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Fantasy Baseball Lineup Analysis: NL 05/17

Our National League lineup analysis rolls on for the third straight week. With a full month of action in the books, stats are starting to stabilize and big decisions on keeps and cuts are being made. This article keeps you up to date on the latest news you need to know in terms of performances and playing time. The five hottest hitters in the National League have been: Bryson Stott, William Contreras, Eddie Rosario, Marcell Ozuna, and Oneil Cruz. Keep reading for the latest news and notes from all 15 lineups in the National League.

Please note that this article is finalized the day prior to publish. I will do my best to update the information as it comes in later that night.

Fantasy Baseball Lineup Takeaways: NL Edition

National League East

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Edmundo Sosa and Whit Merrifield are sharing Trea Turner’s responsibilities
    • With Turner sidelined, Sosa has primarily been playing shortstop but also gives way to Whit Merrifield at times. Both players are batting toward the bottom of the lineup
    • Sosa has been playing well since taking over and offers some fantasy upside with his speed and increased barrel rate. A high whiff rate makes it unlikely he ever becomes a reliable fantasy asset
    • One underrated part of Turner’s injury is the possibility Bryson Stott regains SS eligibility. When Merrifield enters the lineup, Stott shifts over to short which could be a nice bonus for fantasy baseball managers
  • Speaking of Stott, he is red-hot
    • Stott’s season got off to a slow start, but he is locked in at the plate batting .351/.493/.667 since April 25
    • His season slash line is up to .276/.388/.447 with a 139 wRC+
    • One noticeable difference is that Stot is pulling the ball over 40% of the time for the first time in his career. This supports his elevated HR/FB%
    • He could be in for a career season and is an underrated fantasy asset. Stott has also been moving up in Philly’s lineup
  • The Phillies’ stars have been a bit banged up
    • Kyle Schwarber, JT Realmuto, and Bryce Harper have all missed at least one game with various injuries over the past week
    • All three have returned to the lineup and appear healthy moving forward. They should continue to produce at high levels throughout the 2024 season
    • Realmuto has been batting second in the lineup with Trea Turner on the IL

Miami Marlins

  • With Luis Arraez gone, Vidal Brujan is getting everyday playing time
    • Brujan has become the team’s everyday shortstop and has been batting seventh or eighth in the lineup
    • Known for having blazing speed, Brujan has been caught more times than he has been successful this season
    • His contact skills are above average but he does not offer much fantasy value due to the lack of power. I am not adding him anywhere
  • Tim Anderson has landed on the IL
    • Anderson is out with back tightness and does not have a firm timetable for return
    • The team claimed Otto Lopez off waivers from San Francisco in April and he has entered the starting lineup. Lopez has primarily been batting seventh and playing second base
    • Lopez has hit for strong averages with plus speed throughout his Minor League career but the surprising part has been the three home runs he has hit already this season
    • His average launch angle suggests this power outburst is unlikely to continue but he is worth a flier in deep dynasty leagues
  • Jake Burger has been a massive disappointment
    • Identified in my off-season third base bust article, Burger has made that prediction proud
    • His wRC+ sits below 50 with just three home runs on the season. His barrel rate has dropped significantly leading to this decreased home run output
    • His BABIP currently sits below .200 despite strong exit velocity numbers. He is a fine drop however in shallow formats. Playing in Miami’s lineup does not help anything

Atlanta Braves

  • Austin Riley has been dealing with side inflammation
    • Riley has been out of the lineup for three straight games with this injury as he continues to manage it
    • He is yet to be placed on the IL and appears to have avoided anything serious
    • With Riley out of the lineup, Zack Short has been getting the majority of playing time at third base
    • Marcell Ozuna has moved up to third in the lineup and Travis d’Arnaud has moved up to fifth with Riley sidelined
  • Michael Harris’ breakout appeal has not worked out this season
    • After a scorching hot second half to 2023, expectations were high for Harris entering 2024
    • The results this season have not been terrible (94 wRC+), but that is far from what fantasy managers expected
    • While there are plenty of red flags, the biggest one continues to be his inability to consistently hit the ball in the air. I am fine exploring trade offers for Harris if you own him

