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NL Lineup Analysis 05/13

We are now over a month into the baseball season! We have reached a point in the season where the sample sizes have grown large enough to start making some conclusions about players and their rest of season outlook. Hopefully, this article will help you as you prepare your FAAB bids for the week. The hottest hitters in the National League over the past week have been Jean Segura, Pete Alonso, Wilson Contreras, Rhys Hoskins, and Ronald Acuna Jr. Check out news and notes from every National League lineup in the article below!

MLB Lineup Analysis

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

Didi Gregorious was placed on the IL. As a result, Bryson Stott was recalled. He has played every game so far against right-handed pitching. He figures to get the majority of at-bats with Gregorious on the IL. Stott got off to a rough start to the season but was dominating AAA pitching during his brief demotion. Stott has struggled thus far and is not worth adding to your redraft team at this moment. I am much more intrigued by Jean Segura whose roster percentage is down to 85% despite his strong start.

Everybody was worried about Rhys Hoskins. If you have followed Hoskins over the past several seasons, you know that he is as streaky a player as they come. Hoskins has caught fire over the past week with three home runs and a solid batting average. If you can find somebody in your league willing to sell cheap because Hoskins moved down in the lineup, I would acquire him instantly. As I talked about last week, Hoskins is more comfortable hitting lower and could be about to go on a tear.

Alec Bohm is playing every day and hitting second consistently. Plenty of fantasy analysts keep advising fantasy managers to sell high on Bohm, but he just keeps hitting. I do not think Bohm is suddenly an elite third base option, but I would not be trying to move on from Bohm at this point. Another note is Matt Vierling was optioned to AAA on Wednesday. Odubel Herrera is the everyday CF for Philadelphia.

New York Mets

The release of Robinson Canó has resulted in a true platoon between J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith. This is probably what it should have been from the start with Davis playing against lefties and Smith playing against righties. Smith has slightly more value due to being on the strong side of the platoon, but Davis has looked like the better hitter. I would not be rushing to pick either player up.

Starling Marte has consistently been batting in the lower half of the lineup. His hitting has improved over the past week, hitting .300/.333/.550, but the stolen bases have disappeared. Marte was drafted so high because of his stolen base potential. He has not stolen a base since April 24 and is just 4/8 on the season. I would be selling high on Marte’s hot streak as the stolen bases are not coming. Marte is attempting a stolen base once every five times he gets on base. This is much closer to his 2019 and 2020 rates than the rate he posted last season. I would expect around 20 steals for Marte which is much lower than the projections during the off-season.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves lineup is pretty set in stone. Travis Demeritte has been given the full opportunity to take over for Eddie Rosario and has primarily been batting eighth. I am not sure how much longer this will last though as he is hitting just .185/.233/.296 over his last 30 plate appearances. I thought that Orlando Arcia would see increased playing time with Rosario out, but that has not happened. Arcia has started one game since April 24th. I am not sure what the reasoning is as Arcia has a 166 wRC+ on the season. In his only start, he went ¾ with a walk-off home run. I would expect him to get more playing time if Demeritte continues struggling.

Dansby Swanson has turned it on at the plate. He is still batting ninth for Atlanta, but Adam Duvall and Demirette have really struggled at the plate. I expect Swanson to find himself moving up from ninth to sixth of seventh. This could switch Swanson’s production from run-scoring to RBI. He is currently hitting right in front of Acuna which has allowed Swanson to score seven runs over his last nine games. He could lose some of this production if he moves up in the lineup to sixth or seventh.

Acuna missed the game on Wednesday with right knee soreness. Hopefully, this is nothing, but it is worth noting that in his absence Swanson moved into the leadoff spot and Arcia entered the starting lineup.

Washington Nationals

I am probably going to make some enemies writing this blurb, but Nelson Cruz is droppable. He is a UTIL-only player who is not contributing to the success of your fantasy team. From 2019 to 2020 Nelson Cruz posted a .481 xwOBA on pitches thrown 95 mph+. Cruz crushed the fastball helping make him a fantasy star. In 2021, Cruz posted an xwOBA of just .384 off pitches thrown 95+. So far in 2022, that number has only fallen lower. Through 40 batted balls off pitches thrown 95mph or harder, Cruz has posted an xwOBA of just .318. If Cruz cannot hit the fastball, he is going to be useless to your fantasy team. Cruz is droppable in all shallow and even some deep formats.

