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NL Lineup Analysis 08/05

With the Trade Deadline in the rearview mirror, it is full steam for lineup analysis! Lineups should remain consistent for the rest of the season now. With the fantasy baseball playoffs creeping up, hopefully this article can help you make some late-season adjustments to get you there. The five hottest hitters in the NL over the past week have been Francisco Lindor, Jurickson Profar, Jake Cronenworth, Jeff McNeil, and Kolten Wong. Check out news and notes on all 15 NL lineups in the article below!

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies lineup has plenty to talk about this week. First addressing the lineup changes over the past week, Alec Bohm has been batting third. I have been the leader of the Bohm hype train this season and he had an excellent month of July. Although this move might be temporary with the Phillies getting healthy, Bohm’s value increases by batting in the middle of the lineup. Nick Castellanos has started to move down. He has been hitting for a higher average lately, but still is showing no power. I just wrote an xwRC+ article featuring Castellanos and am concerned moving forward.

Now addressing the additions to the lineup. Jean Segura is back from the IL. In a corresponding move, the Phillies released Didi Gregorious. This cements Bryson Stott as the starting SS moving forward. With the Phillies acquiring Brandon Marsh, Darick Hall is another candidate to see his playing time decrease. He has been struggling, and Philadelphia could look to move Nick Castellanos to the DH spot. Rob Thompson has already come out and said that Marsh is going to be the everyday CF, so either Matt Vierling is going to move to the bench, or he will move to RF and Nick Castellanos will become the DH. I expect Marsh to bat at the bottom of the lineup. Bryce Harper also had the pins removed from his hand this week. He hopes to return at the end of August or early September.

New York Mets

Although the general construction of the Mets’ lineup has remained the same, there are some new faces that are a part of it. The most notable fantasy impact appears to be on Mark Canha. Canha is somebody I have written about a couple of times as a player due for regression. With the acquisition of Tyler Naquin, it seems he is losing some of his playing time. Canha has been on the bench twice this past week, while Naquin has been in the lineup every day against right-handed pitchers. Canha has better numbers both this season and throughout his career against righties but appears to be losing some playing time against them. James McCann is also back with the team and should take over primary catching responsibilities.

The Mets also traded for Darin Ruf at the deadline. J.D. Davis was sent to San Francisco as part of the package. The Mets transformed their platoon from Davis and Smith to Ruf and Vogelbach over the past week. Ruf figures to be on the short side of the platoon and is not worth rostering. For the rest of the season, Vogelbach should get most of the starts against righties.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves did not make any big lineup splashes at the deadline, but they did add Robbie Grossman. Grossman has been extremely disappointing this year, but people said the same thing about Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario last year before they were traded to Atlanta. Grossman figures to be the fifth outfielder behind Acuna, Harris, Ozuna, and Rosario. I expect Grossman to platoon with Eddie Rosario and be in the lineup against lefties. Grossman is batting .347 off them this season and is a .281 career hitter off lefties. Grossman has no fantasy value on the short side of the platoon, and he will negatively impact Rosario’s value. Michael Harris was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday but returned to the lineup on Thursday.

I mentioned last week that the Braves could continue to ride the hot hand and play William Contreras more than Travis d’Arnaud. This is what has happened so far this week with Contreras entering the lineup a little bit more frequently. I expect the Braves to continue to do this throughout the season and play whichever one of their catchers is performing better. Both catchers can be great for fantasy when they are swinging the bat well. If you own either, you will just have to pay attention to who is getting the starts and have a bench option ready. Right now, the catcher in the Braves’ lineup is William Contreras.

Washington Nationals

In perhaps the biggest deadline deal in history, Juan Soto and Josh Bell were traded to San Diego. This leaves two massive holes in the National’s lineup. The one hole will be easy to fill with Luke Voit stepping in for Josh Bell. Voit’s fantasy value takes a hit in the trade with fewer production opportunities. Soto’s departure opens the door for Robles, Thomas, and Hernandez to all be in the lineup every day. I have written a couple of times about Robles and Thomas being intriguing deep league adds. Robles has been batting at the top of the lineup over the past week for Washington. Both have shown flashes but have been struggling this season to put it all together. Robles is a better roster at this point in the season.