Washington Nationals

  • Victor Robles has returned from the IL
    • Robles has been batting ninth in the lineup since returning while receiving the majority of the playing time
    • He is showing much-improved plate discipline this season but continues to post below-average quality of contact numbers. He is not worth adding at this point
    • With Robles back., Nick Senzel has moved into more of a bench role and should not be rostered at this point
  • Eddie Rosario is batting third in the lineup against righties
    • Rosario has been hot at the plate with four home runs since the start of May
    • He is also quietly up to six stolen bases with a BABIP that is bound to increase as the season moves along
    • Rosario continues to sit against most lefties but is a fine target in deep leagues with daily lineups
  • Jesse Winker is moving down the lineup and losing playing time
    • Winker’s recent slump has moved him down to seventh in the lineup and he has been on the bench for two of the past three games including one against a righty
    • His start to 2024 always seemed a bit unsustainable and he is slashing just .120/.242/.220 since April 28
    • He is not worth holding onto and could continue to lose playing time as the team shifts focus toward the future
  • Joey Gallo is back from the IL
    • Gallo figures to step back into regular playing time on the strong side of a platoon
    • With Gallo back, Jacob Young was the first player to take a seat on the bench and could see his playing time take a hit
    • Neither player is worth rostering in fantasy

New York Mets

  • Mark Vientos is back from Triple-A
    • As the Mets look for a spark, they are going to give Vientos another shot at the Major League level
    • He is likely to start against all lefties but could start eating into the playing time of Brett Baty against righties if he gets hot
    • Baty has failed to impact the ball consistently at the Major League level and is batting .159 since April 16
    • Baty is a fine drop in redraft formats and a questionable hold in keeper leagues
    • Joey Wendle was DFA’d in a corresponding move to Vientos returning
  • Tomas Nido has the edge in playing time at catcher
    • Nido has been in the lineup more often than Omar Narvaez as of late
    • He owns a career 55 wRC+ and is not worth rostering in any format
    • Francisco Alvarez remains without a firm timetable for return after undergoing surgery on his thumb
  • Brandon Nimmo was scratched on Thursday
    • Nimmo is dealing with stomach bug
    • He is not expected to miss extended time but if he does Tyrone Taylor is likely to see more playing time

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

  • Dansby Swanson landed on the IL with a sprained knee
    • With Swanson out of the lineup, Nico Hoerner has shifted over to shortstop which should allow him to regain eligibility there
    • Hoerner himself has been battling a hamstring injury this week although the club is reportedly not considering placing him on the IL
    • With both players out, Miles Mastrobuoni and Nick Madrigal have been the two filling in
    • Mastrobuoni appears to have the slight edge in playing time and slightly more fantasy upside although I am not adding either player
  • Seiya Suzuki is back from the IL
    • With Suzuki back, Matt Mervis was sent back to Triple-A as the team rotates the DH amongst its current outfielders
    • Suzuki has returned to the second spot in the lineup
    • He has yet to fully get things going since returning but remains a strong fantasy option
  • Ian Happ needs a reset
    • Happ was out of the lineup for consecutive games Tuesday and Wednesday as the team tries to get him reset at the plate
    • His struggles have persisted this season with the only bright spot being a strong walk rate
    • He should start seeing a bit more home run luck but with a BABIP already at .320, his luck can only improve so much
    • The team is giving Pete Crow-Armstrong more playing time while Happ figures things out

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Willson Contreras is on the IL after getting hit in the hand with a swing
    • With Contreras out of the lineup, Ivan Herrera has taken over as the primary catcher batting sixth in the lineup
    • Herrera has shown flashes of fantasy stardom this season but the results have been inconsistent
    • There is a lot to like in his profile from hard contact to an excellent line drive rate. Herrera should be rostered in two catcher formats
  • Matt Carpenter is back from IL
    • Carpenter is now factoring into the playing time equation drawing four starts in five games at DH
    • Surprisingly, the Cardinals are even batting Carpenter leadoff. At 38 years old, I am not targeting Carpenter anywhere
    • His return is primarily eating into the playing time of Alec Burleson
  • Dylan Carlson is also back from the IL
    • Carlson was projected to open the season as the team’s everyday center fielder but seems to have returned to a bench role
    • He has only drawn starts against lefties and is not worth rostering in any format
    • Michael Siani continues to serve as the team’s regular center fielder although most of his value is drawn from his strong defensive skills

