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Buys, Sells, and Notes from AL Lineups 06/30

Time to catch up on all the latest news on American League lineups. Just as with the National League, there is plenty to dive into. The five hottest hitters in the American League over the past 10 days have been, Shohei Ohtani, Jose Ramirez, Luis Robert, Anthony Volpe, and Ezequiel Duran. Keep in mind the stats detailed below are through the 28th. I will try to include any last-minute updates that come through from yesterday’s action. Keep reading for notes on all 15 American League lineups.

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

American League Lineup Takeaways

AL East

New York Yankees

  • Harrison Bader is back from the IL and primarily batting second
    • Bader has been a spark for New York’s lineup with six home runs and seven steals in just 35 games
    • Bader has just a .245 BABIP and remains a strong threat for a 20/20 season despite his missed time
    • He should be rostered in all leagues. His return to the lineup moves IKF out of an everyday lineup spot
  • DJ LeMahieu is getting more playing time between second and third base
    • He has been batting leadoff some games despite his .226 average
    • LeMahieu is hitting too many ground balls and not enough barrels to be a real fantasy threat
    • He is not somebody worth rostering in shallow leagues.
  • Billy McKinney continues to play every day against righties
    • He has three home runs since June 20 and a 17% barrel rate on the season
    • His approach at the plate remains concerning, but he is worth a look in deep leagues as long as he continues to get regular playing time

Boston Red Sox

  • Alex Verdugo spent time on the bereavement list earlier this week but has since returned
    • Verdugo continues to bat leadoff most games and has scored the eighth-most runs amongst outfielders
    • He might never hit for much average or steal many bases, but he is an elite contributor for runs and batting average
    • If you are looking for help in those categories, he is worth trying to trade for as he is not the flashiest and can likely be acquired at a discount
  • David Hamilton is getting a chance on the strong side of a platoon at shortstop with Pablo Reyes on the IL
    • Hamilton is batting eighth or ninth in the lineup
    • He has just one hit so far and is striking out 29.4% of the time, but does have two stolen bases already
    • I am not rushing to pick him up even with his stolen base upside
  • Adam Duvall is struggling since returning from the IL
    • Duvall continues to bat in the middle of Boston’s lineup despite his struggles
    • He is batting .161/.266/.286 since returning with a strikeout rate over 30%
    • If Duvall continues struggling, Jarren Duran could start seeing his playing time increase

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Jose Siri has taken a stronghold on the center-field job
    • Siri has been red-hot at the plate with four home runs since June 11
    • Now that he is playing every day, he should be rostered in all leagues
    • There is not batting average upside with the strikeout concerns, but Siri has an impressive blend of power and speed
    • His playing time has moved Manuel Margot into a strict platoon with Josh Lowe
  • Wander Franco was benched for off-the-field issues
    • Franco has since returned to the lineup and this does not forecast to be an issue moving forward
    • Vidal Brujan was seeing additional playing time in lieu of this and Taylor Walls being banged up
    • Brujan has plenty of speed but also is yet to hit a barrel. He is not worth rostering
  • Isaac Paredes is red-hot
    • Paredes is slashing .324/.489/.559 since June 15
    • His value continues to rise especially in OBP leagues as he has been walking 18.8% of the time since June 4th

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Kevin Kiermaier has been absent from the lineup for the past couple of days with an injury
    • He is hopeful to avoid a trip to the IL, but the situation is worth monitoring
    • Cavan Biggio has been receiving more time in the lineup as a result, batting toward the bottom of the order
    • Biggio has a 15.2% barrel rate on the year and seven home runs despite just 134 plate appearances (31/600 pace).
    • If Kiermaier is expected to miss extended time, Biggio is worth a look in deep leagues where you are desperate for power
  • Matt Chapman has the lowest HR/FB% of his career
    • Chapman has cooled off significantly since his fast start, but some of this has been poor luck
    • Chapman has the highest barrel rate of his career and should start seeing improvements in the power department as the season moves along

Baltimore Orioles

  • Jordan Westburg is FINALLY up in the Major Leagues
    • Unlike Joey Ortiz, Westburg has been thrust right into an everyday role batting in the back half of the lineup
    • Westburg has five-category potential with plus power and speed. He should be rostered everywhere
    • His promotion has moved Adam Frazier and Jorge Mateo into a platoon. Frazier should not be rostered anywhere and Mateo is only relevant in very deep leagues due to his speed
  • Anthony Santander has been on a home run tear
    • Santander is batting third in Baltimore’s lineup
    • He has five home runs since June 18 with a .771 slug over that time
    • He profiles to continue having an excellent season
  • Ryan O’Hearn continues playing against right-handed starters but is struggling at the plate
    • Despite his recent cold stretch, O’Hearn continues to tear the cover off the ball
    • There is plenty of power upside with O’Hearn so long as the Orioles are facing a lot of right-handed starters
    • There is a chance O’Hearn could move down in the lineup if his cold stretch continues

