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National League Lineup Analysis 04/22

Another week of baseball down means another chance to take a look at the lineups from around the National League. Several teams have seen COVID outbreaks affect their starting players. The top 5 hitters from the National League over the past week have been Seth Beer, Seiya Suzuki, Kyle Schwarber, Brian Anderson, and C.J. Cron. Schwarber and Suzuki being the only “big” names in fantasy. Check out details on all 15 National League teams and their lineups below!

National League Lineup Notes

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

On Tuesday, I wrote an article discussing my concerns for Kyle Schwarber. I think he read the article because he has gone on an absolute tear at the plate. Since being moved out of the leadoff spot, he has hit .333/.412/.933. I still hold the same concerns I wrote about, but these last four games have been encouraging.

Matt Vierling has struggled in the starting CF job so far. Odubel Herrera and Mickey Moniak are still a few weeks out but are worth considering if you need outfield help. Whichever player comes back first will likely have the chance to earn everyday at-bats in CF.

The left side of the Phillies infield continues to be a maze for fantasy managers to navigate. Alec Bohm was initially benched after his three-error game, but he has now started four of the past five games. Bryson Stott who was receiving regular playing time has gone 0/18 and has sat three of four games. Johan Camargo was an afterthought going into the year, but he has started four of six and seems to be more likely than Stott to receive additional at-bats with Gregorious hurt. Stott might find himself back in Triple-A if the Phillies cannot find a way to give him at-bats. Their season stats can be seen below:

  • Alec Bohm: .476/.483/.714
  • Johan Camargo: .382/.417/.529
  • Bryson Stott: .133/.161/.167

New York Mets

The Mets have had a couple of COVID issues this past week. Both Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha ended up on the list. They have both fully recovered and returned to the lineup so no changes need to be made in regard to that.

Robinson Canó has started almost every game while Dominic Smith has two starts and J.D. Davis three. Canó is hitting just .185 on the season, so I am not quite sure what Buck Showalter, and the Mets are waiting to see from him. Davis has looked the best out of the three batters, and I would try to hold him if possible. I think the Mets will shift away from Canó sooner rather than later.

Also, my preseason hype about Francisco Lindor seems to be justified. He is hitting .308/.419/.615 with four home runs and three steals already. Easily a top-five shortstop for 2022.

Atlanta Braves

A situation I am monitoring very closely is Eddie Rosario’s playing time. Over the past week, the Braves have faced two lefties and Rosario has sat both times. Playing time is only going to get harder to come by with Acuna returning soon. If Rosario is losing playing time already, I am very concerned about his 2022 outlook. If he does not pick it up soon, he could have very little fantasy value moving forward. Swanson has now struck out in 22 of 49 at-bats. If you own him and are relying on him, I would be prioritizing finding a replacement. I think the results Swanson has produced are a sign of things to come this season.

Washington Nationals

There is not a whole lot to discuss with the Nationals lineup. Lane Thomas seems to have taken back his starting job, playing every game this past week. Alcides Escobar is struggling early in the season. His strong 2021 was likely due to a lot of luck and he has come back to earth this season. Luis Garcia is off to a strong start in Triple-A. The Nationals could turn to him soon if Escobar’s struggles continue.

Miami Marlins

Call me crazy, but I really think Joey Wendle is going to find himself in an everyday role. He is currently only playing against righties but is hitting .323. Miguel Rojas (.179) and Jesus Aguilar (.171) have struggled a lot early on and I think there is a chance Wendle winds up playing more often than he already is. He also is another player who frequently complained about playing his home games at Tropicana Field. Willy Adames said the same thing and he was almost an MVP candidate last season. Wendle is worth a flier as I think there is a strong chance he plays more in the future.

Jorge Soler had an amazing second half of last year due to his ability to reduce whiffs and avoid chasing pitches out of the zone. Both of those rates have seen regression back to his previous career norms in 2022. The 2021 second half of Soler might be the anomaly. I would still project around a .230 average with 30 home runs for Soler, but the optimism of 40 and .250 seems to be gone.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

In case you have not realized, Seiya Suzuki is the real deal. He has now begun to move up the lineup hitting as high as second recently. As somebody who has been as vocal about my support of Ian Happ as anybody, I do think there are some red flags. His launch angle is only 3.4 degrees so far and he has come out and publicly said that launch angle is overrated. While the early returns have been encouraging, he has posted a .462 BABIP. I am still optimistic, but I am concerned Happ is going to have some rough games ahead of him soon.

Milwaukee Brewers

Christian Yelich seems like the same Christian Yelich of the past few years. He has posted excellent all-around statistics but has been unable to get any launch on the ball. His back injuries have changed his swing and while he still has value, I doubt he ever reaches the MVP levels he did in 2019. Those hoping the home run totals come back should probably adjust their expectations.

Andrew McCutchen is still playing every day. Like last year, he is dominating left-handed pitching but has struggled against righties. However, Tyrone Taylor has also struggled in his chances. I was excited to see what Taylor could do this season, but he is hitting just .182. If you have been rostering Taylor I would consider moving on.

