The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

Fantasy Baseball Lineup Takeaways: AL 05/03

American League lineup analysis is back. We are now over a month into the season. Trends are being realized, playing time is shifting, and fantasy managers are constantly scrambling trying to keep up. This article provides all of the relevant lineup information you need in one place. The five hottest hitters in the AL over the past week have been: Josh Smith, Kyle Tucker, Luis Rengifo, Steven Kwan, and Tyler Nevin. Keep reading for the latest news and notes from all 15 teams. Make sure to check out last week’s version on National League lineups right here.

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

  • Austin Wells hit his first home run this past week
    • Wells is getting more run as the team’s primary catcher and is coming to life offensively
    • He was identified as a strong buy low option in dynasty leagues over the past couple of weeks and is helping prove this analysis right
    • Since 04/24, he has three multi-hit performances and should continue to see his BABIP and home run luck improve. He is a far superior offensive option for New York than Jose Trevino
  • Alex Verdugo was placed on the paternity list earlier this week
    • With Verdugo out of the lineup, Trent Grisham got to see his playing time increase briefly batting at the bottom of the lineup
    • Verdugo is already up to four home runs on the season. He is pulling the ball more than he has in previous years which is the perfect way to increase your home run total in Yankee Stadium
    • Trent Grisham is nothing more than a fourth outfielder at this point barring an injury
    • Verdugo returned to the lineup on Thursday and hit sixth

Boston Red Sox

  • The team picked up Garrett Cooper after he was DFAd from the Cubs
    • With Triston Casas landing on the IL with a fractured rib, the team was desperate for help at first base
    • Enter Cooper who has posted solid offensive numbers throughout his Major League career
    • Cooper hit seventh in his first start on Tuesday and is likely to split time with Bobby Dalbec moving forward
    • Casas was already placed on the 60-Day IL speaking to the severity of his injury
  • Ceddanne Rafaela is the everyday shortstop and Wilyer Abreu is the strong-side platoon right fielder
    • As Boston continues to deal with injuries, this appears to be the set up they are running with
    • Rafaela has been batting ninth in the lineup and is starting to steal more frequently as well as hit more home runs
    • His strikeout rate and lack of patience at the plate remain a major concern moving forward although his BABIP should start to increase
    • Abreu is batting fourth in Boston’s lineup and is performing very well offensively
    • While his BABIP is bound to come down and he shares the same contact concerns as Rafaela, his batted ball data is much stronger. I prefer Abreu to Rafaela in a vacuum
  • Connor Wong has been red hot at the plate
    • Wong has fully taken over as the primary catcher and has moved up toward the middle of the lineup batting fifth or sixth most nights
    • Wong flashed some upside last year hitting nine home runs with eight steals, but nobody expected him to have five home runs already this year
    • Unfortunately, fantasy managers should not expect this to continue. His exit velocities and barrel rate are nothing special. He is super aggressive at the plate and on top of that his BABIP is unsustainably high. This is a fun run, but he will cool off

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Jose Lowe suffered a setback in his rehab process
    • Lowe was close to rejoining the Rays’ lineup after suffering an oblique injury but experienced a hamstring injury in the process
    • The reports out of Tampa have been vague at best and he remains without a firm timetable to return
    • With Lowe still out, Richie Palacios continues to get regular playing time in the outfield
    • Palacios is up to second in the lineup and now has three home runs and three stolen bases
    • While his playing time is likely to decrease in the future, he is a solid target if you need outfield help. This is especially true in OBP leagues
  • Austin Shenton is getting more playing time
    • Shenton drew three straight starts Saturday to Monday batting between fourth and sixth in the lineup
    • He hit over .300 with 29 home runs in the Minor Leagues last season but is struggling to limit the strikeouts in his first taste of Major League action. He is not worth adding in any fantasy format right now
    • Curtis Mead and Harold Ramirez have both been seeing their playing time decrease. Mead is not worth holding onto outside of semi-deep dynasty leagues
  • Yandy Diaz is struggling
    • He continues to bat leadoff, but he has just one home run and is not even hitting for average
    • Diaz’s 2023 breakout was fueled by an increased launch angle and barrel rate. Neither of those things have shown up again in 2024
    • Diaz is pounding the ball into the ground making his hard contact nearly useless. Diaz could be in for a rough year after running a .367 BABIP in 2023

