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NL Lineup Analysis 05/27

I love writing these articles because it allows me to not only help you all stay up to date on news and notes from each team, but it also helps me. I always stumble upon different information each week that helps me with my FAAB bids on Sunday night. Over the past week, the five hottest hitters in the National League have been: Mookie Betts, Paul Goldschmidt, David Peralta, Mike Yastrzemski, and Dansby Swanson. Check out news and notes from all 15 National League lineups in the article below!

MLB LIneup Analysis

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

A name to keep an eye on is Mickey Moniak. He is currently rehabbing from a broken hand but has made his way to AA. Odubel Herrera has seen the bench against two lefties this week in favor of Roman Quinn. Neither one looks like an everyday outfielder, and I think the Phillies will give Moniak a chance to earn that job once he returns. The former number one overall pick had a great spring before getting injured and is a good target in deeper leagues.

Jean Segura has remained hot, while Kyle Schwarber has seemed to find his swing. Schwarber is still only hitting well against fastballs, but he has played well recently. J.T. Realmuto has moved down to 7th in the lineup due to his recent struggles. The other six batters ahead of him have simply been better. This still leaves Realmuto in a good place for RBIs hitting right behind Schwarber and Segura.

New York Mets

The Mets lineup has settled down recently. The same storyline with J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith platooning exists. Meanwhile, Eduardo Escobar has gotten hot this week just when I was starting to become concerned about his playing time. Since May 1, Escobar is batting just .207/.267/.317. I would not be surprised to see J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith in the lineup together with Escobar on the bench more often going forward if Escobar cannot keep this hot streak up.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves have become insistent on getting William Contreras into the lineup. He has started games at C, LF, and DH. The one game he played in LF, he looked extremely uncomfortable missing several plays, so I do not expect him to continue playing much out there. Even without immediate OF eligibility a catcher hitting the ball well is always valuable.

Ronald Acuna Jr. was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday and was still out of the lineup on Thursday. The Braves mentioned that they are hopeful he will return to the lineup soon. I mentioned last week that Acuna will likely have durability concerns for much of this season. He is an elite player, but I am skeptical of him playing as much as we are used to seeing. His dynasty value is unchanged, but his 2022 value has taken a bit of a hit.

*Late Thursday Add*: Marcell Ozuna was scratched from the lineup with what the Braves are calling lower abdominal tightness. The Braves outfield is getting thin and Drew Waters could be called up if either injury to Acuna or Ozuna is serious.

Washington Nationals

I feel like a broken record, but the Nationals need a new SS. Dee Strange-Gordon continues to see most of the starts there, but to be honest, he just is not very good anymore. The Nationals seem very hesitant to call up Luis Garcia, but at a certain point, they cannot justify keeping him down any longer. He is dominating AAA pitching and would be an instant improvement to their lineup. Keibert Ruiz moved up to second in the lineup. This should allow him to score more runs hitting ahead of Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz, and Josh Bell.

In this article a few weeks ago, I mentioned that we could see Lane Thomas start to take time away from Victor Robles in CF. Well, that change has happened with Thomas starting every game this week. Part of this is due to a sore calf for Robles, but Thomas has looked much better recently. In addition to Thomas looking better, Robles has continued to look overmatched by major league pitching, Even after Robles returns, I think that Thomas will continue to see more playing time and could be a sneaky add in deep formats.

Miami Marlins

Joey Wendle has begun a rehab assignment for Miami. When he returns, he figures to keep playing every day against righties and sitting against most lefties. Miguel Rojas is most likely to lose at-bats when this happens. Since May 7th, Garrett Cooper is batting .288/.333/.442. He has been all over the upper third of the Marlins lineup recently. I talked about him early in the season and continue to believe he is a great under-the-radar asset for your fantasy team.

