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NL Lineup Analysis 06/17

At this point in the season, you probably have a good idea of what your team’s outlook is. You have a good idea if you are going to contend for a playoff spot or if you are going to be looking toward the future in dynasty and keeper leagues. Hopefully, this NL lineup article will provide you with helpful insight into all 15 teams. The five hottest hitters in the NL have been Rhys Hoskins, Bryan Reynolds, Paul Goldschmidt, Brendan Donovan, and Dansby Swanson. Check out the article below for all of the latest trends from every team around the National League!

MLB Lineup Analysis

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

Ever since Rob Thompson took over as manager, the Phillies lineup has remained consistent most nights. Mickey Moniak was optioned to AAA this week. He was being outplayed by Odubel Herrera and the Phillies preferred the right-handed bat and versatility of Matt Vierling. Vierling has played against most lefties that the Phillies have faced this week and has made starts at CF, 2B, and 3B.

I cannot say enough about Rhys Hoskins. He has been unstoppable lately after his slow start to the season. He is a streaky hitter, but when he is hot, he can win you fantasy matchups. Since May 30, Hoskins is batting .357/.446/.750- with six home runs, 12 runs, and 13 RBIs. Going into the season Hoskins was my favorite target amongst first basemen and he has a chance to be a top-five option at the position moving forward.

New York Mets

The injuries suffered by Starling Marte and Pete Alonso last week proved to be insignificant as both players returned to the lineup this past weekend. There have not been any real changes to the Mets lineup recently. Luis Guillorme continues to see significant playing time batting toward the bottom of the Mets’ lineup. Even if he continues to play, he likely will only help your team average as he has a career slugging percentage of .346. Starling Marte was hit by a pitch and was out of the lineup on Thursday. Reports are he should be back in the lineup on Friday.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves just keep on winning but suffered a devastating injury this past week. Ozzie Albies suffered a broken ankle. Orlando Arcia seems to be the most likely candidate to see increased at-bats at second base. Arcia has looked good in minimal playing time this season and is worth keeping an eye on. The Braves also called up Phil Gosselin, but he figures to be just a bench bat.

William Contreras has been batting seventh in the Braves’ lineup when he has played. He added another home run this week and should continue to find himself on the lineup card. As a result of Contreras’ excellent production, Travis d’Arnaud has found himself on the bench a little bit more. There are two lineup spots for three players between Contreras, d’Arnaud, and Adam Duvall. This is worth monitoring moving forward.

Washington Nationals

After moving into the two-hole for most of last week, Lane Thomas has moved into the leadoff spot for the Nationals. Hitting at the top of the lineup will allow him even more opportunity to score runs. I ran his xwRC+ for the season and it came out to 115. I continue to urge picking up Thomas wherever he is available. Juan Soto has been dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of the lineup twice this week but returned on Thursday.

Keibert Ruiz is no longer hitting at the top of the lineup and has moved into more of a platoon with Riley Adams. Ruiz has sat both games against lefties this week. Another platoon is Yadiel Hernandez and Victor Robles. Hernandez has been playing against righties with Robles entering the lineup against lefties. Neither one is worth rostering at this point in fantasy.

Miami Marlins

Garrett Cooper was placed on the COVID list early this week but returned to the lineup after a short stay. He continues to produce at a high level. Miguel Rojas has been playing every day hitting primarily toward the bottom of the lineup. With the injuries in the Marlins’ infield, Rojas has moved from a platoon role into a full-time job. He is only batting .216 on the season and has not looked any better since playing every day. Rojas is not worth picking up.

Jacob Stallings and Nick Fortes are now platooning at catcher. Stallings continues to struggle batting just .170 since May 24. Since coming up, Fortes is batting .333 and could continue to take time away from Stallings. Avisail Garcia has been battling a hand injury that has forced him to the bench a couple of times in the past week. He returned to the lineup on Wednesday though and should be fine moving forward.

