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AL Lineup Analysis 06/26

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 Javier Baez, Alex Bregman, Jesse Winker, Alejandro Kirk, and Mike Trout. Please note that this article was written Saturday afternoon. I will do my best to try and add any updates or breaking news that occurs Saturday night. Check out the latest on all 15 American League teams below!

MLB Lineup Analysis

AL East

New York Yankees

The Yankees have not had any changes to their lineup over the past week. The most noteworthy fact is that Joey Gallo has been on the bench twice including once against a righty. Gallo has been sitting against lefties but was on the bench against a righty this week. Any more hits to his playing time and Gallo will not be worth a roster spot.

Since the start of June, Gleyber Torres is batting .274/.357/.581. He has looked much closer to the 2019 version of Gleyber Torres that we saw and is an elite option at 2B moving forward. Hitting in the middle of the Yankees’ lineup should provide him plenty of opportunities to score and drive in runs.

Boston Red Sox

Jarren Duran has continued to lead off and perform well. One thing to be aware of with Duran is that the Red Sox travel to Toronto next week. He will be unable to play in those games since he is unvaccinated. Duran is auditioning to keep an everyday job once Enrique Hernandez returns. Missing a few games could impact this, but with Hernandez not expected to return for at least another week or two, Duran should have plenty of time to return and prove himself.

The Red Sox called up Jeter Downs this week. He has since been optioned back to AAA, and I do not see any fantasy value for Downs this year or moving forward. I project Downs as a below-average big-league player and do not think he needs to be added anywhere. Christian Arroyo returned from the COVID list this week and figures to be the first man off the bench for Boston. J.D. Martinez has been in a bit of a slump recently, but most of that is due to a .206 BABIP since June 10. Martinez should be fine moving forward.

Toronto Blue Jays

George Springer has been out of the lineup since leaving the game on Tuesday with an elbow injury. Neither he nor the Blue Jays seem too concerned about this moving forward. Springer does have a long history with injuries though, so this is something to keep an eye on. With Raimel Tapia already playing every day, Cavan Biggio is most likely to see his playing time increase if Springer is forced to miss any time.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has started to really break out at the plate. He was moved down to eighth in the lineup, but that has not stopped him from picking things up. Since the start of June, Gurriel is batting .375/.408/.528. I liked Gurriel as a breakout pick heading into 2022, and hopefully this hot stretch is a sign of things to come.

Tampa Bay Rays

The injuries have been relentless for the Rays this season. This week, they lost two more players to injury with Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot both being placed on the IL. Kiermaier’s injury is not expected to keep him out long-term, but Margot was placed on the 60-day IL and is questionable to return this season. Josh Lowe is now seeing everyday playing time with both starting outfielders injured. He has tantalizing fantasy upside, but the strikeouts are still proving to be an issue. He has struck out seven times in four games since returning. I am not picking up Lowe in any leagues for 2022.

The Rays also called up prospect Jonathan Aranda. He ranked inside of my top 100 prospects list for dynasty leagues. I am curious to watch how much Aranda gets to play with the big-league team. If he is playing consistently, he should be picked up. Speaking of young infielders, Isaac Paredes hit five home runs this past week. Outside of a strong barrel rate, there is nothing in Paredes’ profile that points to a breakout. I am not picking him up in any leagues.

Wander Franco is set to return on Sunday which provides the Rays with some much-needed lineup help!

Baltimore Orioles

There have not been many changes to the Baltimore lineup. Tyler Nevin is playing consistently and has been batting in the lower third of the lineup. Nevin is batting just .194 on the season and .154 since the start of June. He is not worth adding in any fantasy format.

On June 14, I wrote an article identifying several buy and sell candidates according to their xwRC+. Ryan Mountcastle was one of those players that xwRC+ believed was on the verge of a breakout. Well, I hope you read that article because, since June 14, Mountcastle is batting .421/.436/.816 with three home runs. He has been unbelievable and looks like an elite power bat moving forward.

AL West

Houston Astros

Jeremy Pena is expected to return from the IL either on Sunday or early next week. He has reportedly been feeling great and should have no limitations moving forward. Aledmys Diaz who has been filling in for Pena has also been dealing with an injury. He returned to the lineup on Friday and will move back into a bench role once Pena returns.

The Astros are moving away from the McCormick and Siri platoon in CF. Siri was optioned to AAA this week and the Astros called back up Jake Meyers. Meyers was excellent in AAA last season and performed well in his brief big-league stint. There are concerns over whether he can keep his strikeout rate down. I am watching closely to see if he is going to play every day and if he has any success.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels’ lineup goes from great to abysmal real fast. The top four hitters of Ward, Trout, Ohtani, and Walsh have been great. Walsh especially has heated up recently. Since June 15, he is slashing .300/.344/.600. Even since May 24, Walsh is hitting .294/.319/.532. Perhaps what is most impressive about Walsh’s season are his improvements against left-handed pitching. Walsh is a career .210 hitter against lefties but is batting .258 this season.

Brandon Marsh’s struggles have pushed him farther down the Angels lineup. Marsh is hitting just .143 and striking out over 40% of the time in June and should not be on any rosters. Luis Rengifo, Matt Duffy, and Andrew Velazquez continue to play every day. None of the three players mentioned are worth rostering in fantasy.

