Just in time for your FAAB bids, here is my rundown of the latest news and trends for AL lineups. You can check out my most recent article for the National League here! Over the past week, the top five hitters from the American League have been Josh Naylor, Giancarlo Stanton, Gavin Sheets, Mike Trout, and Yordan Alvarez. Each week brings a new set of storylines to pay attention to and you can check out the news from all 15 AL teams below!
MLB Lineup Analysis
New York Yankees
The Yankees lineup has remained fairly consistent. For the eight lineup spots (excluding catcher) they essentially have nine players. Joey Gallo has found himself on the bench against most lefties but has been playing consistently against right-handed pitching. There has been a lot of talk about Gallo and cutting him in fantasy. Yes, the early season start was atrocious, but over the past two weeks, Gallo has been hitting .261/.370/.522. He is only striking out 25.9% of the time during that stretch and has two home runs. Even hitting in the lower third of the lineup, the Yankees are talented enough for Gallo to produce from there. I might be alone, but I continue to label Gallo an excellent buy-low target.
Marwin Gonzales has started three games over the past week. He has struggled and Kiner-Falefa is better defensively. However, IKF has struggled at the plate and the Yankees might look at one of their top prospects if his struggles continue.
Boston Red Sox
Franchy Cordero is drawing most of the starts at first base. Bobby Dalbec essentially has no value in any format. In the long-term outlook, the Red Sox have Triston Casas and in the short-term, they seem to prefer Cordero. Cordero is a name to watch in deeper leagues. He is showing improved plate discipline whiffing 27.5% of the time and much better zone contact rates. Cordero has raw talent and maybe this is a sign he is putting it all together.
The Red Sox cannot possibly keep Jarren Duran in the minors much longer. Jackie Braldey Jr. and Enrique Hernandez have a combined three hits over the past week and have struggled overall throughout the season. Over his past 29 plate appearances in Triple-A, Duran is hitting .345. Getting in on Duran now might be an excellent idea before he forces his way into the Red Sox lineup!
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays welcomed back Teoscar Hernandez to the lineup. He has been primarily hitting fourth. He has struggled in his return but is likely just shaking off some rust. If anybody is willing to trade him away for cheaper because of this go acquire him now. Alejandro Kirk has been swinging the bat well recently and has switched spots with the struggling Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the lineup. Both players should have strong seasons. Gurriel as a solid OF option, and Kirk could see his value climb as high as a top-five catcher.
Santiago Espinal has been in the lineup every game and continues to swing the bat well. He will not help you in any power departments, but he has a chance to be a solid player. With Biggio on the IL, Espinal has removed any doubt that he should be the starting second baseman for Toronto going forward. George Springer left the game on Friday after running after a fly ball. He has a history of dealing with injuries, so this concerns me. One of the primary reasons I was avoiding Springer in drafts this year. If he misses significant time, Raimel Tapia is most likely to see increased playing time.
Tampa Bay Rays
Manuel Margot returned to the lineup Thursday after missing several games. He has been excellent, providing average, power, and stolen bases. I am a little bit skeptical of the average and power remaining, but I am confident Margot will continue to steal bases. Margot stole 20 bases in 151 games for San Diego in 2019 and I think he could easily hit that mark again. I would not be surprised to see Margot hit around .250 with 12-15 home runs and another 20 steals the rest of the way. If Margot is available, I would pick him up now. If the breakout is real, he could be a difference-maker while if it is not, he will still steal a lot of bases for your team.
Ji-Man Choi returned from his injury this week. He has not looked like the player he was the first few weeks of the season and is still only playing against righties. He is not worth rostering at this point in any lineup. After a slow start to the season, Brandon Lowe has turned it on at the plate. This is reassuring to fantasy managers and Lowe should have a solid 2022. He is hitting either first, fourth, or fifth in the lineup which are all excellent positions to produce.
If you listened to me on Trey Mancini, you have been happy with the results. He has been excellent over the past week and should continue to have a strong season. He has moved up to second in the lineup as Baltimore has shuffled around their top four hitters. While the .417 BABIP over the past week is unsustainable, Mancini is balancing out his poor luck early with great luck now. His rest of season outlook should be somewhere in the middle.