Bryan De La Cruz has seen his playing time increase but has struggled even more than Jesus Sanchez over the past week. Sanchez continues to have the upper hand in terms of playing time although I do not think either player has much fantasy value. I am still a little bit concerned that Jazz Chisholm is whiffing as much as he has on breaking balls this year, but he is hitting over .350 off them and continues to produce. I can only stay skeptical of Chisholm for so long.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

Willson Contreras missed three straight games this week with a hamstring issue but returned to the lineup on Thursday. Nick Madrigal is headed out on a rehab assignment and Nico Hoerner returned from injury on Thursday. I would not be surprised if one sees some time in the outfield during the rehab assignment. The infield is crowded with Hoerner, Morel, Villar, Simmons, and Madrigal. Speaking of Simmons, he has been batting toward the bottom of the lineup since returning. He has looked rusty since returning from injury and has no fantasy value at this moment.

Since being called up, Christopher Morel has started seven of eight games. He has played 2B, SS, and CF while swinging the bat especially well. Morel has even moved into the leadoff spot and seems to be a much better hitter than Rafael Ortega. He hits the ball hard and has two home runs already. The 34.6% whiff rate is an immediate red flag, but if Morel stays hot the Cubs will have to find ways to keep his bat in the lineup. If you need a spark in your lineup he is worth a flier, but his success is likely more short-term than anything.

*Late Thursday Add*: Seiya Suzuki was removed from the game with a sprained finger. This could land him on the IL and is worth monitoring closely.

Milwaukee Brewers

If you read my articles consistently, you know that I have been talking about Tyrone Taylor every week. Taylor has now become an everyday player for the Brewers and is somebody that you need to pick up for your fantasy team. Since April 5, Taylor is batting .268 with four home runs and a stolen base. He has found himself moving up in the lineup against lefties and should continue to see his name on the lineup card. He can provide power and some speed to your team and will be hitting in a very good Brewers lineup. I would be willing to spend a lot of my remaining FAAB to make sure Taylor is on my team.

The main reason that Taylor is playing is because of the injury to Hunter Renfroe. He was placed on the IL with a hamstring strain and is expected to be out a couple of weeks. Even before the injury, Taylor was seeing his playing time increase at the expense of Lorenzo Cain. McCutchen could also see himself on the bench more often if he continues to struggle against righties.

St. Louis Cardinals

With Tyler O’Neil and Dylan Carlson both placed on the IL, Corey Dickerson, Brendan Donovan, and Nolan Gorman are all playing every day. Gorman is the most notable as he has the highest prospect pedigree. He was striking out well over 30% in AAA and has posted whiff and chase rates well above league average so far. Gorman has a lot of power, but I am concerned he will not hit enough to produce. A great ceiling comparison made by Pete on the Keep or Kut podcast is Brandon Lowe. That is the ceiling, but Gorman has a long way to go in order to get there. He is worth rostering in deeper leagues, but I am concerned he will not stick in the majors this season.

Corey Dickerson has struggled since getting a chance to be a part of the everyday lineup. Lars Nootbaar might start stealing starts from Dickerson if his struggles continue. I will be the first to say I did not see this type of season coming from Harrison Bader. He has been excellent over the past week and is already up to 11 stolen bases on the season. His previous career-high was 15 back in 2018 and he is on pace to blow past that number. His quality of contact numbers are still below league average, but he has managed to cut his whiff rate down to 19.4%. He will likely finish as a .240 hitter with around 12 home runs, but he could easily steal 25 bases which is extremely valuable.

Cincinnati Reds

Tyler Naquin is in the middle of another one of his hot streaks. He has been moved back into the leadoff spot in the lineup, but the question with Naiquin is always how long this streak will last. Since May 9th, Naiquin is batting .380/.415/.700 adding two steals in the process. In the 62 plate appearances before this streak, Naquin batted just .137/.194/.241. To start the season, Naquin was batting .389/.450/.722. He is extremely streaky, but when he is hot, he can be one of the best outfielders in fantasy. If you have an extra bench spot I encourage stashing him and riding out these hot streaks.

The Reds are starting to get healthy again. Nick Senzel and Joey Votto returned to the lineup this week. Brandon Drury was a little banged up to start the week, but he also has returned. Jonathan India could be close to a rehab stint and will be evaluated in the coming days. Although the Reds still will not be very good these returns should improve the run and RBI totals for relevant fantasy players on the team.

