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Fantasy Baseball: NL Lineup Takeaways: Miller on the Rise

Back at it with National League lineups. There is plenty to catch up on from the last ten days of baseball. The five hottest hitters in the National League over that time period have been: Jeimer Candelario, Christopher Morel, Nolan Gorman, Tommy Edman, and Seiya Suzuki. 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.

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

NL Lineups and Fantasy Effects

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

At first glance, it seems as though Brandon Marsh has moved into a platoon with Dalton Guthrie. However, news has come out that Marsh has been dealing with shoulder soreness. This could be the reason for his back-to-back absences earlier this week. He has sincre returned to the lineup. After starting red-hot at the plate, Marsh has cooled off significantly. Since the start of May, Marsh is batting just .133/.316/.156. A .222 is partially to blame although a 3.3% barrel rate is also concerning. Marsh’s chase rates are still strong, and he is hitting the ball hard giving me confidence he will break out of this slump.

Bryson Stott was another player slumping at the plate, but he has turned it around recently. He hit home runs in back-to-back games this past week and continues to bat leadoff against right-handed pitchers. The power is nice, but Stott’s calling cards for fantasy are a strong average and plenty of runs hitting ahead of Turner, Harper, Castellanos, and Schwarber.

Edmundo Sosa also appears to have lost his grip on an everyday role. Kody Clemens and Josh Harrison are both seeing additional playing time. This will likely continue to be a 50/50 split between Sosa and Clemens moving forward.

Atlanta Braves

The top of the Atlanta lineup is as stable as they come. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson continue to be two of the best at their respective positions followed by Sean Murphy and Austin Riley. The Braves are giving Murphy some additional days off lately in an attempt to keep him fresh. Travis d’Arnaud is no longer a part of the starting lineup as Marcell Ozuna has grabbed the everyday DH role. Since the start of May, Ozuna has a 15.6%-barrel rate, six home runs, and a .351/.431/.702 slash. If he is going to be playing every day, he is well worth a pickup. He has a track record of MLB success and might be returning to form.

Michael Harris has moved all the way down to ninth in Atlanta’s lineup. Harris has been among the biggest disappointments in fantasy this year with just one home run and four stolen bases. His .197 BABIP should see some positive regression although it is fueled by a high ground ball rate. The other issues are a 30% whiff rate and a 34% chase rate. If you drafted Harris, do not drop him yet but the ice is getting thin.

Washington Nationals

Corey Dickerson is back from the IL and has slotted right into the strong side of a platoon. His return takes playing time opportunity away from Stone Garrett. Dickerson is batting between fourth and sixth against righties but is not worth adding to your fantasy teams. The real player to note recently is Jeimer Candelario. Candelario is red-hot and has quietly been putting up respectable numbers this year. Since May 10, he is batting .450/.522/.800 which is an unsustainable level of production. Candelario is worse than the league average in chase rate and barrel percentage but has a smooth swing path that could lead to decent average. He is worth a look in deep leagues.

Keibert Ruiz is sliding back down in the lineup and has been batting sixth or seventh the past few games. Ruiz is running a 7.3%-barrel rate and a 24% line drive rate yet has a .233 BABIP. He is not going to ever be a difference maker, but he should start seeing his luck improve.

Miami Marlins

With Jazz Chisholm, Avisail Garcia, and Jesus Sanchez all on the IL, there are plenty of openings in the Marlins’ outfield. Right now, the three players seeing the largest uptick in playing time are Garrett Hampson, Jon Berti, and Xavier Edwards. All three of those names pack incredible speed. Berti si leading off most games rotating between the infield and outfield. He has seven steals on the year and should maintain semi-regular playing time even when everybody is healthy. He is a decent deep league target if you need speed. Good for the Marlins for giving Hampson a shot, but he has an average exit velocity of just 85 mph. I am not adding him. Edwards and Peyton Burdick are the two other names seeing playing time but neither is on the lineup regularly.