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Davis Schneider is getting regular playing time in a utility role
    • Schneider is playing both left field and second base and started five straight games this week
    • He has been batting anywhere between fifth and seventh in the lineup
    • His barrel rate and quality of contact are both excellent and he is showing off improved contact skills from last year. He is a player that could be worth adding in deeper leagues
  • Danny Jansen is being treated as the primary catcher
    • Jansen returned from injury a couple of weeks ago and is the hotter bat between him and Alejandro Kirk
    • He is up to two home runs already and is walking more than he has struck out so far this year
    • His high fly ball tendencies are likely to lead to lower batting averages, but everything else is incredibly encouraging. He is worth adding if you need catching help

Baltimore Orioles

  • Jackson Holliday was optioned back Triple-A
    • Holliday’s Major League career did not go as well as everybody had hoped. He struggled striking out 50% of the time
    • Fantasy managers need to remember that Holliday is still just 20 years old. The future is incredibly bright still
    • With Holliday back in Triple-A, Ramon Urias has reentered the starting lineup. Urias is playing against righties batting ninth in the order
  • Heston Kjerstad is not getting very much playing time
    • The expectation was that once promoted, the team would prioritize playing Kjerstad on a regular basis
    • So far, he has drawn just two starts primarily sitting on the bench
    • His biggest path to playing time would be in favor of Ryan O’Hearn who has a wRC+ over 150 making the Orioles’ decision difficult
    • Kjerstad is not worth picking up in redraft leagues until the Orioles are willing to start him regularly
  • Colton Cowser is starting to move back down the lineup
    • When it looked like Cowser was going to run away with AL ROY, he was batting toward the middle of Baltimore’s lineup. Now, he is batting toward the bottom
    • The encouraging news for fantasy managers is the the Orioles continue to put Cowser into the lineup against both righties and lefties
    • Cowser’s hot start was always a bit unsustainable with his whiff rate leading to strikeout issues. However, he should continue to hit for solid power and steal bases. He is not a sell-high candidate in my opinion

AL West

Houston Astros

  • Joey Loperfido is up and Jose Abreu is down
    • The team and Abreu agreed to option him down to the lower levels of the Minor Leagues in an attempt to get him right at the plate. Abreu was abysmal to start this season and hopefully this helps get his career back on track
    • Loperfido meanwhile was dominating in Triple-A and now joins the Astros. He has played left field in each of his first two starts batting seventh in the lineup
    • He has plus power and plus speed making him an intriguing fantasy asset. There is a decent probability he struggles to keep his strikeout rate in check
  • While Chas McCormick has been battling injury, Jon Singleton is getting some run in the lineup
    • McCormick’s season had gotten off to a slow start as he is batting under .250 without a home run
    • If both Singleton and Loperfido perform well offensively, McCormick could start to see his playing time decrease
    • For somebody who is supposedly a power hitter, Singleton’s lack of barrels makes it difficult to envision him ever becoming a relevant fantasy asset

Los Angeles Angels

  • Mike Trout suffered a torn meniscus
    • A heartbreaking injury for Trout who was showing signs of returning to MVP form
    • This injury is expected to sideline Trout for most of, if not all of, the regular season
    • Mickey Moniak is likely to take over as the everyday center fielder and bat toward the bottom of the lineup. I am not picking up Moniak anywhere at this point
  • Luis Rengifo is up into the middle of the lineup
    • After starting the season in a bench role, Rengifo has become one of the best bats in the Angels’ lineup
    • For fantasy managers, he has been excellent. He has hit two home runs in the past week and is up to nine stolen bases on the year
    • His batted ball data is less than inspiring and fantasy managers should not expect him to continue batting over .300. That being said, he could hit .260 with 15 and 30 this season with tons of positional eligibility
  • Willie Calhoun is back in the Major Leagues
    • I was unaware Calhoun was even in the Angels’ system but he is now up and has a chance to earn some playing time
    • The former top prospect was never able to put everything together at the Major League level despite high expectations
    • He is not worth adding anywhere until he shows that he is going to get consistent playing time and is improved from the last time we saw him

