AL Lineup Analysis (7/12/19)

I’m not sure how helpful this article will be this week. There are just so many players coming back from the IL after the break, it’s tough to guess how each situation will shake out. It’s such a nightmare but the overall picture should be clearer come Monday.


  • David Fletcher has led off the last two games.
  • Since his promotion, Matt Thaiss has started three games and has a whopping .300 OPS.



Blue Jays

  • In the three games since returning from the IL, Justin Smoak has hit sixth, right behind Jansen.
  • Rowdy Tellez (.721) continues to struggle for regular playing time (started six of last 10 games). He is nearly impossible to roster except in AL-only.
  • Eric Sogard, Teoscar Hernandez, and Brandon Drury are sharing two outfield spots.


  • The lineup is almost always the same expect Jordan Luplow sneaking his way in against lefties.
  • At the end of May, Jake Bauers was hitting .217/.307/.339. Since then he has hit .296/.333/.541 and started nine straight games.





  • Normally, it’s nearly impossible to find any consistency here but with Ji-Man Choi and Brandon Lowe returning soon, it’s worse.
  • I like how Mike Brosseau’s performance (1.061 OPS) in his two call-ups. It’ll be interesting to see if he sticks, especially with Joey Wendle struggling (.533 OPS).
  • Travis d’Arnaud (.771 OPS) has become a must-own catcher since he’s leading off against lefties and playing first base.

Red Sox



  • With JaCoby Jones (.618 OPS) out, Victor Reyes has started four straight games in center and led off.
  • Brandon Dixon has cooled off from his hot start. In April and May, he hit a .922 OPS but in June and July, it was just .625. Because of the struggles, he’s started losing playing time.
  • Since being promoted in late June, Jeimer Candelario has started 11 straight games and hit .350/.435/.725.


  • The lineup is fairly consistent.
  • The biggest question moving forward is who of Luis Arraez (.976 OPS) and Marwin Gonzalez (.739) will take over the utility role when C.J. Cron returns from the IL because Miguel Sano moved to first and Arraez is playing third.

White Sox

  • The heart of the lineup is set.
  • Jon Jay (.286/.350/.343, 0 HR, 0 SB) has started 10 of the last 11 games.


  • The lineup remains a jumbled mess.
  • Aaron Hicks is moving up the lineup after hitting .355/.417/.774 over the last two weeks.
  • Didi Gregorius had a .636 OPS over his first 11 games off the IL. Over the next 11, it has been .804.
  • Brett Gardner has posted a sneaky 15 HR/8 HR season.

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Jonathan Sher

(1) Astros — There is more of a chance that Donald Trump never goes on a tweet rage again then there is of Yordan Alvarez ever sitting because the Astros want to get Tyler White into the lineup. Alvarez, who hit another 2 homers tonight, has a wRC+ of .218, an ISO of .425, a walk rate over 11%, a k-rate less than 25%, and has 9 homers and 7 doubles in 89 at-bats.

(2) Rays — Nate Lowe has been absolutely stinging the ball the last month, and was 4 for 5 Friday with a homer, double and two singles off the wall with exit velocities of 110 and 111 MPH. In a playoff drive Tampa can’t afford to not play their best players and since Lowe will already has 62 plate appearances, with Choi expected to return on the weekend the Rays will have to show their hand early — either Lowe gets sent down again or they are all in on the rookie. I think it will be the latter.

(3) Royals – the big news in KC is not the sharing of time between Cuthbert and Duda but the promotion of Bubba Starling, who is expected to start every day on the OF for a team that is in re-building mode.

(4) Twins — When Cron returns, he may be crowded out of a full-time gig, as Arraez has hit so well, the Twins lineup as a whole has been strong, and Cron has been a below average hitter against RHP, with a 88 wRC+. The Twins have been playing Sano sometimes at 1B to keep in the lineup Arraez, who has hit well against lefties and righties. Since Arraez has the versatility to play 3B, 2B and OF, and Cron has generally hit RHP well in his career, I still expect Cron will get more than half of starts at 1B, but I would not be surprised to see Arraez play a few games there and play 5 games a week overall, as he has been an above average fielder everywhere but SS, and he is both a better defender and base runner than is Cron.


Both Lowes are must owns

Jonathan Sher

Buy Lowes, sell Ji.