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Fantasy Baseball NL Lineup Breakdown: 09/15

Back at it with National League lineups. There is plenty to catch up on from the last 10 days of baseball. The five hottest hitters in the National League over that time period have been: Matt Olson, Trea Turner, CJ Abrams, TJ Friedl, and Xander Bogaerts.

Disclaimer: This article is written the day before publishing. Not all statistics will be 100% accurate from the night before. I will do my best to update any important news or notes that come through at the last second. Keep reading to stay up to date on the latest trends from all 15 National League teams and check out the latest AL lineup article here.

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 Lineup Takeaways: NL Edition

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Nick Castellanos has slid down in the lineup
    • The move down was originally all the way to eighth, but he has been hitting sixth or seventh more consistently
    • Castellanos has responded well to the move down batting close to .300 since
    • He remains a strong fantasy asset in a deep lineup despite the change and should continue to hit in plenty of runs. He is currently on pace to eclipse the 100 mark for the year
  • There is one open lineup spot split between three players
    • The spot is primarily the third outfield spot with Bryce Harper playing first base and Kyle Schwarber moving to DH
    • Jake Cave had control over most of the playing time but a recent slump has opened the door for both Edmundo Sosa and Josh Rojas
    • None of the three players are worth rostering in fantasy leagues. Rojas’ speed is the most attractive fantasy attribute for any of the players
  • Trea Turner continues to be incredible
    • Turner is now up to 26 home runs and 27 stolen bases. The home runs sound outrageous if you look at his stat line from one month ago
    • He looks like a top-five selection and is an elite five-category contributor for the rest of the season

Miami Marlins

  • Garrett Hampson is getting more playing time at shortstop
    • Hampson is primarily batting seventh in the lineup
    • He is batting .343 since August 31 including two home runs. Surprisingly, he does not have any stolen bases during that time which is where a lot of his fantasy value usually comes from
    • At this point, Hampson is not worth rostering, but he is somebody to keep an eye on if his playing time continues to increase. Joey Wendle has seen his playing time decrease as a result of Hampson’s hot streak
  • Jorge Soler is on the IL
    • With Soler out, Xavier Edwards has seen his playing time increase
    • The Marlins have had to shuffle their lineup, but Luis Arraez has moved to first, Josh Bell to DH, and Edwards has entered the lineup at second base
    • Edwards has a strong Minor League track record of high batting averages and big-time stolen base numbers. This success has never fully translated to the Major League level, but he is worth keeping an eye on
    • Bell has moved up to second in the lineup with Soler out
  • Jazz Chisholm Jr has been slumping at the plate
    • Chisholm has just three hits in his last 23 plate appearances although he was red-hot before this slump
    • His plate discipline and contact skills make Chisholm prone to hot and cold streaks which will likely continue throughout his career

Atlanta Braves

  • No real lineup changes to discuss here
    • Sean Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud continue to split time at catcher making both difficult players to roster
    • Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson continue to be two of the best hitters in the Major Leagues

Washington Nationals

  • Luis Garcia is back from Triple-A
    • Garcia has been playing on the strong side of a platoon since returning and batting eighth in Washington’s lineup
    • He has continued to struggle to find his footing at the Major League level and is not somebody worth picking up
    • Michael Chavis is no longer getting any playing time at second base with Garcia back in the mix
  • Ildemaro Vargas is being used in a super-utility role
    • Vargas is getting consistent starts against left-handed pitchers while also rotating in against righties batting in the back half of the lineup
    • He has hit safely in each of his last six starts although with limited power and limited speed, he is not a primary target to add in fantasy leagues
    • His additional playing time is coming at the expense of Carter Kieboom against righties and Luis Garcia against lefties
  • Keibert Ruiz is in the midst of a nine-game hitting streak
    • Ruiz has quietly had an excellent season and is up to 17 home runs with a .258 average
    • Since the start of August, Ruiz is slashing .299/.355/.488 and it seems like nobody is paying attention
    • Hitting in a desirable lineup spot and posting strong numbers, Ruiz is an excellent catching option in 12+ team leagues

New York Mets

  • Daniel Vogelbach has officially lost his starting lineup spot
    • The team is giving Mark Vientos a chance with regular playing time at the DH spot
    • Vientos is batting seventh in the lineup in most games
    • He is slugging over .500 since returning from the IL on August 27 although he is still striking out over 35% of the time. He is not somebody I am targeting
  • Brett Baty is also getting more consistent playing time now
    • Now that Vientos has his own lineup spot, Baty no longer is stuck in a platoon
    • He is batting eighth most nights and has been really struggling offensively
    • He is batting under .200 since the start of September despite a much-improved launch angle and strong barrel rate. The quality of contact is there although his recent strikeout rate is a bit alarming. I am still a believer in Baty longterm
  • Ronny Mauricio has looked the part since being promoted
    • Having already worked himself up to sixth in the lineup, Mauricio has one home run and four stolen bases already this season
    • His chase rate is high, but the contact skills look strong, not to mention the obvious upside in his bat
    • He is a strong add option for any team that is looking for a boost in the playoffs. His multi-positional eligibility in most places also increases his fantasy value

