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Buys, Sells, and Notes from AL Lineups for Fantasy Baseball

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 ten days have been: Josh Naylor, Jace Peterson, Will Brennan, Shohei Ohtani, and Adolis Garcia. Keep in mind the stats detailed below are through the 8th. 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.

This is the same format I changed to for the NL Lineup article. Let me know what you think!

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 Buys, Sells, and Notes from AL Lineups

AL East

New York Yankees

  • Good News: Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton are both back from the IL
    • Donaldson batting fourth or fifth with Stanton batting third or fourth
    • Oswaldo Cabrera and DJ LeMahieu are the two losing the most playing time
  • Bad News: Aaron Judge and Harrison Bader are on the IL now
    • Bader should be back soon while Judge remains TBD
    • IKF is batting seventh in CF while Jake Bauers is batting ninth in LF
    • Bauers has been better recently and is worth a look in deep leagues if you need power
  • With injuries, Anthony Volpe is batting all over the back half of the lineup
    • Two home runs recently but a 35.7K% since May 20 with a 4.8-degree launch angle
    • Buy-Low in dynasty but not a must roster anymore in shallow redraft leagues
    • Should still provide plenty of speed and decent home run totals in Yankee Stadium
  • Billy McKinney has started three games in a row
    • His time in the lineup eats into the playing time for Willie Calhoun and neither player is worth rostering.

Boston Red Sox

  • Christian Arroyo is back from the IL, the team optioned Enmanuel Valdez to Triple-A which should open up his regular spot in the lineup.
    • Arroyo is not worth adding but is a name to keep an eye on
  • Jarren Duran is moving down in the lineup to seventh and losing playing time with Adam Duvall being activated
    • The strikeout problem is back with a 40% strikeout rate since May 20
    • .125/.183/.179 -14 wRC+ since that time.
    • High chase, high whiff, low LA. Not worth rostering in shallow leagues anymore
    • Duvall should be rostered everywhere with big-time power upside
  • Triston Casas has not hit a home run since May 16
    • Still has an 11.1%-barrel rate, 17.1-degree LA, 91.9 EV, 50.0% Pull rate
    • No reason he is not hitting more home runs. They should start coming in bunches

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Yandy Diaz dealing with a hip issue. Rays do not seem too worried, but worth monitoring
    • Luke Raley and Harold Ramirez both getting into the lineup with Diaz out
    • Raley has been batting in the middle of the lineup batting .286/.419/.714 since May 22. Massive power and should be rostered in most leagues
    • Ramirez was losing playing time but has gotten hot again at the plate. Both Ramirez and Raley playing well keeps Kyle Manzardo in Triple-A.
  • Brandon Lowe is on the IL opening up more playing time for Taylor Walls
    • Walls’ unsustainable start finally caught up to him. .080/.246/.120 since May 18. 2 hits in last 35 PA.
    • Not somebody worth rostering outside of deep leagues. Vidal Brujan could see more playing time if Walls continues to struggle.
  • Jose Siri and Manuel Margot continue to split time in the OF.
    • Siri has way more fantasy upside with 11 home runs and six steals in just 36 games. The issue is a high strikeout rate which hurts his average.
    • Margot is unspectacular offensively .268/.333/.341 since May 20th but has seven steals on the year.
    • This playing time situation is worth monitoring.
    • Both players enter the lineup against lefties with Josh Lowe continuing to take a seat.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Brandon Belt continues to bat fourth and swing it well.
    • Since May 10th, .324/.485/.544
    • He has a .514 BABIP over that time with a 32.6 K%
    • Sell high if you have him. Do not think this success continues
  • Dalton Varsho since May 22: .267/.323/.533
    • Walking as much as he strikes out with a .220 BABIP
    • The peripherals all look strong and he might be unlucky. He could be a buy-low target

Baltimore Orioles

  • Aaron Hicks continues to fill in for Cedric Mullins while batting between fifth and seventh.
    • Hicks is batting .368/.455/.632 since joining Baltimore, but that comes with a .429 BABIP
    • Do not expect this success to continue and Colton Cowser is back playing in Triple-A
    • Cowser could be up with the club soon and should be stashed
  • Ryan O’Hearn is playing every day while batting seventh or eighth
    • Since May 20, O’Hearn is batting .323/.344/.645 with two home runs
    • He is striking out over 31.3% over that time with a .421 BABIP
    • He is not worth picking up
  • Ryan Mountcastle has moved down to sixth in the lineup
    • He is struggling recently, but he still has a strong barrel rate and a .216 BABIP
    • The whiff rate is up, but he is worth looking into as a buy-low opportunity
    • The home runs should start coming back

