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AL Lineup Analysis 07/03

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 Shohei Ohtani, Jose Abreu, Alex Verdugo, Yuli Gurriel, and Julio Rodriguez. 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 continued to remain consistent. Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo sat both games versus a lefty this week. I expect Rizzo to be in the lineup often against lefties; one of the games was a part of a double header. On the other hand, sitting against lefties has become a regular for Gallo. Gallo has one hit in his last 34 plate appearances, and I cannot justify buying low or even rostering him at this point. He looks completely lost at the plate and could be out of the lineup more often moving forward.

Marwin Gonzalez could quietly be worth a look in deeper leagues. He is seeing more playing time lately at a variety of positions. He is hitting at the bottom of the lineup, but still managing to produce solid stats. Since the start of June, Gonzalez is batting .317/.349/.634 with three home runs.

Boston Red Sox

As I mentioned last week, the Red Sox were in Toronto at the beginning of this week. That meant no Jarren Duran. However, he did mention to reporters that he will be eligible to travel with the team come September. With Enrique Hernandez still multiple weeks away from returning, Duran is a sure bet to be in the Red Sox’s lineup every day. Even when Hernandez returns, there is no way that Boston can justify benching Duran for Jackie Bradley Jr. anymore. Duran has swung the bat extremely well while Bradley is batting just .209 this year and has three hits in his last 38 plate appearances.

If Franchy Cordero is still available in any of your leagues, you should pick him up now. He has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the past week and since June 14, he is batting .395 with an average exit velocity of 96.6mph. He has an average launch angle of 15 degrees, but despite hitting the ball harder than anybody, Cordero has zero home runs over that stretch. The home runs should start coming in bunches for Cordero and he is a must-add where he is available.

Toronto Blue Jays

The pattern of playing time for Gabriel Moreno has remained consistent. He is in the lineup every other day batting at the bottom of the order. I continue to be surprised that the Blue Jays are not more insistent on getting their young catcher everyday at-bats, but this seems to be the way things are going to stay. Moreno will likely head back to AAA when Danny Jansen eventually returns. Cavan Biggio has been getting more playing time over the past week. He continues to walk at an incredibly high rate.

Tampa Bay Rays

Both Wander Franco and Kevin Kiermaier are healthy again for the Rays. Franco has slotted back into the second spot in the Rays’ lineup. This is where he was batting before the injury. Now might be a good time to buy low on Franco. He has not gotten off to the hottest start since returning to the lineup and owners might be frustrated. However, Franco is still just 21 years old and was touted as a generational prospect only a couple of years ago. Kiermaier has been batting around sixth since returning.

Despite Kiermaier and Franco returning, Isaac Paredes seems to have earned himself a starting role for the Rays. He has been batting in the middle of the lineup every day. I am still skeptical of Paredes’ long-term value. Right now, Josh Lowe is still playing every day even with the return of Kiermaier. Lowe looks like the same exact player that he was earlier in the season. Since being called up, Lowe is batting just .158 and striking out over 35% of the time. I do not think Lowe holds any 2022 value and I am losing confidence in his dynasty value too. The player that has been losing playing time is Vidal Brujan. He is only in the lineup against lefties and is not worth rostering. I also am down on his dynasty outlook.

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles seem to have moved on from the Tyler Nevin experiment. He has been out of the lineup most days this week. Jonathan Arauz is the newest player to get a chance to play. Arauz is still only 23 but has never shown much of an ability to hit big league pitching. He does not hold any value moving forward.

The Orioles have their first six hitters locked into the lineup, but the order that they bat has changes slightly. Adley Rustchman has been batting fifth for most of this week. With all six hitters in the lineup playing, this has moved Mountcastle down to sixth. Mountcastle has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the past few weeks. Meanwhile, Austin Hays and Anthony Santander have been struggling some recently. I would not be surprised to see one of them move down.

AL West

Houston Astros

Jeremy Pena returned to the Astros lineup, but then missed a couple of games after a scary collision with Yordan Alvarez. Both Alvarez and Pena have since returned to the lineup and are fine moving forward. Pena has been batting second for the Astros with Michael Brantley on the IL. A slight lineup tweak has Yordan Alvarez batting third and Alex Bregman hitting fourth now. This is likely just a way to split up the lefty and righty hitters with Brantley out.

Jake Myers is playing every day and batting at the bottom of the lineup. He has been swinging the bat well over the past week with a home run and solid average. The strikeout rate and lack of walks concern me, but he is a good add in deep leagues.

Los Angeles Angels

The only notable change in the Angels lineup is that Matt Duffy was placed on the IL this week. There have not been any updates as to how long the back spasms will keep him sidelined. With Duffy out, David MacKinnon and Tyler Wade have been seeing their playing time increase. MacKinnon was dominating AAA pitching this season before being called up. He has great plate discipline and is worth keeping an eye on. On the other hand, Tyler Wade is worth a look if his playing time gets consistent at all. He can steal a lot of bases which is always valuable.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers have made some adjustments to their lineup. Josh Smith is now batting leadoff against righties. Marcus Semien and Corey Seager have moved down into the second and third spots. The Rangers must like how Smith has walked as much as he strikes out. Moving to the top of the lineup should improve the run totals for Smith, but I still do not think he holds much fantasy value for this season. In Saturday’s lineup, Nathaniel Lowe moved up to fifth. He has been better than Garver and Calhoun recently and deserves to hit in the middle of the order. Since May 17th, Lowe is batting .317/.362/.585. Amongst first basemen, Lowe ranks 4th in wRC+ since that date.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners made a trade this week for Carlos Santana. This is a direct result of the Ty France injury. Since coming to Seattle, Santana has been batting in the middle of the lineup. J.P. Crawford has been serving his suspension from Sunday’s brawl. He was batting leadoff before the suspension but was really struggling at the plate. He has been hitting just .125 since June 16, and just .223 since the start of May. I would not be surprised if he moves down in the lineup when he returns.