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

  • Pete Crow-Armstrong is up from Triple-A
    • PCA has had an electric Minor League season and is now getting his shot to prove he is ready for the Major Leagues
    • He has started two of three games since his promotion batting toward the bottom of the lineup
    • There is plenty of power and speed here. The only concern is whether or not he will be able to keep his strikeout rate in check
    • Mike Tauchman has lost his starting job as a result of this move
  • Jeimer Candelario is on the IL
    • With Candelario out, Christopher Morel has stepped back into an everyday role
    • Morel is batting at the top of the lineup and offers plenty of fantasy upside
    • He has three home runs since September 5, although there is also plenty of risk. If you want to chase upside, pick up Morel so long as he is starting
  • Seiya Suzuki has looked like a different hitter since the start of September
    • Suzuki is slashing .389/.424/.759 with four home runs over that span
    • His barrel rate is over 18% with an average exit velocity of 92.3 mph
    • Suzuki’s quality of contact has always suggested he has been unlucky at the plate and we are seeing his upside on full display recently

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Nolan Gorman is on the IL
    • With Gorman out, Alec Burleson has seen his playing time increase
    • Surprisingly, Burleson is batting third in the lineup most games although he remains on the strong side of a platoon
    • He has not hit a home run since August 3 and is not worth rostering in fantasy leagues
  • Willson Contreras has been the lone bright spot in a lineup that has been struggling recently
    • Contreras has six home runs and is batting .378 since August 29 while also providing excellent run and RBI totals
    • He exited the game on Tuesday after appearing to injure his hand and was absent from the lineup on Wednesday
    • This situation is worth monitoring although it does not seem like the team is worried about his availability long-term
  • Masyn Winn is running an extremely low BABIP
    • Overall, his BABIP sits at .183 and this number is .138 since the start of September
    • We should not expect this number to remain this low, but he is not hitting the ball hard at all while hitting too many ground balls
    • There have always been questions about how his power would translate to the Major Leagues and it might be time to adjust your long-term expectations

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Josh Donaldson is officially on the Major League roster and has started three straight games since joining the roster
    • Donaldson has hit fifth and sixth since joining and could end up on the short side of a platoon long-term
    • Brice Turang is moving into a strong-side platoon situation with Donaldson on the roster
    • Turang is still stealing bases, but has not hit a home run since August 7 and is only batting .229 since the start of September
  • Christian Yelich is battling a back injury
    • Yelich has been absent from the lineup since last Friday although he has been participating in workouts
    • The Brewers have not indicated that they are considering a move to the IL and Yelich should be expected back soon. If not, Joey Wiemer could continue to see his playing time increase
    • Yelich has an extensive history of back injuries that have zapped his power in previous seasons. This is something worth monitoring the rest of the season
  • Tyrone Taylor has been moving up in the lineup against lefties
    • Taylor has been batting sixth against lefties while continuing to bat ninth against righties
    • He has hit safely in nine of ten games although his BABIP over that period makes his success likely unsustainable
    • Taylor is only intriguing in deep leagues where his consistent at-bats help create some value

Cincinnati Reds

  • Jonathan India is back from the IL
    • India has been in the lineup for all four games since returning. He is batting leadoff against lefties while batting in the back half against righties
    • He hit a home run in his return to the lineup and is worth adding if you are in need of help at second base
    • His return has pushed Noelvi Marte out of a starting spot and into a short-side platoon role. Marte is not worth rostering at this point
  • Joey Votto is also back from the IL
    • Votto has drawn the start in three of the four games since returning and appears to still have hold on an everyday job
    • With Votto back, Christian Encarnacion-Strand has seen his playing time take the biggest hit
    • CES could take playing time away from Nick Martini although it is unlikely the Reds would want to play him in the outfield which makes him an easy drop option
  • TJ Friedl has been batting all over the lineup
    • Friedl was leading off for a while but has now moved to the bottom of the lineup against lefties and the middle of the lineup against righties
    • He is batting over .300 and slugging over .700 since the start of September and has 24 stolen bases on the year
    • The move down in the lineup hurts his run production, but should lead to more RBI opportunities as the season winds down

