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AL Lineup Analysis 07/17

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 Leody Tavares, Teoscar Hernandez, Ramon Urias, Corey Seager, and Carlos Santana. 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

There have not been many changes to the Yankees lineup. Aaron Hicks has been dealing with a shin injury which has caused him to miss a few games. This has helped keep Joey Gallo in the lineup. Gallo is still struggling, and I do not see a light at the end of the tunnel. Gleyber Torres has been hot at the plate. He is hitting around the middle of the lineup depending on who is out that day. Torres has hit safely in ten of the last eleven games including eight in a row. Over that span he is batting .429/.500/.548. Torres is proving this season that progression is not always linear and that we as fantasy baseball analysts should be more patient with young players with pedigree and upside.

Boston Red Sox

After dealing with injuries for most of last week, Rafael Devers has returned to his everyday role. Devers has not missed a step and continues to be one of the best players in baseball. The Red Sox are now dealing with another injury with Trevor Story. He has missed multiple games with a finger injury and both he and the team have not ruled out a trip to the IL. Hopefully, Story will be able to take the All-Star Break to get healthy and return for the second half.

Kike Hernandez’s return is going to be delayed. He was pulled from his rehab assignment due to discomfort in his hip and will see a specialist. This delays the potential decisions Boston will need to make in the outfield. With Hernandez out, Duran and Bradley Jr. will continue to see everyday playing time. With the injuries that Boston has been experiencing, Bobby Dalbec has seen his playing time increase. He has not looked any better than he did early in the season and has been striking out over 45% of the time recently. He is not worth adding in any leagues.

Toronto Blue Jays

Danny Jansen is back with the Blue Jays after spending time on the IL. As I predicted last week, Gabriel Moreno was optioned back to AAA. The biggest impact this is having is on Cavan Biggio. He has been out of the lineup this week with Jansen back and seems to be the odd man out. I was wrong on him, and he is not worth adding.

Another thing to note is that the Blue Jays fired Charlie Montoyo this week. This could impact the lineup construction in Toronto. In the first game without him, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. moved up to second in the lineup while Bo Bichette moved to fourth. There were not any other changes, but this is worth keeping an eye on. As of right now, the only change could be more RBI opportunities for Bichette batting behind Guerrero and Kirk instead of in front of them.

Tampa Bay Rays

Brandon Lowe was activated off the IL this week. He batted second in his return to the lineup. In a corresponding move, the Rays optioned Jonathan Aranda back to AAA. Ji-Man Choi was batting second most games this week but will move back in the lineup with Lowe back. The Rays also traded for Christian Bethancourt. He should get a chance to play and provide support with Zunino out. A report came out this week that Kevin Kiermaier might be out for the remainder of the season.

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles lineup has remained consistent over the past week. Austin Hays is batting fifth while Ryan Mountcastle has moved up in the lineup. Hays is still batting ahead of Rutschman. He had a four-hit game on Wednesday and had a four-hit game on June 22nd. In between those two games, Hays batted .143/.182/.254. I am not buying in on Hays for the rest of 2022 and think he is a good player to sell in fantasy. Jorge Mateo has had a good week and continues to bat ninth. He is going to keep playing every day and will continue to steal bases. He has three since the start of July.

AL West

Houston Astros

Yordan Alvarez was placed on the IL this week. The Astros have not expressed any long-term concerns with this injury, and it appears he will be ready to return after the All-Star Break. This is the same hand injury that forced Alvarez to miss time earlier in the season. The Astros are likely just being cautious with their star player trying to avoid any major injuries. With Alvarez injured, both J.J. Matijevic and Aledmys Diaz have seen their playing time increase. Matijevic is not worth a roster spot, but Diaz could be in deeper leagues. Over the past ten days, Diaz is batting .355/.429/.774. I wrote about some buy-low hitters earlier in the season and Diaz met the criteria. I skipped over him then because he did not have an everyday lineup spot. If Diaz is playing, he is worth a look.

Jeremy Pena was batting second consistently with Michael Brantley on the IL. He has since moved back to the bottom half of the lineup against righties. The Astros are still without a timetable on when Brantley will return to the lineup. His recovery has been moving slowly and it is likely he will be out at least a few more weeks.

Los Angeles Angels

Mike Trout has been dealing with a back injury for most of this week. He has returned to the lineup, but this is still worth monitoring. Trout is 30 now and has been dealing with minor injuries throughout this season. Hopefully, he can avoid anything too serious as the season progresses. With Trout injured, Jo Adell has returned to the Angels and is playing every day. I would not be surprised to see Adell start taking time away from Brandon Marsh. Marsh has been abysmal at the plate batting .140/.197/.193 since June 20. At the very least, Marsh will start to sit against lefties as he is only batting .200 against them on the season. I am still concerned about Adell’s strikeout numbers and am not rushing to pick him up in any leagues for 2022.

Another player that I am growing concerned about is Jared Walsh. Walsh has shown real strides at the plate over the last two seasons by improving his plate discipline. He has taken a step backward this year and has been in a big slump at the plate. Since the start of July, Walsh is batting .087 and has been a negative fantasy asset. The most concerning part is Walsh has been striking out over 40% of the time. Walsh has not barreled up a ball since July 21 while seeing his average exit velocity drop to 85.9mph over that time. I would be okay dropping Walsh at this point if there are better options available.