Texas Rangers

Josh Smith returned from the IL this week. This created a playing time crunch in Texas with Ezequiel Duran also up. This situation received some clarity as Duran was optioned to AAA. The Rangers could not get all three players consistent starts in the lineup and decided Duran was the odd man out. This is disappointing for fantasy as Duran’s power and speed combination was exciting. He is still worth keeping and maybe buying in on in keeper/dynasty leagues with managers frustrated by his demotion.

The Rangers also traded for outfielder Steven Duggar. Before Leody Taveras was called up, upper management made it clear that once he is up, he will be playing every day. Duggar does not figure to be more than a backup or defensive replacement.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners continue to move their lineup around to try and increase production. J.P. Crawford is back into the leadoff spot for Seattle. Jesse Winker has moved down to fourth in the lineup recently. Justin Upton has been seeing everyday playing time. Upton is batting just .130 with a 37% strikeout rate. He is clearly not the answer. The Mariners could turn to Jarred Kelenic soon. I am not sure if Kelenic will ever be able to put it together at the major league level, but he is worth a look in keeper leagues.

The other big news was that Ty France was placed on the IL. He had been batting second in the lineup and had been one of the few bright spots for Seattle. Dylan Moore and Abraham Toro should both see their playing time increase with this injury. Julio Rodriguez seems the most likely to bat second now with France injured.

Oakland A’s

Oakland promoted some young players this week. Sheldon Neuse is back with the team and has been playing almost every day. He has even batted leadoff in the lineup a couple of times. Neuse is not fantasy relevant. The player that should be on fantasy manager’s radars is Jonah Bride. He has been batting second since his call-up and was batting .392 in AAA this season. Bride has not flashed much power or speed, but he has shown excellent control of the strike zone and an ability to hit for a high average. I am not rushing to add Bride, but he is worth keeping an eye on.

Jed Lowrie has seen his playing time diminish in favor of the young bats in the Oakland lineup. Sean Murphy has started batting in the upper half of the lineup again. Murphy has been batting .320 since June 7 while posting a strikeout rate under 17%. Murphy should be a solid catcher option moving forward.

AL Central

Kansas City Royals

Salvador Perez is back on the IL with a thumb injury. This injury is much more serious than last time as Perez is set to undergo surgery and miss multiple months. Melendez will fill in at catcher and the Royals will continue to rotate batters at the DH spot. Vinnie Pasquantino has started to heat back up in AAA recently. His name will be at the top of the list if the Royals wish to promote somebody to fill the hole left by Perez.

Edward Olivares was activated from the IL. He was playing well before getting injured. I am curious to see how playing time shakes out now in Kansas City. The Royals outfield now has Merrifield, Taylor, Benintendi, Isbel, and Olivares. Kyle Isbel has been playing more frequently lately and batting seventh in the lineup. However, in his first game back Olivares drew a start and hit two home runs. I think Olivares holds a slight edge and is worth a look in deeper leagues. He has power and speed that can be valuable.

Detroit Tigers

Riley Greene has already moved himself up in the lineup and is now batting second. He has looked like the real deal early on and could be a star in the making. Victor Reyes continues to lead off against right-handed pitching while sitting against lefties. Jeimer Candelario has been moved all the way down to seventh and Jonathan Schoop has been batting eighth recently.

Javier Baez has caught fire over the past week. He hit four home runs, stole two bases and only struck out 7.7% of the time. Baez is a streaky hitter, and the highs are HIGH and the lows are LOW. He is hot right now and is a player that can win you a week. Ride this hot streak now or maybe try to sell high on Baez while his value has increased.

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox continue to watch the injuries pile up. Danny Mendick has a torn ACL and is now out for the season. He was not a regular in the lineup anymore, but this will open more playing time up for Leury Garcia. Another injury opening more playing time for Garcia is the injury to Adam Engel. He is on the IL with a hamstring strain. Luis Robert missed a couple of games this week with soreness, but he is healthy now and should be fine moving forward.

Minnesota Twins

Byron Buxton was forced to miss a couple of games with some soreness this week. He returned to the lineup on Saturday and should be fine moving forward. Injuries have been a consistent theme throughout Buxton’s career, but hopefully with regular days off Buxton will be able to avoid any major injuries in 2022. Sticking with the injury theme, Jorge Polanco will return early next week. He has been on the IL with a back injury but barring any setbacks, he will return next week.

Jose Miranda has not been playing as much as I anticipated even with Polanco out. He has been on the bench for most games this week. Playing time will only get harder to come by for Miranda with Polanco returning. Part of the reason for Miranda’s move to the bench is Alex Kirilloff who is playing every day and primarily batting fifth in the Twins’ lineup.

Quick note on Carlos Correa. Since returning from the IL on June 8, he is batting .356/.397/.610. He profiles as one of the best shortstops in baseball for the rest of the season.

Cleveland Guardians

When I wrote this article last week, Jose Ramirez was battling a thumb injury. He returned to the lineup early this week and has been fine since. Franmil Reyes is also back with the team after being on the IL. He has been primarily batting sixth since returning. The notable point about this is that he is hitting behind Oscar Gonzalez in the lineup. While the average has come down over the past week, Gonzalez did hit his first two home runs of the season. He has monster power, and the home runs should keep piling up. I continue to think that he is a good option in dynasty.

Steven Kwan has been batting leadoff in the Guardians’ lineup. This is only against righties as Owen Miller has been batting leadoff against lefties. I mentioned recently that Myles Straw could be losing his grip on the leadoff spot and starting job and that came true. He is now batting last in the Guardians lineup. They do not have many other options defensively in CF, but Straw might start seeing his playing time decrease.

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