Initially, I thought C.J. Abrams would receive a big boost in fantasy value with the trade. I thought Abrams would have a clear path to everyday playing time, but this is not the case as he was optioned to AAA. I expect Abrams to join the Nationals at some point this season and likely play CF every day. Abrams still only has dynasty/keeper league value at this point.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins are one of the few teams that have not seen many changes to their lineup over the past week. They continue to deal with several injuries that have left them short-handed. There have not been any updates on the timelines for Jon Berti or Jorge Soler. Garret Cooper is the one player who has returned from the IL. He should continue to bat second for the marlins and be a productive contributor for fantasy purposes. One notable piece is that Jesus Sanchez was optioned to AAA. Peyton Burdick is a name to keep an eye on. He has been performing well in AAA and I expect him to be in the lineup every day. He is mostly just a power bat, but could be a boost in deep leagues.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs surprisingly did not trade away either of Willson Contreras or Ian Happ. This is good news for the rest of the players in the Cubs lineup. Nico Hoerner, Patrick Wisdom, and Seiya Suzuki should continue to receive RBI and run-scoring chances with Contreras and Happ there. Andrelton Simmons is currently rehabbing with AAA. David Bote was optioned back to AAA this week. With Nick Madrigal back, and Zach McKinstry now with the team the infield has gotten crowded. I do not think any of their options are worth adding in fantasy.

Milwaukee Brewers

There have been almost no changes to the Brewers lineup over the past week. Tyrone Taylor is continuing to play every day and bat ninth. He has been struggling since the All-Star Break and could eventually lose time to Esteury Ruiz. Ruiz was acquired from the Padres and was optioned to AAA. If Taylor continues to struggle, the Brewers could call him up to play every day. He is worth stashing if you have an extra bench spot. I was recently a guest on a podcast discussing dynasty fantasy baseball. One name that was brought up was Andrew McCutchen. Since the break, he is batting .250/.362/.425. He could provide valuable counting stats down the stretch as he continues to bat in the middle of Milwaukee’s lineup.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals did not trade for Juan Soto. They opted to keep the same lineup of players for the second half. One notable trade was Harrison Bader to the Yankees. Bader is on the IL currently. A lot of the Cardinals players are injured right now, but when healthy this frees up more playing time. Dylan Carlson will be the everyday CF and has been batting leadoff. Carlson has been struggling since the break, but much of that can be attributed to a .200 BABIP. I expect Carlson to be a valuable contributor for the second half. Tyler O’Neill will play RF when healthy. He is dealing with leg cramping which has forced him to miss a couple games this week. Brendan Donavan can play LF which will keep him in the lineup even when the Cardinals are healthy.

Tommy Edman has been batting ninth. Edman has been batting just .233 since the start of June and has continued struggling this month. His run totals figure to take a hit hitting at the bottom of the lineup. He is now essentially a one-category contributor. Paul DeJong is back with the Cardinals. He has already hit two home runs since returning. DeJong may never hit for average, but if he can produce power, he is worth keeping an eye on. I am not sure how much he will play once the Cardinals get back to full strength. Speaking of getting healthy, Yadier Molina is back from the IL and should see most of the starts at catcher.

Cincinnati Reds

The middle of the Reds’ lineup is going to look different than it did before. Tommy Pham was traded to the Red Sox and Brandon Drury was traded to the Padres. Without both of those bats, the Reds lost two key RBI producers. This could impact Jonathan India who will now be hitting in front of Nick Senzel and Kyle Farmer. In contradiction, Nick Senzel could see his fantasy value boosted by batting at the top of the lineup. Jake Fraley and Aristedes Aquino will likely both see their playing time increase with these trades. In addition, Matt Reynolds will likely take Drury’s spot in the lineup. I do not think any of the replacement players mentioned are worth rostering on your fantasy roster.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates were not as active at the Trade Deadline as I expected them to be. Their lineup has remained relatively the same. Kevin Newman continues to bat leadoff and has been posting strong numbers lately. However, 85mph average exit velocity, a 3% barrel rate, 38% chase rate, and a .387 BABIP lead me to believe this hot streak will not continue. The Pirates finally designated Yoshi Tsutsugo for assignment this week. Bligh Madris drew the first start at 1B without Tsutsugo. Madris deserves a chance over Tsutsugo but is not worth adding. Oneil Cruz has four home runs since the break. The strikeouts continue to be a concern, but it is clear that Cruz has elite upside if he puts it all together.

