch spots over the course of the weekend.
The Giants could keep Brandon Belt in the lineup, and allow Wilmer Flores to serve as the designated hitter for the first two games of the year, considering they are against two southpaws (Marco Gonzalez and James Paxton ). Flores is a career .276 hitter against lefties with a whopping .233 ISO. Flores should be in their against lefties. In this scenario, Longoria or La Stella hits the bench, since you can’t have two third basemen. IT CANNOT BE DONE!
The Giants have some versatility, so they could get creative. Since coming up to the bigs in 2019, Dubon has logged time at second base, shortstop and centerfield. They can move him around if they wish. La Stella is versatile, too.
With two lefties to begin the year, the designated hitter availability helps Flores a good bit, so keep that in mind daily players.
Winners: Wilmer Flores
Losers: Tommy La Stella /Evan Longoria
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