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AL Lineup Analysis 07/31

After switching things up last week, regular American League lineup analysis returns this week. You can check out the National League lineup article from this week here! The five hottest hitters in the AL have been Aaron Judge, Matt Chapman, Yordan Alvarez, Adolis Garcia, and Adley Rutschman. The article below dives into the news and notes from all 15 American League teams! Please note this article was written Saturday afternoon. I will try my best to update it with any news that breaks later in the day!

MLB Lineup Analysis

AL East

New York Yankees

The Yankees made the first big deadline acquisition this week. After Giancarlo Stanton landed on the IL, they traded for Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi figures to hit in the back half of the lineup and move up when the top guys have a night off. The Yankees do not expect Stanton to be on the IL for an extended period. Even with Stanton on the IL, Joey Gallo appears to be the odd man out. The Yankees are looking to trade him but might struggle to find a trade partner. Any change of scenery would improve Gallo’s fantasy value. Matt Carpenter was seeing his playing time increase but once Stanton gets healthy, he will go back to a bench role.

Gleyber Torres has been batting fourth in the Yankees lineup with Stanton on the IL. Torres has played well for the Yankees all season but has especially turned it on in July. He is batting .309/.378/.481 this month. Whenever Stanton comes back, Torres will likely slide back in the lineup but is still a valuable fantasy asset for the rest of the season. Also just had to mention him, Aaron Judge is the best player on the planet right now. He continues to be incredible for New York.

Boston Red Sox

Two of the biggest bats in the Red Sox lineup are on the IL. Both Trevor Story and Rafael Devers have been injured. The Red Sox expect Devers to return to the lineup when first eligible next Tuesday. With Devers out, Bobby Dalbec has been seeing more playing time at 3B. Since the All-Star Break, Dalbec has flashed the power that makes him such an intriguing player. However, outside of his three home runs, he has just two hits and is striking out over 43% of the time. He will likely move back into a platoon with Franchy Cordero when Devers returns. The Red Sox are not expecting Story back as fast as Devers. He is still experiencing soreness in his hand and could remain on the IL for longer. Jeter Downs has been seeing more playing time with Story out but looks completely overmatched against big-league pitching.

With both players out of the lineup, Alex Verdugo has moved up to second. This should increase his run-scoring totals batting ahead of Martinez and Bogaerts. Christian Vazquez has also been batting in the middle of the lineup. He has continued to be a solid catching option for fantasy purposes. Kike Hernandez is reportedly getting ready to swing a bat this weekend. This is an important step in his rehab and worth monitoring.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays lineup has found consistency since their managerial change. Raimel Tapia has been on the bench more often in favor of Cavan Biggio and Danny Jansen. Biggio continues to swing the bat well and needs to be added in OBP leagues. Bo Bichette has come out of the All-Star Break on fire. Bichette has been disappointing for most of the season, so hopefully, this is a sign of things to come. I was concerned about Bichette going into the season and continue to have my reservations despite this hot streak. Since the All-Star Break, Bichette has a .500 BABIP, exit velocity under 84mph, with a strikeout rate over 30%.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays officially found out that Kevin Kiermaier and Mike Zunino will not return this year. This amplifies their needs as the Trade Deadline approaches. In the meantime, Luke Raley has been seeing everyday lineup time. Raley has shown big-time power in the minor leagues before but has struggled in limited big-league opportunities. He has posted strong barrel and fly ball rates so far and is a name to keep an eye on in deeper leagues. Brandon Lowe has been batting at the top of the lineup and has looked much better since returning from the IL. Lowe should be a solid middle infield option for the remainder of the fantasy season.

Some Saturday news, the Rays are trading for David Peralta. With all the injuries the Rays have had this season, Peralta figures to get plenty of at-bats. His fantasy value increases slightly with the move to Tampa, but the Rays are another team that believes in analytics and matchups. Peralta will likely sit against lefties as he has struggled against them.