The other suspensions looming are for Julio Rodriguez and Jesse Winker. Both suspensions are being appealed. I would be shocked if Rodriguez’s is not reduced to at most one game. Winker will likely serve his suspension next week once a final ruling is established.

On the injury front, Mitch Haniger took some batting practice this week. He still is not at 100% and remains without a firm timetable. Kyle Lewis also is without an official timetable. The concussion he suffered has kept him out of the lineup for multiple weeks, but he has started participating in drills with the team. He will likely need a rehab assignment before rejoining the Mariners’ lineup.

Oakland A’s

Both Jed Lowrie and Jonah Bride were placed on the IL this week. Neither player was rostered much anywhere so this should not have a big impact for anybody. This continues to open the door for Sheldon Neuse to receive everyday playing time. Nick Allen is also playing every day for the Athletics. This week, he has even found himself batting leadoff in the Oakland lineup against lefties. Allen has hit .294 since being called back up. He has never shown much power in the minors and projects as a glove-first player who can hit for a decent average. He does not hold much value in fantasy leagues.

Christian Pache was optioned to AAA this week. Pache has continued to look overmatched against big league pitching and I am completely out on him this year and in dynasty moving forward. I always was skeptical of Pache’s bat when he was a prospect, and he has been unable to put it together. I do not see this changing. Stephen Piscotty also returned from the IL this week. He has been batting in the middle of the lineup.

AL Central

Kansas City Royals

Italian breakfast! That is the nickname of top prospect Vinnie Pasquantino who was called up by Kansas City. Pasquantino ranked inside of my top 30 dynasty prospects. The trade of Carlos Santana to Seattle has opened the door for Pasquantino to play every day. Since joining the Royals, he has been batting in the middle of the lineup. Pasquantino’s value is especially high in OBP leagues as he works a lot of walks. Pasquantino reminds me a lot of one of my favorite fantasy first basemen coming into the season: Rhys Hoskins. Pasquantino might even hit for better average than Hoskins.

Kyle Isbel and Edward Olivares are splitting time in the outfield. Olivares will be playing more against lefties and is the better overall player. I expect him to take over the everyday job eventually. Although, Isbel has been swinging it well at the plate while Olivares has struggled over the last week.

Detroit Tigers

Riley Greene has continued to find himself in prime spots in the Tigers’ lineup. He has batted fourth a couple of games this week and lead off the other games. Greene is hitting .282 and walking more than he is striking out. One of the concerns with Greene was his high minor league strike-out rate. Greene seems to have made some great adjustments to correct this and is an elite fantasy asset moving forward.

Austin Meadows has continued to have a rough go this season. He was on the COVID list but is now on the IL with Achilles strains. Meadows cannot seem to stay on the field this year and has struggled even when healthy. He is not worth rostering at this point except in deep leagues with IL slots.

Chicago White Sox

Yoan Moncada has returned from the IL this week. He has been batting sixth in the lineup since returning. The White Sox desperately need him to get going at the plate, but he has continued struggling since returning. A.J. Pollock has been batting seventh recently. After showing some signs of life for a few days, Pollock has been batting .171 since June 20th. He is not worth rostering in fantasy. Yasmani Grandal has yet to resume running. He remains without a timetable to return, but I do not anticipate him returning anytime soon.

Minnesota Twins

Jorge Polanco is back from the IL. He has been batting fifth since returning right behind Max Kepler. Alex Kirilloff has two three-hit games in the past week and has looked much better since returning from the IL. He should be picked up everywhere that he is available.

The way playing time was shaking out last week, I had just about given up hope on Jose Miranda for this season. This week even with Polanco returning, Miranda has found himself in the lineup most games. Miranda has a six-game hit streak and hit over .300 in June. I think Miranda still has a lot of dynasty value long-term.

Cleveland Guardians

Facing exclusively righties Steven Kwan has been batting leadoff every game this week. Kwan is not going to hit for much power, but he continues to be a reliable source of average and runs scored. Andres Gimenez has continued his excellent season and is now batting sixth for Cleveland. I was skeptical of Gimenez early and still am, but he just keeps on producing. I expect the slugging percentage to come down as the 17 HR/FB% seems unsustainable for a player of his profile. However, the rest of his profile seems legit even with a .357 BABIP.

The Guardians placed Oscar Gonzalez on the IL this week. He was playing every day for them and batting in the middle of the lineup. I am curious what is going on with Franmil Reyes. Over the past week, Reyes has been on the bench three times. I am not sure if this is just the Guardians easing him back into action or if he is losing playing time. I expect him to be in the lineup more with Gonzalez on the IL. The other players that are candidates to receive additional playing time with Gonzalez out are Richie Palacios and Owen Miller.

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