Mining the Lineups & News by Jeff Zimmerman April 23, 2021 Today’s article is an experiment that I’d like feedback on. I’m not finding enough information that doesn’t immediately become stale for Mining the News. So, I’m going to take those nuggets and try to combine them with the weekly lineup analysis. I’m not sure if this format will work so just let me know in the comments. Thanks. -Jeff American League Angels • Consistent. Everyone just moved up a slot with Anthony Rendon out. • With Max Stassi on the IL, Kurt Suzuki (.233/.314/.367) is the regular catcher. • Jose Rojas (.385 OPS) and Luis Rengifo (.258 OPS) are now splitting time at third base. Astros • The lineup is in flux with players first going on and returning from the COVID-IL. • Aledmys Díaz (.782 OPS) has started seven straight games with Jose Altuve out. • Myles Straw (.203/.262/.237) is just not hitting and is getting pushed to the end of the lineup. Chas McCormick has been playing some in the outfield (.167/.238/.444) Athletics • The top half of the lineup is set, but the bottom half has several platoons and timeshares. • Mitch Moreland (.726 OPS) is still sitting against lefty starters. • Seth Brown (1.016 OPS) and Stephen Piscotty (.789 OPS) are splitting time in right field. Blue Jays • Marcus Semien (.624 OPS) got moved down to the sixth spot with Cavan Biggio (.593 OPS) leading off. • The lineup will be in upheaval with Teoscar Hernández and George Springer coming off the IL soon. • Alejandro Kirk has started five of the last seven games, two at DH. • Cavan Biggio may struggle with a beaten-up right hand. Biggio has taken balls off his right hand three times dating to Spring Training, and recently had to miss some time in Kansas City when he could “barely even grip a bat.” He’s also adapting to a full-time role at third base, a transition that looked encouraging in Spring Training, but has looked more like a work in progress this April. His results may be disappointing until he gets healthy. Indians • What a mess but it may have been exaggerated by three games at an NL park with no DH. • Andrés Giménez (career .692 OPS vs LHP) has been sitting against left-handed pitching with Amed Rosario (career .803 OPS vs LHP) taking his place. • Jordan Luplow (1.511 OPS vs RHP this season) got a start against a right-handed starter. Monitor to see if the move is permanent or just a one-off. • Jake Bauers (vs RHP) and Yu Chang (vs LHP) are still in a first base platoon. Mariners • With Kyle Lewis off the IL, José Marmolejos has been benched. • Dylan Moore (.444 OPS) and J.P. Crawford (.562) are entrenched at the bottom of the lineup. • Luis Torrens (.474 OPS) is still getting at-bats at DH. Orioles • It’s about impossible to get a good read with the team at an NL park and several players going on and off the IL. It doesn’t help that only two regulars (Mullins and Galvis) have an OPS over .800. • Ryan Mountcastle (.480 OPS) is losing playing time and lineup spots as he continues to struggle. • Trey Mancini has heated up this last week (.816 OPS vs .675 OPS on the season) Rangers • David Dahl (.350 OPS vs LHP) continues to sit against lefty starters with Eli White being the other half. • Adolis García (.873 OPS) has started nine straight games and is batting in the middle of the lineup. • Brock Holt (vs RHP) and Charlie Culberson (vs LHP) are in a platoon at third base. • Willie Calhoun (career .702 OPS vs LHP) has only faced right-handed starters so far. • If Jordan Lyles pitches well, he can move off having a tandem starter. Woodward said he’s not against Lyles moving forward without a tandem, but it does mostly depend on the quality of his outings, especially over the next few games. “We’re still kind of monitoring to see if he can hold his stuff,” Woodward said about Lyles. “I really like where he’s at. I don’t really look at it as so much of a tandem, it’s just more how many pitches do we feel like is his sweet spot? Is that 80 pitches, can we get him up to 90? Can we get him closer to 100? I think we’re still kind of taking it outing by outing to see what makes the most sense. But I like where he’s at, he’s throwing the ball well.” • Willie Calhoun is going to try to elevate the ball and use the whole field. “He talks about it openly, he’s tired of people shifting him so he’s gonna