By now, we are a couple of weeks into the season and rosters are really starting to come together for some teams. Depending on the team, we’ve seen prospects make debuts, injuries mounting up, and lackluster performances leading to lineup reconstructions. Simply put, MLB rosters are almost a living organism that’s evolving and making things challenging to predict for fantasy managers.
So, what do we do? The endgame is to spot players finding additional playing time and making gains at the dish to pay off over the season. To help assist in the process, I’ve scrubbed through major league box scores, analyzing who is playing where, and if they are playing over the competition on the team. Now, since we’re not far into the season, the statistics aren’t a main factor. Instead, the main focus will be on a few other areas.
In this piece, we’ll break down EVERY team’s roster and hope to uncover the ebbs and flows for fantasy purposes. The criteria will be pretty straightforward.
- Batting Lineup Observations – Analyzing batting orders from the previous week. Which players are moving up/down the lineup card?
- Potential Platoons – Based on a pitcher’s handedness, a team will swap players in-and-out of the lineup to maximize performance. Which players are in the starting lineup vs. lefties and righties?
- New Positional Eligibility – Players moving into different defensive to gain eligibility at a new position.
- Shortstop has a platoon between Geraldo Perdomo (vs. RHP) and Nick Ahmed (vs. LHP). Although, Perdomo could take over that spot in the future as Ahmed carries a .514 OPS against southpaws.
- Third base also has a platoon between Evan Longoria (vs. LHP) and Josh Rojas (vs. RHP). For quite a while Rojas received all those reps, but Longoria has been significantly better.
- Longoria vs. LHP – 36 PA, .861 OPS, 132 wRC+
- Rojas vs. LHP – 20 PA, .522 OPS, 49 wRC+
- Still, leading off is a split between Josh Rojas (vs. RHP) and Ketel Marte (vs. LHP).
- Atlanta is extremely consistent with a locked-in top-of-the-order.
- With Michael Harris II returning back to CF, the outfield gets crowded and the player seeing a reduction in playing time is Sam Hilliard. Instead, Kevin Pillar has received the majority of reps. Pillar has been serviceable (2 HR/1SB with a .259/.295/.414 slash line).
- Gunnar Henderson continues to drop in the order as was all the way down to #8 last night. Outside of taking walks, he’s not contributing much at the plate.
- Kyle Stowers was promoted from Triple-A and that gives the team four solid OF options. Although, it appears this move has caused Austin Hays to lose playing time and only leadoff vs. LHP.
- Jorge Mateo’s red-hot bat has moved up the lineup.
Boston Red Sox
- As Masataka Yoshida heats up, he’s bumped to the #2 slot. However, not against LHP as he sits around the six-hole. This is a little surprising because he’s faired well against southpaws (34 PA, .886 OPS, and 153 wRC+).
- Jarren Duran was promoted and stuck in the OF. Furthermore, he’s caused Kiké Hernández to switch to SS.
- Hernandez to SS means there is a platoon between Enmanuel Valdez and Christian Arroyo.
- Yan Gomes hit the IL, and Miguel Amaya got a call to the bigs. But it appears the split is a 60/40 lean to Tucker Barnhart.
- Patrick Wisdom was getting looks at OF but firmly overtook 3B while bumping up into the 6-hole. Nick Madrigal is strictly a bench bat.
- Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini have done very little to keep playing time. So, the Cubs took action by promoting Matt Mervis. Additionally, Mervis has been dominating in the minors (112 PA, .257 ISO, and 19:18 K/BB ratio). We should see one (Hosmer or Mancini) losing significant playtime time soon.
Chicago White Sox
- There’s a bit of change going on with Chicago.
- With Yoán Moncada on the IL, Jake Burger blasted his way into 3B…til he got put on the IL. Last night, moving to 3B was Hanser Alberto.
- The team demoted Lenyn Sosa and then recalled him. He’ll still bat toward the bottom of the order. Additionally, Elvis Andrus will push back over to SS.
- Gavin Sheets finds himself playing more RF but he’s still sitting vs. LHP.
- Luis Robert Jr. slides down to the #5 hitter while slumping.
- Spencer Steer ascended to the top third of the lineup, regardless of pitcher-handedness.
- Nick Senzel is back and playing 3B/OF. Still near the bottom of the lineup but that may change as he’s been red hot.
- The outfield has too many options: Senzel, TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley, Stuart Fairchild, and Henry Ramos. However, Friedl and Fraley are only getting looks against RHP.
- This lineup has changed very little and remains extremely consistent from day to day.
- Oscar Gonzalez can be cut as his playing time is only against LHP. Additionally, Will Brennan gets the ABs vs. RHP.
- Charlie Blackmon has been moved into the leadoff spot with Jurickson Profar dropping to #2.
