MLB lineup tracker: Platoon conditions, batting order notes and manufacturing tendencies for all 30 groups

The 2022 season is underway and there’s a lot to take away from the early lineup, playing time, platoon and performance trends. I am going to go team-by-team — all 30 teams — and discuss all the notable takeaways so far this season. This column (which will be published with monthly updates) aims to be the most comprehensive overall breakdown on all things lineups you’ll find. If you’re looking for more immediate and in-depth analysis, I track everything daily on my Twitter account.

Just a heads up: ALL stats and lineup/playing time trends are based on games played up to Tuesday, 4/19. 

National League

NL East

Atlanta Braves

  • Ozzie Albies has led off eight straight games. Over those eight games, he has hit five home runs with seven runs and seven RBI. Over this span, Albies is hitting .257 with a below-average OBP of .297. However, he has hit for power, which has culminated in a 1.040 OPS. Leading off might not last long with Ronald Acuña Jr. entering a rehab assignment. Could this lead to batting 5th again (as he did vs RHP to start the season)?
  • Marcell Ozuna is firing on all cylinders to start the year. A lot of unknowns in terms of expectations, Ozuna has started about as great as one could hope: four home runs to this point with just a 12% strikeout rate. Hitting .292/.300/.604 with just a .256 BABIP suggests it is not luck. The only concern I have early on is the 44.2% groundball rate. That could lead to batting average issues if he doesn’t correct it. This would be the highest since 2018. 
  • Eddie Rosario began the season leading off vs. RHP but has since settled into batting 8th over the last two games. Hitting just .034/.152/.034 on the year is terrible. The biggest issue is the 50% groundball rate and 8.3% line drive rate — both of which are out of character. The plate discipline remains strong — a 12.1 walk rate and 15.2% strikeout rate.  A .042 BABIP is not doing him any favors. 
  • Speaking of early-season struggles, Dansby Swanson is batting 9th and is not doing anything to earn his way up. A 43.5% K rate will not help matters. He does have two multi-hit game in the last seven games; however, he is hitless in five of those games.

Miami Marlins

  • Jorge Soler has led off every game of the season to this point. An 11.9% walk rate will play but not when the OBP is just .286. It is tough to gauge how long he will lead off, and with Jazz Chisholm (who has leadoff experience) swinging a hot bat to start the year he could push for that spot. 
  • Chisholm has sat twice this season (both against LHP) but has faced one LHP, so he is not in a full platoon. Last start he moved up to 6th in the order, but before that he hit 8th or 9th every game. With a strikeout rate of just 25.9% while walking 11.1% and hitting .318/.370/.864 with two home runs and 10 RBI it is hard to justify him not moving up the order soon. Batting 6th is a good start, all things considered. Let’s see if this continues. 
  • Joey Wendle has been on the strong side of a platoon for playing time. He has started against all six RHP while sitting against the three LHP. With good plate discipline and a stolen base on the year, he can be stream-worthy in weeks with heavy RHP matchups if you need batting average and potential for chip-in stolen bases. 
  • Brian Anderson has played against all LHP and only started against half (three of six) of the RHP so far. 
  • Garrett Cooper is dinged up — which is typically an issue of his — but he has stuck to the top of the order, batting 2nd in six of his eight starts. In the two other starts, he hit 3rd. 
  • Jesus Sanchez is having as strong of a start as you could ask for. He’s barely striking out (just 16.7% strikeout rate) and batting .343/.361/.657 with two home runs and a total of five extra-base hits and coming off three straight multi-hit games — five total.

New York Mets

  • Right now the COVID IL-ing of Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha is throwing trends off, but the early takeaway is Nimmo will lead off most games when in the lineup. A solid OBP over his career and a strong .429 OBP to start 2022 will keep him there. 
  • Jeff McNeil is stuck batting in the bottom half to third of the order for now but has led off the last three with Nimmo out. This suggests he would be next in line for the leadoff spot if or when Nimmo misses time again. The bounceback campaign for Jeff McNeil could be upon us. He already has one stolen base and one home run while hitting .344/.447/.438 to begin the year. Not to mention he is walking more than he is striking out. Things are clicking early on here. 
  • J.D. Davis is stuck in a weak-side platoon role. He has started both games against an LHP and just one of 10 against an RHP. And that one he started was the day Canha and Nimmo landed on the COVID IL. 
  • Robinson Canó is playing ahead of Dominic Smith although I anticipate whoever gets going offensively might secure a clearer portion of playing time.