Baltimore Orioles

Against right-handed pitchers, Adley Rutschman has moved up to second in the lineup. Since June 10, Rutschman ranks first amongst catchers with at least 100 plate appearances in wRC+. He ranks eighth in average, first in on-base percentage, and second in slugging percentage. He has already. Become one of the elite catchers in baseball. His fantasy value will only continue to improve as Baltimore’s lineup gets better.

Another Orioles batter that has been dominating at the plate is Ramon Urias. He continues to hit directly behind Baltimore’s big bats and is making a case to be included with them. Since returning from the IL, he is batting .354/.382/.631. His barrel rate and launch angle are both excellent and he is showing that he has some real power in his bat. The recent batting average is unsustainable, but he has a chance to hit around .260 the rest of the way. Most projection systems only have him hitting about five more home runs this season. I think he could hit closer to 10-15 the rest of the way and is an interesting fantasy option if you need middle infield help.

AL West

Houston Astros

In what seems to be an attempt to keep players fresh and healthy, Aledmys Diaz has been seeing more playing time at a variety of positions. Yuli Gurriel has also moved up in the lineup. He has been batting second with Michael Brantley still on the IL. Jeremy Pena has moved back down in the lineup to where he was batting earlier in the year. After such a hot start to the season, Pena has been batting just .233 since the start of July and .241 since the start of June. Pena is a good player, but expectations might have soared a little bit too high after his hot start. Michael Brantley continues to be delayed in his recovery. He still has not swung a bat and remains without a timetable to return.

With Brantley out, Chas McCormick has taken over the everyday lineup spot. He has been playing well since the break. The underlying metrics support his strong play showing solid development out of McCormick. I am not sure how much longer he will continue to receive everyday playing time but could be worth a look in deep leagues while he is playing well.

Los Angeles Angels

The biggest news to come out this week was about Mike Trout’s back. This seems like an issue that could impact him for the rest of his career. When I hear long-term back issue, I instantly think of how one zapped Christian Yelich of his ability to launch the ball. I am not saying this is going to happen to Trout, but it could. Trout’s value has taken a huge hit both in 2022 and in dynasty formats. I do not recommend selling Trout right now as his value has never been lower, but this is not encouraging for his long-term outlook. Trout hopes to return in 2022 although with the Angels falling farther and farther back there is little reason to rush him back.

Luis Rengifo has been batting in the middle of the lineup with Trout out. Rengifo has looked decent for the Angels but is not somebody I would pick up for fantasy. David Fletcher was activated off the IL this week. Fletcher figures to play every day for the Angels. He stole 15 bases last season and hit .319 in 2020. He could be worth a look in deep leagues where you are desperate for middle infield help.

Texas Rangers

With Brad Miller injured, Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith have both been in the lineup every day. Duran is the player I am most intrigued by for fantasy purposes. He has three stolen bases already and flashed solid power and contact in the minor leagues this season. His biggest issue is getting the ball in the air. He has struggled to increase his flyball rate in the majors and will not see many home runs until he does. Both Duran and Smith have been batting at the bottom of the Rangers’ lineup.

Corey Seager fouled a ball off his knee on Thursday night. Reports out of Texas are that his knee is swollen, but that they are not concerned he will miss significant time. Seager has been playing great recently and this situation is worth keeping an eye on. Kole Calhoun has moved down in the lineup. He is now batting behind Jonah Heim, Adolis Garcia, and Nathaniel Lowe.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are starting to get healthy. Kyle Lewis is back in the mix and is starting to move up in the lineup. Whenever one of the top four hitters gets the night off, Lewis has been moving up. Lewis should be added wherever he is available. With the team starting to get healthy, Abraham Toro has seen his playing time take a significant hit. He is no more than a bench option at this point. J.P. Crawford has also found himself moving back in the lineup. I have been predicting this for a few weeks and Crawford is a fine drop candidate.