AL West

Houston Astros

  • Yainer Diaz is batting fifth in Houston’s lineup
    • Diaz is slashing .275/.288/.504 on the season with seven home runs in just 139 plate appearances
    • Diaz’s aggression (47% chase rate) is likely to get him in trouble, but the contact skills are strong and there is plenty of power
    • Playing every day makes him a valuable asset at the catcher position and somebody who should be rostered in all two catcher leagues
  • Jose Abreu has continued to look much better at the plate
    • He is batting cleanup for Houston and slashing .304/.317/.589 since June 10th
    • His barrel rate since the start of June is 9.5% with an average EV over 94 mph
    • Abreu has a history of being an elite offensive threat and is trying his hardest to prove my early season takes wrong. He should be rostered anywhere he was dropped in case this success continues
  • Alex Bregman has hit safely in seven of eight games
    • He has a .254 BABIP on the season which could be bringing down his batting average
    • His barrel rate is the lowest it has been since 2020
    • I expect the average to improve, but the power to continue being inconsistent

Los Angeles Angels

  • The Angels now have three infielders on the IL
    • With Rendon, Neto, and Urshela all out, David Fletcher, and recently acquired Mike Moustakas and Eduardo Escobar are in the lineup on a regular basis
    • Moustakas is batting in the middle of the order and is worth a look in deep leagues thanks to consistent at-bats. The move out of Colorado likely hurts his value although batting behind Trout and Ohtani helps his RBI chances
    • Eduardo Escobar is batting in the back half of the lineup and is getting more playing time than Luis Rengifo. I am not rushing to pick Escobar up
  • David Fletcher is batting ninth in the lineup and playing shortstop every day
    • There is no power in Fletcher’s profile and he hits too many ground balls to be an asset in the average department. He is not worth adding
    • His increased playing time moves Andrew Velazquez back into a bench role. He previously was noted as somebody with speed upside but is not worth rostering without consistent playing time
  • Just taking a second to talk about how incredible Shohei Ohtani is
    • Now up to 28 home runs, 11 stolen bases, and an average of over .309
    • All while pitching at the same time. He is incredible and the best player in baseball

Texas Rangers

  • Ezequiel Duran continues to perform at a high level
    • Duran is batting eighth in the lineup most games and playing left field
    • He has eight multi-hit games in his last ten batting .439/.452/.805 over that span
    • If he is somehow still a free agent, make sure you pick him up ASAP
  • Mitch Garver and Robbie Grossman are splitting time in the lineup
    • Garver is getting slightly more playing time thanks to the need for him as the backup catcher
    • He has plenty of power but is striking out over 30% of the time which limits his upside
    • Grossman is not worth rostering in any leagues at this point

Oakland Athletics

  • Ramon Laureano is now on the IL
    • This has opened up a lineup spot for JJ Bleday who is batting third recently
    • Bleday has just a 3.3%-barrel rate and a 31.9% sweet spot rate. He is not worth rostering unless both of these numbers come up
  • Tony Kemp is back in the leadoff spot
    • This move has pushed Esteury Ruiz down to the bottom of the lineup
    • Ruiz is now up to 40 stolen bases on the year although the move down in the lineup hurts his counting stats
    • I expect Ruiz to end up moving back up as the season moves along. Now might be a good time to buy low if you are looking for help with stolen bases
  • Tyler Wade is splitting time at shortstop batting eighth most games
    • Wade has four stolen bases in just 17 games
    • He lacks any power and is a career .214 hitter, but has stolen base upside that is worth monitoring if he continues to get regular at-bats
    • This is only relevant in AL-only leagues

Seattle Mariners

  • Jarred Kelenic has slid down to seventh in the lineup while continuing to lose playing time against lefties
    • .169/.289/.265 since May 23rd even with a .296 BABIP
    • He is striking out almost 40% of the time during that span
    • He is no longer a must-roster in redraft leagues smaller than 14 teams
    • Dylan Moore is getting some time in left field but has just one hit since returning. He is not somebody you should pick up
  • Kolten Wong is back on the strong side of the platoon at second base
    • Jose Caballero has lost his everyday role and is not worth rostering
    • Wong has been playing a little bit better but still is not worth rostering
  • The buy-low chance for Eugenio Suarez might have passed
    • Suarez is batting .298/.343/.509 since June 10th with two home runs and a .211 ISO
    • His quality of contact has remained strong all season with the biggest difference from previous seasons being his HR/FB%
    • Suarez should continue seeing positive regression in the HR department as the season moves along