Dominic Smith vs. Robinson Canó

Player PA BB% K% BA OPS wOBA wRC+

Robinson Canó

24

4.2

20.8

.217

.598

.268

74

Dominic Smith

23

13.0

39.1

.118

.422

.233

51

  • Here is a fun fact about Pete Alonso early on in the season:

Philadelphia Phillies

  • After eight straight starts leading off, Kyle Schwarber moved to 5th for two straight games. Manager Joe Girardi said J.T. Realmuto could stick at the top of the lineup. He has led off in three of the last four games.
  • Rhys Hoskins, Nick Castellanos, and Bryce Harper are set in the middle of the order.
  • Jean Segura is back from the shoulder/arm issue and continues to slot in the 6 or 7-spot range. However, in the most recent game he did get to lead off (vs. a LHP) but his early production — two home runs and hitting . 292/.346/.583 — plays in his favor to at least get a look. They appear willing to move players around to find a leadoff hitter who can stick there. 
  • Alec Bohm is in a clear platoon. He has only started two games against a RHP this season. However, a 15% walk rate and no strikeouts are noticeable. Not to mention he is hitting .571/.550/.714 — but it in just 20 plate appearances. Most of the damage comes against LHP. Again, the sample overall is small.
  • Johan Camargo is Bohm’s platoon partner. A mediocre, at best, start as he hits .269/.321/.346. Either they are set on Bohm sitting vs RHP or his defense is just too bad at third base. It will be difficult to keep Bohm out of the order if he continues to hit when he starts. However, Bohm did just start over him against the most recent RHP. We need to watch and see if Bohm will get a full run sooner than later.
  • Bryson Stott is struggling. 30% strikeout rate and hitting .138/167/.172. This is another path for Bohm to enter the lineup. I am not sure how long the leash is for Stott but his defense and versatility might be what keep him in the lineup. He has played three positions already this season: second base, third base, and shortstop.
  • Simón Muzziotti has started the last two of four in centerfield but neither he nor Matt Vierling has done much to stand out. It is likely an open competition and the first one to perform will land it is my guess.

Washington Nationals

  • César Hernández has led off every game. I know there are not many options but hitting just .250 with a .280 OBP should not keep him there above someone who might stand out as we move forward. 
  • I have seen the discussion around Maikel Franco’s hot start but he has since cooled over his last few games. Over his last four games, he has two hits in 17 PAs with little to show otherwise. I would expect hot and cold streaks from Franco throughout the season.
  • There is a crunch for playing time in the outfield. Against LHP Victor Robles and Lane Thomas start. And Yadiel Hernandez has started in six of the nine games against RHP. This includes five of the last six, so the playing time has trended upward and Hernandez is the one producing so far of the three. 