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NL Central

Chicago Cubs

Jonathan Villar came back from the IL this week. He has been playing every day since returning. Nick Madrigal has been battling a groin injury so this has opened the door for Villar. Villar has yet to record a hit since his return, so it is likely Madrigal will slot back into the lineup when healthy. Andrelton Simmons appears to be the odd man out in this infield. After signing with Chicago and then getting injured, Simmons has struggled to find regular playing time. I would not be surprised to see Simmons traded to a new team at some point.

Clint Frazier was DFA’d this week. I thought he had some fantasy upside, but the Cubs have been giving Jason Heyward playing time instead. Rafael Ortega has also been bumped out of everyday playing time. The Cubs outfield is Morel, Happ, and Heyward leaving Ortega with nowhere to play. Yan Gomes has been in the lineup frequently as of late. This will likely change when Seiya Suzuki returns to the lineup and the Cubs have somebody to fill the DH spot.

Milwaukee Brewers

Kolten Wong landing on the IL combined with the Brewers’ recent struggles has led to a brand-new lineup. Christian Yelich has been batting leadoff this week. Rowdy Tellez has been batting third. McCutchen has moved down to fifth and Tyrone Taylor has moved down to ninth in the lineup. Yelich has been hitting well over the past week but has just one home run since May 13. Ever since Yelich experienced back injuries he has never been the same player. I do not expect this to change any time soon and think that fantasy managers can expect runs and stolen bases but should not be expecting much power.

Omar Narvaez returned from his injury over the weekend. He has batted sixth since returning and should continue to start against righties while sitting against lefties. After his hot streak and me urging fantasy managers to pick him up, Tyrone Taylor is batting just .132 since the start of June. What has been concerning is the sudden drop in his exit velocity. Taylor has just a .172 BABIP during this period so he should start seeing some improvements soon. I still believe in the talent of Taylor but am monitoring his production and playing time closely moving forward.

St. Louis Cardinals

Since Dylan Carlson returned to the lineup, the Cardinals have only faced righties. Gorman and Donavan have played every game so it is clear that at least against right-handed pitchers their playing time will not be taking a hit. Juan Yepez has been on the bench for three out of five games and appears to be seeing his playing time take the biggest hit. I still expect him to be in the lineup against lefties, but this is concerning. Dylan Carlson has also been on the bench twice, but one of those games was a double-header. I assume this was just the Cardinals giving him a chance to rest after returning from the IL. I expect Carlson to play every day against righties while likely sitting against lefties. Yepez is likely a drop candidate as he will be on the short side of a platoon for the time being.

Paul Goldschmidt has been on an unbelievable tear. His entire season has been fantastic as his average is up to .347. He has added four more home runs to his total this year and is the front runner for NL MVP. Despite posting the second-lowest LD% of his career, Goldschmidt has a .386 BABIP. He is not going to continue hitting .347, but it is clear that Goldschmidt will remain an elite fantasy asset moving forward.

Cincinnati Reds

Jonathan India has returned to the top of the Reds’ lineup. This is a huge boost for everybody hitting behind him as they will have more chances to get RBIs. Nick Senzel was batting leadoff for the Reds and has moved down to sixth in the lineup. Mike Moustakas also returned from his injury. He has been batting seventh since returning. He has hit safely in every game since returning but still holds an uninspiring .211/.315/.317 slash line. With Tyler Stephenson on the IL, Kyle Farmer has moved up to the fifth spot in the Reds’ lineup. Farmer has been excellent over the past week and for the entire month of June. He has proven that he deserves to stay in the Reds’ lineup even with Moustakas and India returning.

Tyler Naquin was originally supposed to be sidelined four to six weeks with his quad injury. Reports out of Cincinnati are that Naquin is way ahead of schedule in his recovery. He was originally placed on the IL on June 2nd, so we could potentially see him return before the end of the month. He figures to slot back into the outfield with Senzel and Pham, removing Albert Almora Jr. from the lineup. I expect Naquin to hit in the back half of the lineup with India healthy and Drury continuing to dominate.