Bryan De La Cruz continues his up and down season. He is batting fifth and playing every day while swinging it extremely well. Dating back to May 4, BDLC has hit safely in 15 of 16 starts while sporting a .381/.409/.603 slash. The .438 BABIP along with his .402 season-long BABIP lead to some skepticism, as do high chase and whiff rates. Ride the highs when you have him and expect some lows like April 23-May 3 when he hit .069/.100/.069, but do not expect much consistency in his profile. He is a high-variance player worth a roster spot in most 12+ team leagues.

Jean Segura continues to lightly grasp an everyday role with the team. He has looked a little bit better since receiving back-to-back days off batting .259 since May 12. There is not much power here or speed at this point and he is not worth holding onto if you are holding out hope.

New York Mets

The promotion of Mark Vientos has caused some disruption to the Mets’ lineup. Vientos was dominating in Triple-A earning himself a spot in Queens. The issue is that the Mets are resistant to hand him an everyday role. He is playing essentially every other day and against all lefties in place of Daniel Vogelbach. He hits the ball extremely hard but has had ground ball issues in the past. Early on, his ground ball rate is above 70% which could lead to struggles at the Major League level. This is something to monitor. Brett Baty appears safe in his everyday role for the time being. I continue to love Baty’s profile as he walks plenty, hits the ball hard, and I snow batting fifth in the Mets’ lineup. His ground ball rate has crept up recently which is worth monitoring.

Mark Canha is slowly seeing less and less playing time. I have been foreshadowing this for weeks at this point as the Mets look for other alternatives. If you are holding Canha, move on. I am not targeting Eduardo Escobar or Tommy Pham, but rather looking at Ronny Mauricio who could be up any day now. He is worth stashing if he is available.

Now might be the perfect time to sell high on Starling Marte. He is batting .326 since May 9th with three stolen bases. However, he has not walked once, has a .070 ISO, and is seeing his chase and whiff rate continue to increase. He is batting sixth most games for New York, but you might want to capitalize on his hot stretch.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

For the Cubs let’s start with the impact of Cody Bellinger landing on the IL. At first, it seemed as though the lineup would stay the same, but with Christopher Morel entering for Bellinger (more on him to come later). That was the case at first, but lately it seems as though the team is going to give Mike Tauchman a chance to play center field. Most of his value comes defensively so he is not worth picking up. Adding Tauchman to the lineup pushes Trey Mancini and Matt Mervis into more of a platoon. Mervis was already dealing with Nick Madrigal fighting for playing time so this additional competition is not a welcome sight for fantasy managers. He is struggling at the plate right now and could find himself back in Triple-A if he does not pick it up.

Morel meanwhile is batting all over the lineup and has been perhaps the hottest hitter in baseball since his promotion. Every time Morel makes contact, it seems like it is going out of the park. The issue? Making contact. Morel is running extremely high chase and whiff rates which leads to skepticism over how long this success will last. Now might be the perfect time to sell high. Seiya Suzuki is also batting fourth for the Cubs and has settled in offensively. He should have a strong second season for fantasy managers.

St. Louis Cardinals

Nolan Gorman is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Gorman continues to be a consistent power threat in the middle of the Cardinals’ lineup. Nolan Arenado who is hitting behind Gorman is also on a tear at the plate. There was reason to be concerned over Arenado early this year, but it is good to see him putting those concerns to rest.