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NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks traded away David Peralta and traded for Emmanuel Rivera. I expect Rivera to be in the lineup on a regular basis. Seth Beer is also back with the team, but I do not expect him to be fantasy relevant this season. Both Arizona catchers have been swinging a hot bat since the All-Star Break. I expect Varsho to remain streaky throughout this season. Carson Kelly has been even better in part to a .474 BABIP. His improved barrel percentage is encouraging for his 2022 power outlook.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have continued improving their roster. One of the bigger surprises was the addition of Joey Gallo. The 2022 season has been a struggle for Gallo, but a change of scenery could be exactly what he needs. Gallo has big upside. I expect Gallo to be in the Dodgers’ lineup most games against righties and be on the bench against lefties. He is worth monitoring closely and somebody that I would pick up if you have room on your bench. Chris Taylor is on a rehab assignment and the Dodgers expect him back in the next week or so. Taylor’s return could complicate playing time for Gallo. The other option is to sit Cody Bellinger who continues to struggle this season.

With Justin Turner on the IL, the Dodgers called up top prospect Miguel Vargas. Vargas has ranked inside of my top 15 dynasty prospects all season and is somebody that should definitely be added. Although I am concerned that he will return to AAA once Turner is back, Vargas has immense fantasy upside. Vargas is a better player at this point than Turner and I think the Dodgers will realize this.

San Diego Padres

A LOT of big changes for the Padres. Juan Soto, Brandon Drury, and Josh Bell are now on the team, while Eric Hosmer and Luke Voit are not. In the short-term simple lineup outlook, Josh Bell will replace Eric Hosmer as the starting first baseman. Brandon Drury will slide into the DH spot, but also can play several positions in the infield. I expect Juan Soto to take the lineup spot of Nomar Mazara. Jurickson Profar could wind up in a platoon with recently activated Wil Myers in LF. I expect Wil Myers to have a slight advantage in playing time over Profar, but the situation is worth monitoring.

Soto and Bell’s fantasy values increase with this trade. Brandon Drury not so much. Drury should still receive consistent playing time, but the question is for how long. Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to return relatively soon which will only add to the congestion on the Padres. Here is a quick look at how the lineup might look:

  • Fernando Tatis Jr.– SS
  • Juan Soto- RF
  • Manny Machado- 3B
  • Josh Bell- 1B
  • Brandon Drury- DH
  • Jake Cronenworth- 2B
  • Jorge Alfaro/Austin Nola- C
  • Wil Myers/Jurickson Profar- LF
  • Trent Grisham- CF

In this lineup, Drury is in, but Ha-Seong Kim is not. Kim is great defensively and could play more if the Padres want to keep Tatis healthy at DH. My main concern with Drury is his splits. He is batting .241/.309/.462 away from GABP compared to .298/.354/.561 in Cincinnati. I expect Drury’s numbers to take a hit with this trade.

Colorado Rockies

Kris Bryant is back on the IL for the Rockies. He has not been able to stay healthy throughout his first season in Colorado. With Bryant out of the lineup, Jose Iglesias has moved up to the top of the order. Charlie Blackmon and Randal Grichuk are the two players who continue to receive regular playing time in the outfield. Even with Bryant out, Connor Joe has been on the bench more often. He is not somebody to hold on to. Yonathan Daza and Garrett Hampson are both rotating in and out of the lineup. With no trades to free up every day playing time, Hampson is still not worth rostering.

The Rockies brought back up Elehuris Montero. Montero continued to swing the bat well in AAA and the Rockies are giving him another chance. If they are willing to commit to giving him an everyday role, he could have fantasy relevance in 2022. I am excited about Montero in dynasty and keeper leagues. So far this week, it appears they are and he is a name to target on the waiver wire.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants straddled the fence between buying and selling at the deadline. The most notable piece that they traded away was Darin Ruf. In return, J.D. Davis is now a member of the Giants. Davis was platooning in New York and knowing the Giants, will likely continue to platoon in San Francisco. I do not think his fantasy value changes very much with the trade. A note for deeper leagues is that the Giants expect to activate Brandon Crawford off the IL on Saturday. Joc Pederson remains on the IL with a concussion. There have not been any updates on Evan Longoria. The Giants also traded Curt Casali. He was on the IL, but this further cements the platoon of Austin Wynns and Joey Bart into the lineup for the rest of the season.

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