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Breaking Down NL Lineups post September Call-Ups

Back at it with National League lineups. There is plenty to catch up on from the last 10 days of baseball. The five hottest hitters in the National League over that time period have been: Trea Turner, Jordan Walker, Mookie Betts, Marcell Ozuna, and Ian Happ.

Disclaimer: This article is written the day before publishing. Not all statistics will be 100% accurate from the night before. I will do my best to update any important news or notes that come through at the last second. Keep reading to stay up to date on the latest trends from all 15 National League teams and check out the latest AL lineup article here.

More great fantasy baseball advice and analysis: Waiver Wire & FAAB Recommendations | Daily MLB Injury Report | MLB DFS Picks | Line-up Analysis | Dynasty Rankings and Strategy | MLB Bullpen Updates | MLB Player Props | Prospect Rankings & Analysis | Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers

Fantasy Baseball Lineup Takeaways: NL Edition

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

  • The Phillies have a lot of outfielders battling for playing time
    • When Bryce Harper plays first base, that opens up two outfield spots for the foursome of Jake Cave, Brandon Marsh, Johan Rojas, and recently activated Cristian Pache
    • Marsh and Cave have the edge and are getting most of the starts against righties. Cave gets a boost since he has been playing some first base although his recent struggles could push him into a bench role. Pache appears most likely to platoon with Marsh
    • Marsh is the only one worth rostering in 14+ team leagues. He is batting over .350 since returning from the IL on August 20 with more than double the amount of walks to strikeouts
  • The standing ovation really seems to have done wonders for Trea Turner’s season
    • Turner homered in six straight games this past week and is batting over .350 since August 5
    • He is once again putting himself in the conversation for a top-five pick in 2024 drafts and seems to have gotten very comfortable in the second spot in Philadelphia’s lineup

Miami Marlins

  • Jorge Soler is battling a hip injury
    • Soler has not been in the lineup since Tuesday and could require a trip to the IL
    • If Soler is forced to miss extended time, a variety of players could be in line to see additional playing time
    • Garrett Hampson has been the one being given the first opportunity, but recently promoted Xavier Edwards could be in the mix if Soler remains out
  • Jake Burger continues to hit home runs
    • He has three home runs in the past week and is now up to 29 on the season
    • If you can afford to sacrifice average in return for power and a player in a prime lineup spot, Burger is a useful asset for fantasy leagues
  • Joey Wendle is losing his playing time
    • Despite playing no lefties in the past week, Wendle has been out of the lineup in three games
    • Since August 14, Wendle has a wRC+ below zero and is likely to continue finding himself on the bench
    • Jon Berti or Xavier Edwards are most likely to see their playing time increase
    • Both players are not going to provide much power but are blazing fast on the bases

Atlanta Braves

  • Marcell Ozuna has been a tremendous source of power this season
    • Ozuna continues to bat fifth in Atlanta’s lineup and is up to 32 home runs on the season
    • He has eight home runs since August 21 and is making the case for being considered an elite four-category contributor
  • Sean Murphy is playing more
    • Murphy is hitting seventh in the lineup although his recent struggles have continued
    • His walk and strikeout rates have been excellent. He has been dealing with a low BABIP since the start of August while continuing to barrel the ball up more
    • If he is playing, I am not concerned. The issue is only is Travis d’Arnaud starts eating into his playing time again
  • Some credit needs to be given to Ronald Acuna Jr.
    • This past week, Acuna became the first player to ever reach 30/60 in a season
    • Yes, the rules changed making it easier for players to steal bases but this is an impressive feat regardless
    • He and Mookie Betts are the two favorites for MVP

