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Fantasy Baseball Lineup Analysis: NL 05/25

Writing these lineup pieces is one of my favorite things to do. Not only am I afforded the opportunity to help out all of the readers, but these articles also help me stay up to date on the latest trends around baseball. Stats and streaks are constantly changing and hopefully this article helps you to keep track of all of them. The five hottest hitters in the National League over the past week have been: Matt Chapman, Luis Arraez, Masyn Winn, LaMonte Wade Jr, and Jurickson Profar. 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

  • Kody Clemens is getting more playing time
    • Clemens was promoted from Triple-A after Trea Turner landed on the IL and has looked fantastic in a small sample size
    • He is being rewarded with more playing time batting in the back half of the lineup
    • With Clemens playing more, Whit Merrifield has seen his playing time drop while Edmundo Sosa continues to split time with Clemens
    • Trea Turner continues to recover and appears to be ahead of schedule which could ultimately lead to Clemens heading back to Triple-A
  • Bryce Harper has been dominant since the start of May
    • The Phillies as a team have been dominant this season, but Harper has turned things up a notch once we got out of April
    • Since May 1, Harper is slashing .353/.451/.676 with six homers and two stolen bases
    • Do not be surprised if Harper works his way into MVP talks again this season
  • Brandon Marsh is in a platoon
    • Originally, Marsh was only sitting against tough lefties but is now sitting against all of them
    • Marsh continues to be a real-life player for Philly but his numbers have slowed down recently. He is a fine drop in shallow leagues
    • Cristian Pache is entering the lineup against lefties in place of Marsh

Miami Marlins

  • Tim Anderson is back from the IL
    • Anderson returned to the Marlins lineup on Tuesday and has been batting sixth or seventh most games
    • Offensively, Anderson has continued to look like a shell of the player he once was and fantasy managers should not be expecting any resurgence. He is not worth rostering in any format
    • With Anderson returning, Vidal Brujan has moved back into a bench/utility role. He is not fantasy-relevant at this point
  • Otto Lopez has maintained a regular spot in the lineup
    • With Anderson back, Lopez and Brujan were the two most at risk, but the team is continuing to run with Lopez as the everyday second baseman
    • After his fast start, Lopez’s numbers have been underwhelming. He is batting just .250/.267/.286 since May 14
    • He has not barreled a ball over that period which is more in line with his career numbers
  • Josh Bell is overlooked as a fantasy option
    • Bell has been on fire since April 30 slashing .321/.386/.487 during that span
    • Even with the Marlins struggling, his 16 RBIs over that period ranks third amongst all first baseman
    • His average launch angle sits at its highest mark since 2019 which is always a good sign for Bell’s production

Atlanta Braves

  • Austin Riley has been dealing with a knee injury
    • Riley has already missed 10 days without being placed on the IL which signals he should be close to a return
    • Zack Short has been filling in for Riley and batting toward the bottom of the lineup
    • The duration of this absence signals that this injury could linger and is something for fantasy managers to pay attention to
  • Sean Murphy has officially begun his rehab stint
    • Murphy hit a home run in his first game of live action and should return to Atlanta’s lineup early next week
    • With Murphy closing in on a return, Travis d’Arnaud’s time as a starter is coming to a close
    • Since hitting five home runs in four games, d’Arnaud is slashing just .237/.324/.322
    • He is not worth holding onto in fantasy leagues

Washington Nationals

  • Victor Robles has moved into a bench role
    • The former top prospect has continued struggling at the plate this season leading to a demotion in role
    • The team is giving Jacob Young more playing time. Young is batting ninth in the lineup
    • Although Young is not hitting for any power (EV below 84 mph), he does have 15 stolen bases on the year
    • He is worth a look if you are desperate for steals, but fantasy managers should not expect production in many other places
  • Keibert Ruiz has moved down in the lineup
    • The 2024 disaster has continued for Ruiz who is now starting to lose a bit of playing time
    • The primary issue is a BABIP below .180 which should see some positive regression as the season moves along
    • Those who were hoping for a breakout from Ruiz can move on as his power improvements have disappeared
    • With Ruiz moving down, Jesse Winker has moved back up in the lineup
  • Lane Thomas is close to returning
    • With Thomas’ return to the lineup right around the corner, the Nationals have a few options to decide between
    • On one hand, Jesse Winker or Eddie Rosario could move to the bench
    • The other option is to move Joey Meneses to first base and Joey Gallo to the bench
    • Regardless, Thomas’ return will be a welcome sight for fantasy managers and he should bat toward the top of the lineup