Hernandez vs. Robles vs. Thomas

Player PA BB% K% BA OPS wOBA wRC+

Yadiel Hernandez

24

8.3

16.7

.381

.893

.391

148

Victor Robles

25

4.0

32.0

.045

.170

.097

-46

Lane Thomas

37

8.1

29.7

.182

.516

.234

44

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

  • Prior to Monday, it had been a platoon at the top of the order. Clint Frazier would typically lead off vs LHP and Rafael Ortega led off against every RHP. Then an LHP throws and Frazier is not in the lineup at all. 
  • Frazier so far on the season is batting .158/.238/.263. The plate discipline has been solid — 19% strikeout rate and 9.5% walk rate — but the production otherwise has not been there.
  • Ortega does have an OBP of .333. Leading off will sustain as long as he remains getting on base at a solid clip, but batting .158 and little production otherwise leaves much to be desired. He is currently nothing more than a deep league option to stream vs RHP. Ortega is pulling the ball 70% of the time and has a 62.5% ground ball rate. The batting average and BABIP issues will not go away anytime soon if this approach sustains. 
  • Nick Madrigal has hit at the top two in the order in seven of nine of his starts. He is continuing to do Madrigal things. He does not strike out much (8.6%) or walk much (5.7%). The contact rates and Z-Contact (93.9%) are elite and are his strength. The .281 batting average and .343 OBP are sustainable but the lack of power and unknown speed leave little to be desired from a fantasy point of view. 
  • Ian Happ plays about every day but moves down to 8th vs LHP and up to 4th vs RHP. The production has been good but no home runs or stolen bases; he has six RBI so far and is hitting .345 — with two extra-base hits. The power will come as the weather warms. 
  • Seiya Suzuki has been an absolute stud. We saw him bat 2nd for the first time after batting 4th (also for the first time) this season. He was batting 5th and 6th on average previously. Of his 12 hits, six have been XBH (four home runs). A 1.493 OPS is about as good as it gets to start a career. He continues to move up the order and rightfully so.
  • Jonathan Villar is off to a strong start and after four straight starts, he was “rewarded” with two days off. This lineup is increasingly frustrating to monitor. It’s difficult to get an idea of what they are doing and to pick up on trends they are utilizing as they change it up a bit early on. 
  • Jason Heyward starts against every RHP and bats 7th. Production has been surprising so far. Hitting .333/.400/.444. No power or speed yet but still serviceable in the deepest of formats. 
  • Patrick Wisdom has started eight of eleven while running both hot and cold in such a short period. When your strikeout rate nears 40% — his is currently 37.8% — streaky can happen.

Cincinnati Reds

  • Tyler Naquin (who was locked into the 2 spot) and Jonathan India (the leadoff man) were just placed on the IL. This has opened up playing time at the top for now. 
  • Kyle Farmer is one of the players who will benefit from the opening at the top of the order. With one stolen base and hitting .297/.366/.378 we have seen this before. Farmer can run hot from time to time and until we see the sustained success it is hard to buy that this is anything more.
  • We saw TJ Friedl get called up and plugged into the leadoff spot vs a LHP. I am not sure if he will stick but it is something to monitor in the short term.  
  • Aristides Aquino has started seven straight games. However, a 50% strikeout rate and just one home run while hitting .050/.111/.147 leaves little to be desired.
  • After going 0-23 to start the season, Tommy Pham is hitting .333/.375/.800 with two home runs over over his last four games (16 plate appearances).
  • Tyler Stephenson (who was concussed Tuesday night after a collision with Luke Voit) has two early home runs. After producing lackluster power last season this was an encouraging start. Unfortunately, the GB rate is nearing 50% again as it did in 2021. This will hinder the power breakout he is capable of if it stays the same when he returns. 
  • Nick Senzel has been dealing with an illness and not an injury. He should return to the lineup sooner than later. Before missing time to illness he was playing every day and starting in centerfield. 
  • Update: After writing this, Moustakas landed on the IL and now Moran should get run at third base.  Normally I would be concerned about Mike Moustakas’ playing time with a 40% strikeout rate and little to show for production in general. However, when Colin Moran is your direct competition for playing time and he is hitting .083 on the year I’m not sure that is going to get in his way. Neither player is all that relevant beyond deep NL-Only formats right now. 
  • Jake Fraley has been playing most games but when the lineup is healthy he could get squeezed out of playing time against LHP. Until then he should play plenty. There has been some power and speed early on (one home run and one stolen base). The plate discipline has also been a strength with an 11.8% walk rate and a 20.6% strikeout rate. The BABIP of .136 could explain some of the bad luck in the triple slash. However, some of the BABIP issues are earned with a 60% pull rate and a 43.5% flyball rate. That is not a very good approach for high BABIP production. 

Milwaukee Brewers

  • The Brewers have not been shy about platooning early on. 
  • At third base: Jace Peterson has faced RHP and Mike Brosseau takes on the LHP. This will sustain until Luis Urías returns from the IL. 
  • Rowdy Tellez and Keston Hiura have split first base duties with Tellez on the strong side of things.
  • Andrew McCutchen has played all 11 games and has hit either 1st (four times against LHP) or 4th (where he lines up vs RHP). The power has not shown up but two early stolen bases are a welcome sight while he’s hitting a decent .262. 
  • Tyrone Taylor and Lorenzo Cain have alternated starts through every game this season. This is how they plan to keep Cain healthy, it seems. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Daniel Vogelbach has led off against every RHP they have faced this season and has had the chance to face the last two LHP, so it is not a strict platoon..although he will sit against most. Batting .333/.400/.481 will keep him playing most games and definitely keep him leading off as long as he sustains some solid OBP numbers. 
  • Michael Chavis has strictly started against LHP to this point and batting 3rd in the process. Strictly in a weak-side platoon for now. 
  • Yoshi Tsutsugo has been locked into the cleanup spot to start the year. 
  • Diego Castillo continues to perform well but is still fighting for an everyday role. Has started against every LHP but against just one RHP to this point. With one home run and hitting .310/.310/.448 and a 17.2% strikeout rate, this team has zero reasons not to see what he can do with a full run at a starting job. 
  • Cole Tucker and Kevin Newman play plenty but have produced very little. Oneil Cruz has no one blocking him at shortstop or outfield so it is a waiting game at this point for Cruz to be called up. 