Jorge Mateo batted second on Friday and has been moving up to sixth in the lineup on other days. I have been skeptical of Mateo to this point as I believed his only real value to be in stolen bases. If Mateo is going to be batting second more consistently this should lead to more runs and increased value for him in fantasy. I am still nervous that Mateo has yet to walk in the month of May, but it has not seemed to affect him yet.
Jeremy Peña left the game on Thursday with an injury. Houston does not seem too worried about it, but they have not given an indication on when he will return to the lineup. Aledmys Diaz is most likely to see increased starts while Peña is out. Yordan Alvarez has simply been on another planet over the past week. He has three home runs and is hitting .318. He makes hitting major-league pitching look easy. Although he does not steal bases, I still would put him as a top-10 player rest of season. He is going to contribute and be near the top in every other category.
Chas McCormick and Jose Siri are still splitting time in center field. Siri has looked like the better player over the past two weeks, and I would not be surprised if he finds himself in the lineup more frequently. Even if this happens, he still only has value in deeper leagues.
Los Angeles Angels
Taylor Ward was injured early on in the week but returned with a bang. He hit a pinch-hit two-run home run to tie the game for the Angles on Wednesday. He continues to prove that this breakout is not a flash in the pan and that he should be considered a top outfielder in baseball.
In a little bit of a surprise, Andrew Velazquez has seen all of the starts at SS this week. Tyler Wade had previously been playing a lot, but Velazquez has been swinging a hot bat and Joe Maddon has kept him in the lineup. He has started the past seven games there and the job looks to be his for the time being. If you are desperate for steals, he is worth a look. He is not going to keep hitting .316 as he has over the past week, but the stolen bases should continue to come. Hitting at the bottom of the lineup will not help him get many RBI chances, but the runs should keep coming hitting right in front of Ward, Trout, Marsh, and Ohtani.
Nick Solak is now seeing his name in the lineup against both lefties and righties. I think he is an excellent target as a breakout could be coming. He has only hit .211 with zero home runs over the past week, but he has just a .235 BABIP over that time. Solak has significantly reduced his chase rate from last season and his underlying stats look solid. He has also stolen two bases over the past week which could be a boost to your team. If you are in need of help at second base, Solak could be a sneaky target to look at!
With Mitch Garver on the IL, Jonah Heim has gotten most of the starts at catcher. He has been hitting higher in the lineup against lefties and in the bottom half against righties. He has struggled over the past week, and I wonder if most of his value came from the platoon he was in. Heim might be a player that should only be in your lineup if the Rangers are facing a lefty. The Rangers gave Marcus Semien a day off this past week. This is significant because Semien is a player known for being in the lineup every single day. I am very worried about Semien’s production and think that the Rangers could start giving him more days off if he does not show any signs of life at the plate.
Fun fact of the day: Over his past eight games, Corey Seager has posted a BABIP of .000. Yes you read that right, .000. He has still hit three home runs and should see his luck turn around soon. If anybody is frustrated with his production early on go BUY BUY BUY!
Jarred Kelenic was optioned to Triple-A on Friday. Everybody could see this coming as Kelenic has just continued to show no improvement at the plate. He is a hold in dynasty formats, but a cut everywhere else. Looking ahead, the Mariners have the return of Kyle Lewis on the horizon leaving them with a full outfield. That is without Mitch Haniger who remains on the IL. Kyle Lewis could be a great FAAB target this week if he is available in your league. He should remain on the IL for about another week but he could be a boost to your team once he returns.
The opposite of Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez has found himself consistently batting third or fourth for Seattle. Rodriguez has been great recently batting .294 and is now in a prime position to score and knock in a lot of runs. The home runs should start coming as we know he has a lot of power in his bat. Rodriguez could find himself easily being a top-20 player by the season’s end. After batting third for the past couple of weeks, J.P. Crawford has found himself starting to slide down again. Despite a .353 BABIP, Crawford is hitting just .240 over the past two weeks. His hot start is coming to an end, and I would be okay moving on from him at this point.