Pittsburgh Pirates

There have not been any notable changes to the Pirates lineup over the past week. Kevin Newman returned from injury, but his playing time will likely be inconsistent. I mentioned three prospects that the Pirates will likely call up soon to replace some of the struggling veterans. You can check out those names in last week’s article which you can find here! One of them was Cal Mitchell who was called up and started on Tuesday night. He should play almost every day while with the big league club. Michael Chavis has seen more consistent playing time this week and has played well. However, much of that can be attributed to a .417 BABIP and he holds very little fantasy value in a Pirates lineup that is constantly rotating players in and out.

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

This is another lineup that has remained consistent recently. Alek Thomas is still playing every day hitting toward the bottom of the lineup. Josh Rojas returned briefly but landed back on the IL. Pavin Smith has been batting second against righties.

The most notable piece of information is regarding David Peralta. He seems to have changed his swing to get more launch on the ball. His previous career launch angle was 6.6 degrees. This season that number is up to 19.1. His fly ball and barrel rates have increased which has resulted in Peralta hitting eight home runs including three in the past week. Peralta hit 30 home runs back in 2018 and that was with a swing not designed for power. Although he might not hit 30 this year, the changes Peralta has made seem to be paying off. He could easily hit 25 home runs this year and is a nice target where he is available. Of course, the increased power will hurt his average, but Peralta was not hitting for high averages anymore anyway. With the home run potential at least, he has some fantasy value now.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Edwin Rios has started to see more playing time over the past week playing in four straight games. He has batted .254 with five home runs, but I do not see any way this production continues. His .370 BABIP is well above his career mark of .246. He is striking out over 40% of the time and has an unsustainable 45.5 HR/FB%. The Dodgers are trying to give him more playing time, but I think he returns to a bench bat once his luck evens out.

I still believe that Miguel Vargas is an excellent stash in redraft leagues. Justin Turner and Max Muncy both continue to be horrendous at the plate. Muncy clearly looks to be bothered by his UCL and Justin Turner just looks overmatched. I think the Dodgers will call up their top prospect sooner rather than later. Vargas is currently batting .311/.416/.518 in AAA.

San Diego Padres

Trent Grisham has moved almost entirely into a platoon. He has been sitting against most lefties and has really struggled when he has played. Grisham is droppable in all leagues as he has been one of the bigger disappointments this season. Jose Azocar is playing more against righties and is batting .400 over the past week. He does not have any fantasy value. Jake Cronenworth has looked a little bit more comfortable in the leadoff spot. He has five runs and four RBIs over the past week and is in a prime spot batting right in front of Manny Machado.

Colorado Rockies

After returning briefly, Kris Bryant has landed back on the IL. His back is still bothering him, and I am officially concerned this could linger throughout the year. Yonathan Daza should continue to see most of the additional playing time and is worth a look in deeper leagues. Daza should hit for solid average and has been primarily batting second in his starts.

Elias Diaz could be seeing his playing time decrease. He was a sleeper pick at catcher in most fantasy drafts after a strong second half in 2021. He has hit just .204 on the season and has sat three times in the past week. Brian Serven has hit two home runs over the past week while batting .273 through his first four games. Serven likely will not hit for a high average, but has some serious pop which could play up in Coors Field. He hit 16 home runs in AAA last season and is worth a look in deep leagues.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants have combined a plethora of injuries with an ever-rotating system of platoons to provide unique lineups over the past week. I am guilty of giving up on Darin Ruf too fast. I was very high on him coming into the season and then when he struggled and LaMonte Wade Jr. returned I thought his chance was gone. However, Wade is back on the IL and Ruf has been one of the best hitters in baseball recently.

Tommy La Stella is batting leadoff against righties. He is on the strong side of a platoon but only has value in deep leagues. With all the injuries the Giants have seen, Luis Gonzalez could be worth a look. He is batting .338 on the season with two home runs and three stolen bases. He never performed particularly well in the minors for the White Sox, but maybe the Giants unlocked something in his swing the White Sox could not. As long as he is getting a chance to play, he could be a good pickup.

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  1. BB says

    Good stuff – one minor point, Josh Rojas did not return to the IL, he missed three games with a bruised hand from a HBP but was back in the lineup Thursday and again today.

    1. Matt Heckman says

      Good catch! you are absolutely right. I must have miss read the report. Thanks for reading the articles!

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