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Fantasy Baseball Lineup Breakdown: AL 05/10

American League lineup analysis is back again this week. The news and notes have not slowed down as there is plenty for fantasy baseball managers to catch up on from the past week. This article provides all the relevant lineup information you need in one place. The five hottest hitters in the AL over the past week have been Brent Rooker, Aaron Judge, Shea Langeliers, Max Kepler, and Davis Schneider. Keep reading for the latest news and notes from all 15 teams.

Please note that this article was written the day before publication. I will do my best to update the article with any relevant information from the previous night’s games.

Fantasy Baseball Lineup Takeaways

AL East

New York Yankees

  • Aaron Judge has come to life
    • Fantasy managers can breathe a sigh of relief after Judge’s slow start to the 2024 season
    • Judge is now up to eight home runs and since April 24, Judge is slashing .333/.452/.706
    • Judge is one of the elite hitters in baseball and is showing no signs of slowing down this season
  • Jon Berti is back from the IL
    • With Oswaldo Cabrera continuing to play at a solid level, Berti is unlikely to become a fantasy-relevant option
    • Berti has entered the lineup twice since returning batting seventh and ninth
    • Cabrera meanwhile is slashing just .183/.234/.350 since April 20 and is not worth rostering outside of AL-only leagues
  • Alex Verdugo is underrated
    • Verdugo is batting cleanup in the Yankees’ lineup putting him in a prime spot to drive in runs behind Aaron Judge and Juan Soto
    • Yankee Stadium will continue to help his power play up beyond what the batted ball data suggests
    • He is not a league-winner but is a solid option for fantasy teams

Boston Red Sox

  • Vaughn Grissom has returned from the IL
    • Grissom’s long-awaited Red Sox debut finally came last Friday
    • He has primarily been batting fifth in the lineup and serving as the team’s everyday second baseman
    • His Major League career got off to a fast start, but he has struggled offensively since then. He is not a player I am sold on talent-wise, but if you need help at second base he is worth a flier
  • Masataka Yoshida landed on the IL
    • A thumb injury has sent Yoshida to the IL although this is not expected to be a long-term stay
    • With Yoshida out of the lineup, both Garrett Cooper and Dominic Smith are seeing extended playing time
    • Smith is batting sixth in the lineup against righties and is on the bench against lefties
    • Smith has not posted an above-average offensive season since 2020 and is not worth adding
  • Jarren Duran should start seeing his home runs increase
    • Duran has gotten off to a strong start to the 2024 season with nine stolen bases and noticeable improvements to the rest of his game
    • Only having one home run is a bit disappointing but he is averaging over 90 mph on his exit velocities
    • He should start seeing his home runs increase and is a threat to go 15-35 this season. Batting leadoff should also help him continue to produce solid run totals that add to his fantasy value

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Josh Lowe is back from the IL
    • Lowe returned to the lineup on Monday and has hit both second and third in the lineup since returning
    • Lowe was a valuable fantasy asset for much of last season and should be rostered in all leagues for now
    • The Rays’ plan against lefties remains to be seen, but it is safe to assume he will be on the bench against at least half of them
    • Curtis Mead was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move
  • Johnny DeLuca has been on a tear
    • DeLuca was acquired from the Dodgers this off-season and was off to a fast start in Triple-A prior to his promotion
    • Since being recalled, DeLuca has been batting all over the back half of the lineup and producing
    • He is another player who pulls the ball a ton to tap into as much raw power as possible. He has solid speed and the fact that he is a right-handed hitter could help keep him in the lineup more often
    • He is worth picking up and taking a shot on
  • The Rays’ lineup is about to get crowded
    • Brandon Lowe is beginning a rehab assignment in Triple-A and is expected to return soon
    • Once Lowe returns he is likely to serve as the primary second baseman against righties. This could take playing time away from Richie Palacios who has been seeing some time at second
    • Jonathan Aranda is also on the mend. Aranda has been sidelined since Spring Training but is nearing the end of his rehab assignment. He profiles to factor into playing time across the infield and at DH
    • Harold Ramirez is the primary candidate to see his playing time decrease if the Rays want to get Aranda into the lineup