New York Mets

  • Brett Baty has lost his starting job
    • As predicted last week, Baty’s struggles have moved him into a bench role paving the way for Mark Vientos to get more playing time
    • The Mets are trying to give both of their former top prospects a chance to prove themselves and now Vientos is up
    • The sample size is extremely small, but Vientos has been on fire since his promotion
    • A high swinging strike rate continues to be alarming, but he is crushing the ball and is worth picking up if he continues to receive regular playing time. Baty can be dropped at this point in all formats except for dynasty leagues
  • The Mets have shuffled the top of their lineup
    • In an attempt to get him going, Francisco Lindor has been moved up to the leadoff spot with Nimmo moving back to third
    • Lindor is batting just .213 since the start of May with only two home runs
    • Now is the perfect time to buy Lindor who is not at risk of losing any playing time. He is experiencing terrible luck with a .208 season-long BABIP with no noticeable difference in his profile
    • He might not be an MVP candidate this season but fantasy managers should continue to be patient with the Mets’ star

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

  • Dansby Swanson is back from the IL
    • Swanson returned to the lineup on Tuesday but the surprising part is how low he is batting
    • He hit eighth on Tuesday with a righty on the mound which will impact his counting stats
    • Swanson is running the highest barrel rate of his career and should start to see his early-season numbers come up
    • He should move back up in the lineup as he gets back into things and sees his luck improve
  • Seiya Suzuki has been struggling since returning from the IL
    • Suzuki returned to the lineup on May 11 and is slashing just .182/.245/.273 since
    • Looking at his batted ball data, everything except for his Max EV looks to be exactly the same
    • He should see some better luck in his HR/FB% and BABIP. Now is a good time for fantasy managers to buy low on Suzuki

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Alec Burleson is getting everyday playing time
    • Burleson took a turn on the bench when Matt Carpenter returned, but the team has since switched the two players back
    • Burleson is playing regularly batting fifth in the lineup
    • He has five home runs, an elite line drive rate, and an average exit velocity over 90 mph
    • Burleson is not going to contribute a ton of speed, but he could be a valuable fantasy asset batting right behind Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado
  • Masyn Winn has been moving up in the lineup against lefties
    • Winn has been hot at the plate hitting safely in 11 straight games
    • His profile is incredibly encouraging for a player who is still just 22 years old. He is posting excellent contact rates with an elite sweet spot percentage and plus speed
    • The only thing dynasty managers need to be patient about is power. Even without a strong barrel rate, Winn is a valuable contributor and could see his run production increase if he bats leadoff more often
  • Nolan Gorman has four home runs since May 10
    • Gorman is always going to be a streaky hitter. He has excellent flashes of power, but he is still striking out over 40% of the time during this stretch
    • His strikeout rate is likely to limit his potential as a fantasy asset and prevent him from batting in a more favorable lineup spot
    • Fantasy managers should expect him to continue sitting against all lefties moving forward

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Joey Wiemer is back from the IL
    • Wiemer has been in the lineup for just one of three games since returning. He appears to be most viewed as a fourth outfielder at this point
    • Blake Perkins continues to draw the majority of starts batting ninth in the lineup
    • Since May 5, Perkins is slashing .152/.216/.152 and will start to lose playing time as the season moves along
    • Wiemer offers more upside but neither player is worth rostering
  • The Brewers continue to run strict platoons
    • Young players Brice Turang and Sal Frelick are not getting an opportunity to prove themselves which caps their upside
    • Turang has continued to hit for a strong average and steal bases at an elite rate. His value is capped but he is a strong two-to-three category contributor
    • Frelick has two homers since May 14 but there is nothing in his batted profile to suggest he is making any strides in the power department