Alcides Escobar has been swinging a hot bat lately. While I do not think that this is going to continue, it will keep Luis Garcia in Triple-A for longer. Yadiel Hernandez is the everyday five-hole hitter for Washington. He has posted a .515 BABIP since April 30th.  I would not be buying high on Hernandez as he will see regression soon. With Hernandez playing left field, Lane Thomas has been on the bench more frequently. However, over his last six games, he has posted a 147 wRC+. He has looked comfortable and strong at the plate. He could be worth an add as I predict he will start taking starts away from Victor Robles who has continued to not look ready for major league pitching.

Miami Marlins

Brian Anderson and Jon Berti have been on the COVID list for much of this past week. As a result, Miguel Rojas has started most of the games this week at SS. Rojas continues to struggle at the plate, so he does not figure to hold onto this role once Berti and Anderson return. Jesus Sanchez has moved down in the lineup. Chad Young recently talked about Sanchez on his latest Keep or Kut podcast. Sanchez is swinging less at pitches that are in the zone and does not look like a player that is going to hold a lot of fantasy value. I am fine with moving on and looking elsewhere for production. Not that either player is particularly good, but Peyton Henry has started to take some starts away from Jacob Stallings. Neither player is worth a roster spot.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

Over the course of the past week, Frank Schwindel has been sent to Triple-A and recalled. The move to Triple-A is a little bit surprising, but he has struggled and the Cubs have liked what they have seen from Alfonso Rivas. Although Schwindel is back with the team, this move signals that Rivas will likely take the majority of Schwindel’s at-bats. Schwindel has still only sat twice this past week, but he is not worth rostering in any format. Rivas is not worth a roster spot either. Over his past 26 plate appearances, he is hitting just .143 and striking out over 35% of the time.

Patrick Wisdom is consistently batting fourth. This is really only because the Cubs have no other options. Wisdom has been bad and is not somebody I expect to show any improvement. Despite batting cleanup, he is not a player that should be rostered.

Milwaukee Brewers

Andrew McCutchen has been on the COVID list for this week. I think I have talked about the combination of McCutchen and Tyrone Taylor every week in this article. Taylor is finally getting a chance to play with McCutchen out. He has performed fine with a .250 average and one home run, but the 34.6% strikeout rate is alarming. Taylor has not done enough yet to earn himself more playing time. I would still be watching his production closely as if he starts he could have fantasy value down the line.

Rowdy Tellez has been on an absolute tear. I was calling for a Rowdy breakout all offseason and it seems like I might have been correct on this one. I have been trying to convince people to pick him up in leagues and now it is probably too late. Due to his strong performance, the Brewers optioned Keston Hiura back to Triple-A. He holds little to no value in any fantasy format. Hiura looked better in this big-league stint but is still far from the player he was during his debut season.

St. Louis Cardinals

Since being recalled, Juan Yepez has started every game. He has started multiple games in the outfield and should gain that eligibility soon. If he was not picked up in your league, he is somebody that is worth a lot of FAAB and a must-add. He has posted a ridiculous .455/.500/.727 slash line so far. While this level of production will not continue, Yepez is proving he is deserving of an everyday lineup spot. He reminds me a lot of Jose Martinez on the Cardinals several years ago and is here to stay.

Paul DeJong was optioned to Triple-A this week. DeJong has looked lost at the plate over the past few seasons for St. Louis and they finally decided to demote him. While it is likely that top prospect Nolan Gorman will be called up soon, right now the Cardinals are opting to give Brendan Donavan a chance to play. He is only worth a look in deep leagues, and I think that his opportunity will pass quickly with Gorman waiting.

Harrison Bader quietly has three home runs in his past nine games. While I do not expect this power outburst to continue, he also is up to seven steals on the season. Bader could be a valuable pick-up if your team is desperate for stolen bases.