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Andrew McCutchen is out for the remainder of the season
    • With Cutch out, Connor Joe has seen his playing time increase
    • Joe is primarily batting in the middle of the lineup although he does not hold much fantasy value
  • Jared Triolo is getting consistent playing time in a utility role
    • Triolo has been playing toward the bottom of the lineup getting time at third, second, and first base
    • He was not having much success at the Major League level earlier this season and that has not changed now
    • I do not expect him to continue getting regular playing time and he is not worth rostering in fantasy
  • Jack Suwinski is in the midst of another hot streak
    • The roller coaster season for Suwinski has continued as he has two home runs, three stolen bases, and a batting average of over .350 since September 4
    • We have seen these hot streaks before from him and know that they are not sustainable, but you can still pick him up and see how long it lasts

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Enrique Hernandez is not getting everyday playing time, but has been swinging a hot bat
    • Hernandez is playing against all lefties and some righties recently batting toward the bottom of the lineup
    • He is batting .346 since September 5 although it is difficult to consider rostering him with his current playing time situation
  • JD Martinez is back from the IL
    • Martinez has returned to the fifth spot in the lineup and has not missed a beat since coming back hitting safely in four of five games
    • Michael Busch was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move. A chance of scenery will likely be best for Busch heading into 2024 as he seems unlikely to ever get a real chance with the Dodgers

San Diego Padres

  • Gary Sanchez is on the IL with a fractured wrist
    • With Sanchez out, the full-time catcher role is officially Luis Campusano’s
    • Campusano has been batting anywhere from fourth to seventh in the lineup and continues to perform well offensively
    • He is up to six home runs on the season and is batting over .370 since August 30. If he is still available, you should pick him up
  • Eguy Rosario is up from Triple-A and getting some playing time as Manny Machado battles through injuries
    • Machado has been battling through an elbow injury which is why he has been playing DH more frequently lately
    • With the Padres left with very little to play for, they could opt to shut down Machado and focus on 2024
    • Rosario has shown flashes at the Minor League level, but does not hold much upside from a fantasy perspective
  • Jurickson Profar is back with the Padres and getting regular playing time
    • Despite not being able to play well enough to stay on the Rockies’ roster, Profar has latched on with the Padres in an everyday role
    • Profar has been batting all over the lineup and playing mostly first base since joining the organization
    • He is playing extremely well in a small sample since joining the Padres and has had success with this organization before. I am not targeting him, but he is worth keeping an eye on

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Jordan Lawlar is up with the team, but is not playing as much as many had hoped
    • Lawlar is drawing starts against lefties, but is starting inconsistently against righties
    • My top-prospect has tons of upside, but is not worth rostering in redraft formats if he is not going to play consistently
    • Emmanuel Rivera is drawing most of the starts at third base forcing Lawlar to platoon with Geraldo Perdomo
  • Gabriel Moreno spent some time on the paternity list this week but has since returned to the lineup
    • With Moreno out, Seby Zavala stepped in and drew most of the starts at catcher
    • Moreno continues to post strong walk and contact rates, but with an inability to elevate the ball, his fantasy upside is capped
    • He is only worth rostering in OBP leagues

San Francisco Giants

  • Patrick Bailey is back from the IL
    • Bailey returns to the lineup and figures to be the primary catcher moving forward
    • There is decent pop in Bailey’s bat although he has not been able to produce much fantasy value up to this point
    • His return to the lineup has sent Joey Bart back to Triple-A and taken playing time away from Blake Sabol
  • Luis Matos is back from Triple-A and playing every day
    • Matos has been batting in the back half of the lineup since returning and has hit safely in all but one game since coming back to San Francisco
    • The contact skills for Matos are phenomenal with the biggest question being whether or not he can hit for enough power to stick at the Major League level
    • He is worth a speculative add in deep leagues
    • JD Davis has moved into a bench role
  • Mike Yastrzemski is batting leadoff in the lineup
    • Yaz is batting over .400 with three home runs since August 31 and has been a reliable fantasy asset whenever he has been healthy
    • The move into the leadoff spot in the lineup should provide him with more run-scoring opportunities
    • LaMonte Wade Jr. has moved down in the lineup switching with Yaz

Colorado Rockies

  • Kris Bryant is back from the IL
    • Bryant’s return to the lineup appears to have pushed Hunter Goodman into a bench role
    • We all know what Bryant is capable of from a fantasy perspective which instantly makes him somebody to consider adding despite the disappointing 2023 season
  • Elehuris Montero is getting more chances in the middle of the lineup
    • Montero has really settled in nicely since the start of September batting nearly .400
    • The biggest sign of growth is the improvements to his strikeout rate
    • He has always hit the ball hard and if he can maintain these lower strikeout rates, he holds plenty of fantasy value
  • Nolan Jones is batting third in the lineup
    • Jones has been an excellent acquisition by the Rockies and is up to 16 home runs and 13 stolen bases on the season
    • His strikeout rate has also been decreasing lately which has been the biggest red flag in his profile
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