Washington Nationals

  • Carter Kieboom is finally getting his chance
    • Kieboom has been in the lineup with regularity over the past week batting between fourth and sixth playing third base
    • He is up to three home runs already although his quality of contact points to his current home run rate regressing
    • If you are in a deep league, Washington seems ready to give him a chance and he could be worth picking up to get consistent at-bats
    • Ildemaro Vargas has moved into a bench role with Kieboom’s playing time increasing
  • Jacob Young is getting a chance as the everyday center fielder
    • Young hit over .300 in both High-A and Double-A this season and had 39 stolen bases in the Minor Leagues before his promotion
    • There is very little power and his ground ball rate is too high to suggest he will every find much success at the Major League level
    • That being said, if you are desperate for speed in the outfield, Young has plenty of it and appears to have some runway with a starting job
    • Alex Call has moved into a bench role with this change
  • Travis Blankenhorn is up from Triple-A and getting some run in the middle of Washington’s lineup
    • Blankenhorn is 27 years old originally drafted by Minnesota back in 2015
    • He was up to 23 home runs in Triple-A before the promotion with an average exit velocity north of 90 mph in Triple-A
    • The biggest issue throughout his professional career has been the inability to limit his strikeout rate. If he can do that, there is a decent profile for power here

New York Mets

  • Ronny Mauricio is finally up!
    • Mauricio was promoted earlier this past week and has been batting in the back half of the lineup playing second base since being promoted
    • He has experience playing all over the diamond in the Minor Leagues this year although second base is the most likely place he will gain additional eligibility
    • There is significant power and speed in his profile (he already hit a ball over 117 mph). The biggest thing to watch is his chase rate but he is worth picking up in most 12+ team leagues
    • Jonathan Arauz has lost his spot in the lineup as a result of Mauricio’s promotion
  • Brett Baty is also back from Triple-A
    • Baty and Vientos figure to split time at third base batting toward the bottom of the lineup
    • If truly splitting playing time, it is difficult to roster either player. The one realistic possibility is that both players could continue to play over Daniel Vogelbach
    • I am still a big believer in Baty moving forward. Vientos has been playing better recently but strikes out too much to be a reliable fantasy asset
  • DJ Stewart has 10 home runs in less than 40 games
    • Making fun of the Mets has been easy and not taking Stewart seriously seemed fair
    • Stewart has responded by hitting nine home runs since August 15
    • His barrel rate and exit velocity numbers have been incredible over this period although he is still striking out over 30% of the time during this span. I am not rushing to pick Stewart up as his current success is unsustainable, but his power surge deserves some recognition
    • He has moved up in the lineup recently batting fifth or sixth in most games

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

  • The team promoted Alexander Canario, but he has not been getting much playing time lately
    • Canario was playing well back in Triple-A, but the Cubs appear willing to continue riding out Mike Tauchman instead of giving Canario a chance to show what he has
    • Tauchman continues to bat leadoff in the lineup but is batting under .200 since August 20. I expect the team to move around their lineup some to get Canario some at-bats
    • He is not worth rostering at this point but is somebody to keep an eye on
  • Christopher Morel is losing playing time and batting ninth in the lineup
    • The month of August was a massive struggle for Morel who hit under .160 and has not hit a home run since August 16
    • He could continue to lose playing time if his struggles continue
    • The previously mentioned Canario or Nick Madrigal are the most likely candidates to see their playing time increase if Morel is benched
  • Jeimer Candelario has cooled WAY off recently
    • Candelario is still batting seventh in the lineup on a regular basis despite a massive slump
    • Since August 24, Candelario is batting under .100
    • Most of his struggles are due to an extremely low BABIP although a recent dip in his average launch angle is reason for concern. Candelario has struggled to consistently elevate the ball in the past and his recent performances are something to monitor

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Lars Nootbaar is back from the IL
    • Nootbaar has returned to the leadoff spot in the lineup and was really putting things together before his injury
    • He should be rostered in any leagues where he was dropped
    • With Nootbaar back, Richie Palacios has moved back into a bench role and should not be rostered
  • Jordan Walker is scorching hot at the plate
    • Walker is batting over .320 since August 14 with a double-digit barrel rate
    • Most importantly, Walker’s average launch angle has been increasing throughout the month of August
    • Walker’s ability to limit the ground balls could result in one of the biggest fantasy breakouts we have seen. He should be rostered in 100% of leagues this season and is a huge target of mine in keeper/dynasty leagues
    • He has been batting eighth in the lineup but could move up if his success continues
  • Masyn Winn continues to struggle since his promotion
    • Part of the issue is a low BABIP although that is currently fueled by a ground ball rate north of 50%
    • The two biggest concerns are a high chase rate and an extremely low average exit velocity
    • The EV issue showed up in his Triple-A numbers and could cause issues for Winn moving forward. He is not a must-roster player, especially with the other recent prospect promotions