Ramon Laureano returned from his suspension this week. He has not performed at the plate so far and I am not sure how much fantasy value he holds. Laureano has yet to get a hit off anything except a fastball which as I have documented in previous articles could cause issues for him in this new era of baseball. He has primarily been batting sixth in the lineup for Oakland.
Although Sean Murphy is not going to post the prettiest stat line, he is playing every single game for Oakland. Not many catchers do that. Murphy has the potential to play 150 games this year. The hot streak for Sheldon Neuse has come to an end. He is batting just .184 over his past 10 games and I would be okay moving on from him. The stolen bases are nice, but not worth draining every other category.
Kansas City Royals
As soon as Edward Olivares got his chance in the bigs, he ended up on the IL for about six weeks. Who knows if his job will still be available once he returns. The Royals activated Carlos Santana off of the IL this week. This has led to complications with M.J. Melendez’s playing time. After starting and performing well over his first few games, Melendez has found himself on the bench for three straight. I honestly have no idea what the Royals are doing as Melendez has a much better bat than Santana and Emmanuel Rivera. Melendez figures to find himself in the lineup more frequently over the next few games as the Royals cannot justify keeping him on the bench.
Whit Merrifield has been hitting eighth for several games over the past week. Even with a breakout game on Wednesday, Merrifield is still hitting just .233 over the past week. I am not optimistic about the rest of 2022 for Merrifield like some are. He is a guy that has consistently outperformed his expected stats for his career and maybe this is the year it is all coming crashing down. Any other player with a 3.7% barrel rate and an 87mph exit velocity would not garner fantasy attention. Merrifield will need to start stealing bases at a much higher rate to have value for your fantasy team this year.
The Tigers are looking for any kind of spark to get their lineup going, and Willi Castro might be it. Over the past week, Castro has started the last six games and is hitting .409. Castro has very little home run upside and has posted a .474 BABIP over that span. This hot streak should not continue, but hopefully, it helps some of the other players in the lineup get going. I was down on Javier Baez coming into the season and he has struggled up to this point. Most significantly, Baez is without a steal through his first 24 games. I am worried about him for the rest of 2022.
Austin Meadows has found himself batting leadoff for Detroit over the past week. He has even done so against left-handed pitching. Meadows has gotten unlucky to start the year and should start seeing better results soon.
Chicago White Sox
Although he did not start the game on Friday, Andrew Vaughn was activated from the IL. He hit two home runs in a rehab game with AAA and could quickly become one of the best hitters in the bigs. I continue to be all in on Vaughn and if somebody dropped him he needs to be picked up. Yoan Moncada also returned to the lineup this week. As a result, Jake Burger was optioned to T. Moncada has found himself batting second in his return. This is where Vaughn was batting prior to getting injured. I assume Tony La Russa will roll with Moncada in the two spot, but it is still an interesting battle to watch.
The Twins officially placed Carlos Correa on the IL this week. This at least signals that Royce Lewis will get an extended look at the big league level. He has looked strong, blasting his first home run on Friday night. Lewis has primarily found himself hitting ninth in the lineup which is fine. He gets to hit right ahead of Buxton which should give him plenty of chances to score runs. Speaking of Buxton, he was injured earlier in the week but has since returned. Buxton will likely deal with small injuries all season, but just crossing our fingers he avoids the big one.
The player Royce Lewis might find himself in a battle with for a roster spot is Jose Miranda. Miranda has struggled at the plate over the past week but has just a .133 BABIP. Miranda is also more versatile being able to play first base. I still think Miranda has the edge over Lewis if one has to get sent down, but this is a battle to watch closely.
The Guardians are now dealing with COVID issues again. Josh Naylor was placed on the COVID-IL which is devastating news. He was on a tear and still should perform well once he returns. Oscar Mercado is most likely to see increased playing time with Naylor out. Franmil Reyes has had a nice week at the plate but struck out 32% of the time. I am still concerned about his long-term outlook, but this has been encouraging. Steven Kwan has hit just .167 over the past week and could find himself on the bench more as the season goes on if he does not pick it up.