AL West

Houston Astros

  • Jose Altuve shook off a brief injury scare this week and returned to the lineup.
    • He continues to play well, but his sprint speed is down from 70th percentile to 22nd percentile this year
    • He remains a top option, but adjust any expectations for stolen bases
  • Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers, and Corey Julks continue to share two spots in the lineup between three players
    • McCormick has heated back up with three home runs since May 28th and profiles to be a sneaky power threat for deep leagues
    • Meyers continues to post very strong quality of contact metrics but has a strikeout rate that continues to increase. His whiff and chase rate are concerning. I prefer McCormick to Meyers moving forward
    • Julks is quietly providing solid speed but does not profile to be a difference-maker for fantasy purposes. He is my least favorite of the three.
  • Yainer Diaz is slowly taking more playing time away from Martin Maldonado.
    • Diaz makes incredible contact, but he has a chase rate near 50%
    • In deep two-catcher leagues, Diaz is worth a look and should start seeing more playing time.
    • He has a 13.6%-barrel rate and a .290 xBA with a .551 xSLG on the season.

Los Angeles Angels

  • Taylor Ward is back in business batting leadoff and playing every day
    • Ward is in the midst of a seven-game hit streak and has three home runs from nearly losing his job
    • He should be added everywhere that he was dropped and appears to have turned things around at the plate
  • Ward’s return initially moved Mickey Moniak back to the bench. He is in the lineup right now for Hunter Renfroe who is on the paternity list
    • Moniak is not worth rostering in his current situation as the strikeouts are too much to overcome.
  • Anthony Rendon is back from the IL and batting fourth
    • Rendon was batting .412/.512/.529 in the ten games before his IL stint
    • If you need help at third base, he is worth a look. Batting behind Trout and Ohtani makes him a valuable target if he can keep performing
    • His return is likely to eat into the playing time of Luis Rengifo or Jared Walsh. Rengifo has been hot at the plate while Walsh is batting just .150 on the year.

Texas Rangers

  • Mitch Garver has returned from the IL and is getting consistent lineup time at DH
    • This allows both Jonah Heim and Garver to stay in the lineup as both are red-hot.
    • I prefer Heim overall, but Garver has power potential in two-catcher leagues. Do not expect him to continue batting near .300, but the home runs are legit.
    • His playing time comes primarily at the expense of Josh Smith who has moved into a bench role. He is not worth rostering at this point.
  • Ezequiel Duran is also back from the IL. He is not playing every day but is in more of a utility role
    • He was batting .324/.375/.676 in ten games before landing on the IL. Worth keeping an eye on to see if he earns more playing time
    • His lineup time will come primarily at the expense of either Robbie Grossman or Leody Taveras. Both players have fantasy relevance and this situation is worth keeping a close eye on.
    • Taveras is batting ninth and Grossman is between sixth and eighth in the lineup when playing.
  • Also, the top of the Rangers’ lineup is really good.
    • Corey Seager is smoking hot at the plate and is batting .342/.373/.644 since returning from the IL
    • Marcus Semien has been excellent all season with nine home runs and seven stolen bases

Oakland Athletics

  • Ramon Laureno has officially lost the starting outfield job to JJ Bleday
    • Laureano is still playing inconsistently but is not worth rostering at this point
    • Bleday is batting sixth or seventh in the lineup with his only downside being a very low barrel rate.
    • Bleday has solid raw power and OBP skills and is worth a look in deep leagues
  • Ryan Noda needs to be rostered more as he continues to bat second.
    • He has plenty of power and a walk rate near 20% making him a primary target for OBP leagues
    • The only downside to his profile is a high whiff rate which will keep his strikeout rate high
  • Jonah Bride is up from Triple-A and batting in the back half of the lineup
    • He was hitting .308 with eight home runs in Triple-A
    • Not much home run power, but a solid hit tool and decent plate discipline. Maybe worth a flier in AL-only leagues to see if he stays hot. Do not expect much counting stat production out of him in Oakland’s lineup

Seattle Mariners

  • Kolten Wong appears to have retaken the second base job from Jose Caballero
    • Not really sure why Wong is earning more playing time again with just two hits in his last 40 PA. Not worth rostering
    • Caballero is a drop if he is not getting lineup time.
    • The name to know here is Dylan Moore who was just activated off the IL. Could take over the second base job and is an elite speed threat. Wrote an article about him in the off-season which you can check out here.
  • Mike Ford is getting a chance to DH every day over AJ Pollock
    • Ford is batting toward the bottom of the lineup and has just one hit so far on the season.
    • He is not worth picking up and I do not expect him to continue getting regular at-bats
    • This is another way for Moore to get into the lineup or for Pollock to reclaim his spot
  • Eugenio Suarez and Jarred Kelenic are sliding down in the lineup with Teoscar Hernandez and Cal Raleigh moving up
    • Suarez has been a disappointment, but most of his numbers look relatively stable. A 9.5 HR/FB% is nearly half of his average HR/FB% for his career. This could be a buy low opportunity
    • Kelenic is striking out way too much and could be in serious trouble. The power is still there, but his average continues to come crashing down. He is in big trouble unless he adjusts his approach
    • Hernandez has gotten into a bit of a groove at the plate and is surprisingly hitting for more average than power recently. He is still worth holding despite his mediocre performance up to this point.