Texas Rangers

  • Evan Carter is struggling against left-handed pitching
    • We are still very early in the season but his struggles could result in some lost playing time
    • Carter sat against two lefties earlier this week and hit ninth against a third lefty yesterday
    • Carter’s season has not gotten off to the best start and while his BABIP is bound to come up, his home run rate is likely to regress. He is a difficult player to value at this point. This is even more true if he continues losing playing time against lefties
  • Is Josh Smith becoming fantasy-relevant?
    • Smith is now past 30 games played this season and still holds a batting average over .300 with two home runs. He is now batting sixth in the lineup
    • While Smith does hold a certain degree of value in OBP leagues, he fails to steal enough bases or hit for enough power to be a reliable fantasy asset
    • If you are in need of average or OBP help, Smith is a fine target. Outside of that, he should remain on waivers

Oakland Athletics

  • Tyler Nevin is batting second in Oakland’s lineup
    • Nevin is starting to get some attention from those in the fantasy community as he has been red hot at the plate recently
    • He has hit three home runs since April 25 while batting over .300
    • Nevin has 15-20 home run power, but fantasy managers should not expect his BABIP to remain over .350. He is not somebody I am buying into
  • Abraham Toro is getting consistent playing time
    • Toro has been batting all over the lineup anywhere from fourth to seventh and playing all over the infield
    • He has been showing off solid contact skills but the batted ball data is mediocre at best
    • The Athletics are likely to rotate his playing time to younger players as the season moves along. He is not relevant outside of deep AL-only leagues
  • Lawrence Butler has been moved into the leadoff spot
    • Butler has not been performing offensively to deserve a move up in the lineup but this gives him a chance to get more at-bats and score more runs
    • The batted ball data has been excellent but Butler is striking out too much to post consistent numbers
    • Butler is worth keeping an eye on but not worth adding at this point

Seattle Mariners

  • Jonatan Clase was sent back to Triple-A
    • After getting some run in the lineup upon his promotion, Clase quickly moved into more of a bench role with Seattle
    • The sample size of playing time was too small to gain much of an insight into his future projection. Fantasy baseball managers should continue to monitor his success in Triple-A
    • With Clase gone, Luke Raley has started stepping into the lineup more regularly batting eighth most games against right-handed pitchers
    • Raley has struggled to limit the strikeouts this season and his quality of contact has tanked from where it was last year. He is not worth adding in any format
  • JP Crawford is on the IL
    • With Crawford out, Dylan Moore is getting a chance to play regularly at shortstop. He has been batting in the back half of the lineup moving up a bit against lefties
    • Moore has five stolen bases and solid raw power. However a launch angle over 25 degrees limits his average potential and makes him no better than a fringe fantasy asset
    • He is unlikely to retain playing time for long
    • Josh Rojas has moved into the leadoff spot in Seattle’s lineup with Crawford sidelined

AL Central

Detroit Tigers

  • Wenceel Perez is becoming a player fantasy managers need to pay attention to
    • Perez had shown flashes of success at various points in his Minor League career but did not enter the Major Leagues with the same fanfare as some other prospects who have been promoted
    • The Tigers are now giving him everyday playing time in the outfield and he is batting third in the lineup against right-handed pitchers
    • He has three home runs, two stolen bases, and is showing off plus contact skills
    • Perez is just 24 years old and deserves more recognition
    • Parker Meadows is seeing his playing time decrease with Perez in there on a regular basis
  • Matt Vierling is getting regular playing time at third base
    • The Tigers are batting Vierling all over the lineup. The most common spot is fifth although he hit leadoff against a lefty on Tuesday
    • Vierling is not going to win you any leagues, but if you are searching for at-bats and eligibility he is a perfect target
    • He is averaging over 93 mph on his exit velocities and is up to three home runs already. Vierling is not the flashiest player, but is a solid choice in deeper formats. His new launch angle is helping lead to more game power which is always nice to see
  • Spencer Torkelson is dropping lower in the lineup
    • Torkelson was a popular breakout pick for the 2024 season but has struggled early on
    • His barrel rate has disappeared out of nowhere and has zapped his power
    • After hitting over 30 home runs last season, Torkelson should get his first one soon but this start is no doubt a major concern