- Randal Grichuk is back roaming the outfield and slides into the lineup card at the 6-hole. That could be a solid place to stream for RBIs when the team is at home. With Brenton Doyle getting some playing time, Yonathan Daza is only firmly seated on the bench.
- Second base has a platoon: Alan Trejo (vs. LHP) and Harold Castro (vs. RHP).
- Injuries have caused the Tigers to promote Andy Ibáñez, whose played 2B, 3B, 1B, and OF in the past five days.
- Along with those injuries, Zach McKinstry is now leading off vs. RHP. Although, he’s not playing vs. LHP. Matt Vierling is still leading off vs. LHP.
- Former leadoff hitter, Akil Baddoo, is hitting 6th vs. RHP; and Nick Maton slides into the cleanup spot vs. RHP.
- Hitters 1-6 are locks every game, with Mauricio Dubón batting leadoff.
- Corey Julks went from spotty playing time to getting all the left-field ABs vs. RHP.
- With Chas McCormick set to return soon, Jake Meyers will lose playing time in CF.
- Michael Brantley is working his way back from a shoulder issue. He’s been working on playing 1B in the minors, which could mean a loss in playing time for José Abreu. While that might sound crazy, Abreu has a .531 OPS and 46 wRC+ for the season.
Kansas City Royals
- It might finally be happening! Edward Olivares has started 13 of the last 15 games. We might actually see Olivares for an extended period of full-time ABs.
- Vinnie Pasquantino bumps up to the #2 hole.
- Since promoting Maikel Garcia (3B) and Nick Pratto (1B/OF), they’ve played every day.
- Michael Massey is playing more regularly but moved down the batting order (7th).
Los Angeles Angels
- Taylor Ward has lost his leadoff slot to Zach Neto.
- Gio Urshela is a super utility who plays a multitude of positions (1B/SS/3B), daily, which allows Brandon Drury to get situated at 2B now.
- Luis Rengifo lost the most playing time and is droppable since the playing time is so sporadic.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- After a hot start, James Outman is sliding down the batting order. He’s now hovering around the 6-hole, instead of in the top third.
- The outfield has a three-way platoon between David Peralta (vs. LHP) and Jason Heyward/Trayce Thompson (vs. RHP).
- Mookie Betts inching closer to multiple eligibilities: OF (24 G), 2B (8 G), SS (6 G).
- Miami is still platooning the leadoff spot between Jazz Chisholm Jr. (vs. RHP) and Jon Berti (vs. LHP).
- With Garrett Cooper back on the IL, Yuli Gurriel is getting all the 1B work and is in the heart of the lineup.
- Jesús Sánchez has muscled his way into getting ABs vs. RHP. However, he’s been streaky and the team showed they weren’t afraid to sit him when struggling.
- Nick Fortes has started five of the last seven games and could be overtaking Jacob Stallings at the catcher slot.
- Milwaukee is full of platoons.
- 1B: Luke Voit (vs. LHP), Rowdy Tellez (vs. RHP).
- 2B: Owen Miller (vs. LHP), Brice Turang (vs. RHP).
- When Tellez is playing 1B, Jesse Winker gets DH but always sits vs. LHP.
- Tyrone Taylor was activated from the IL and playing every day, in the absence of Garrett Mitchell.
- Brian Anderson is playing every day but could get platooned as well.
- .588 OPS vs. LHP
- .809 OPS vs. RHP
- Jorge Polanco is back and batting in the top third of the lineup.
- Left Field has a platoon with Trevor Larnach only facing RHP. When he’s out of the lineup, it’s a blend of Nick Gordon and Joey Gallo; with Gallo getting 1B (vs. RHP). Lastly, Gordon has no fantasy value with such spotting ABs.
- Jose Miranda is starting to lose playing time because he’s carrying a wRC+ well below league average vs. RHP and LHP. Willi Castro is getting a few looks while Miranda figures it out.
New York Mets
- Still platooning DH: Daniel Vogelbach (vs. RHP) and Mark Canha/Tommy Pham (vs. LHP).
- Brett Baty has assumed the 3B position on a full-time basis, and Eduardo Escobar has become a bench bat.
- It took a little while but Francisco Álvarez is getting more playing time behind the dish than Tomás Nido. Still, it’s about a 60/40 split.
New York Yankees
- Harrison Bader returned and is batting 5th/6th vs. RHP. It remains to be seen where he’ll slot vs. LHP.
- With Judge and Stanton out, the outfield is a revolving door. Isiah Kiner-Falefa gets some time in CF, Aaron Hicks gets some time in LF, and Oswaldo Cabrera shuffled between the corners.
- Willie Calhoun has done a decent job adding thump to the lineup but will be a short-term fix, and only DHing.
- Brent Rooker continues to be a focal point of this offense. He’s a must-add in most formats.
