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AL Lineup Analysis 07/10

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 Aaron Hicks, Martin Maldonado, Matt Carpenter, Yandy Diaz, and Jose Altuve. 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

A couple of minor injuries to note with the Yankees. Anthony Rizzo has been out multiple games this week with a back injury. Back injuries to power hitters always give me a little bit of concern. He did return to the lineup on Saturday. In his absence, Matt Carpenter has been in the lineup more frequently. Gleyber Torres has also moved up in the lineup. Another injury is Aaron Judge. This one seems more minor than Rizzo’s. He only missed one game on Thursday before returning to the lineup. The Yankees are likely just trying to manage any minor injury to their MVP candidate.

Joey Gallo finally hit a home run this week. He continues to be dreadful with just three hits in his last 53 plate appearances. Aaron Hicks was also struggling which was keeping Gallo in the lineup on a consistent basis. However, Hicks has heated up over the past week which could result in Gallo losing some of his playing time. Matt Carpenter looks like the better hitter and has seen multiple games in the OF this week. Gallo is losing his starting job.

Boston Red Sox

Rafael Devers was forced to miss two games this week with minor back and hamstring issues. He returned with a bang hitting two home runs off Gerrit Cole. He was then removed from the game again on Friday and was absent from the lineup on Saturday This situation is worth monitoring closely. With Devers out, Christian Vazquez has moved up to the top half of the lineup. He has been a more productive hitter than Story and Verdugo and it is clear the Red Sox want to get him more at-bats.

Speaking of Story, he hit three home runs this past week. This makes it six home runs since June 19. Hopefully, Story is finding a rhythm again at the plate after going ice cold after setting the league on fire that one week in late May. Kike Hernandez is beginning a rehab assignment with AAA. He should be back on the roster sometime next week. The decision to keep Jarren Duran in the lineup should be an obvious one for Boston, but it is possible that they choose to play Jackie Bradley Jr. instead. Since June 20, Jarren Duran is batting .321 compared to Bradley’s .088. There should not be a battle here, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Toronto Blue Jays

I have been pounding the Cavan Biggio drum the last few weeks as a name to keep an eye on and potentially target. Biggio has been in the lineup consistently over the past week and has even seen time batting fifth and leadoff with other players getting days off. Since June 20, he is batting .326/.442/.581. The average is unsustainable and carried by a .400 BABIP, but he has an excellent barrel rate and gets on base by working walks. I can see a way for Biggio to bat around .260 with a great on-base percentage and solid slugging the rest of the way!

Gabriel Moreno continues to play every other day. I think his days with the big-league team are numbered for this year. They clearly prefer other options that they have, and Danny Jansen began a rehab assignment this week. Once Jansen is back, I expect Moreno to be optioned to AAA. I still like Moreno long-term for dynasty, but he has shown the inability to hit the ball out of the park which I was concerned about for his fantasy profile. George Springer has been dealing with minor aches and soreness this week. This does not seem like anything major but is worth monitoring.

Tampa Bay Rays

Brandon Lowe finally began a rehab assignment this week. The Rays do not expect him to be back until after the All-Star Break, but this is still encouraging. He would likely take time away from Taylor Walls who has been in the lineup most days. Vidal Brujan was optioned back to AAA this week. He has continued to show very little improvement at the big-league level. I am out on him in dynasty.

Randy Arozarena has started to slide down the Rays lineup a bit. He has been great over the past week but was in a slump before that. He continues to be a difficult player to project, but he is up to 18 steals which is huge for his fantasy value. Josh Lowe got a chance to lead off one game for the Rays this week. One encouraging sign for Lowe is he has only struck out twice since June 30.

*Saturday Night News*: Wander Franco has a hamate injury that is expected to sideline him six-to-eight weeks. This is crushing news. Jonathan Aranda is coming up to fill in for him. Taylor Walls should still have a lineup spot now even when Lowe comes back. Also reports out of Tampa are that Kevin Kiermaier is dealing with hip injuries again. He has not been able to stay healthy this season and I would not be surprised to see an IL trip.

Baltimore Orioles

Ryan Mountcastle was battling an illness this week. The illness was not COVID-related, and he returned to the lineup on Thursday. He has moved ahead of Austin Hays in the lineup, and Adley Rutschman might jump Hays also. Hays is in the middle of a 3/35 slump at the plate and could continue sliding down. Hays was somebody I advised to sell high on a few weeks ago in my last xwRC+ article.

Ramon Urias was activated off the IL this week. He has slotted back into the lineup on an everyday basis batting behind the big six hitters in Baltimore’s lineup. He is not worth rostering at this point.

AL West

Houston Astros

There have not been many lineup changes for Houston. Yuli Gurriel missed a couple of games this week with an injury. Korey Lee was promoted from AAA this week. The catching prospect is not worth adding as he is the clear backup to Martin Maldonado. Jake Meyers has been great since being promoted. He has moved up in the lineup with Gurriel out. Since being called up Meyers is batting .313/.320/.458. I do not think Meyers is worth adding as he has a BABIP of .412 and a ground ball rate north of 55%. I expect his hot start to end soon.

Since returning from the IL, Jeremy Pena is batting .238/.256/.476. The barrel rate is still excellent, but I am concerned about the launch angle. Since returning, Pena has an average launch angle of 2.7 degrees. He was on the IL with a thumb issue, and I am not sure if that could impact his launch angle, but I am monitoring it closely.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels DFA’d Tyler Wade this week. This move was to make room for Jonathan Villar. Since joining the club, Villar has been playing every day and batting leadoff. He has a pair of two-hit games since joining the club. He is worth a look in deep leagues. With Villar batting leadoff, Taylor Ward has moved down to fourth in the lineup. Ward continues to produce although he has just one home run in his last 14 games. The barrel rate, average exit velocity, and launch angle still seem excellent so I expect the home runs to start coming again for Ward. He has a chance to get more RBIs with a few less runs batting fourth instead of leadoff now. Now might be an interesting buy-low time on Ward as his owners might be afraid his production is starting to drop off.