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Daulton Varsho is now batting second in the lineup against right-handed pitchers
    • The Blue Jays are searching for any kind of spark they can find offensively and are hoping moving Varsho up will result in one
    • After a slow start to the season, Varsho is up to six home runs with four stolen bases. This move up in the lineup should result in more run-scoring opportunities
    • Varsho’s average launch angle is way too high to ever post strong batting averages but his blend of power and speed makes him a worthy fantasy option
  • With Varsho moving up, Bo Bichette is sliding down in the lineup
    • The 2024 season has gotten off to a dreadful start for Bichette who is now batting sixth against righties
    • Bichette’s plate discipline metrics have long been a concern, but now his barrel rate has disappeared
    • He also has not stolen a base since April 12. You cannot cut Bichette, but there is legitimate reason for fantasy managers to be concerned moving forward
  •   Davis Schneider has taken over an everyday lineup spot
    • Schneider started the season on the bench but is now playing regularly splitting time between left field and second base
    • He is primarily batting seventh in the lineup but moving up to fifth against righties
    • His contact rate is showing improvement from last season and he continues to barrel up the ball at one of the highest clips in baseball. He is worth a dart throw if you are looking for a spark at second base

Baltimore Orioles

  • Ryan McKenna is starting to eat into Cedric Mullins’ playing time
    • 2024 has been a struggle for Mullins in real life as his average sits down near .200 with a wRC+ less than 100
    • His six home runs and six stolen bases are keeping his value afloat in fantasy but he is losing playing time against lefties
    • The concern is that McKenna could start to eat into his playing time against lefties and Heston Kjerstad could get more of his playing time against righties
    • This situation is worth monitoring. Mullins is not worth holding in shallow points formats
  • Jorge Mateo continues to steal bases
    • Mateo is not going to play against all right-handed pitchers but he is still an elite source of stolen bases if you need help in that category
    • Mateo has been splitting time with Ramon Urias since Jackson Holliday was sent back to Triple-A
    • Holliday should be expected to rejoin the club before too long limiting any potential fantasy value found between the other two players

AL West

Houston Astros

  • Four players are splitting two outfield slots
    • Joey Loperfido, Mauricio Dubon, Jake Meyers, and Trey Cabbage are all factoring into the playing time mix for left and center field
    • All four players are batting eighth or ninth in the lineup when playing
    • Loperfido has the most potential of the four but is striking out over 40% of the time since being promoted. If the team is not going to play him every day, he could wind up back in Triple-A
  • Jon Singleton is playing every day
    • Since the demotion of Jose Abreu, Singleton has been given a chance as the starting first baseman. He has been batting fifth in the lineup and playing against both lefties and righties
    • Since taking over the role on April 24, Singleton is slashing .250/.359/.531 with three home runs
    • He is unlikely to hit for much average but is a solid deeper league option in OBP leagues where his strong walk rate adds value
  • Alex Bregman has slid down to sixth in the lineup
    • After outperforming his power metrics for years, Bregman has seen his numbers come crashing down in 2024
    • He is pulling the ball significantly less than ever before likely fueling this power outage
    • He should see his BABIP come up, but might not reach 20 home runs this year. With a lack of speed in a struggling lineup, dare I say, Bregman is a fine cut in shallow leagues (8/10 teams)

Los Angeles Angels

  • Mickey Moniak has moved up to second in the lineup
    • Moniak continues to sit against lefties, but the move up to second against righties should increase his counting stat production
    • Moniak’s bat has come to life in recent weeks as he continues to make more contact than last year while starting to barrel up the ball again
    • He is an interesting player to take a shot on. The power and speed are there if he can continue improving his plate discipline
  • Willie Calhoun is platoon proof….for now
    • Calhoun is back in the Major Leagues and getting regular playing time with the Angels
    • He is batting fourth in the lineup against righties and sliding down to seventh against lefties
    • The inability to barrel the ball up consistently cost Calhoun early on in his professional career. He has yet to hit a barrel since joining the Angels. I am not picking him up anywhere just yet
  • The team claimed Niko Goodrum and traded for Luis Guillorme
    • Both players profile to be utility bats and will help fill the hole left by Luis Rengifo who landed on the IL
    • Rengifo was battling an illness and should not be forced to miss much more than the minimum IL stay
    • The trade for Guillorme is a bit of a curious move as the Angels are not in a position to contend this season
    • Neither player is fantasy-relevant