Kansas City Royals

  • MJ Melendez could start to lose playing time
    • The Royals have already shifted Melendez down to seventh in the lineup
    • He has not hit a home run since April 19 and he is without a hit since April 21
    • Contact issues remain a concern for Melendez who is still hitting the ball hard. The silver lining is that his .188 BABIP should improve and move closer to his .277 career average
    • Melendez is now up to 1,238 career plate appearances and owns a career 92 wRC+. He is not worth holding onto through his struggles
  • Nelson Velasquez is also struggling
    • Velasquez still just has two home runs and is striking out over 30% of the time
    • He is known for his power and so far his barrel rate sits below six percent
    • Velasquez is not worth holding onto outside of deep formats

Chicago White Sox

  • Tommy Pham has joined the team
    • In a move that took too long to happen, the White Sox added Pham and have been hitting him second in the lineup
    • Pham’s 2024 season is off to a fast start after he very quietly hit 16 homers with 22 stolen bases last year
    • At 36 years old, he is unlikely to be an elite fantasy asset, but he has a chance to provide consistent at-bats and decent production. Odds are he will be traded at the deadline if his strong start continues
  • Nicky Lopez is batting leadoff
    • Has Nicky Lopez shown any sort of potential offensively since 2021? Not even a little bit, but welcome to the 2024 White Sox
    • Lopez is barely batting above the Mendoza Line and is not even stealing bases anymore
    • Not only is he not a useful fantasy asset, but it would be odd to see him continue receiving everyday playing time as the season moves along

Minnesota Twins

  • Carlos Correa is back from the IL
    • Correa returned to the lineup on Monday and has been batting all over the middle of the lineup depending on who is on the mound
    • Most of Correa’s real life value comes from his defense and impressive plate discipline. He is a useful fantasy asset in points formats as well as OBP leagues but is not much better than replacement level outside of that due to his lack of speed
    • Austin Martin was sent back to Triple-A in a corresponding move
  • Ryan Jeffers is batting leadoff against lefties and third against righties
    • Jeffers has been on fire at the plate recently hitting safely in nine of his last 10 games with two home runs during that span
    • His new prominent spots in the lineup are likely to increase his run and RBI totals turning him into one of the top catching options in fantasy
    • His quality of contact is the worst part of the underlying metrics and he has a strong track record of success in this area in past seasons. I am buying this hot start to 2024
  • Willi Castro is getting into the lineup everyday at a variety of positions
    • Castro is batting all over the back half of the lineup playing shortstop, third base, and outfield
    • He surprisingly has stolen as many bases as he has been caught but he should continue providing plenty of steals
    • His BABIP is going to come down and fantasy managers should not expect this level of production to continue

Cleveland Guardians

  • The Guardians are giving Estevan Florial a chance
    • Florial has been getting more time in the lineup for the first time this season batting seventh
    • His tools are intriguing with easy power and solid speed but his inability to limit the strikeouts cap his fantasy value and potential
    • He has not shown any noticeable improvements in this area lately and is unlikely to retain a starting spot for long
    • Ramon Laureano has moved into a short-side platoon role with this switch
  • Brayan Rocchio is an interesting buy in deeper keeper/dynasty leagues
    • Rocchio is up to four stolen bases and is showing off solid contact skills plus plate discipline this season
    • The power is yet to show up but he did pop 18 home runs back in 2022
    • He should see improvements to his batting average as he has a low BABIP with strong line drive rates
    • He continues to play everyday and bat at the bottom of Cleveland’s lineup
Fantrax is one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites in the fantasy sports industry, and we’re not stopping any time soon. We are the most customizable, easy-to-use, and feature-rich platform in the industry, offering the greatest fantasy experience for your dynasty, keeper, redraft, and best ball leagues. Fantasy sports doesn’t sleep, and neither does Fantrax, with seasons running 365 days a year. Take your fantasy leagues to the next level now at!
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.