Texas Rangers

There have not been any significant changes to the Rangers’ lineup over the past week. Josh Smith continues to get the opportunity to leadoff most nights against righties. Brad Miller is also playing against most righties rotating in for a variety of players. Marcus Semien continues to improve at the plate. Since June 28th, he has a 12.5%-barrel rate. This has helped propel him to a .316 average with three home runs over that span.

Seattle Mariners

As was expected, Jesse Winker has been serving his suspension this week. Without Winker in the lineup, J.P. Crawford has continued to bat toward the top of the lineup. Crawford has been slightly better over the past week but is still batting just .230 since the start of June and .237 since the start of May. Ty France is healthy again and Crawford should find himself moving down in the lineup. Dylan Moore has been in the lineup most days recently because of the suspensions. He has played well, but I do not expect him to maintain a regular role once the suspensions are finished.

Both Mitch Haniger and Kyle Lewis have started rehabbing. The Mariners do not expect them to return before the All-Star Break, but both are expected back before the end of July. The two most likely players to lose playing time are Adam Frazier and Abraham Toro. With Carlos Santana now in the mix, Ty France will shift to 2B. This forces Adam Frazier to the OF where the Mariners already have Winker, Rodriguez, Haniger, and Lewis. Frazier and Toro will likely be out of the lineup most days in the future.

Oakland A’s

Oakland has started using platoons more frequently as of late. Christian Bethancourt, Sheldon Neuse, and Chad Pinder are on the short side, playing only against lefties. Seth Brown and Tony Kemp are the opposite playing against righties and sitting against lefties. Vimael Machin, Nick Allen, and Skye Bolt have been in the lineup every day. All three have struggled at the plate with Nick Allen’s .216 batting average being the best. I do not expect Machin or Bolt to remain everyday lineup fixtures for Oakland.

Since June 30, Ramon Laureano has six home runs. Laureano is up to eight steals in just 214 plate appearances. He is currently rostered in 74% of leagues so there is a small chance he is still available.

AL Central

Kansas City Royals

The Royal’s lineup has not seen many changes over the past week. Bobby Witt Jr. missed a few games with a hand injury after being hit by a pitch. He returned to the lineup on Saturday. With Witt out of the lineup, Melendez moved to the three spot with Pasquantino continuing to bat fourth. Looking at Pasquantino’s Baseball Savant page, it is hard not to fall in love with Vinnie P. He has all the attributes of a future star and holds value instantly in 2022.

Hunter Dozier has stepped up in a big way with Salvador Perez on the IL. Since June 20, Dozier is batting .296/.345/.556 in the middle of the Kansas City lineup. Dozier continues to be a reliable fantasy asset for 2022. Edward Olivares and Kyle Isbel have continued to split playing time in the OF. I expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.

Detroit Tigers

Riley Greene is the official leadoff hitter for Detroit. Greene has been everything that the Tigers could have asked for so far and should continue to improve. The Tigers’ other rookie Spencer Torkelson has moved down to eighth in the lineup. He continues to struggle but has been a little bit better lately. I still like Torkelson in dynasty, but his 2022 value is low.

Jeimer Candelario has been on the bench for two games in the past week. He has been one of the bigger disappointments in a season full of them for Detroit. Harold Castro and Willi Castro are both candidates to see additional playing time if Candelario moves to the bench. Both players have been better than Candelario this season, but neither player is worth rostering at this point.

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox welcomed Eloy Jimenez back to the lineup this week. Jimenez has a chance to provide elite production if he can stay on the field. He figures to bat in the middle of the Chicago lineup moving forward. Adam Engel also returned from the IL, but he is no more than a bench bat for Chicago. Another injured player, Yasmani Grandal, began a rehab assignment this week. He is expected back after the All-Star Break. Grandal was struggling in 2021 before landing on the IL and then had a monster second half after his return. I am not saying this is going to happen again, but he is an interesting buy-low candidate.

Andrew Vaughn missed a couple of games with an illness. He returned to the lineup on Saturday and should be fine moving forward. I expect him to continue his excellent start to 2022!

Minnesota Twins

Gary Sanchez has found himself out of the lineup twice in the past week. Ryan Jeffers at catcher and Jose Miranda at DH seem to be getting additional playing time over Sanchez. Sanchez is batting .196/.250/.340 since the start of June. Meanwhile Jeffers is batting .304/.360/.543 since June 15. Jeffers could be worth a look in deeper leagues if you need help at catcher. Miranda has been batting seventh in the lineup and playing every day. He continues to look more and more comfortable at the plate.

Jorge Polanco has five home runs since returning from the IL on June 28. Polanco is pulling the ball and getting it in the air more than ever. These two factors are combining to fuel his power breakout. The changes Polanco has made seem legit and I expect this production to continue.

Cleveland Guardians

I mentioned last week how the Guardians seemed to be easing Franmil Reyes back into action. That has changed this week as he has been in the lineup almost every game over the past week. Reyes has three home runs since the start of July and should remain a consistent power bat throughout 2022. Josh Naylor has been dealing with back issues for the past week. With Naylor out of the lineup, Richie Palacios has seen an uptick in playing time. Palacios has been struggling at the plate in his limited opportunities, so he is not a candidate to see additional playing time.

Owen Miller does not have an extra-base hit since June 19th. Miller is not worth a roster spot in fantasy. Miller is batting .210 since the start of May. He has been in the lineup most games this past week, but I do not expect that to continue. The Guardians also called up Nolan Jones this week. This should further reduce Miller’s playing time.

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