Cincinnati Reds

  • Jacob Hurtubise is batting leadoff and playing on the strong side of a platoon
    • Hurtubise came up when TJ Friedl landed on the IL and is now getting a chance to prove himself at the Major League level
    • 26 years old, Hurtubise hit for excellent average with 45 stolen bases between Double-A and Triple-A last season
    • So far, his walk rates have been great but fantasy managers should not expect much of any power. He is not worth adding at this point
    • With Hurtubise batting leadoff, Will Benson has moved down to the bottom of the lineup
  • Jake Fraley was hit in the hand by a pitch
    • Fraley was hit in the game on Tuesday night and has been absent from the lineup since
    • X-rays have been negative so far, but he could be forced to miss more time as he deals with swelling
    • If forced to miss extended time, Nick Martini could reclaim a lineup spot while Fraley is out
  • Jeimer Candelario is now batting third in the lineup
    • The Reds are looking for a spark offensively and are hoping moving Candelario up will provide that
    • Candelario has been swinging the bat better as of late slashing .293/.339/.517 since May 8
    • He is barreling the ball up more while also pulling the ball at a higher rate which is excellent for his power outlook
    • If you need help at CI, Candelario is worth a look

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • The team promoted Ji Hwan Bae from Triple-A
    • Bae was a popular pickup early on last season before he struggled and got demoted back to Triple-A
    • Bae was up to four homers and seven steals with an average of over .300 early on in Triple-A
    • He has great contact skills and plus speed which could be useful for fantasy managers. The issue is an extremely low launch angle which limits his BABIPs and power production
    • He is batting ninth most games for Pittsburgh but is only worth a look in 15+ team leagues
  • Nick Gonzales is batting fifth in Pittsburgh’s lineup
    • Gonzales is amongst the more intriguing options sitting on a lot of waiver wires and is worth adding
    • His barrel rate remains above 10% with a line drive rate above 20%
    • The only glaring critique in his profile so far is a very high chase rate which has not been a part of his game throughout his Minor League career
    • I am buying into Gonzales if you need help at second base
  • Jack Suwinski was optioned to Triple-A
    • A popular breakout candidate heading into the season, Suwinski has gotten off to a dreadful start to 2024
    • His barrel rate is down significantly as well as his BABIP
    • The Pirates are likely to recall Suwinski at some point this season, but he is not worth holding onto
    • Connor Joe is most likely to see his playing time increase as a result of Suwinski’s demotion

National League West

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Miguel Vargas is not playing regularly
    • Upon his promotion, many felt that Vargas would step into a regular role with the team at third base
    • Vargas instead has drawn just two starts both of which in left field and does not seem close to getting regular at-bats
    • Kike Hernandez has been serving as the team’s everyday third baseman. Neither player is worth rostering
  • Gavin Lux is up to sixth in the lineup
    • Lux has been playing better since the calendar flipped to May, but his numbers are still underwhelming from a fantasy perspective
    • He has just one homer and one steal on the season and is posting batted-ball data that is well below the league-average
    • Despite moving up in the Dodgers’ lineup, Lux is not worth rostering outside of NL-only leagues
  • Andy Pages has slowed down
    • Pages’ Major League career got off to a fantastic start, but pitchers are starting to figure him out
    • He is striking out well over 30% of the time since the start of May with a wRC+ below 70
    • For a player who has dealt with strikeout issues throughout his professional career, this could be an issue moving forward
    • He is a fine drop in shallow leagues