Pittsburgh Pirates

For some reason, the Pirates have been batting Tucupita Marcano leadoff for much of the past week. Marcano is batting just .262 on the season and will not stay in this spot most likely. The Pirates have also been set on batting Michael Chavis in the middle of the lineup every game. Since the start of June, Chavis is batting just .191 with one home run. I do not expect him to keep playing every day let alone in the middle of the lineup. Another player I expect to see his playing time decrease is Diego Castillo. He has just three hits since the start of June despite playing almost every day at shortstop. Oneil Cruz is red hot in AAA and the Pirates have to be making the call for him soon.

The Pirates did call up Canaan Smith-Njigba this week. He has started two games so far and should get a chance to prove himself. Njigba has great raw power but tends to beat the ball into the ground. He will need a swing adjustment if he hopes to unlock any game power at the major league level.

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

The biggest news out of Arizona has been the return of Carson Kelly. This has shifted Daulton Varsho primarily back to the outfield and Kelly has been batting sixth or seventh since returning. Jordan Luplow has been batting at the top of the lineup against lefties but has been on the bench against righties. Daulton Varsho moves down in the lineup against lefties but is still playing every day.

Josh Rojas stole his first base since May 19 this past week. For him to be fantasy-relevant, Rojas needs to be stealing bases. He has only hit .190 since June 4, which could lead to him moving down in the lineup. Recently he has been batting second. Rojas is a borderline cut candidate at this point and I would be watching closely to see if the Diamondbacks move him down in the lineup.

Los Angeles Dodgers

There have not been any changes to the Dodgers lineup. When healthy, the fourth, fifth, and sixth batters are Muncy, Smith, and Turner in that order.

Since May 15, Gavin Lux is batting .333. While the .400 BABIP is unsustainable, Lux is proving that he can make consistent contact at the plate while also showing great plate discipline. The power still has not shown up for Lux, but progress is not always linear, and he is already showing signs of development. Since the start of June, Lux is pulling the ball 65.5% of the time which should help him unlock some more power. I am willing to be patient with Lux’s power and settle for his combination of high batting average and runs scored for the time being. I still believe in Lux’s power long-term and think he is finally putting it all together.

San Diego Padres

The Padres have a couple of platoons going on right now. Jorge Alfaro has been catching and batting sixth or seventh in the lineup against most righties. Austin Nola has been getting the starts against lefties. Alfaro is quietly batting .339/.373/.589 since May 14. Over that span, Alfaro is also only striking out 27.1% of the time which is a big improvement from his 42.4% rate previously. His average is unsustainable, but Alfaro hits the ball extremely hard and has finally raised his launch angle from a career average of 5.4 degrees to 10.2 degrees. Alfaro should be picked up everywhere he is available as he seems to have taken the starting job away from Austin Nola.

Nomar Mazara also continues to play against righties while sitting against lefties. Jose Azocar has been rotating in with a southpaw on the mound. Mazara has been good since being called up batting .324. I am still just keeping an eye on him. If the home runs and power starts to show up again, Mazara will be a must add.

Colorado Rockies

Elias Diaz seems to be losing his starting job to Brian Serven. Serven has started three of the past five games for Colorado. With an average exit velocity under 85mph and worse than league average chase and whiff rates, I do not think Serven is worth adding to your roster. Brendan Rodgers has also been batting third recently for Colorado. Since May 1, Rodgers is batting .318/.360/.506 and looks to have really figured things out at the plate. Rodgers still has an average launch angle of just 1 degree since that time, so I am skeptical of the power continuing.

San Francisco Giants

Evan Longoria has been battling a hamstring injury that has kept him out of the lineup for several games this week. Meanwhile, Brandon Belt returned to the Giants’ lineup. He hit fifth in his return. Luis Gonzalez continues to be platoon-proof for the Giants. He is batting leadoff against righties and toward the bottom of the lineup against lefties. Since the start of June Gonzalez is batting just .184, so I would expect his playing time at least against lefties to start decreasing.

The Giants traded for Austin Wynns and he has started five games since last Thursday. The Giants clearly do not want Curt Casali to play every day so he and Wynns will likely be in a timeshare. Casali has more fantasy upside, but that is capped if he is not starting consistently.

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