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Rowdy Tellez is taking playing time away from Tyrone Taylor
    • Tellez has been batting sixth in the lineup against most righties while taking a seat on the bench against lefties
    • With inconsistent playing time, Tellez and Taylor are both not worth rostering
    • You have to wonder if there is an outside chance that the team decides to promote top-prospect Jackson Chourio who is currently dominating in Double-A
  • Carlos Santana is quietly very hot at the plate
    • Santana is in the midst of an 11-game hit streak during which he is batting over .350 with more walks than strikeouts
    • If you are looking for help at first base in OBP leagues, Santana should be rostered and continues to be an undervalued fantasy asset
    • The average will never stay as high as it is, but he still provides plenty of walks and hits in a prime spot in Milwaukee’s lineup
  • Mark Canha has looked like a different player lately
    • Canha is batting over .320 since August 7 while striking out less than 14% of the time
    • A poor barrel rate and high BABIP lead me to believe this current run of success is unsustainable and that Canha will experience some regression over the next couple of weeks
    • He is not somebody I am prioritizing adding to my rosters

Cincinnati Reds

  • The Reds claimed both Hunter Renfroe and Harrison Bader off of waivers
    • Both players appear to have a role against left-handed pitchers but have not been consistently in the lineup against righties
    • Will Benson appears most likely to lose playing time with these acquisitions. The strikeouts have once again become an issue for Benson and he is not worth rostering
    • In shallow leagues, it is fine to move on from both Bader and Renfroe although they are worth keeping an eye on thanks to their new home ballpark
  • Jake Fraley is back from the IL
    • Fraley is also now factoring into the playing time mix and is forced to solely DH for now due to a broken toe
    • With Fraley taking over DH duties, Nick Martini has been playing a lot of left field
    • He could also lose playing time thanks to the recent acquisitions and his limitations defensively
  • Elly De La Cruz has just one home run since August 15
    • He does have six stolen bases over this period but is also batting under .200
    • The upside is immense, but if you are in the middle of a championship run EDLC is not a must-roster player
    • If you need speed, he is useful but you should not be expecting superstar production from him the remainder of this season

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Liover Peguero is moving up in the lineup
    • Peguero is batting seventh-most games with an average over .300 since August 7
    • Very quietly, over 600 plate appearances, Peguero is currently on pace for 27 home runs
    • Although his current home run rate is likely unsustainable, he could be a sneaky source of power from the middle infield position
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes has continued his impressive second half
    • Hayes continues to bat leadoff most games and has an ISO over .200 and a batting average over .330 since August 25
    • Everything in his profile is encouraging and he should be rostered in any league where he is still available

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Michael Busch is not getting much playing time
    • No one person is filling in for JD Martinez in his absence, but instead, a cast of players are helping try to replace him
    • Busch has continued to look overmatched at the Major League level batting under .150 since his most recent promotion
  • Jason Heyward has been batting over .300 since August 15
    • Heyward is getting consistent playing time against righties batting sixth in the lineup
    • His most recent run of success at the plate is fueled by a BABIP well above his season-long average and is likely to come back down
    • That being said, batting behind Max Muncy and Will Smith in the lineup should provide plenty of RBI opportunities
  • James Outman is trending back up although his peripherals suggest he is about to enter into a slump
    • His BABIP since August 23 sits above .400 with a strikeout rate north of 33%
    • Outman is going to continue to be a streaky hitter for at least the remainder of this year. The key for fantasy managers will be playing him during the hot streaks and not being afraid to bench him when he enters a cold spell
  • Max Muncy left the game on Sunday with an apparent shoulder injury
    • Dave Roberts does not seem too concerned about this, but the situation is worth monitoring
    • Michael Busch could see his playing time increase if Muncy is forced to miss any extended time