Cincinnati Reds

Brandon Drury has settled into the second spot in the lineup and has been great. He has made a small change in his swing to stay through the ball more and it is paying off. While I am skeptical of this production continuing, I am more than willing to ride this hot streak. Drury has shown flashes at the big-league level before and maybe he is putting it all together. Joey Votto and Nick Senzel have been on the COVID list for much of the week. Neither player was producing prior to going on the list so maybe this will give them a chance to reset.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Diego Castillo has played in every game over the past week. The results have been below average, and he is not somebody that is going to contribute much to your fantasy team. Daniel Vogelbach has settled into the cleanup spot in the lineup. He originally was hitting leadoff most games and has struggled since moving back in the lineup. If you picked up Vogelbach while he was hot it might be time to move on. He is hitting just .080 over his past seven games. Fantasy managers who drafted Bryan Reynolds can let out a sigh of relief. After a rough first few weeks, Reynolds is slashing .345/.424/.655 over his past eight games and looks like the player we saw last year.

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

The big news out of Arizona was the promotion of top prospect Alek Thomas. My colleague Eric Cross gave a great analysis of Alek Thomas on the Fantrax Toolshed. He said that Thomas does not do one thing exceptionally well, but he is a very well-rounded player. Thomas should have a solid big-league career, but I am skeptical of the value he will produce this season in redraft formats. I do think that Thomas will play every day, but I am not rushing to spend all of my FAAB on him. I think he is going to take a lot of at-bats away from Seth Beer. After a hot start to the season, Beer has struggled recently, and I think that he is droppable in all formats. A UTIL-only player not producing at the plate is not worth rostering.

The only other notable addition is that Josh Rojas returned from injury. He has started most of the games since returning primarily hitting fifth. I do not think that Rojas holds any real fantasy value unless you are in a deep league.

Los Angeles Dodgers

There have not been any real changes to the construction of the Dodgers’ lineup. One potential excellent buy low candidate is Will Smith. Smith has gotten off to a slow start at the plate this season. Despite these early struggles, Will Smith might be playing even better than last year. He has posted just a 10.8% chase rate while swinging at a career-high percentage of pitches in the zone. Smith has a line drive percentage of 32.7, but a BABIP of just .264. I expect his luck to turn around soon and I still believe he will finish as the number one catcher in fantasy. Acquire Smith now!

Justin Turner has started to play better over the past week hitting .240. However, I am still concerned about his value and think there are better third base options available.

San Diego Padres

The Padres got two of their starters back from injury this week. Both Luke Voit and Wil Myers returned to the lineup. As a result, C.J. Abrams was optioned to AAA. Long-term, I think this is best for Abrams’ value. He will get consistent at-bats in Triple-A and have a chance to develop. This confirms that Abrams is not worth rostering in redraft formats. However, Luke Voit is worth a look. This is a guy who hit 22 home runs in the shortened 2020 season. In his second game back Voit mashed two home runs and could be a boost to your fantasy team.

There has been a lot of breakout hype about Ha-Seong Kim this season. He has had a couple of good streaks, but since April 30th is hitting just .094 with an xBA of 214. His exit velocity is well below average and his strikeout rate over that period is 26%. Kim is a fine big-league player who plays great defense, but I am struggling to see the upside in fantasy. Each week we get closer and closer to the return of Fernando Tatis Jr. meaning Kim’s days as a starter for San Diego are numbered.

Colorado Rockies

This is another lineup that has remained consistent. Kris Bryant is still out with a back injury and there is no timetable for his return. Sam Hilliard has started four games this past week. He has not played well in the chances he has been given and will likely continue to find himself on the bench more often than not. Ryan McMahon could be a nice buy-low target. He has struggled this week, but still has solid contact rates and should be an above-average player.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants welcomed back Lamonte Wade Jr. and Evan Longoria this week. Longoria figures to play every day and hit in the middle of the lineup for San Francisco. He had a strong 2021 and could be a nice target if you are in need of third base help. Wade figures to be on the strong side of a platoon with Darin Ruf. Wade has started both games against righties and Ruf has started against lefties. Ruf holds little to no fantasy value in this new situation and Wade’s value is capped by the platoon. Brandon Belt also missed the first couple of games this week with injury but has since returned.

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