Texas Rangers

Mitch Garver is officially out for the remainder of the 2022 season after having season-ending surgery on his forearm. With Garver out, Jonah Heim should continue to see most of the starts at catcher. He has been batting in the middle of the lineup depending on matchups. Heim continues to be one of the biggest surprises this season. Since the start of July, he is batting .350/.381/.500. He is a great option in fantasy for the rest of 2022. Recently, Heim is pulling the ball and hitting it harder which could result in even more home runs.

Leody Tavares has been batting higher in the lineup with Garver out. He has moved up to sixth and continues to swing the bat well. He is batting .338 on the season and .398 since the start of July. Tavares hits the ball hard, but he has posted only a 3.6 percent barrel rate on the season while running a .426 BABIP. I expect Tavares to come back to earth soon. He has some dynasty value, but I am skeptical of his production in 2022. If you need stolen bases, he has stolen three in the past week and could be worth adding.

Seattle Mariners

Jesse Winker is back after serving his suspension last week. With the Mariners at full strength with Carlos Santana, Winker has been batting fifth in the lineup. Winker has gotten off to a slow start in Seattle but has been swinging the bat well for a while now. Since June 21, he is batting .317/.394/.571. I have seen Winker dropped in a couple of leagues and he should be added now. Winker should get a lot of RBI opportunities batting fifth in the lineup. Julio Rodriguez served his one-game suspension this week and has been batting leadoff for Seattle.

Kyle Lewis has continued rehabbing in AAA. He has looked excellent throughout his rehab stint and should rejoin the Mariners right after the break. Lewis should bat in the back half of the Mariners lineup. Mitch Haniger is yet to officially begin a rehab assignment but has been ramping up baseball activities. His return is likely to be more delayed than Lewis’, but he should be back with the team sometime in August.

Oakland A’s

In a surprising move, Vimael Machin is getting a chance to lead off. Tony Kemp has moved down to the bottom of the lineup. Machin is batting .258 on the season through his first eleven games. He is not worth picking up. He is a better leadoff option for Oakland than Kemp is. Kemp is batting just .208 including .176 against lefties. Stephen Piscotty has been dealing with a sore forearm causing him to miss a few games. He would likely take Kemp’s spot in the lineup against lefties once he returns. Piscotty is not worth rostering either.

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AL Central

Kansas City Royals

The lineups have taken an ugly turn for Kansas City this week. A trip to Toronto has revealed that ten players on the roster are unvaccinated. This includes Merrifield, Benintendi, Melendez, Dozier, and Taylor. With these bats absent from the lineup, the Royals have had to make several adjustments. One adjustment was calling up prospect Nick Pratto. He was sliding in my Top 115 rankings but still has great upside in dynasty leagues. I expect him to be optioned back to AAA once the Royals come back to the United States. Emmanuel Rivera and Edward Olivares are two players that were not receiving consistent playing time that have benefited from the trip.

Detroit Tigers

Robbie Grossman is starting to lose his playing time. He was on the bench three games this week and is not worth rostering at this point. Akil Baddoo is back with the Tigers and seeing consistent playing time. Baddoo was a popular breakout pick going into the season and was batting .300 in AAA. He is not worth picking up at this point. With all the Tigers’ struggles, Harold Castro has found himself batting in the middle of the lineup. He has been hitting for a solid average lately fueled by a .371 BABIP since June 25th. He has shown very little power and is not worth picking up.

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox have made a couple of small tweaks to their lineup over the past week. Yoan Moncada has been batting second, while Andrew Vaughn has moved down to sixth. This is likely just a way for Tony La Russa to try and ignite a struggling team. Moncada has looked better lately but is still a far cry from the All-Star he once was. Andrew Vaughn has been struggling some and has not worked a walk since June 28. This is a little bit concerning, but I still think Vaughn is going to be one of the game’s stars for the next decade.

Yasmani Grandal is rehabbing in AAA. He is expected to rejoin the lineup after the All-Star Break. After returning for a few games, Eloy Jimenez is dealing with a leg injury. The White Sox will likely use the All-Star Break for him to recover. Luis Robert is dealing with a head injury. Chicago is expected to continue evaluating his health over the weekend.

Minnesota Twins

Gary Sanchez had seemingly lost his everyday job. However, Ryan Jeffers is expected to be out six to eight weeks with a fracture in his thumb. Sanchez should remain the starting catcher with this injury. The rest of the lineup has remained consistent with Jose Miranda and Alex Kirilloff playing every day. Both players continue to swing the bat well and prove they belong in the lineup. Miguel Sano is now rehabbing in AAA. He should be back relatively soon after the All-Star Break. The Twins will likely replace somebody in the lineup with Sano once he returns.

Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians called up prospect Nolan Jones at the end of last week. Since joining the team, Jones has been batting either sixth or seventh. Jones has lighthouse power but has struggled to ever put it fully together for a full season. He has always worked high walk percentages in the minors and figures to continue that in the majors. So far, Jones is batting .304 although I project him to hit closer to .240 over a full season. Jones hits the ball hard but tends to strike out a lot. He has also struggled at times in the minors with getting the ball in the air consistently. I am not making Jones a priority although he should be picked up in deeper leagues.

Jose Ramirez has been struggling at the plate for a consistent period now. Since missing a few games with an injury in June, he is batting .240/.294/.370. This is far from the production that we are used to seeing from Ramirez. Ramirez is participating in the HR Derby, but you must wonder if maybe he would be better off using the break to rest and get healthy for the second half.

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