With the All-Star Break being this week, I decided to switch things up in my lineup analysis articles. There has not been much to detail from the lineups with only a couple of games being played. In this article, I decided to look forward to the trade deadline and second half. I detail how each team’s moves could potentially impact players’ fantasy value moving forward. I detail notes on all 15 National League lineups in the article below!
Post All-Star Break Lineup Analysis
Looking ahead to the second half, the most important thing to remember is the return of Jean Segura. Yes, Bryce Harper will also return to the lineup but that is not until September at the earliest. Segura should return sometime in August and will create playing time issues in the infield. Segura will play every day, so this will then force one of Gregorious or Stott to be on the bench. Stott has been the better player in almost every aspect lately, but I am still concerned about his second-half outlook.
The Phillies could also explore the trade market for a center fielder. I think Matt Vierling deserves an everyday lineup spot, but I am not sure the Phillies agree. Vierling is a nice deep league add, but keep in mind the Phillies figure to be buyers at the deadline.
New York Mets
Although the Mets figure to be buyers at the deadline, I am not sure they will add anybody new into their starting lineup. The Mets do have a couple of holes that are important to keep in mind. The most glaring need is at catcher. I mentioned in the lineup article last week that top prospect Francisco Alvarez could be a candidate late this year. The other route they could go is adding a DH. J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith have been splitting time and providing subpar results. The Mets could turn within their own division and target Garrett Cooper or Nelson Cruz as an upgrade for their lineup. This seems more likely in my opinion than adding a catcher. Any DH moving from a team that is selling to a team like the Mets will receive an instant upgrade.
The Braves’ potential deadline plans revolve closely around Ozzie Albies. Reports are that Albies plans to return to the lineup by late August. The Braves have been chasing down the Mets and may opt to add another infielder at the deadline to solidify the position while Albies returns. One name to monitor is Brandon Drury. Drury can play all over the infield and is having a breakout season for Cincinnati. If Drury ends up in Atlanta, there should be concerns moving forward over his playing time once Albies returns.
Heading into the second half, we still have not gotten a firm answer on how the outfield playing time will shake out with everybody healthy. Michael Harris and Ronald Acuna Jr. are cemented into the lineup every day. This leaves one additional outfield spot and the DH spot in the lineup for Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario, and Marcell Ozuna. Rosario has been dreadful since returning from the IL and Ozuna has not been much better. Meanwhile, Duvall is forcing his way into the lineup by swinging a hot bat. I expect the Braves to play the matchups with Rosario on the bench against lefties and ride the hot bats in the lineup for the second half.
The Nationals are the first team on this list that figure to be sellers at the deadline. There are three main trade candidates on this team. The first is Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez has not shown much in terms of power this year but is a reliable veteran presence for a contending team. If Hernandez gets traded, Luis Garcia figures to get even more time leading off while Alcides Escobar could reenter the lineup. Next on the list is Nelson Cruz. A trade would free up the DH spot for a player like Yadiel Hernandez or Maikel Franco to stay in the lineup. The biggest name is of course Juan Soto. I am not sure how likely it is that Soto gets dealt, but if he does this would allow all of Lane Thomas, Yadiel Hernandez, and Victor Robles to play every day.
The Marlins are probably more likely to sell at the deadline, although that is no guarantee. They were playing well before struggling against Pittsburgh and being swept by Philadelphia. The Marlins could look to retool and keep most of their veterans. Jesus Agular seems like an obvious trade candidate for Miami. Aguilar has a mutual option next season but could be a free agent after this year. A team looking to add a power bat DH will likely acquire Aguilar. This could mean Aguilar will be without an everyday lineup spot and see his fantasy value take a hit.
Another option for the Marlins would be to clear out some of their infield depth. When healthy, the Marlins have Jon Berti, Miguel Rojas, Joey Wendle, Jazz Chisholm, and Brian Anderson. Joey Wendle is another Marlins player with a mutual option for next year and a player that could provide versatile infield depth to a contender. Any trade the Marlins make to clear up their infield will increase the fantasy value of the remaining players.
Will the Cubs trade Willson Contreras and or Ian Happ? This is the question that is on everybody’s mind. If Contreras gets dealt, Yan Gomes will likely take over the primary catching responsibilities. Ian Happ being dealt would open up more intriguing playing time possibilities for Chicago. Nelson Velazquez is the name I would be keeping an eye on in the event of a Happ trade. Velazquez has shown flashes of being a valuable contributor but has struggled to put it all together with limited playing time.
The Brewers have a pretty set lineup. The one hole they have is in the outfield. Lorenzo Cain was DFA’d already this year and Tyrone Taylor has been inconsistent at the plate. Hunter Renfroe has also struggled to stay healthy, while Andrew McCutchen has had struggles at the plate. Adding a starting caliber outfielder to this lineup would be a plus. Ramon Laureano is a name to keep an eye on as a possible target. Regardless of who the player is that they target, I expect both Tyrone Taylor and Andrew McCutchen to lose some playing time once the Brewers make a move.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals could make a move to bolster their outfield with Harrison Bader injured and Tyler O’Neill struggling, but I do not expect this. The hole in their lineup has been the catching position. Yadier Molina has been injured for most of the year and Andrew Knizner is batting .207 with just one home run. I expect the Cardinals to make a move for another catcher at some point. This does not have as much of an impact on fantasy as some of the others. Whoever the catcher is that gets dealt here, they will likely lose some playing time once Molina returns from the IL.