St. Louis Cardinals

  • This lineup has been as steady as any. 
  • All I am watching is if there will be a swap at the top of the order with how well Tommy Edman is hitting (paired with the slow start for Dylan Carlson). Or if Edman and Carlson will platoon at the leadoff spot with Edman constantly moving up vs. LHP as it is; he has hit LHP better over his career to this point. 

Dylan Carlson vs. Tommy Edman

Player PA BB% K% BA OPS wOBA wRC+

Dylan Carlson

38

2.6

13.2

.182

.479

.220

40

Tommy Edman

31

9.7

16.1

.333

1.104

.477

210

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Daulton Varsho is an everyday player and leads off against RHP. After a slow start, he is hitting .313/.421/.500 over his last seven days (five games). This is with a home run and a stolen base. Cannot ask for much more. 
  • Cooper Hummel is currently in a platoon with Seth Beer in the DH role. Hummel starts vs LHP and leads off. Beer gets to face the RHP and bat in the middle of the lineup. 
  • Yonny Hernandez has a lot of stolen base upside and has played three of the last four heading into the doubleheaders, where he started in one. This is a deep league stolen base target at best right now. He already has one in his short time up. 

Colorado Rockies

  • After the first two games of the season, Connor Joe began leading off and has not looked back. 
  • This team is one of the more consistent (shockingly) and there is little in terms of changes happening. 
  • We did see Charlie Blackmon move off leadoff to bat 2nd and Brendon Rodgers move down to 6th in the process.
  • Sam Hilliard and Garrett Hampson have become true bench options that are injury replacements and fill-ins on rest days. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • This team, from top to bottom, is essentially what we saw in spring training.
  • Gavin Lux is getting a full-time opportunity. This includes against LHP. He has a home run and a stolen base while hitting .276 with an .887 OPS. He is also walking more than he is striking out. He cannot move off the 9-spot for now, though. A heads up, Lux was scratched from the last start with back tightness. He is currently day-to-day. 
  • Cody Bellinger is taking advantage of bad pitching early on and it could be what he needed to get on track. The fact he is hitting bad pitching like he is supposed to be is encouraging in itself. The flashy two home runs and three stolen bases look great but a 30.2% strikeout rate leaves us questioning if the production can fall off at any moment. He is hitting .263/.349/.474 on the year. Let’s see if this hot start can carry over and bring back the Bellinger we all have come to know (and love!). 
  • Edwin Ríos will need an injury to get consistent playing time. He is currently in a bench role.

San Diego Padres

  • Platoon central going on right now. 
  • After starting in two of the first three games against LHP we have now seen Trent Grisham sit against two straight. This has been in favor of Jose Azocar
  • C.J. Abrams is in a clear platoon with Ha-Seong Kim. Abrams is getting RHP and Kim is facing LHP. 
  • Austin Nola has settled into the top of the order and against LHP he has even led off. For a catcher that is huge for his potential and value. He is hitting .263 with a home run and a stolen base. 
  • Luke Voit plays every day and hits 4th or 5th. He is struggling early on but there is no real threat to his playing time at the moment. 

San Francisco Giants

  •  The Giants are another team that has been surprisingly consistent with their lineups — but that could be in part due to not having a couple of players available. Tommy La Stella, Wade LaMonte Jr., and Evan Longoria could make things interesting when they return. Until then we have seen Darin Ruf get the 3-spot to himself and bat 2nd twice as well. 
  • Mike Yastrzemski (strong side) and Austin Slater (weak side) are in a platoon. 
  • Brandon Belt has sat against both LHP to this point. Ruf and Wilmer Flores have split the first base reps in those two games. Belt is picking up where he left off last year with three home runs already in just 34 plate appearances, showing strong plate discipline and hitting .345/.441/.690. We just need him to remain healthy. 
  • Joey Bart is hitting .273 with two home runs and a stolen base in his 26 plate appearances. Just be mindful he is striking out 50% of the time right now and is walking a very thin line between producing and bottoming out. If the strikeouts do not improve the regression is inevitable. 
  • Luke Williams has started both games vs LHP but has sat against every RHP. 

