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AL Lineup Analysis 05/29

Just in time for your FAAB bids, here is my lineup on 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 J.D. Martinez, Jose Abreu, Rafael Devers, Ramon Urias, and Ty France. 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

AL East

New York Yankees

The injuries have all rolled in at once for the Yankees. First Joey Gallo was on the COVID list, but he returned to the lineup on Thursday. Josh Donaldson was initially on the COVID list with an undisclosed illness, but he was transferred to the IL with shoulder inflammation. Giancarlo Stanton was off to an excellent start but as is tradition with him, he landed on the IL with ankle inflammation. If you drafted Stanton, you knew the risk of injury was high and that still stands true. D.J. LeMahieu missed four straight games with a wrist injury. The Yankees were glad to welcome him back to the lineup on Saturday.

Due to all the injuries, several new players entered the starting lineup. The Yankees signed Matt Carpenter and they called up Miguel Andujar. Andujar is a name to keep an eye on for fantasy. Back in 2018 Andujar hit .297 with 27 home runs. Through his first six games, Andujar has hit .286. If he plays well during these injuries he could earn some more playing time even after. Kyle Higashioka has struggled early on this season and is starting to lose some playing time to Jose Trevino. I would not be surprised if the Yankees trade for a catcher around the trade deadline and neither of their current catchers are worth a roster spot.

Boston Red Sox

Trevor Story has been on a tear over the past couple of weeks. He has been batting fifth or sixth in the lineup. Since May 10, Story is batting .279/.370/.738. He has added nine home runs and five stolen bases. This is vintage Trevor Story and he could easily be a top-three shortstop the rest of the way. Even if he never hits .290 again for a full season, he will still be a very valuable fantasy player.

Franchy Cordero is playing against righties while Bobby Dalbec is playing against lefties. Since May 13, Cordero is batting .286/.311/.500. Cordero has all the tools to be a good player and fantasy managers should keep their eye on him as he has a chance to break out. Jackie Braldey Jr. has played better over the past week, but I still anticipate Jarren Duran getting the call soon. He is simply the better player at this point and should be in Boston soon. He is worth stashing in fantasy leagues.

Toronto Blue Jays

The early season Danny Jansen breakout seems to be real. He has hit four home runs since returning from the IL. Even though Jansen has returned and is hitting well, the Blue Jays have prioritized getting both Kirk and Jansen into the lineup. Both are playing well, and both are worth rostering in fantasy. They could be two of the best catchers in fantasy which is rare to see from the same team.

Santiago Espinal has moved up in the lineup and is batting second. I was skeptical of his ability to keep producing all season but hitting right in front of Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette is a great place to be. A player that I want to highlight briefly is Matt Chapman. He is batting just .191 on the season, but he has been extremely unlucky. He has a .228 BABIP which is well below his career average of .288. Chapman is posting elite barrel and exit velocity numbers while reducing his whiff and chase rate. Chapman could be a nice buy-low target for fantasy managers.

Tampa Bay Rays

Manuel Margot returned from the IL on Wednesday. He was red hot at the plate and should be picked up if he was dropped anywhere. He has the potential to hit for average, decent power, and provide a lot of stolen bases. Kevin Kiermaier has moved into the leadoff spot in the Rays lineup against righties. He has been excellent recently batting .400/.417/.686 over his last 36 plate appearances. I love Kiermaier as a player, but he has posted a .458 BABIP over his hot streak. This pace is not sustainable, and he has never flashed this kind of talent. I am not prioritizing adding Kiermaier to my teams this week.

Baltimore Orioles

There have not been many changes to the Orioles lineup. Since being called up, Adley Rutschman is batting either fifth or sixth. Jorge Mateo has cooled off at the plate recently. Since the start of April, Mateo is batting .187/.208/.333. He does still have five steals which is the entire reason you are rostering him. If you are desperate for stolen bases I understand rostering him, but he is hurting your team in every other category. Any fantasy manager that is counting on Cedric Mullins to be the player he was last season needs to adjust their expectations. I think Mullins will be a fine player, but his chase rate is back up to his pre-2021 levels and he is much more likely to be a .250 hitter than a .290 hitter. He has stolen 10 bases on the year which is always valuable to fantasy.

AL West

Houston Astros

As I discussed last week, Jose Siri appears to be gaining the edge on the battle for CF between him and Chas McCormick. This past week Jose Siri has started more games than McCormick. Since May 10, Siri is batting .333/.405/.515 while adding three stolen bases. Meanwhile, McCormick has hit just .162/.244/.378. Siri could have some value in deeper leagues and provide stolen bases for your fantasy team. I think that he is a better option to pick up than Kiermaier who I discussed earlier.

Los Angeles Angels

Taylor Ward is still battling a shoulder/neck issue. He missed several games to start the week before returning to the lineup as the DH on Friday. He has not been cleared to participate in the field, so he is being limited to pinch-hit and DH appearances right now. The Angels have Shohei Ohtani as their usual DH, but he was absent from the lineup on Friday due to back tightness. Ohtani returned to the lineup on Saturday, so Ward will likely be stuck on the bench more often than not until he can field.

Luis Rengifo has been playing more over the past week, but I do not think he is worth adding anywhere. Brandon Marsh has hit .305 since May 9, but the power has disappeared. Marsh is only pulling the ball 22.5% of the time which has limited his ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Scouts have long believed that the power would come for Marsh, but it appears he is not there yet. His ability to hit for a high average at such a young age is still encouraging. I am holding Marsh in all dynasty and keeper leagues, but his value may be capped in redraft leagues this season.

Anthony Rendon was placed on the IL on Saturday. Rendon is past his prime and injuries keep getting the better of him. In shallow leagues, I am okay dropping Rendon as this seems to be a recurring theme for him. Tyler Wade and Luis Rengifo who were previously mentioned will likely see most of the additional playing time.