Texas Rangers

  • Wyatt Langford is on the IL with a hamstring injury
    • Langford’s injury is expected to keep him out of the lineup for three to four weeks
    • With Langford out, Travis Jankowski is likely to step in on the strong side of the platoon with Ezequiel Duran getting more playing time as well
    • Duran has been playing well as of late batting over .400 since the start of May. He is seeing time in both left field and third base
    • If his playing time becomes more consistent, he could be worth picking up
    • The team also acquired Robbie Grossman who could begin factoring into playing time
  • Jonah Heim has continued to stay hot
    • After a slow start to the season, Heim has been one of the best offensive catchers in baseball
    • The Rangers are getting him into the lineup every day splitting his time between catcher and DH
    • His .300 batting average is likely unsustainable, but he should continue to be a top-end option thanks to solid RBI and home run production

Oakland Athletics

  • Darell Hernaiz has been placed on the IL
    • Hernaiz’s Major League career has not gotten off to the best start and he is not worth holding onto in any leagues through his injury
    • Max Schuemann appears to be first in line to get a chance at the starting shortstop job
    • Schuemann stole 23 bases in the Minor Leagues last season but is not worth adding in any format
    • Do not be surprised if the team turns to 2023 first-round pick Jacob Wilson who was just promoted to Triple-A
  • Tyler Soderstrom is back up from Triple-A
    • Soderstrom was up to seven home runs in Triple-A and has already added one at the Major League level
    • The power is effortless, but contact concerns remain prevalent and limit his offensive potential
    • He is likely to get into the lineup primarily at first base over Tyler Nevin but could also see an occasional start at catcher
  • Lawrence Butler is losing playing time
    • After a brief move up in the lineup, Butler has shifted back down to seventh and has been on the bench against righties in back-to-back games
    • Butler has been unable to make enough contact to produce offensively and a trip back to Triple-A could be coming
    • With Butler out, Brent Rooker has been seeing more playing time in the field with JD Davis shifting into the DH role
    • Esteury Ruiz could also get another shot at an everyday role

Seattle Mariners

  • Josh Rojas has found life offensively in the leadoff role
    • After a slow start, Rojas is now up to three home runs and three stolen bases with excellent average
    • His barrel rate is up this season pointing to support for this increased power. Fantasy managers should not expect his average to remain this high though as his BABIP currently sits above .400
    • Rojas is still out of the lineup when Seattle faces lefties with Luis Urias stepping in
  • If you need shortstop help, target Dylan Moore
    • Moore is filling in for JP Crawford who remains without a firm timetable to return from his oblique injury
    • Moore has been batting at the bottom of Seattle’s lineup but has a solid combination of both power and speed
    • He is up to five steals and two home runs while making more contact than he ever has before. He is worth a deep-league flier
  • Cal Raleigh has three home runs since May 4
    • Raleigh’s approach is going to lead to plenty of hot and cold streaks. He strikes out too much but his power can help carry your fantasy teams
    • He continues to bat in the middle of Seattle’s lineup which should lead to plenty of RBI opportunities
    • He is a better points league option than he is in standard category leagues
    • Raleigh moved up to third in the lineup on Thursday with Jorge Polanco shifting down to sixth