do everything he can,” said manager Chris Woodward. “I think the biggest key for him is to just stay to the middle of the field. “He’s trying to eliminate pull side ground balls and elevate the ball in the air to the pull side, especially on offspeed [pitches]. If you can do that, he’s going to hit line drives all over the field, he’s going to hit balls in the gaps, he’s going to hit his home runs. He’s dedicated to that.” He’s not an extreme pull hitter (46% Pull%), but any improvement could help. Rays • With the team having so many platoons, Joey Wendle (1.007 OPS) has started 10 straight games. • Kevin Kiermaier (.829 OPS) has started all the games since returning from the IL. • Willy Adames only has a .612 OPS. Is it getting closer to Wander Time. • Both catchers, Mike Zunino (.753 OPS) and Francisco Mejia (.869 OPS), are hitting. Red Sox • When everyone is healthy, they have one extra bat to cyle through to give everyone a rest. Otherwise, a consistent lineup. • Garrett Richards does not like throwing in the cold weather. The lanky righty also hopes for some warmer weather. The Southern California native who spends his offseasons in Arizona had only pitched for the Angels and Padres before this season. “I mean, I didn’t even pack a jacket for a season until this year. So I’m going on my ninth, almost 10th year [in the Majors],” Richards said. “So, yeah, it’s something different, but it’s nothing that can’t be dealt with. I’ve just got to make adjustments. I’m not making excuses. I’ve just got to figure out a way to get it done.” I hope the Red Sox don’t have to count on him in the postseason. Royals • Consistent with a couple of adjustments. • Andrew Benintendi (.515 OPS) has been dropped from batting second to the lineup’s bottom half. • Hanser Alberto (.704 OPS) has started six of the last seven games mainly at third base. Tigers • Akil Baddoo is sitting against lefties. • One regular seems to sit every day. • Wilson Ramos has started 11 straight games, three as the DH. • Willi Castro has moved over to second with Niko Goodrum playing short. • Victor Reyes (.452 OPS) and JaCoby Jones (.494 OPS) aren’t getting regular playing time. • The Tigers are beginning to go to their six-man rotation. Remember when we spent all offseason talking about how the Tigers would manage their young pitchers coming off a 60-game season? Well, here we go. “Quite honestly has nothing to do with performance or health,” Hinch reiterated. “It’s a long-term view and long-term plan for trying to get these guys through the season. We targeted this time when we went to a modified six-man rotation. We knew we would have this at some point, and we’ll probably do it a couple times, and we’ll go to a full six-man-in-a-row rotation at some point.” Piggyback starts and a straight six-man rotation will be used to manage innings. Twins • Mitch Garver is leading off against lefties. • Byron Buxton has hit cleanup in the last three games. • Willians Astudillo has started in six of the last eight games at first, second, and third. • Brent Rooker has started three straight in the outfield but that trend might end with Alex Kirilloff getting promoted. White Sox • It’s tough to set a consistent lineup with three DH-types. • Andrew Vaughn has started in only five of the last nine games. Yankees • Mike Ford (.693 OPS) has started three straight at first base. • Clint Fraizer (.475 OPS) and Brett Gardner (.606 OPS) are splitting time in the outfield. • Aaron Hicks (.509 OPS) has moved down from batting third to the sixth or seventh spot. National League Braves • Consistent. • With Ronald Acuna out, Ehire Adrianza (.979 OPS) has been leading off. • Ozzie Albies (.588 OPS) has been hitting fifth. • Guillermo Heredia (1.184 OPS) has started four straight in centerfield. Brewers • Not a good lineup. • Daniel Vogelbach (.712 OPS) has started three of four at first base. • Daniel Robertson (.318 OPS) has started three of four at shortstop in the place of Luis Urías (.765 OPS). • Jackie Bradley Jr. (.595 OPS) has led off for seven straight games. Cardinals • Dylan Carlson has finally moved up to the 5th spot. • Justin Williams (.682 OPS, a .889 OPS over the past two weeks) has started nine straight games. • Austin Dean (.799) might push the corpse of Matt Carpenter (.367 OPS) out of the lineup. Cubs • Consistent with some players moving around with Joc Pederson on the IL. • Nico Hoerner just got promoted, so there may be a change in the outfield or at second base. • Javier Báez considers himself to be a second-half player. His track record shows someone who usually finishes strong and performs when it matters the most. “Usually, I start slow,” Báez said. “My first half is about seeing where we’re at and then making adjustments for the second half. Last season was two months. It wasn’t a full year. I was in a rush to make adjustments. It was so different for everybody. I wasn’t the only one that struggled. But I kind of took last year away. I’m not following anything that I did last year. When I’m seeing the ball really good and my timing is good, we don’t worry about much.” Not exactly. He has a .811 OPS in the first half and a .739 OPS in the second half. If history repeats, his performance will get worse. Diamondbacks • A few spots are set, but otherwise, a complete mess. • Pavin Smith has heated up (.747 OPS over the last two weeks) and has led off for three straight games. • Carson Kelly (1.267 OPS) has hit fifth in the last three games he started. • Asdrúbal Cabrera (.691 OPS) is losing some playing time to Josh VanMeter (.794 OPS). Dodgers • It’s sort of set, injuries have kept the bottom half in flux. • Zach McKinstry (vs RHP) is in a platoon with Luke Raley (vs LHP). • Sheldon Neuse (.625 OPS) has started three of the last four games. Giants • They are still rolling out platoon lineups. • It’s going to change some with Brandon Belt and Donovan Solano hurt. • Darin Ruf 러프 (vs LHP) and Alex Dickerson (vs RHP) are still in a platoon. Marlins • A couple of injuries and promotions have the team using a new lineup. • Jazz Chisholm (1.026 OPS) has led off the last two games. • Miguel Rojas (.817 OPS) is batting second. • Lewis Brinson is playing center field with Starling Marte on the IL. • Jon Berti is playing third base with Brian Anderson on the IL. Mets • It was a consistent lineup until Brandon Nimmo got hurt. • Michael Conforto (.559 OPS) is batting fifth and Jeff McNeil (.529 OPS) sixth. Nationals • Juan Soto’s injury has moved some players around with Andrew Stevenson (.622 OPS) leading off and Josh Harrison (1.021 OPS) batting second. • Victor Robles has hit eighth in four straight. • Since Josh Bell has come off the IL, Ryan Zimmerman has started only two of 10 games. Padres • The “issue” with the Padres is that as players become healthy, there is just not enough playing time for everyone. • Jurickson Profar has started in 18 straight games. • Ha-Seong Kim only plays when Tatis sits. Phillies • The latest center field candidate, Mickey Moniak (.111/.200/.278), has also failed. Scott Kingery should get the next opportunity. • Brad Miller will be filling in at second base and batting fifth with Jean Segura on the IL. Pirates • While there were some adjustments with the recent games at an AL park, the lineup is the same as before those games. • Todd Frazier may allow Phillip Evans to play the outfield since the Anthony Alford (.325 OPS) and Dustin Fowler (.434 OPS) experiments failed. • Gregory Polanco continues to work on his new swing. On both swings, Polanco clearly adds an extra toe tap to help with his timing, and in both Polanco goes yard. It’s a small change in mechanics, but one that might help him continue his recent upward trajectory at the plate. “I think the biggest point is the timing aspect of it. He’s in a better position to hit more consistently,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “He has adjusted some other things mechanically, he and [hitting coach] Rick [Eckstein] and [assistant hitting coach] Christian [Marrero], but all those kind of work in culmination to make sure that he’s in a better situation or a better position to hit, and I think we saw it [Friday]. It hasn’t helped him yet with a .436 OPS over the past week. Reds • Besides some movement caused by Nick Castellanos’s suspension, it has been steady. • Kyle Farmer has been playing third base with Mike Moustakas (.522 OPS) on the IL. Rockies • Raimel Tapia (.723 OPS) is back to leading off. • Yonathan Daza (.881 OPS) has started two straight games in centerfield. • Garrett Hampson (.686 OPS) and Josh Fuentes (.482 OPS) are in a timeshare.