Texas Rangers

Jonah Heim is still receiving most of the starts at catcher. Mitch Garver came back, but he has not caught any games since returning. Heim is struggling, but with Garver unable to catch, Heim’s playing time should be safe. Eli White has moved into a platoon role only starting against lefties. If you added him while he was hot, you can drop him now. Kole Calhoun has been hot and is batting in the middle of the lineup. He could be worth an add if you need outfield help.

Seattle Mariners

Kyle Lewis officially returned from the IL on Tuesday. He has been batting sixth and seventh so far, but with the struggles of Adam Frazier at the top of the lineup, I would not be surprised to see him start hitting leadoff. If he is still available in any leagues he needs to be picked up. Since the Mariners have been struggling so much, they have made some changes to the lineup. Jesse Winker has been batting leadoff against right-handed pitchers.

Abraham Toro landed on the IL this week. This could lead to more playing time for Dylan Moore and Taylor Trammell. Trammell is a former top prospect who has struggled in his previous big-league chances. He has shown flashes before but has never fully put it all together. I am not picking him up yet, but he is somebody to keep an eye on.

Oakland A’s

There have not been any fantasy-relevant changes in the Athletics lineup over the past week. Sheldon Neuse batted leadoff for a couple of games but has struggled. He is not somebody worth picking up. Seth Brown surprisingly stole two bases in the past week. He is up to four already on the season and could be a sneaky source of stolen bases at first base. He has also hit for a solid average recently but has a strikeout rate of 28% on the season.

AL Central

Kansas City Royals

Kyle Isbel is currently on the COVID list. He has been filling in for Michael Taylor who is also on the COVID list. They both should not be out for too long and Taylor figures to reclaim the starting spot once he returns. Whit Merrifield has been playing much better recently and is now batting leadoff for the Royals. Since May 15, he has hit .321/.377/.528 and looks like the Whit from previous years. I am still skeptical of Merrifield’s production bouncing back to pre-2022 levels, but I may have been too quick to write him off this season.

M.J. Melendez has been batting in the middle of the lineup for the Royals and has looked excellent. Since May 17, Melendez is batting .262/.311/.619 with four home runs. He may have forced himself into an everyday role even when Perez returns. This likely means Hunter Dozier will shift to first base and Carlos Santana’s time with the Royals will come to an end. Santana has been horrible this season and there is no reason for the Royals to keep him in the lineup. I continue to think that although Adley will be the better long-term fantasy asset, Melendez will outperform Rutschman in 2022.

Another player that the Royals need to call up soon is Vinnie Pasquantino. He has been on a tear in AAA batting .486 with four home runs since May 18. The Royals would have to shuffle their lineup around, but he is a name that needs to be on fantasy manager’s radars.

Detroit Tigers

I said it last week and I will say it again, Javier Baez should not be in your starting lineup at this time. Over the past week, Baez has remained consistently bad batting just .208/.269/.375 with zero steals, and just two runs and RBIs. Baez continues to struggle, and he is getting close to cut territory especially in shallow leagues.

Although he is still without a return date, Austin Meadows resumed baseball activities this week. There is no timetable to return from vertigo, but he is a name to keep an eye on. Riley Greene should be nearing a rehab assignment in the next couple of weeks and should instantly start for Detroit. He is worth stashing if you have the roster space.

Chicago White Sox

Luis Robert landed on the COVID list this week. Jake Burger was recalled as a corresponding move, but he is not worth picking up. Andrew Vaughn has batted second in the last two games for Chicago. The team is looking for some sort of spark for the lineup and has moved Vaughn up to provide it. Vaughn has hit in four straight games and has at least one hit in eight of his last nine games. Vaughn is one of the best hitters in baseball already and should be treated as such in fantasy.

Minnesota Twins

I initially was very excited to watch Jose Miranda when he was called up, but he has struggled and is in more of a platoon role right now. The Twins seem to prefer Nick Gordon over him defensively and Trevor Larnach’s bat against right-handed pitching. Miranda is not a player that you need to roster. Jorge Polanco missed three games early this week with an ankle injury but seemed just fine on Friday in his return to the lineup mashing a home run off Brad Keller. He could be a potential buy-low target right now.

Luis Arraez has seemed to settle into the second spot in the Minnesota lineup. He has been primarily batting there and has been excellent from a batting average perspective all season. If he is now going to hit right in front of Correa, Polanco, and Sanchez he could provide a lot of runs for your fantasy team. If you need depth and versatility, he could be worth an add. Speaking of Gary Sanchez, he has hit .283/.333/.566 since May 13. Despite his current success, he has looked much like the same hitter as the past few years. He currently has a .299 BABIP which is not too high but is much higher than his .254 career average. Sanchez could be a player to sell-high on right now.

*Saturday Update*: Max Kepler left the game with leg tightness on Saturday. Hopefully, this just has to do with high temperatures and dehydration but is worth monitoring. I love Kepler this season and hope this is nothing serious. Gary Sanchez also left the game, but that is being referred to as a “heat-related illness”. This should not be anything long-term.

Cleveland Guardians

Ignoring routine off-days, the top five batters in the Guardians’ lineup is set. Straw, Rosario, Ramirez, Miller, and Naylor have been consistently batting in that order. I am a little bit surprised to see Rosario batting second as he has hit just .238 on the season, but since May 7, he has hit .283 so the Guardians appear to be riding the hot hand. Steven Kwan has moved down to eighth in the lineup against righties and is sitting against most lefties. The early season magic for Kwan has worn off.

Franmil Reyes was placed on the IL with a hamstring injury. I assume Oscar Mercado and Richie Palacios will see most of the additional playing time with Reyes out. I do not think either player is a must-add right now.

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