- The lineup got a little stronger by adding Ramón Laureano from the IL and promoting JJ Bleday from the minors. Bleday was smashing baseballs (25 G: 98 AB, 7 HR). Let’s hope it translates over this year, though.
- Shea Langeliers is starting to figure out MLB pitching and moved up the lineups after starting the season well.
- First Base is still a platoon: Ryan Noda (vs. RHP) and Jesús Aguilar (vs. LHP).
- Kyle Schwarber is back in the leadoff spot.
- Bryce Harper is back on the active roster as a DH, not 1B as some sources speculated.
- Bryson Stott drops down to the #5 hitter, with Brandon Marsh slotting in the bottom third of the lineup.
- If you’re looking for a sneaky piece of this lineup, Edmundo Sosa is playing every day between 3B and SS. Additionally, he showcases a little speed and little pop.
- Is Jack Suwinski no longer a platoon bat? Meh, can’t entirely say yes. He has only started two of the previous nine games vs. LHP. Furthermore, against LHP, he’s still striking out at a 31% clip and carrying a 35 wRC+.
- Ke’Bryan Hayes might be losing a grip on the leadoff spot. Against RHP, he’s only showcasing a .292 OBP. Tucipita Marcano grabbed a start in the leadoff spot as Hayes dropped to #7 recently (5/4).
- Ji Hwan Bae is falling out of favorites and no longer batting near the top of the order; he’s more like 7/8th in the lineup.
San Diego Padres
- With Tatis Jr. back, the top of the lineup is set in stone.
- Ha-Seong Kim is getting reps at 2B (25 G), SS (4 G), and 3B (2 G). Although, it’s basically out of the #7 hitter slot.
San Francisco Giants
- Sliding way down the batting order is Michael Conforto. Still playing every day but nowhere near the top of the lineup anymore.
- Instead, the #2 hole belongs to Thairo Estrada as LaMonte Wade Jr. (vs. RHP) and Austin Slater (vs. LHP) lead things off.
- They’ve got one too many bats rotating through, and the player losing the most PAs is David Villar. He’s only started two of the previous five games.
- Even with Ty France massively slumping, he’s still batting second and playing every day at 1B.
- Second Base still has a platoon: Kolten Wong (vs. RHP) and Jose Caballero (vs. LHP).
- J.P. Crawford got the leadoff ABs when Julio Rodríguez sat with an injury. Be sure to scoop up Crawford as soon as possible if J-Rod goes down again.
- Taylor Trammell is up and getting looks in LF. However, it may not last long as Kelenic should slide back there when Julio is 100%.
St. Louis Cardinals
- Left field has become a platoon between Tyler O’Neill and Alec Burleson. Neither one has done an outstanding job of running away with the job, and it’ll hurt both of their values. However, in the meantime, Dylan Carlson has snuck into the CF slot for the last five games.
- With Paul DeJong back and platooning at SS, Brendan Donovan has to find playing time between 2B, 1B, and 3B.
Tampa Bay Rays
- It is a complete mix-and-match still. By now, we know the everyday players. Additionally, TBR has faced RHP for the last 14 matchups in a row.
- Everyday hitters:
- Yandy Díaz (1B – leadoff)
- Randy Arozarena (LF – #3 hitter)
- Wander Franco (SS – #2 hitter vs. LHP/#4 hitter vs. RHP)
- Isaac Paredes (3B – #3 vs. LHP/#6 vs. RHP).
- Jose Siri (CF – #7/#9 hitter)
- Platoon hitters:
- 2B – Brandon Lowe (vs. RHP)
- OF – Manuel Margot (vs. LHP) and Josh Lowe (vs. RHP) and Luke Raley (vs. RHP)
- C – Francisco Mejía and Christian Bethancourt
- 2B/SS/3B – Taylor Walls
- Ezequiel Duran has completely taken over the SS position.
- Robbie Grossman is finding more playing time at DH, while batting #2 (vs. LHP) and near the bottom of the order (vs. RHP).
- CF is a split between Leody Taveras, who’s losing playing time to Travis Jankowski. Surprisingly, Jankowski continues to bat in the #2 hole. But he’s been solid (112 wRC+ and sub-20% K-rate).
Toronto Blue Jays
- No major changes here.
- Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen continue to split time pretty evenly.
- Second Base is a platoon split between Whit Merrifield (vs. RHP) and Santiago Espinal (vs. LHP).
- Alex Call remains the team’s leadoff hitter but, more importantly, Luis Garcia has a firm grasp at the #2 spot. Previously, he slotted in at the 5th/6th spot. Will it last for García? He’s putting batted balls on the ground at a 62% clip and a .632 OPS doesn’t scream it’ll stick.
- As Garcia moves up, Lane Thomas and Dominic Smith drop in the batting order.
Reverse Jinx on Bae! He’s leading off today!!
Great article! Incredibly thorough.