American League

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

  • A lot of shuffling has occurred to this point for this lineup. Ramon Urias was being given a look at the 2-spot in two of the last three games before getting moved back down. He should be gaining third base eligibility soon but it appears the 2-spot is (or was) up for grabs and he could not take advantage. 
  • Jorge Mateo has a lot of swing-and-miss but the 10.5% walk rate, plus speed, early line drive and fly ball heavy approach could help with sustaining a decent batting average even while striking out a lot. If he can continue to put up something near a .351 OBP, perhaps in the near future that 2-spot will open up for him to get a look. Ultimately, I would not expect that. Mateo’s main appeal is stolen base upside (three stolen bases already this season). He has gained shortstop eligibility in most fantasy leagues and now offers multi-positional eligibility. He is a fringe 12-team option — you would need five outfielders and/or a middle infield spot — but he is best served as a speed option in 15-team leagues. 
  • Austin Hays is playing every day but is stuck in the bottom half, or third, of the order the majority of the time. He has hit 7th in five starts and moves up vs LHP. 

Boston Red Sox

  • Much is as expected in terms of the lineup. This is one of the few teams that showed their hands in spring and everything has carried over to begin the season. 
  • With that said, there is one situation I am monitoring and that is if Alex Verdugo can either replace Kiké Hernández at the top of the order or work his way up there in general. Verdugo has three home runs and walks more than he is striking out. He’s hitting .333/.400/.667 and playing every day. Hernández is someone Alex Cora really seems to like and the manager often talks him up, but he’s walking 10.4% of the time and has an OBP of just .250. However, Verdugo batting 2nd is not out of the question. He started the 2-spot in 89 games in 2021.

New York Yankees

  • The rotation we expected is in full effect. We are seeing players rotate through the DH spot and take regular rest days. 
  • Lindsey Adler had a great column on the various lineups here.
  • Aaron Hicks has now led off two straight games after it was all Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rizzo. So far this season Hicks has one home run and is hitting .333/.438/.444 and has hit toward the top of the order for this team in the past. If he is healthy and hitting he could stick.
  • This has shifted Donaldson down to the 3-spot or 5-spot over the last three games.
  • DJ LeMahieu is healthy. Hitting .321/.424/.500 to start the year and batting 5th on average should lead to added RBI upside. 

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Wander Franco was scratched with a quad injury. Awaiting more info on the severity of the injury. Has been hitting everything to start the year and batting 2nd all season. Taylor Walls got the start at shortstop Tuesday and could be the initial replacement while Franco recovers. 
  • Brandon Lowe leads off against RHP while moving down to 5th against LHP. Playing every day regardless is all that matters.
  • Yandy Díaz has led off against both LHP and has started six straight overall; he bats 5th on average. Not flashy but hitting .242/.359/.273 will play in deeper fantasy formats where playing time and plate appearances matter. 
  • Manuel Margot has played six of the last seven. He is off to a strong start and we could see him hit his way up the order. A .355/.412/.387 start with a stolen base. If the power can show up a little bit we could have ourselves a solid fantasy season. Regardless, a good batting average, stolen bases, and playing time is worth plenty to fantasy managers. 
  • Harold Ramírez gets the majority of his playing time against LHP.
  • Francisco Mejía and Mike Zunino essentially alternate starts.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Right now with Danny Jansen and Teoscar Hernández on the IL, there’s additional playing time for Alejandro Kirk and Raimel Tapia. Tapia has not done much with the added looks and Kirk is walking more than striking out but other than his .313 OBP the rest of the production has been lackluster.
  • Zack Collins is acting as the backup catcher right now and has one home run while hitting .375/.412/.688. The 29.4% strikeout rate suggests he could hit a rough patch but he is performing now for those desperate for a deep league catcher option. He is more useful to those who play AL-Only and two-catcher formats.
  • Santiago Espinal has taken the starting second base spot from Cavan Biggio. Espinal has outproduced Biggio early on and he has stolen two bases, so there is speed upside here for those in need.