The Reds are going to be sellers at the deadline. They have a few interesting lineup regulars that could be moved. Two names that stick out to me are Tommy Pham and Tyler Naquin. Naquin screams trade deadline move as he is strictly a platoon player. He is batting .258 against righties and .179 against lefties this year. Naquin’s fantasy value takes a hit in the event he leaves Cincinnati. Being in the Cincinnati lineup consistently and playing his home games at Great American Ballpark are significant plusses for Naquin. Losing these would remove any fantasy value he has. There are no enticing fantasy options waiting in the of a trade. Aristedes Aquino and Albert Almora Jr. figure to be the next in line to receive playing time. event
Brandon Drury is another player the Reds might look to trade. Teams are always looking for versatility at the deadline and Drury can play multiple positions in the infield. He is also in the middle of a career season with 18 home runs and a .278 average. Drury is probably the biggest name that I am concerned about over a potential trade. For one, he does carry some platoon risk if he lands with a contender. He is batting .325 against lefties and .261 against righties. Even if he lands somewhere that he can play every day, Drury has been a completely different hitter away from Great American Ballpark. At home, he is batting .310 while on the road he carries just a .241 average. In the event of a trade, I am selling Drury.
Behind Juan Soto, Bryan Reynolds is the biggest bat potentially on the market. Reynolds is still young, under team control, and a fixture at the top of Pittsburgh’s lineup. I think the Pirates are going to have to be blown away to trade him. If he does get traded, he should see his fantasy value increase due to likely scoring more runs on a better team. I think Ben Gamel has a greater likelihood of being traded. Gamel is batting .259 against righties and could be a bench bat somewhere else. A Gamel trade would free up playing time for the Pirates’ young outfielders Jack Suwinski and Cal Mitchell. The Pirates need to prioritize getting their young players in the lineup and trading Gamel makes sense. Daniel Vogelbach is another veteran name to keep an eye on.
Both potential trade candidates from Arizona are in the outfield. David Peralta is a player that Arizona could trade. Peralta has a massive platoon split this season. This year, he is batting .254 with 11 home runs against righties. Against lefties, he has a .114 average with one home run. Any trade would remove him from an everyday lineup spot and result in him platooning. If traded, Peralta has little to no fantasy value. The other trade candidate is the reverse platoon of Peralta. Jordan Luplow is excellent against lefties and could go to a team in need of a right-handed bat.
If the Diamondbacks trade both players, there is an outside chance they could call up Corbin Carroll. Carroll is in AAA and ranks as one of the top prospects in baseball. I expect the Diamondbacks to wait until 2023 for Carroll to reach the majors, but there is a chance he continues dominating and gets the call. Carroll is worth stashing if you have a deep bench.
Los Angeles Dodgers
When are the Dodgers not looking to add to their already impressive lineup? Last year, they went out and got Trea Turner. There is already speculation that they are going to go after Juan Soto. The Dodgers make a lot of sense as they have a hole in the outfield with Chris Taylor injured, the prospect pool to get a deal done, and a willingness to add payroll to get a Soto extension completed. I am not sure if the Dodgers will target Soto, but the point remains that they will likely target an outfielder at the deadline. Anybody that joins the Dodgers’ lineup will get a boost to their counting stats.
San Diego Padres
The Padres are one of the few teams around the league I could see not adding to their lineup at all at the deadline. Their biggest addition will be Fernando Tatis Jr. whenever he returns from the IL. Upon returning, he will slot in as the everyday SS which will limit the number of games Ha-Seong Kim will be in the lineup. Another player this could impact is C.J. Abrams. Abrams has been back and forth between the Padres and AAA and has struggled to find consistent playing time. With Tatis nearing a return, Abrams’ playing time will diminish further.
The Rockies are a weird team to figure out. When everybody thought they would be rebuilding, they went out and added Kris Bryant to their lineup. Despite this, the Rockies still figure to be sellers at the deadline. Jose Iglesias sticks out as an obvious trade candidate. Iglesias signed a one-year deal with Colorado this offseason and is batting over .300 so far. He is batting .363 away from Coors Field and only .245 at home. Teams are always looking to add middle infield depth at the deadline and Iglesias figures to be a popular name. A trade would likely reduce Iglesias’ playing time and hurt his fantasy value while opening a door for Garrett Hampson to receive more playing time and increasing his.
San Francisco Giants
Just like in my weekly lineup analysis, it is hard to decipher exactly what the Giants’ plans are going to be. Most of their lineup is filled with platoons right now. They could be in the market for a catcher as the combination of Joey Bart and Austin Wynns has been disappointing. However, I expect them to add pieces that play to their platoons. Specifically, a right-handed bat to match up with some of their outfield platoons. Whoever the Giants acquire is going to see their fantasy value take a dip, as Gabe Kapler is insistent on playing the matchups. The Giants are worth monitoring closely as the deadline approaches.