AL Central

Detroit Tigers

  • With Riley Greene on the IL, Jake Marisnick has taken over center-field duties.
    • He is batting ninth in the lineup while looking lost at the plate.
    • Marisnick is not worth rostering.
  • Kerry Carpenter is back from the IL. He hit fifth in his return to the lineup.
    • He was hitting for lots of power before the injury and should play every day.
    • He is worth adding in deep leagues and will be taking playing time away from Miguel Cabrera.
  • Eric Haase is getting most of the starts at catcher and is batting fifth.
    • Haase has been terrible for most of the season, but especially since May 19. He has had a negative wRC+ since then.
    • Expect Jake Rogers to start seeing more opportunities, but neither player is worth rostering. They are likely to move down in the lineup with Carpenter returning.
  • As quickly as Akil Baddoo was fantasy relevant, he became irrelevant.
    • He is still playing almost every day batting sixth but has seen his chase rate and whiff rate both start increasing.
    • At the same time, his average EV has plummeted. He is likely to lose time once Matt Vierling returns and is not somebody worth rostering.

Kansas City Royals

  • Nick Pratto continues to bat leadoff even against lefties.
    • Pratto’s .299 average comes with a .466 BABIP- UNSUSTAINABLE
    • Legit power if you need help there, but do not expect this level of success. Most likely a .220 hitter with pop and good OBP skills.
  • MJ Melendez is heating up at the plate and still batting in the middle of the lineup
    • Both his chase and whiff rates are coming down recently to be more in line with his numbers from last season.
    • Good time to pick Melendez up, especially in OBP leagues where he was dropped
  • Maikel Garcia is moving up in the lineup some nights batting leadoff or sixth
    • Garcia is tearing the cover off the ball and has a barrel rate north of 8% since the middle of May
    • He provides good speed and should start seeing his home run totals increase
    • He is worth adding in most 12+ team formats that he is still available in

Chicago White Sox

  • Gavin Sheets has a slight edge in playing time advantage over Jake Burger
    • Burger continues to mash home runs while Sheets is really struggling at the plate
    • Hold onto Burger as he should start seeing his playing time increase
  • Seby Zavala might be eating into Yasmani Grandal’s playing time
    • Grandal has just one home run since the start of May making it fairly obvious his best days are behind him. His barrel rate is way below his career average and there is no real reason for optimism
    • Zavala meanwhile has been terrible at the plate all year but had a two-homer game this past week
    • Neither catcher is worth a roster spot outside of AL-only leagues.
  • Romy Gonzalez continues to play every day at the bottom of the lineup
    • Gonzalez quietly has three home runs and five steals since May 21st
    • He has strong barrel rates, great exit velocity numbers, and plus speed
    • He is worth a look in 14+ team leagues

Minnesota Twins

  • Byron Buxton has made his routine trip to the IL.
    • Michael Taylor has seen his playing time increase as a result batting toward the bottom of the lineup
    • Since the start of June, Taylor has two home runs and four stolen bases
    • The plate discipline metrics are still poor, but he has plus speed in deep leagues where you need OF help. His glove should also help keep him in the lineup
  • Joey Gallo is also on the IL allowing Trevor Larnach to slide back into the lineup.
    • Larnach has been batting fourth or fifth in most games since returning
    • There is plus pop here, but not enough plate discipline to have consistent success
    • He is not worth adding in any format
  • Alex Kirilloff is batting second for the Twins and continuing to play well.
    • Kirilloff has an excellent sweet spot percentage and strong plate discipline.
    • Should continue hitting for a solid average with a good walk rate. He should be rostered in all OBP leagues.

Cleveland Guardians

  • Will Brennan is red hot and playing every day against both lefties and righties.
    • He is batting seventh or eighth while hitting safely in eight of nine games
    • Not much has changed in his profile outside of an elevated BABIP. He continues to profile as a player with a solid hit tool and limited home run/stolen base upside.
    • He is not somebody I am targeting on waivers
  • Gabriel Arias has moved back into a utility role sitting more than he is starting
    • A low LA continues to hold Arias back at the plate despite steady improvements in his plate discipline
    • Amed Rosario is the most likely candidate to lose playing time if Arias earns more at-bats
  • After a slow start to the season, Josh Naylor has picked things up at the plate
    • He is batting in the middle of the lineup while playing consistently against lefties
    • Since May 16th, Naylor is batting .403/.456/.613 while getting plenty of RBI opportunities
    • He is a solid option for the remainder of 2023.
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