Santiago Espinal vs. Cavan Biggio

Player PA BB% K% BA OPS wOBA wRC+

Cavan Biggio

17

17.6

35.3

.000

.294

.209

28

Santiago Espinal

35

8.6

17.1

.258

.698

.309

99

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

  • The top half of the order is steady. 
  • With Yoán Moncada out we have seen Jake Burger play third base most of the time. Early on he is hitting well with a triple-slash of .300/.333/.500. A BABIP of .385 paired with a 27.3% strikeout rate (backed by a 44.2% O-Swing% and 20.8% SwStr%) could suggest the hot run will come crashing down if/when regression hits. 
  • With injuries to AJ Pollock, the right field spot has opened up for more regular playing time for both Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn. Initially, it appeared Vaughn and Sheets might be in a platoon but both have been able to play more frequently. Sheets already starts vs. RHP but Vaughn has been able to grab some starts vs. RHP. Vaughn is out-playing Sheets early on and is deserving of more than a weak-side platoon role at the moment. 

Gavin Sheets vs. Andrew Vaughn

Player PA BB% K% BA OPS wOBA wRC+

Andrew Vaughn

25

8.0

16.0

.348

1.052

.459

211

Gavin Sheets

17

0.0

29.4

.188

.673

.298

96

Cleveland Guardians

  • Bobby Bradley hit the bench after just a few games and Owen Miller took over the first base job and never looked back. Miller is producing and should be gaining first base eligibility sooner than later. 
  • Steven Kwan has an elite plate approach (21.6% walk rate and 5.4% strikeout rate) and contact tool (100% Z-Contact% – absurd). He has moved into the two-spot in the order and Amed Rosario to the 5-spot and neither has moved since. Al Melchior has a great piece on Kwan as part of his “fact check” series, wondering if he has 15-20 HR potential or is just a very talented slap hitter. 
  • Andrés Giménez platoons and starts vs RHP and Ernie Clement vs LHP at second base. 
  • With Josh Naylor back he has played the outfield and first base so far. It is getting crowded with Naylor, Gimenez, Miller, and Oscar Mercado for essentially three spots. Something will have to give. 

Detroit Tigers

  • Spencer Torkelson has turned it on of late and could be moving up the order. He hit 6th recently and that is already higher than past games. Javier Báez will return soon and likely push him down another spot. If Torkelson can stay hot, a spot in the middle of the order is ready for the taking. 
  • Akil Baddoo has been unable to crack the top of the order. This was even with Robbie Grossman missing time. Baddoo has stuck around 7th in the order most of the time. 
  • Austin Meadows has hit exclusively from the 2-spot but might be in a platoon. They have faced two LHP and he has sat against both. However, they were spread out just right for timely days off. This is something to monitor moving forward. 

Kansas City Royals

  • Another steady lineup but worth noting is what they did as this article was being written up. Nicky Lopez could be moving up the order:

Minnesota Twins

  • Byron Buxton is expected back sooner than later and has not been placed on the IL as of this writing. Nick Gordon got the early run at center field but will soon be relegated back to a bench/utility position. 
  • Trevor Larnach has received the call and has started since Alex Kirilloff landed on the IL. He has batted 5th through 7th in the four games he has been up. So far he is hitting .176/.211/.235
  • Max Kepler has strong plate discipline but a 48% GB rate and a 48% pull rate can keep the BABIP low — currently .167. He does not usually help in batting average but he is unlucky right now. At least he has a home run and a steal this season. Kepler has avoided a platoon so far and has worked his way into the middle of the order of late. Now batting 4th for the third straight start.
  • Miguel Sanó has slipped down the order of late. Hitting .067/.263/.167 will lead to that. An encouraging sign is the 26.3% strikeout rate. If he can sustain growth there we could see a solid year once things get going.

AL West

Houston Astros

  • With José Altuve already out one game and ruled out a second, Jeremy Peña might get run at the leadoff spot. He got the first crack at it and we saw him get a few looks there in the spring. In 36 plate appearances, Peña has one home run, five runs, and 3 RBI. This comes with a .344/.389/.594 slash line. A hot start is being rewarded.
  • Kyle Tucker has been unlucky to begin the year. His underlying metrics all suggest as much. Better days should be ahead. Tucker has struggled to this point posting a triple-slash of .114/.244/.286. He does have two home runs but both came in a single blowout win. Just 4 hits on the year so far, too. He typically bats 6th in a healthy lineup. 
  • Aledmys Díaz appears in line for a short-term run at second base with Altuve out. He replaced Altuve in the game that he left. Díaz followed that up by starting at second base the first game he was out. He should bat in the bottom third of the order. 

Los Angeles Angels

  • Since being activated, Taylor Ward has yet to bat lower than 4th and has started every game. He has earned it early on by hitting .300/.500/.600 with a home run and a stolen base in just 14 plate appearances. He has already been named a starter by Joe Maddon. 
  • Mike Trout remains out but is DTD and Jo Adell is continuing to play. Adell is likely to platoon with Brandon Marsh anyway, so this is a platoon to watch for when the lineup is healthy.
  • Matt Duffy is in at first base Tuesday over Jared Walsh as this platoon continues for now. Walsh only started against one of the five LHP they have faced — this back on Opening Day.
  • Need an absolute dart throw for SBs? Andrew Velazquez stole 33 SBs last season between MLB and Triple-A. With David Fletcher on the IL, he is playing every day. He has started seven straight and has two stolen bases. Batting average might be a question but, again, we are talking about a stolen base dart throw here for the deepest of leagues. 

Oakland Athletics

  • Tony Kemp has led off in every start he has made this season. He sat against two LHP so it’s possible he sits against them — or some of them, at least — moving forward. He is still a stolen base threat and a batting average boost with some potential for runs as a leadoff hitter. Batting .278 with five runs and two stolen bases is on par with expectations. 
  • Before being placed on the COVID IL, Chad Pinder started eight of 10 games and was working his way up the order. He was batting top three in his last four starts. The batting average was not ideal (.237) but there was some power (two home runs) and speed (one stolen base). This skill set has value and can be worth dragging the batting average through the mud a bit if necessary. 
  • Seth Brown is a big power bat in the middle of the order. He has sat against the last two LHP and will likely continue to fall into a platoon.
  • Ramón Laureano is due back from suspension soon. He could be a five-category boost if he is available in your league.
  • Sheldon Neuse is outplaying Kevin Smith. They both play together often but if it comes down to a decision between them for playing time we might see Neuse get the opportunity if early production is the deciding factor. 

Sheldon Neuse vs. Kevin Smith

Player PA BB% K% BA OPS wOBA wRC+

Sheldon Neuse

30

6.7

26.7

.308

.823

.377

156

Kevin Smith

33

6.1

30.3

.161

.438

.203

31

Seattle Mariners

  • This team is about as consistent in playing time as any. 
  • J.P. Crawford has moved up the order and has batted 5th in the last five games. He was producing better before moving up so it is to be determined how long he will stay batting 5th in the order. 
  • Abraham Toro has now started three straight (2 x RHP and 1x LHP over this span). He only has one hit over the last two games and two hits overall on the season. Playing time has been a welcome surprise but the production leaves little potential to hold onto it if he doesn’t get going. 
  • The young guys are struggling but Jarred Kelenic has two multi-hit games in his last five starts and hits in three games altogether. A couple of home runs as well.  
  • Julio Rodríguez has a ton of called strike threes that have been balls and it is not helping matters. He is very talented and should figure it out eventually. He does have a hit in four of the last five games and two stolen bases on the year. 

Texas Rangers

  • As it stands, Nick Solak and Brad Miller are in a platoon. If Solak continues his early start he could push for more playing time against RHP. He is currently stuck on the weak side of this platoon, but hitting .316/.409/.474. 
  • Kole Calhoun could be the one who loses playing time if he does not get going. In 25 plate appearances (in a strong-side platoon) he is hitting just .174/.240/.174 with zero counting stats. He has started six of 10 games so far this season. 
  • Willie Calhoun is off to a slow start but has a home run and elite plate discipline — 20% walk rate and 8% strikeout rate. 
  • Jonah Heim is the backup catcher but he could be a serviceable No. 2 in two-catcher formats or an AL-Only catcher with his production. Only 17 plate appearances as the backup but two home runs and he’s hitting .400 — you could do worse in those deep leagues.
  • Andy Ibáñez plays every day and offers a skill set that should play to a decent floor of production. There is a lack of ceiling. He is going to gain third base eligibility very soon.

(Top photo: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.