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Jackson Chourio could be at risk of losing his starting job
    • The team gave Chourio a chance to reset last week, benching him for three straight games
    • He returned to the lineup on Sunday and has been playing since batting eighth or ninth.
    • For fantasy managers, his five homers and six steals have helped him remain a fine option although his 47 wRC+ since April 23 could be causing the team to grow impatient
  • Rhys Hoskins is on the IL with a hamstring injury
    • This injury allows Jake Bauers to take over as the primary first baseman against right-handed pitchers
    • Bauers is hitting over .300 with three home runs since April 25 and is worth a look in NL-only leagues while Hoskins is out
    • This injury also opens the door for Christian Yelich to serve as the team’s primary DH and Blake Perkins to continue receiving regular playing time
  • Joey Ortiz is moving up in the lineup
    • After struggling a bit out of the gate, Ortiz has been playing well and is now batting sixth most days and even hit third against a lefty
    • All four of Ortiz’s home runs have come since April 26, a period during which he is batting over .300
    • His barrel rate has continued to climb throughout the season and he showing off impressive contact skills
    • Ortiz should be owned in every league he is available

Cincinnati Reds

  • TJ Friedl suffered a fractured thumb and landed on the IL
    • With Friedl out of the lineup, Will Benson has moved back into the leadoff spot in the lineup
    • Conner Capel and Stuart Fairchild appear to be splitting time for Friedl with Capel on the strong side of the platoon
    • Fairchild’s speed offers more fantasy appeal but neither player is worth rostering with inconsistent playing time
  • Christian Encarnacion-Strand also landed on the IL with a fractured wrist
    • The season had gotten off to a dreadful start for CES and after this injury, he is not worth stashing if your team has limited IL slots
    • With CES out of the lineup, Mike Ford is getting a chance to play every day and is batting third against righties and sixth against lefties
    • Ford has never been able to put things together at the Major League level and is not off to a particularly fast start in Cincinnati. He is not worth rostering and could quickly lose his lineup spot

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Yasmani Grandal has turned into the primary catcher
    • With Henry Davis back in Triple-A, Grandal has gotten regular playing time in Pittsburgh
    • Grandal is primarily batting sixth or seventh in the lineup
    • He has two home runs and should see his BABIP rise above .200. He is not fantasy-relevant outside of deep two-catcher formats
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes has landed on the IL
    • With Hayes on the IL, James Triolo has shifted over to third base with Nick Gonzales taking over the second base role
    • Gonzales has been playing regularly since being called up from Triple-A batting fifth or sixth in the lineup
    • He was dominating in Triple-A and is hitting the ball extremely hard since his promotion. His contact skills is suspect but he should hit for solid power
    • He is worth a flier in deeper leagues
  • Rowdy Tellez is losing playing time
    • Tellez has been on the bench for three straight games and his 41 wRC+ is not going to keep him in the lineup
    • With Tellez struggling, Connor Joe has been getting more playing time at first base
    • Joe is up to six home runs and is up to a 144 wRC+. He is worth a look in deep leagues and should see his playing time remain consistent

National League West

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Gavin Lux has moved up a bit in the lineup
    • Lux has been batting sixth or seventh and was even in against a lefty on Thursday
    • He has been looking a bit better at the plate lately batting .255/.300/.404 since April 24
    • Lux still just has one home run and one stolen base over that period and is not fantasy relevant
  • Max Muncy has gone ice cold at the plate and is now on the IL
    • With Muncy out, Kike Hernandez is most likely to see his playing time increase
    • The team also promoted Miguel Vargas from Triple-A
    • Vargas was one of the top prospects in baseball for a while before struggling last season. He is worth a look in keeper/dynasty formats and should play every day while with the team
  • Jason Heyward is back from the IL
    • The good news is that Andy Pages is going to keep his lineup spot
    • The surprising move was the Dodgers’ sending James Outman back to Triple-A
    • Outman had some poor luck early on this season but is not worth stashing while in Triple-A