AL Central

Detroit Tigers

  • Parker Meadows was optioned to Triple-A
    • After high expectations to start the season, Meadows struggled to get things going in 2024
    • With Meadows gone, the door is open for Wenceel Perez to continue playing center field every day
    • Perez continues to play well and should be added in most leagues
  • Dynasty managers should remain patient with Colt Keith
    • The Tigers continue putting Keith into the lineup despite his slow start to the season
    • Under the hood, Keith’s metrics are unspectacular but still very solid. He has a strong barrel rate, plus contact skills, and is showing great plate discipline
    • The glaring issue is a BABIP currently below .200. Keith is a strong buy-low option in dynasty formats and a fine bench option in deeper redraft leagues

Kansas City Royals

  • Nelson Velasquez has lost his starting job
    • Velasquez finally got an extended chance to prove himself with the Royals after an excellent second half of 2023. Unfortunately, he has struggled throughout the start of 2024 and now is in a bench role
    • Adam Frazier has been the primary beneficiary of this move seeing his playing time increase at second base
    • Frazier is not worth adding in any format
  • Michael Massey’s whiff rate is below 10%
    • Massey has flashed solid home run potential thanks to strong pull-side awareness but is now showing off significant improvements to his contact skills
    • The sample size is still small since his season was delayed due to injuries but this shift could turn Massey into a valuable fantasy asset
    • He is worth a flier if you need help at second base although fantast managers should not expect many stolen bases

Chicago White Sox

  • Bryan Ramos was promoted from Triple-A
    • Ramos is considered to be the top hitting prospect in the White Sox’s system and is getting a chance to play third base on a regular basis
    • He has been batting sixth in the lineup most nights since his promotion
    • Strikeouts and launch angle consistency have been the two biggest issues for Ramos throughout his professional career. If he can improve in both of those areas, he profiles as a reliable four-category contributor
  • Paul DeJong is quietly up to five home runs including two in the past week
    • DeJong is playing shortstop every day for the White Sox batting in the back half of the lineup
    • While he has been performing well, fantasy managers should not expect his strong performance to continue
    • He is striking out over 35% of the time and should see his numbers come back down as the season moves along

Minnesota Twins

  • Byron Buxton is on the IL with knee inflammation
    • Buxton was always going to land on the IL at some point this season and it finally happened
    • With Buxton out, Willi Castro has been getting the majority of reps in center field
    • Austin Martin and Manuel Margot have also rotated into the playing time mix
    • Castro is the only one of the three getting consistent playing time and has plus speed if you need a boost in that area for your fantasy teams
  • Max Kepler has gotten hot
    • Since returning from the IL on April 22, Kepler is slashing .429/.491/.714 with more walks than strikeouts
    • Kepler is one of the most underrated players in fantasy and is an excellent four-category contributor
    • Batting in the middle of the lineup provides him with plenty of counting stat potential. He should be rostered in 100% of leagues

Cleveland Guardians

  • Steven Kwan suffered a hamstring injury
    • Kwan was off to a fantastic start in 2024 but now is on the IL
    • With Kwan out, Estevan Florial is getting a chance to play more often
    • Florial has even been batting leadoff in place of Kwan which should provide a bit of a boost to his fantasy value
    • Worth noting is Brayan Rocchio moved up to the leadoff spot on Thursday and could be the team’s preferred option moving forward
    • His skill set is intriguing but he has yet to prove capable of lowering his strikeout rate. I am not picking Florial up anywhere
  • Kyle Manzardo is up from Triple-A
    • The other part of the Kwan injury was the team promoting their top prospect to the MLB
    • Manzardo was dominating Triple-A pitching and fully restored his top-prospect status this season
    • He has been batting toward the bottom of the lineup so far and should play most days
    • Manzardo has an excellent skill set featuring plus power and a plus hit tool which should turn him into a reliable fantasy option. He should be added anywhere you need help at first base
  • Bo Naylor continues to play and continues to strike out
    • Naylor continues to hit the ball hard which is encouraging but his plate discipline metrics are atrocious
    • He ranks in the 11th percentile of baseball for whiffs and the third percentile for strikeouts
    • If Naylor does not start to show some improvements, he could wind up losing his starting job. Naylor is not worth rostering outside of dynasty leagues and deeper two-catcher formats
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