I still really like Rowdy Tellez. He has posted a 160 wRC+ so far this season and I think he can keep this up throughout 2022. Tellez is an excellent add in all formats. 2022 finally seems like the year we are going to see a full season of Tellez and I could not be more excited. He should have a chance to hit in a lot of runs hitting behind Christian Yelich and Willy Adames in the Brewers lineup!

St. Louis Cardinals

Tommy Edman has been the biggest story for St. Louis so far. After starting the year batting ninth, Edman has worked his way up to sixth in the lineup. His 12.1 barrel % is way above his career average of 4.7% so while the power has been excellent to start 2022, I am skeptical of it continuing. The rest of his profile looks much like the rest of his career. I am not buying high on Edman.

Nolan Gorman is absolutely dominating AAA. He has seven home runs in 12 games and is showing the Cardinals he is ready for the bigs. With Edman dominating, his best chance might be for Paul DeJong. Tommy Edman has played some SS in his career and if Gorman keeps this up, he might force the Cardinals to move Edman there to get his bat in the lineup. If he is available, Gorman is a nice speculative add for your fantasy team.

Cincinnati Reds

First, it was Nick Senzel that was sick and now it is Tyler Naquin. This has opened the door for both Aristides Aquino and Jake Fraley to receive regular at-bats. Neither player has looked even decent so far so Naquin should slide back into the lineup when healthy. Jonathan India and Mike Moustakas were also placed on the Injured List this past week. There is not any fantasy value in their replacements. India was a popular pick amongst experts after winning the NL Rookie of the Year last season. Hopefully, he returns to action soon.

I urge fantasy managers that own Tommy Pham to be patient. He has been extremely unlucky with just a .148 BABIP so far. He should start seeing better results soon. I would not cut Pham just yet, especially with his home park being in Cincinnati.

Tyler Stephenson left the game Tuesday with a concussion. Concussions are never the same so it is hard to tell how long he will be out. Could hurt some of the production in the Reds lineup as they are now without several of their top hitters.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Michael Chavis is a name to keep an eye on. He had 18 home runs back in 2019 and has looked strong so far in 24 plate appearances. Chavis is getting some chances to hit in the middle of the order and could hold some value in deeper leagues. He has shown improvements in his whiff rate and average exit velocities and could keep playing regularly.

Diego Castillo has played almost every game over the past week and has looked strong. However, the underlying stats show a different story. He has posted a 6th percentile chase rate and has yet to walk this season. I am skeptical he can sustain this high success rate.

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

The most notable trend in Arizona is that Seth Beer is getting more playing time. He has started six of the last seven games including batting clean-up once. He is off to an excellent start and could provide your fantasy team with some additional power if you need that. The Diamondbacks do not have anybody else on their roster that should take away regular playing time from Beer. They even let him get a start against a left-handed pitcher.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Gavin Lux was scratched from the game with back stiffness on Tuesday night and sat on Wednesday. Dave Roberts and Lux both have come out and said that he should be back in the lineup in a couple of days. Lux has gotten off to a terrific start and an injury would be devastating at this point. Edwin Rios figures to benefit most from Lux missing any time.

Cody Bellinger must have read my last article as he has been excellent over the past week. Across his past 18 plate appearances, Bellinger is hitting .333 with an average exit velocity of 93.4mph. The five strikeouts to zero walks still concerns me some, but Bellinger is showing signs of life for the Dodgers.

San Diego Padres

C.J. Abrams got some playing time while Wil Myers was injured. However, Abrams did nothing to earn more playing time and is still hitting just .133/235/.267. I do not fully understand why Abrams is still up as it seems clear he needs more time to develop in the minor leagues. I expect him to be sent down when rosters go back to 26 players and am not sure how much value if any he holds in redraft leagues. There are likely better options available in free agency than holding him for just this year. Looking ahead I might try and sell Abrams even in a keeper/dynasty league as I am skeptical of his power ability.

Trent Grisham has gotten off to a rough start at the plate and has been out of the lineup against both lefties this week. I am growing concerned that the Padres might start doing this more often. If this is the case, Grisham might be a player you need to replace in your outfield. Even when Grisham has played against righties, he has not looked good. Jurickson Profar might be the better player to roster over Grisham at this point.

Colorado Rockies

Connor Joe looks firmly implanted as the leadoff hitter for the Rockies. He has given them no reason to move him out of this spot. He is off to a great start and his underlying numbers back it up. Joe is a player I would consider buying high on as this breakout seems legit.

If you have anybody in your league that is willing to sell low on Ryan McMahon, I would try to acquire him. He is playing every day and hitting fifth. He only has hit one home run and has just a .225 average. However, he has a 17.2% barrel rate, 48.3% sweet spot rate, and his lowest whiff and chase rates since 2017. In addition, my colleague Chris Clegg has started posting exit velocity data from 2022, and McMahon ranks in the 76th percentile for 80th percentile exit velocity. Go get McMahon now if it is possible.

San Francisco Giants

There have not been any notable changes to what the Giants are doing. They are sticking with the same platoons they were using last week. Darin Ruf is a potential buy-low candidate for fantasy managers. He has continued to post strong a strong exit velocity, walk rate, and sweet spot percentage. He has just a .152 average and is yet to hit a home run, but he could be in store for better days soon.

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