I cannot say I saw Oscar Mercado being relevant this year, but he has been earning more playing time in St. Louis. He has two stolen bases already, but I do not anticipate this success continuing. He also still is without an everyday lineup spot and is not somebody I am picking up. If you are still waiting to pick up Paul DeJong, you should not wait any longer. DeJong is up to eight home runs on the year while batting seventh for the Cardinals. If you need middle infield help, he should be your number one target. The barrel rate is strong and his swing path is smoother than ever.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers have faced a lot of lefties over the past week which makes deciphering their lineup a little bit more difficult. The one thing that is clear is that Owen Miller has worked his way into an everyday role. Miller was playing mostly against lefties early on but has gotten red hot at the plate. The team is riding the hot hand and he is even batting leadoff against lefties. Despite his success, Miller has an average exit velocity below 85 mph. I expect as Miller cools off, he will move back into a utility role. Also, Luis Urias is rehabbing in Triple-A and should be back in about two weeks. He could be worth a stash if you need infield help.

With Miller getting regular playing time, Joey Wiemer appears to have moved into a platoon with Jesse Winker. Wiemer has plenty of potential, but without everyday playing time he is not worth a roster spot. One other option for Wiemer to work his way back into the lineup is in place of Tyrone Taylor. Taylor is playing every day for his defense, but has yet to show any signs of life at the plate.

Rowdy Tellez is also sitting against more lefties. The Brewers added Darin Ruf and he is getting consistent run against righties. Tellez still has big time power and is worth rostering but have a backup plan for weeks the team faces a lot of left-handed pitchers.

Cincinnati Reds

Matt McLain is the first of the Reds’ big three hitting prospects to make it to the Major Leagues. McLain is batting second for the Reds which is a good spot for his fantasy value. I am not totally sold on his 2023 value, but he is worth a pick-up based on upside. There is speed and power in his bat although I am not sure how much average he will hit for. Surprisingly, McLain’s inclusion in the lineup has not taken playing time away from Jose Barrero. The team is insistent on giving him a shot, and he is playing center field. He is batting eighth in the lineup but is not worth picking up.

With Henry Ramos landing on the IL, the team has opted to not call up Christian Encarnacion-Strand up to this point. Instead, the team has chosen to give Luke Maile and Stuart Fairchild more playing time. Maile has been handling more catching duties allowing Tyler Stephenson to get off his feet more often. Fairchild is continuing to bat in the back half of the lineup for a variety of players. Neither Maile nor Fairchild are worth picking up.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Ke’Bryan Hayes has not heated up the same way I was hoping. Hayes is showing encouraging signs of growth but will need to increase his launch angle again to become fantasy relevant. His struggles have resulted in him moving out of the leadoff spot in the lineup. In his place, Andrew McCutchen has moved up to leadoff. Cutch continues to hit for power and decent average and the move to the top of the lineup should result in more runs. He should be owned everywhere and provides consistent production.

Although Jack Suwinski has cooled off at the plate, he is still batting in the middle of the lineup against right-handed pitchers. He is not hitting for much power at this time with an average down near .200. There is a chance he could see his playing time decrease if he continues to struggle.

Connor Joe and Josh Palacios appear to be splitting time in the lower third of the lineup. Palacios was dominating Triple-A pitching but has never had consistent success at the Major League level. He is not worth adding but could be somebody to keep an eye on in deep leagues. The stolen bases have come to a screeching halt for Ji Hwan Bae. He continues to play, however if he is not stealing, he is not worth rostering.

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers

After getting consistent lineup time for a while, Chris Taylor has officially moved onto the short side of a platoon with David Peralta. Peralta is still not swinging it very well at the plate and is not worth adding. Miguel Vargas continues to play well and should be owned everywhere he is still available. He has a great hit tool, good power, and excellent plate discipline. His redraft and dynasty value are both trending up and now might be your last chance to get him relatively cheap.

James Outman is moving down farther in the lineup batting seventh or eighth most nights. His barrel rate is still strong, but he is whiffing almost 40% of the time. Outman is looking more like a high variance player than a star. Fantasy managers should adjust their expectations until Outman proves he can make more consistent contact. There is a chance he could move into a platoon and begin sitting against left-handed starters if he does not turn things around. In that case, Trayce Thompson is most likely to see an increase in his playing time.

