Mining the News & Lineups (5/28/21) by Jeff Zimmerman May 28, 2021 I’ve got a full weekend planned. Besides for a few hours today, I’m not going to have time expound this or the waiver wire article. I’ll see if I can sneak away for Sunday’s chat while still taking care of my own teams. So for this article, I didn’t add many player stats and just focused on major changes. I’m now going to try to at least get a Waiver Wire rankings out. American League Angels • Justin Upton has hit leadoff in the last four games. • David Fletcher is batting ninth. • Drew Butera has started five of the last seven games at catcher. • Juan Lagaras is playing everyday and hitting in the middle of the lineup. • Jo Adell is making strides to get promoted. Angels GM Perry Minasian on minor league slugger Jo Adell "He's making some strides. He's not there yet." — Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) May 26, 2021 Astros • With Michael Brantley ailing, Chas McCormick has been playing in the outfield. Athletics • Chad Pinder has started in 10 of 12 games since coming off the IL • Jed Lowrie is now the primary DH. • Elvis Andrus has changed his pre-game routine to hit more breaking balls. After perhaps his best offensive game of 2021 on Tuesday — going 3-for-4, his first three-hit game since Sept. 24, 2019 — he went 2-for-4 on Wednesday, and is batting .306 over his last 16 games. Andrus met with the media on Wednesday morning, and shared some insight over what has been working for him at the plate recently — including hitting off the pitching machine in batting practice, something he hadn’t tried before, consistently. “I kind of like it, the idea of being able to see breaking balls,” he said, “because when you’re in the cage, taking BP, the only thing you practice is a fastball. Sometimes it’s good to see some breaking balls and stay through the ball, stay through the middle, don’t try to do too much, that way whenever you see it in the game, you can react a lot better.” Andrus also mentioned that while he was battling a back injury last season with the Rangers, he developed some bad habits at the plate, because he wasn’t able to use his lower half to swing. Blue Jays • With Cavan Biggio out, Jonathan Davis and Santiago Espinal are starting against lefties. Rowdy Tellez and Joe Panik are starting against righties. Indians • The addition of versatile Owen Miller (played 2B, SS, 3B, and DH since being promoted), has mucked up the lineup. Since that point: Josh Naylor as sat against two lefties Amed Rosario as sat the last two games (hand injury). Harold Ramirez continued to start every day. • If a fantasy team is rostering a fringe Cleveland player, check in on their playing time. Mariners • José Godoy has started three of the last five games at catcher. • Jacob Nottingham and Eric Campbell are in a corner infield platoon. • Donovan Walton and Jack Mayfield seem to be a in a time share situation. Orioles • Pat Valaika and Stevie Wilkerson are in a second base platoon. • DJ Stewart is playing every day with both Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays hurt. Rangers • Brock Holt and Charlie Culberson are back to sharing time at third base. • Jason Martin started in left field and Willie Calhoun moved to DH last night. The Rangers expect big thing from Martin, so he might get a couple of weeks to see how he’ll hit (1.167 OPS in AAA). Rays • Taylor Walls has started four of five games since being promoted. • Continues to be tough to figure out, with only Austin Meadows, Brandon Lowe, and Randy Arozarena starting in more than 80% of the games. Red Sox • Danny Santana has started in four of five games. The one time he sat was against a lefty starter and Christian Arroyo was in the lineup. • Marwin Gonzalez has only started in two of the last six games. Royals • Since Adalberto Mondesi has returned to the Royals lineup, it’s not yet obvious who will eventually head to the bench. So far Michael A. Taylor and Nicky Lopez have sat. • Kelvin Gutierrez (.270/.289/.297) has started 10 straight at third with Hunter Dozier on the IL. Tigers • Harold Castro is hitting second against righties but sitting against lefties. • Besides Robbie Grossman, the outfield playing time is mess with Akil Baddoo, Victor Reyes, Nomar Mazara, and Eric Haase fighting over two spots (Ed. note: Haase also catches some of the time so he’s only spotting in the OF). All four have limited talent, so each has almost no fantasy value. Twins • Rob Refsnyder has started eight straight in center field. • Trevor Larnach (.743 OPS) has started ten straight in left field. • Alex Kirilloff has started nine games at first base. White Sox • With Tim Anderson hurt, Nick Madrigal has gone from batting ninth to leadoff. • Leury García, Adam Eaton, Billy Hamilton, and Jake Lamb are splitting time between two outfield spots. Yankees • Injuries have the lineup in flux. • Miguel Andújar (.472 OPS) has started in 12 of the last 14 games. • Estevan Florial debuted in center field. National League Braves • Guillermo Heredia (.288/.373/.507) has started eight of the last nine games. • Ender Inciarte may play more with Marcell Ozuna hurt. Brewers • Willy Adames has started six straight since being traded to the team. • First and third base is a continuous mix of players including Daniel Vogelbach, Keston Hiura, Daniel Robertson, Luis Urías, and Travis Shaw. