Examining Lineups: NL Edition

Yesterday, I examined the American League lineups. Today it’s the National League’s turn.


  • Their lineup has been consistent with Nick Markakis hitting cleanup and Preston Tucker batting 5th. I sort of wrote Tucker off coming into the season and need to re-evaluate him and his .467 BABIP.


  • A major platoon has been used so far with Eric Thames facing righties and Domingo Santana going against lefties. Otherwise, it’s tough to find any reasoning behind some of the changes.
  • I’m a little worried about Orlando Arcia’s stolen base chances as he’s getting slotted into the 8th spot in front of the pitcher.


  • Consistent.
(courtesy of Baseball-Reference)


  • A platoon is being used by Joe Maddon. Ian Happ is facing righties while Albert Almora Jr. is facing lefties. If this trend continues, Happ’s will max out around 500 PA. This kills part of his potential. His owners may try to move him to another team who may not have noticed this trend.
  • There is not much movement in the infield with Javier Baez only sitting once and Addison Russell playing each game. Most of the playing time issues are in the outfield with Ben Zobrist, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, and Ben Zobrist joining Happ and Almora.
  • Baez is getting the stolen base death sentence by hitting in front of the pitcher.


  • Ketel Marte has been batting second since Jake Lamb went on the DL.
  • Chris Owings has batted 5th against all lefties. Also, he’s played everyday since Lamb went on the DL.
  • I expect some lineup changes once Steven Souza Jr. and Lamb return from the DL. If you own anyone but Goldschmidt, check the lineup once players start returning to see what has changed.



  • For now, Hunter Pence and Austin Jackson are in a platoon with Jackson facing lefties and Pence righties.
  • Joe Panik is hitting first or second.
  • With the offseason trades, the lineup’s top looks like it would have been great five years ago. It’s OK now. The bottom half is anemic.


  • The lineup’s consistent. And horrible. Now, that doesn’t mean owners should be looking for value to fill their corner or middle infield spots or last outfielder. The line seems set with Brian Anderson sneaking his way up to the 4th or 5th spot. Derek Dietrich isn’t a horrible play in deep on-base leagues.


  • There’s not too much out of the ordinary with them.
  • Amed Rosario bats 9th instead of 8th when he plays (sat twice in six games) which could help boost his steals.
  • Michael Conforto led off in his first game back from the DL.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera got moved around the most hitting anywhere from first to fifth.


  • The big news here is with Trea Turner batting sixth. I’m sure his owners didn’t expect this drop in plate appearance and the opportunities to accumulate counting stats. While someone is likely to get injured at some point (like Eaton earlier this week) which will move him up. If he hits this low in the lineup, it’ll cost him $5 in value by season’s end.
  • There seems to be quite a bit of shuffling going on with Michael Taylor, Brian Goodwin, and Howie Kendrick. Michael Taylor (.360 OPS) will need to start hitting or he may head to the bench, especially with Victor Robles ready in the minors.
  • Kendrick may be a sneaky pickup since he’s hit 5th when playing.


  • With Christian Villanueva’s great start, Chase Headley has only played in two games so far.
  • Hunter Renfroe has only started against lefties. He’s not no value in mixed leagues being on the short side of a platoon.
  • Who is Carlos Asuaje and why is he playing second base for a major league baseball team?



  • No big surprised near the lineup’s top expect with Josh Harrison constantly batting in the number one or two hole.
  • The Pirates have only faced one lefty so far and Corey Dickerson sat for Sean Rodriguez. Dickerson isn’t a complete sink against lefties (.710 OPS on his career) so he may play more against them. His owners need to monitor this situation to see how it evolves over the next few weeks.


  • Billy Hamilton has hit first, eighth, and ninth so far. He seems to be leading off against righties.
  • It looks like for now the Reds are going with a four-person outfield with Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall, and Jesse Winker joining Hamilton in the mix. Each as sat at least one game with Schebler drawing the short straw. I’d not be surprised if the team eventually goes with a normal three guys. Right now, Hamilton (.118 OBP) and Duvall (.167 OBP) are the two struggling to get on base.


  • For a team with the opportunity to setup platoons in the outfield and first base, they gone with the same guys in Ian Desmond (6 games), Gerardo Parra (6 games), and Carlos Gonzalez (6 games).
  • The big loser early on is Ryan McMahon who has started only one game so far.

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 four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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4 years ago

Any thoughts about the Phillies’ 4-man OF rotation (really Hoskins + a 3-man rotation I guess)? I certainly didn’t expect Odubel to be sitting intermittently, with Altherr logging more games than Nick Williams despite being the wrong side of a potential platoon. How to value going forward?