San Diego Padres

  • Xander Bogaerts landed on the IL
    • This profiles to be an extended absence for Bogaerts who suffered a fractured shoulder
    • With Bogaerts out of the lineup, Luis Arraez and Jake Cronenworth figure to help fill the gap at second base
    • The open lineup spot appears to be going to David Peralta (yes, that David Peralta) who is now up from Triple-A and batting sixth for the Padres
    • Peralta is now 36 and is not worth picking up
  • Manny Machado has three two-hit performances in the past week
    • Machado’s season has gotten off to a slow start, but hopefully this past week has been a sign of things to come
    • The most noticeable differences in Machado’s profile this season have been a sharp decline in his launch angle and struggles against the four-seam fastball
    • Fastballs have never been Machado’s strength but you have to wonder if the launch angle has to do with his elbow injury which has been lingering for the greater part of the past two seasons
  • Jurickson Profar just keeps raking
    • Profar is in the midst of a 12-game hit streak during which he is slashing .381/.500/.500
    • Batting in the middle of San Diego’s lineup is providing him with plenty of run and RBI opportunities
    • From a sustainability standpoint, Profar’s BABIP is going to come down but he still should remain an above-average option for fantasy managers

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Joc Pederson has been hot at the dish
    • Pederson continues to sit against lefties but is batting third in the lineup whenever a righty is on the mound
    • He has four home runs since May 5 and is batting over .300
    • The red flags are a strikeout rate of over 40% with a BABIP over .500 during that span. Pederson is a streaky hitter with high highs and really low lows
    • Fantasy managers should ride the highs while they can
  • Gabriel Moreno is now down to eighth in the lineup
    • Moreno has struggled offensively for much of this season and is now moving down in the order
    • Mediocre batted ball data and high ground ball rates continue to impact Moreno’s offensive production and his 2023 Postseason is looking more and more like a flash in the pan
    • He does not need to be rostered in leagues where less than 14 catchers are rostered

San Francisco Giants

  • Patrick Bailey is back from the IL
    • Bailey returned from the IL on Tuesday but has only been in the lineup for one of the three games so far
    • The team is likely easing him back into action and he should return to be the primary catcher
    • Curt Casali is likely to see his playing time decrease as a result of Bailey’s return
  • Luis Matos is batting at the top of San Francisco’s lineup
    • Matos is locked into the everyday center field role with Jung Hoo Lee being ruled out for the remainder of 2024
    • Matos is showing off impressive contact skills and has already matched his Major League home run output from last season
  • Marco Luciano is getting everyday playing time
    • Luciano is getting a chance to prove himself at the Major League level again batting at the bottom of the lineup
    • The sample size is incredibly small, but if Luciano can keep his strikeout rate at the level it is currently, he could maintain fantasy relevancy
    • Casey Schmitt was optioned back to Triple-A with Luciano’s playing time increasing
  • Heliot Ramos is playing well
    • Ramos continues to see his name on the lineup card batting sixth or seventh
    • The whiff rate is a major concern, but he is barreling up the ball at an elite level so far with excellent exit velocities
    • His BABIP is not going to stay around .400 but it should remain above the league average thanks to strong line drive rates
    • I prefer Ramos to Matos if you have to pick one

Colorado Rockies

  • Kris Bryant is back from the IL
    • Bryant returned to the lineup on Tuesday and is batting fifth or sixth for the Rockies
    • Since joining Colorado, Bryant has been a shell of the player he once was. He is not worth targeting in fantasy leagues despite his upside
    • Bryant’s return has decreased the playing time for Elehuris Montero who now moves back into a bench role
  • Ezequiel Tovar has four home runs since May 12
    • Tovar was one of my favorite picks to see a power surge this season and those predictions are coming true
    • He is off to a very solid start in 2024 with seven homers and four stolen bases on the season
    • While the power is legit, his chase rate has managed to go up instead of down this season which is a major red flag. Depending on the value you can get, you might want to explore selling high on Tovar
  • Ryan McMahon is quietly fulfilling his breakout prophecy
    • McMahon has been a polarizing fantasy asset the last several seasons but is finally doing it all at the plate
    • He is up to nine home runs while showing off significant improvements to his whiff rate
    • McMahon’s fantasy value has never been too great making him a possible player that you can buy high on and still not pay a bounty for
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