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NL Lineup Analysis 07/08

Time for some National League lineup news! We are now about halfway through the MLB season with the All-Star Break fast approaching. In the coming weeks, I plan on doing a Trade Deadline special lineup article evaluating moves each team might make and what that can mean for the players currently on each roster. The five hottest hitters in the National League over the past week have been Austin Riley, Nolan Arenado, Justin Turner, Jack Suwinski, and Kyle Schwarber. Check out the rest of the article for news and notes from all 15 teams!

MLB Lineup Analysis

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

Didi Gregorious has been battling soreness in his knee. This has given Bryson Stott plenty of opportunities to stay in the lineup. Stott has quietly been picking things back up at the plate batting .281 with zero strikeouts since June 23. He has not exhibited much power, but I am still optimistic for his long-term outlook. Matt Vierling has been the other player to see his playing time increase. Even with Gregorious back now, Vierling should see his name on the lineup card more frequently. I mentioned his recent success last week and think he is an excellent target in deep leagues. He might even gain second base eligibility soon.

Darick Hall was a massive FAAB target last week and has shown the same power he was showing in AAA. He has been batting fourth in the Phillies’ lineup against righties and sitting against lefties. I do not see much average upside with Hall, but the power is legit. Hall will likely hit around .220 but can help provide HRs and RBIs for your fantasy team. I will die on the Alec Bohm hill. He has hit safely in nine of ten games during which he has an average exit velocity of 89.3mph and an average launch angle of 18.8 degrees. I still think Bohm is a great dynasty target.

New York Mets

The only notable change to the Mets’ lineup is that Dominic Smith is once again platooning with J.D. Davis. Smith has looked much better since his call back up. He is batting .316 although much of that is driven by a .400 BABIP. Meanwhile, during that same period, Davis is batting just .188. They will likely continue to platoon which results in neither player having any fantasy value.

Starling Marte is finally stealing bases again. After not attempting a stolen base since June 6, Marte has two in the past week. Marte’s speed and stolen base production drove up his draft price, but the steals were hard to come by early in the season. Marte’s recent aggressiveness on the bases is an indicator that he is feeling healthy and ready to produce at the top of the Mets’ lineup.

Atlanta Braves

Eddie Rosario has returned to the Braves lineup. Rosario had eye surgery after a terrible start to the season. He is a player to watch closely to see if the surgery really will help make a difference. To be fair, it is hard to hit a baseball when you can see, let alone when you cannot. Rosario has been batting in the back half of the lineup since returning. Adam Duvall has been dealing with a hand issue that has kept him out of the lineup. I still expect him to be the odd man out of the lineup even when healthy. Duvall has struggled at the plate this season and could find himself on the bench with regularity against righties. He and Rosario will likely platoon at least to start.

The Braves seem intent on riding the hot hand at catcher. William Contreras has seen his playing time tick back up recently as his bat has gotten going at the plate again. Eddie Rosario’s return also forces Marcell Ozuna back into the DH role limiting the chances for both catchers to get into the lineup. There is a chance the Braves could reduce Ozuna’s playing time, but I think that is unlikely. d’Arnaud is the better 2022 option, while Contreras is the better dynasty option in my opinion.

Washington Nationals

Nelson Cruz and Juan Soto both missed time this week with injuries. Soto returned to the lineup on Wednesday and Cruz did on Thursday. Both players should be fine moving forward. Yadiel Hernandez has also been swinging a hot bat and beginning to eat into some of Lane Thomas’ playing time. Thomas has been in a slump at the plate recently due to an inability to make solid contact. When Thomas was hot, he was hitting the ball hard and barreling up baseballs. This has not been happening recently. I picked Thomas as a potential second-half breakout but am becoming more and more skeptical of this.

Maikel Franco has found himself out of the lineup twice in the past week. Franco has been horrendous at the plate recently batting just .145 since June 11. Even since the start of May, he has a 61 wRC+. The Nationals do not have a lot of other options, but Franco is a candidate to lose playing time.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins infield continues to get healthier. Joey Wendle returned from the IL. Since returning, Wendle has been batting toward the top of the lineup against righties. Jon Berti has been dealing with lower-body soreness and missed a couple of games. When he returned Berti started in LF. The Marlins are going to have to get creative if they want Berti, Anderson, and Wendle in the lineup at the same time. Anderson has been batting around the middle of the lineup since returning from the IL and is hitting .280. This situation is worth monitoring closely when all three are healthy.

Jazz Chisholm is doing light workouts in Florida to try and work his way back from his injury. I do not believe he will be back when first eligible although that could change. Chisholm’s eventual return will only add more constraints to playing time in the Marlins’ infield. Jorge Soler is reportedly taking part in the same workouts as Chisholm. With Soler on the IL, Bryan De La Cruz has been playing every day.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

The biggest news out of Chicago is that Seiya Suzuki has returned. He has been batting fourth in the lineup since returning and has provided a much-needed spark. Nelson Velazquez has also been in the Cubs lineup more frequently over the past week. Velazquez has looked solid at the plate in limited opportunities. I am concerned that he will struggle to play every day especially once Jason Heyward returns from the IL.

With Willson Contreras out of the lineup dealing with a hamstring injury, Nico Hoerner moved up to second. Hoerner has been nothing short of excellent recently and is showing real improvements at the plate. Since June 20, he is batting .400 and has continued to improve his walk rates.

Milwaukee Brewers

Omar Narvaez might be losing his grip on the starting catcher job in Milwaukee. Caratini has been starting most games over the past week and has looked like the better catcher recently. Neither player has much fantasy value with the way that they are splitting time. Hunter Renfroe is ramping up to participating in baseball activities. He remains without a firm timetable to return.