San Diego Padres

With Many Machado landing on the IL for the first time in his career, the Padres lineup has looked a little bit differently recently. Jake Cronenworth is batting second against righties while Ha-Seong Kim is batting second against lefties. Taking Machado’s lineup spot is a platoon situation between Rougned Odor and Brandon Dixon. Neither one is worth rostering.

Trent Grisham was off to a strong start early this year but has really cooled off lately. He has not hit a home run in the past month and is batting well under .200. Now, Jose Azocar is back from the IL and appears to working into a platoon with Grisham. If you were holding onto Grisham, now is the time to move on.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Pavin Smith has taken over the leadoff role in the lineup against right-handed pitchers. The move is honestly surprising as Smith is not walking very much or hitting well. I expect him to move back down soon. He is batting sixth against lefties when he remains in the lineup. He is not worth picking up.

Corbin Carroll is a star and there is no debating it. So far, he is up to seven home runs with 13 stolen bases. Since May 13, Carroll is batting .303/.467/.576 and is no longer moving down in the lineup against lefties. He should continue batting in the middle of the lineup while contributing in all five categories.

The only player sitting consistently against all lefties is Josh Rojas. Emmanuel Rivera and Evan Longoria are both playing consistently against left-handers. Rivera is batting third when in the lineup with an average over .300. With inconsistent playing time, he is not worth picking up. However, I am keeping an eye on him as he holds value if the Diamondbacks start to turn to him more often.

San Francisco Giants

Michael Conforto was touched on as somebody who could offer upside if he could get his average launch angle up. The launch angle remains a concern, but Conforto has hit six home runs since May 10. The power has shown up in a big way and Conforto appears to be a reliable fantasy asset in the middle of San Francisco’s lineup. The Giants’ other off-season acquisition is not playing as well. Mitch Haniger is still struggling to show any signs of life at the plate. He continues to bat in the middle of the lineup, but could start seeing less playing time if his struggles continue.

The past ten days have confirmed that Casey Schmitt is not a part of any platoon in San Francisco. He is playing every day batting either sixth or seventh. The only real concern in Schmitt’s profile continues to be an aggressive approach. He is swinging over 60% of the time with a chase rate north of 46%. If he wants to continue having success, he is going to need to adjust his approach.

Patrick Bailey could be worth a look in deep two-catcher leagues. He is getting semi-regular playing time and is crushing the ball. His current average is brought down by a .222 BABIP, but he is worth a speculative add. There is a chance he could work himself into more playing time as the season moves along.

Colorado Rockies

Brenton Doyle is listed as being on the short side of a platoon, but he is playing everyday. He is not playing for one person in particular, but his at-bats are coming on a regular basis. Doyle has plenty of power and speed, but does not figure to hit for much average thanks in part to a high strikeout rate. If you can deal with a weak average, he is worth looking at although he is not somebody I am targeting.

Elias Diaz has been red hot at the plate for really the entire season at this point. The Rockies have noticed and moved him up to fourth in the lineup. Since the start of May, Diaz is batting .382/.429/.564 and should be rostered in 100% of leagues. He is barreling the ball at a high clip while showing improved plate discipline. The .396 season-long BABIP is unsustainable, but Diaz is still a useful fantasy asset.

With CJ Cron on the IL, Michael Toglia is up and playing first base everyday. He is batting toward the bottom of the lineup and not having much success early on. Strikeouts continue to be his kryptonite and he is not worth adding right now. If his struggles continue, the team could turn to other prospects like Nolan Jones or Elehuris Montero.

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  1. Babbo B says

    It’s fair to say Pavin Smith isn’t hitting all that well overall, but not sure he can be accused of not walking much when his rate is 14% (,330 OBP compared to a .230 AVG).

    1. Matt Heckman says

      At the time Smith was walking 2.6% of the time from May 11th to 26th. That is what I was referencing. Overall his value is slightly higher in OBP Leagues but it was concerning when he was not walking

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