San Diego Padres

  • With Luis Arraez here, Graham Pauley was optioned back to Triple-A
    • Machado has been playing third base more frequently allowing Arraez and Bogaerts to rotate between second base and DH
    • Donovan Solano has been playing third base and entering the lineup against lefties
  • Ha Seong-Kim remains a buy in fantasy
    • Kim is batting at the bottom of the Padres’ lineup but should see his batted ball luck improve
    • He has a line drive rate of over 20% but a BABIP of just .225
    • At the very least he is still stealing plenty of bases and is up to eight on the season

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Corbin Carroll is back up in the leadoff spot
    • After moving down in the lineup for a bit, Carroll is back batting at the top of the order
    • Even with the move up in the lineup, Carroll’s season has not gotten any better
    • Since the start of May, he is batting under .200 with zero stolen bases. Carroll is somebody whose value is tanking across all formats. Dynasty managers should hold and redraft managers sell for what you can get
  • Blaze Alexander is playing a bit more frequently
    • Alexander continues to enter the lineup against all lefties but is also getting a bit of playing time against righties
    • Alexander has really not shown much offensively since the first week or two of the season and is not worth rostering in fantasy
    • He is a likely candidate to be demoted back to Triple-A
  • Joc Pederson was scratched from the lineup on Friday
    • It remains unclear if Pederson’s injury is considered serious or not
    • If Pederson is forced to miss extended time, Randal Grichuk is a candidate to see more playing time
    • Grichuk entered the lineup on Friday and hit fifth

San Francisco Giants

  • Both Giants’ catchers are injured
    • With both Tom Murphy and Patrick Bailey out, Blake Sabol has taken over the primary catcher responsibilities
    • Sabol has been batting seventh in the lineup and hitting for a solid average
    • He has zero stolen bases and zero home runs so far and has an incredibly high BABIP. He is not a fantasy-relevant player
  • The whole Giants’ outfield is banged up
    • Not only is Soler hurt, but Austin Slater, Jung Hoo Lee, and Michael Conforto are all on the IL
    • Lee is expected to miss the remainder of the 2024 season
    • Young players like Heliot Ramos and Luis Matos are getting more consistent playing time with the injuries
    • Mike Yastrzemski is also batting leadoff now with the shuffle
    • Matos has the most fantasy upside but will need to barrel the ball up more to become a fantasy-relevant player with his lack of stolen base upside
  • Nick Ahmed is also on the IL
    • With Ahmed out of the lineup, Casey Schmitt is up from Triple-A
    • Schmitt has been getting the bulk of the playing time batting at the bottom of the lineup
    • Schmitt has shown flashes in the Minor Leagues but his over-aggressove approach has gotten him in trouble at the Major League level
    • Marco Luciano was also recalled from Triple-A and offers more fantasy upside for those looking to take a shot

Colorado Rockies

  • Jake Cave is getting more playing time
    • Cave is getting more starts against righties batting seventh most nights
    • With Cave entering the lineup, Sean Bouchard is on the bench more frequently
    • Jake Cave has never shown the ability to be a reliable fantasy asset and is not worth adding anywhere
  • Brenton Doyle is back in the lineup
    • Doyle was batting second and has moved down but has gotten hot again at the plate
    • He is an interesting asset. His power and speed give him plenty of upside, but his high strikeout rate is bound to lead to plenty of slumps
    • Fantasy managers should ride the highs and bench him during the lows
  • Jordan Beck has maintained a regular role
    • Beck is playing every day and batting at the bottom of the lineup
    • His strikeout rate remains alarmingly high and he has yet to walk in 51 plate appearances
    • The raw skills are there but he is not fantasy-relevant lately
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