Tyrone Taylor was placed on the concussion IL this week. Jace Peterson and Jonathan Davis have been playing more with Taylor and Renfroe out. Davis has struggled and will end up back on the bench once Taylor returns. Peterson however is making a case to be in the lineup even after the Brewers get healthy. Peterson is batting .353 since June 23rd and slugging .559. However, most of his success is due to a .478 BABIP which should come crashing down. I am not rushing to add Peterson anywhere.

St. Louis Cardinals

Tyler O’Neill has begun a rehab assignment. He should return from injury within the next week or so. Conner Capel has been seeing consistent playing time over Lars Nootbaar with O’Neill and Bader out. Once O’Neill returns, it is likely that Capel will not find himself in the lineup as much. The other potential option is Juan Yepez, but Yepez has been red hot recently. I expect him to remain in the lineup even when O’Neill returns. Harrison Bader’s eventual return could impact Yepez, but that seems to be a little bit farther away. Bader is only participating in baseball activities and not yet rehabbing.

Tommy Edman seems to be moving down in the Cardinals lineup. He has been in a slump, batting just .172 since June 20. A move down in the lineup could have a serious negative impact on Edman’s fantasy value. He really is a two-category contributor with runs and stolen bases. Seeing his run production decrease could reduce his value significantly. Brendan Donovan, Juan Yepez, and Dylan Carlson are all candidates to hit higher in the lineup with Edman moving down.

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds welcomed Tyler Naquin back to the lineup this week. Looking now, it seems like Albert Almora is going to be the odd man out of that outfield. Nick Senzel has been playing well batting .442 since June 23. Senzel is starting to hit the ball harder. The next step is going to be increasing his pull percentage. If Senzel can do that he could have a huge breakout.

Kyle Farmer has been dealing with a hand injury that has kept him out of the lineup for part of the week, but he has since returned. Tyler Stephenson is expected back any day now as his rehab assignment has gone well. He will return to being the everyday catcher for Cincinnati. Joey Votto has been dealing with back issues. He has missed three games in a row. He was struggling before the injury, so I am curious if the two are connected.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates welcomed back some veteran bats to their lineup this week. Both Ben Gamel and Yoshi Tsutsugo are healthy and off the IL. They both figure to receive consistent playing time. This will result in players like Diego Castillo and Michael Chavis seeing more time on the bench. Hopefully, the Pirates are smart enough to leave Bligh Madris in the lineup despite the return of Tsutsugo. He was batting just .190 before the injury and has no real upside. The Pirates should continue letting their young players receive every day at-bats.

Since June 18, Jack Suwinski has six home runs, 14 runs, nine RBIs, a walk percentage of 14.7, and an average of .250. Suwinski continues to prove that he belongs in the major leagues and should be rostered. I do not expect the average to keep up, but he has legit power that can help your outfield in deeper leagues.

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks sent Pavin Smith to AAA this week. He was a fixture in the middle of the Arizona lineup at the beginning of the season but had started to lose playing time and is now in AAA. Cooper Hummel has been playing every day and hitting toward the top of the Arizona lineup against left-handed pitchers. I do not think he is worth adding in any formats. Daulton Varsho has started showing signs of life again. He is still hitting toward the bottom of the lineup but could find himself moving back up if the hot streak continues.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers got a big boost to their lineup this week as Mookie Betts is healthy again. With Betts back, the Dodgers have added a small but new wrinkle to their lineup. Trea Turner is now batting second, and Freddie Freeman is hitting third. This change does not change much in terms of fantasy production. Maybe slightly more runs for Turner and RBIs for Freeman.

Chris Taylor is on the IL with a fracture in his foot. This is expected to sideline him for a few weeks. This is yet another opportunity for me to urge the Dodgers to call up Miguel Vargas. He is batting .294 with 13 home runs in AAA and has started three games in LF so far. He is a better option than inserting Jake Lamb into the lineup and should be up soon.

San Diego Padres

Manny Machado is back in the lineup on a regular basis after battling his ankle injury. As a result, C.J. Abrams has been on the bench almost every game. Analysts in the industry can have their debates on the upside and skill level of Abrams, but nobody can argue that he does not have a path to consistent playing time. I would not be surprised if he ends up back in AAA again soon. I am out on Abrams for 2022. Jorge Alfaro has continued seeing regular playing time batting around the middle of the order. He has cooled off at the plate over the past week and could find himself in a platoon again. However, Austin Nola who he would platoon with has been even worse at the plate.

Colorado Rockies

There have not been any real changes to the Rockies lineup over the past week. Randal Grichuk has been on the bench against a righty multiple times this week. He seems to be losing playing time to Yonathan Daza with Kris Bryant back from the IL. Grichuk has been struggling at the plate recently and not worth rostering at this point. Although he is still playing regularly, Daza has not been much if any better than Grichuk and is also not worth a roster spot in fantasy.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants have had to shuffle around their infield over the past week. Thairo Estrada was placed on the COVID list. Meanwhile, Brandon Crawford is back from the IL. Evan Longoria was receiving consistent playing time, but he landed on the IL on Wednesday. This should increase Tommy La Stella’s playing time. In addition, Curt Casali was placed on the IL this week. Joey Bart is back with the team. He should split playing time with Austin Wynns moving forward. Mike Yastrzemski has been on the bench both games against a lefty this week. He has been struggling at the plate since the start of June and has moved into more of a platoon role as a result.

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