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NL Lineup Analysis 06/30

Another week of baseball down! Hopefully your fantasy teams are all doing well. If not, maybe this article can help you right the ship! The hottest five hitters over the last week are Josh Bell, Evan Longoria, Nico Hoerner, Joc Pederson, and Brandon Drury. For news and notes on all of the lineups around the National League check out the rest of the article below!

MLB Lineup Analysis

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

Crushing news out of Philadelphia this week. Bryce Harper was hit on the hand by a pitch last weekend and will undergo surgery. He is expected to return at some point this season, but I would guess a lot of that has to do with whether the Phillies are contending. The rest of the lineup will need to step up in his absence.

With Harper out, Mickey Moniak was recalled from AAA. He has struggled in his brief big-league stints but was playing well in AAA. He and Matt Vierling figure to split time trying to replace Harper. I am keeping a closer eye on Vierling than Moniak. Since hitting a pinch-hit home run off Josh Hader a couple of weeks ago, he is batting .304/.333/.522. He has upside in the bat if the Phillies put him in the lineup consistently. He has posted a strong barrel rate, exit velocity, and sweet spot percentage. In addition, he has excellent contact rates and great swing decisions. Vierling is worth keeping a close eye on.

Another name to watch is Darick Hall. This is his first major-league opportunity at 26 years old. However, he had already hit 20 home runs in AAA and batted fourth in the lineup in his first major league game. I do not think he is worth adding, but he is a name to keep an eye on.

New York Mets

James McCann returned from the IL this week. He has been batting ninth in the Mets’ lineup since returning. McCann has struggled at the plate since putting on a Mets uniform and I do not expect that to change. He is not worth adding anywhere. Jeff McNeil was battling a hamstring injury early this week. He returned to the lineup on Tuesday and should be fine moving forward. He should continue to bat eighth against lefties and higher against righties.

Mark Canha has had a rough week at the plate. The entire month of June has been a struggle for Canha who continues to produce very little outside of on-base percentage. He is going to continue working his walks but producing very little else. I have mentioned Canha as a sell-high candidate several times this year and continue to stand by that. Canha’s average by month are:

  • April: .345
  • May: .250
  • June: .200

Atlanta Braves

Ronald Acuna Jr. has continued to miss more time this week with another minor injury. Acuna appears to have avoided a serious injury, but this is still worth monitoring. Acuna is amazing when he plays, but it is likely he will continue to experience minor injuries throughout this season. With Acuna out of the lineup, Dansby Swanson has been leading off with Travis d’Arnaud batting second. Travis d’Arnaud is amid an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .323/.380/.723 since the start of June. This hot streak has forced William Contreras to the bench more frequently recently. d’Arnaud has made it clear that he is the starting catcher in Atlanta. Contreras still has long-term dynasty value, but his playing time is worth monitoring in redraft leagues.

Washington Nationals

Cesar Hernandez has finally started to move down in the lineup. So far, it has only been against lefties, but this is still a step in the right direction. The peculiar part about this is that Hernandez is batting .340 against lefties and .230 against righties. I assume if Hernandez is moving down in the lineup against lefties, he will soon move down against righties as well. Lane Thomas has been the beneficiary of Hernandez moving down as he has batted leadoff in his place.

Victor Robles was on the bench for three games in a row this week. He seems to have lost any hold on a starting job that he had and is now on the bench behind Thomas and Yadiel Hernandez. Hernandez is not worth adding in fantasy formats. Luis Garcia continues to be excellent, and I do not want to take away from that. I do want to pump the brakes though. He is running an unsustainable .386 BABIP while posting worse than league average whiff, chase, and contact rates. Garcia has a chance to be a significant building block for the Nationals long-term, but I am skeptical of his current level of success continuing.

Miami Marlins

Last week I wrote about how there was going to be a logjam in the Marlins infield with Brian Anderson coming back. That problem has solved itself as Jazz Chisholm was placed on the IL. Jon Berti will shift over to second base allowing Brian Anderson to be the everyday third baseman. Jon Berti has been batting leadoff for the Marlins. He continues to steal bases at an incredible rate and is extremely valuable in fantasy formats. Joey Wendle should return from the IL in the next week. That will further complicate the middle infield situation for Miami.

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NL Central

Chicago Cubs

Jonathan Villar is no longer with the Cubs. After being DFA’d, he was released. Another veteran, Jason Heyward has been battling a knee injury. He has not been in the lineup this week, but the Cubs have yet to place him on the IL. David Bote is back with the Cubs after starting in AAA. He has seen consistent playing time over Andrelton Simmons recently. Neither player is worth rostering.

Rafael Ortega has been batting second in the Cubs lineup this week. Ortega has been swinging the bat well recently, hitting .293/.370/.512 since June 10. Part of this is due to a .385 BABIP, but Ortega has shown a strong ability to walk this season. Ortega could have some value in deeper OBP leagues. Christopher Morel could be losing his leadoff spot in the Cubs lineup. Morel moved down to ninth for a couple of games this week and has been struggling lately. The strikeouts have caught up with Morel as he has struck out over 30% on the season and over 40% since June 10. Morel is a drop candidate, especially in shallower leagues.

Seiya Suzuki began a rehab assignment on Thursday and should be back with the team late next week at some point. In addition, David Bote left the game on Thursday with an injury. Andrelton Simmons figures to see more playing time if Bote is forced to miss any time.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers welcomed back Kolten Wong this week. At least so far, even with Wong back the Brewers are sticking with their new lineup construction. Christian Yelich appears to be in line to continue leading off with Wong fitting in toward the back half of the lineup. Since taking over the leadoff role, Yelich is batting .312. Hunter Renfroe landed on the IL last weekend with a calf strain. This is not expected to keep him out much longer than the minimum 10 days. Jonathan Davis and Jace Peterson will likely continue seeing additional playing time. Neither one is worth adding in any format.