Mitch Haniger is incredibly close to returning to the Mariners. He has been rehabbing with AAA and should be back with the team during next week. Haniger’s return will only complicate playing time for some players. I continue to expect Adam Frazier to be the one to receive the biggest cut to his playing time. He has been better in July but is still batting just .238 on the season.

Oakland A’s

There have not been any notable changes to Oakland’s lineup. Vimael Machin continues to bat leadoff. Machin is batting under .200 on the season and I am not sure how much longer Oakland will leave him in that position. Seth Brown was on the paternity list at the beginning of the week. He returned to hit two home runs against the White Sox on Friday and should continue to be a fixture in the middle of Oakland’s lineup.

AL Central

Kansas City Royals

The big shakeup in the Royals lineup is a result of the Andrew Benintendi trade. Benintendi was batting second for the Royals and is now a member of the Yankees. With Edward Olivares on the IL, Kyle Isbel appears most likely to see his playing time increase with the Benintendi trade. The other option for the Royals is to play Nick Pratto in the OF. Pratto started a game there this week. The Royals could want to get his bat in the lineup and sacrifice defense for offense.

Another twist to the Royals lineup is the return of Salvador Perez. Perez is back with the team after being on the IL. This will create a playing time issue for Kansas City. Hunter Dozier could shift to 3B or OF to allow Pasquantino to stay at first, Melendez to stay at catcher, and Perez to become the DH. More trades could be coming out of Kansas City to help alleviate this issue and the situation is worth monitoring closely.

Detroit Tigers

One notable change to Detroit’s lineup is Eric Haase has taken over the primary catching responsibilities. Tucker Barnhart has been bad for much of the season. Meanwhile, Haase has been excellent; especially as of late. Since June 11, Haase is batting .298/.346/.585 and has earned the everyday lineup spot. Haase hit 22 home runs last season and should be added in all leagues he is available in. In some leagues, he might even have outfield eligibility.

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox continue to shuffle their lineup around to try and find a spark. Yoan Moncada has moved up to second, while A.J. Pollock has been batting third. Andrew Vaughn has found himself batting in the back half of the lineup. Vaughn has had a very pedestrian month of July after his hot start to the season. Early in the season, Vaughn showed strides in his ability to elevate the ball. Recently he has regressed in this category and is struggling. Vaughn is young and has shown the ability to be great already. His dynasty value remains high even if he goes through slumps early on in his career. Yasmani Grandal is also back from the IL and has been batting fifth for Chicago.

Minnesota Twins

Miguel Sano is back with the Twins. Since returning, Sano has been playing against left-handed pitching and batting toward the bottom of the lineup. He has also given some of the regulars some days off. Luis Arraez was previously playing first base for the Twins on a consistent basis. He has the versatility to play just about anywhere for Minnesota. With this, the Twins can get Sano’s bat into the lineup by rotating out a variety of players. Sano has continued to struggle this season and is not worth adding in any formats. If one player specifically is most likely to see a reduction in playing time it would be Alex Kirilloff. Kirilloff has more upside and has produced more than Sano and should see the advantage in playing time over him.

Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians have not had any notable changes to their lineup recently. Nolan Jones continues to bat seventh and post incredible barrel percentages. His .379 BABIP is unsustainable, but he has shown encouraging signs since being called up. Oscar Gonzalez is on a rehab assignment currently. He was a fixture in the middle of the Cleveland lineup before landing on the IL but could struggle to find consistent playing time when he returns. He could take at-bats away from Steven Kwan against lefties and Franmil Reyes against righties. Reyes has continued to look mediocre since returning from the IL. With Jones playing well, Reyes seems to be the most likely to lose playing time when Gonzalez returns.

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1 Comment
  1. BB says

    Is Biggio really swinging the bat well? He has a .196 AVG/.500 OPS over the past month, .182/.553 over the past two weeks. (Rengifo’s “decent” numbers, by comparison, are .333/.831 and .359/.931)

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