San Diego Padres

  • Jake Cronenworth is on the IL with a fractured wrist
    • With Cronenworth out of the lineup, Matthew Batten has been seeing a lot of additional playing time
    • Batten is a versatile infielder who is primarily batting eighth in the lineup
    • He had stolen 27 bases with 12 home runs before his promotion and already has two home runs at the Major League level. He is not somebody you should rush to add, but he could be a nice deep league pick-up
  • Luis Campusano was getting some more playing time at catcher before leaving the game early on Sunday
    • Campusano was hit where no man wants to get hit with a pitch and the Padres are hopeful he will not be forced to miss extended time
    • He has a 136 wRC+ in limited playing time this year and could be a strong keeper league add looking ahead to 2024
    • If Campusano misses time, Gary Sanchez will see most of the starts at catcher

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Alek Thomas is moving up in the lineup
    • Thomas has been batting fifth against righties over the past week
    • His move up in the lineup is a bit puzzling as he has been in a major slump at the plate recently batting under .200 since August 20
    • More concerningly, Thomas has not hit a home run since August 1 and has a barrel rate of under two percent during that period. He is not worth rostering
  • Jace Peterson continues to struggle with regular playing time
    • Peterson is playing on the strong side of a platoon batting eighth in the lineup most games
    • He has a wRC+ below 50 since joining Arizona
    • Geraldo Perdomo is also struggling with regular playing time and has not had a home run since August 13
    • It feels inevitable that the Diamondbacks will call up Jordan Lawlar at some point soon and he needs to be stashed

San Francisco Giants

  • Brandon Crawford is back from the IL
    • Crawford has started both games with a righty on the mound and has been absent from the lineup in both games a lefty has started
    • Casey Schmitt was seeing regular playing time again with Crawford on the IL, but is likely to move back into a platoon now
    • Neither player is worth rostering in fantasy
  • Mitch Haniger is also back from the IL
    • Haniger was on the IL since June 13 and does not appear to have a regular role upon returning
    • Haniger has only started four of seven games since returning although he has been hitting in the middle of the lineup whenever he starts
    • I would not be surprised to see Haniger start taking more playing time away from Wade Meckler as the season winds down

Colorado Rockies

  • Hunter Goodman is up from Triple-A and getting regular playing time
    • Goodman is rotating between first base, right field, and DH batting sixth or seventh in the lineup most games
    • In a small sample, Goodman’s quality of contact has been excellent and his average is very strong (although his BABIP is unsustainable)
    • There is big-time power in his bat although there are concerns he can make enough contact (whiff rate of over 40%  and chase rate of over 30% already)
    • Jurickson Profar was released in a corresponding move
  • Elehuris Montero is showing signs of growth and drawing more starts at first base
    • Since August 15, Montero is batting over .400 with a strikeout rate below 30% and a double-digit walk rate
    • The strikeout rate is still high, but this version of Montero looks much more like what we are used to seeing in the Minor Leagues
    • I am not totally sold on a Montero breakout just yet, but he is worth keeping your eye on
  • Elias Diaz has not worked a walk since August 8
    • Diaz continues to bat right in the middle of Colorado’s lineup despite a wRC+ below 50 since his last base on balls
    • He was a viable option for much of the season in deeper two-catcher leagues but is not somebody who should be rostered at this point
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1 Comment
  1. Babbo B says

    – Burger isn’t as big an average drain as he used to be – up to .241 now for the season (.313 in 123 PA for the Marlins) with a .259 xBA.
    – Not sure Murphy really is playing more: Week of 7/31, 3 starts; 8/7, 4; 8/14, 3; 8/21, 3; 8/28, 4
    – Tellez has sat against the last 4 RHP (including today), seems relegated to more of a pinch-hitting role.

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