St. Louis Cardinals

The injury bug has continued to hit the Cardinals hard recently. Harrison Bader was placed on the IL this week. There is not a definitive timetable for his return. Nolan Gorman is also battling a hand injury. This is not expected to require an IL stint but is worth monitoring. Juan Yepez and Brendan Donovan continue to see consistent playing time with the injuries. Lars Nootbaar has also received a couple of starts. I do not think Nootbaar is worth adding anywhere. Dylan Carlson continues to hit the ball well and is batting second against lefties.

Cincinnati Reds

There have not been many changes to the Reds’ lineup. Nick Senzel has continued to move down in the lineup and is now batting eighth. Tyler Naquin just began a rehab assignment. He will likely return next week. I expect Senzel and Almora to both lose some playing time as a result. Brandon Drury just keeps on hitting. He has an eight-game hitting streak and is showing no signs of slowing down. This is no longer just a hot start for Drury. He is a legitimate fantasy asset for this year and beyond.

Pittsburgh Pirates

To be completely honest, I have no idea what Pittsburgh is doing with their lineup. Josh VanMeter returned from the IL this week. The Pirates decided to option Cal Mitchell to AAA. VanMeter has found himself in the lineup on an everyday basis since returning. VanMeter is hitting an uninspiring .210 with three home runs on the year. I am not sure how much longer Pittsburgh can justify keeping him in the lineup. Diego Castillo also continues to find himself in the lineup. Castillo is batting just .167 since June 13th, but six of his seven hits have gone for a home run. Castillo is not known for being a power hitter and I do not expect this fluke to continue.

Oneil Cruz has been all over the lineup since being called up. Cruz batted leadoff for two games in a row, but since has moved back to third and sixth. The Pirates are likely just trying to figure out where Cruz is most comfortable. I expect him to settle into the upper half of the lineup. Bligh Madris has been batting in the middle of the lineup consistently for Pittsburgh. Madris has hit safely in all but two games so far this year. I do not expect him to hit for much power, but he has great contact skills that can produce a solid average.

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

Daulton Varsho has been struggling for Arizona. He has moved down out of the leadoff spot to the bottom half of the lineup. Since May 26th, he is batting .184/.236/.286. I wrote about how I was skeptical of Varsho in the offseason and these concerns have been validated. I think Varsho is a fine option at catcher, but he is far from one of the elite options. Especially since Varsho has just four stolen bases on the season and only one since May 9.

With Varsho moving down in the lineup, Josh Rojas has taken over the leadoff spot in the lineup. Rojas is batting just .255 on the season and .212 since June 10th. I do not think that he is the long-term solution for Arizona in the leadoff spot. I would not be surprised to see Alek Thomas move into that role soon. Thomas has already been batting second more regularly and could keep moving up. I doubt that he debuts this season, but Corbin Carroll is another option if he is called up. He is batting .313 with 16 home runs in AA.

Los Angeles Dodgers

There has not been much to note in the Dodgers’ lineup. With Betts out, Trayce Thompson is seeing a lot of playing time. Since joining the Dodgers, Thompson has hit .292 but that comes with a .500 BABIP and a strikeout rate over 40%. Muncy has looked better recently, but still not completely himself. Since returning he is batting .203/.319/.390. He has hit three home runs which is encouraging, but the power just still is not completely there. I am still concerned about his elbow injury for the rest of this season.

San Diego Padres

Manny Machado has remained sidelined with his ankle injury. The Padres still have not placed him on the IL which leads to the assumption that he should be back in the lineup any day now. We still have not gotten to see what the Padres do with C.J. Abrams once Machado is healthy. Since being called up, Abrams is only batting .250 with two extra base hits and zero walks. In addition, Abrams is yet to attempt a steal. Yes, Abrams has big time fantasy upside with his speed, but I am out on Abrams for the rest of 2022. I think it is likely he either ends up back in AAA or in a platoon once Machado returns.

The Padres are finally giving Jorge Alfaro a serious chance to play every day. Alfaro has been batting in the middle of the lineup and rotating between catcher and DH. The strikeout rate has started to creep back up over the past week, but I am a big believer in the bat of Alfaro. He makes loud contact with the ability to drive the ball out of the park. If you need catching help, Alfaro needs to be picked up.

Colorado Rockies

Kris Bryant has finally made his return to Colorado’s lineup. He has slotted back into the third spot for them. Hopefully his back issues are behind him for the rest of the season. This has forced Yonathan Daza into more of a bench role. He still has started multiple games this year but is no longer a regular in the lineup. Daza holds little fantasy value if he is not playing every day.

Connor Joe has continued to bat leadoff against both lefties and righties. Meanwhile, Jose Iglesias has moved up to sixth in the lineup. This is in part because the Rockies have faced a lot of lefties over the past week. Ryan McMahon moves down in the lineup against lefties. Elehuris Montero is no more than a bench bat for Colorado at this point. I am not sure why they have him up if he is not going to play. I still like Montero long-term, but not in 2022.

San Francisco Giants

LaMonte Wade Jr. has come back from the IL. In his first game back, he batted leadoff. I expect him to play most games against right-handed pitching. This could reduce Darin Ruf’s playing time. Over the past week, Joc Pederson and Mike Yastrzemski have both been in the lineup against lefties and righties. This is new for Pederson who was on the bench against most lefties previously. This could increase his value even higher than it was. Brandon Belt has been on the lineup against most lefties and appears to be in a platoon.

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