AL Central

Detroit Tigers

  • Nick Maton was optioned to Triple-A
    • Justyn-Henry Malloy was not called up and it appears the combination of Zack Short and Jonathan Schoop are the most likely to receive extra playing time
    • Short quietly has a 12.2% barrel rate creating some intrigue to go with his positional versatility He is worth a look in deep leagues if his playing time increases
    • Schoop is not worth picking up and figures to only play against lefties
  • Andy Ibanez is batting in the top half of the lineup
    • Ibanez is slashing .327/.362/.564 since June 12
    • He is hitting the ball hard and has a .279 xBA and a .494 xSLG
    • With everyday playing time, he should be a popular waiver-wire add this week
  • Miguel Cabrera is getting consistent playing time
    • This is more of a feel-good story than fantasy-relevant news at this point in Cabrera’s career
    • That being said, Cabrera is slashing .345/.424/.509 since May 30 with a barrel rate over eight percent
    • The .400 BABIP over that time is clearly unsustainable, but maybe Miggy has something left in the tank

Kansas City

  • Kyle Isbel is back from the IL and on the strong side of the platoon
    • Isbel has hit fifth once and sixth once since returning while sitting the lone game against a lefty
    • He has never fully put things together at the Major League level, but this year, a .247 BABIP has been the primary culprit. He is worth a look in AL-only leagues
  • Samad Taylor is rotating between second base and the outfield
    • Taylor plays in place of Isbel against lefties and is playing against some righties in favor of Nicky Lopez
    • He has just four hits in 32 plate appearances since his promotion and is not worth rostering at this point
  • Drew Waters has four multi-hit games since June 22
    • Waters continues to bat toward the bottom of the lineup but continues to barrel the ball up at an impressive rate
    • There is plenty of power upside here although his strikeout rate remains alarming.
    • He is worth a look if you want to ride out the hot streak in deep leagues, but I do not expect this level of success to continue

Chicago White Sox

  • Tim Anderson is now batting second in Chicago’s lineup
    • Anderson is hitless in his last 25 plate appearances and has just two hits since June 10.
    • The wheels have finally fallen off for a player that outperformed his peripherals for years
    • With zero home runs and an average below .230, Anderson is not worth holding onto
  • Andrew Vaughn has hit safely in eight of nine games
    • More importantly, Vaughn has three home runs over that time
    • Vaughn is displaying more power thanks to an increased launch angle helping take his game to the next level
    • I am buying this breakout and now might be your last chance to get in
  • Jake Burger is barely holding onto his starting job
    • Burger is up to 17 home runs but is batting just .122 since June 15.
    • The strikeouts remain a major concern and there is a good chance he will lose his spot in the lineup once Yoan Moncada returns
    • Moncada is not expected back until around the All-Star Break

Minnesota Twins

  • Byron Buxton avoided yet another injury scare
    • Buxton continues to scare fantasy managers but returned to the cleanup spot on Tuesday
    • His inability to play the outfield continues to create a spot in the lineup for Michael A. Taylor
    • Taylor has not hit a home run since June 13th and has not stolen a base since June 11. He is not worth rostering if he is not running and hitting home runs
  • Eduoard Julien continues to bat leadoff against righties and sit against lefties
    • Julien is slashing .314/.400/.431 since his last promotion
    • His strikeout rate remains above 31% and his BABIP over that time is .485. Expect slightly more power, but a much lower batting average moving forward
    • Jorge Polanco is nearing a rehab assignment and his return will likely send Julien back to Triple-A
  • Max Kepler and Willi Castro are splitting time in the third outfield role
    • Kepler is playing primarily against righties batting fifth in most games
    • He has three home runs since June 20th and his .197 BABIP comes with a respectable 13.8-degree launch angle and 10.6%-barrel rate. Kepler is an interesting buy-low candidate in deep leagues
    • Castro is not worth rostering although his strong play could eat into the playing time of Michael A. Taylor

Cleveland Guardians

  • Bo Naylor is batting ninth in Cleveland’s lineup
    • Naylor has continued to have issues making consistent contact at the Major League level and is whiffing over 35% of the time
    • He will need to bring down his strikeout rate to be a reliable fantasy asset
    • He should be rostered in deep leagues as he continues to receive most of the playing time
  • Amed Rosario is batting .329 since the start of June with a strikeout rate under 13%
    • His batting average can be attributed to a .377 BABIP which is 50 points higher than his career average
    • The batting average is nice, but Rosario has not stolen a base since May 22nd
    • Without stolen bases, Rosario loses a lot of his fantasy value
    • He is not worth adding even with his recent success at the plate
  • Jose Ramirez feels underrated in 2023
    • Slashing .297/.366/.527 on the year, but slashing .350/.411/.670 since May 31
    • He is up to 13 home runs and eight stolen bases this season. He is an elite fantasy option moving forward
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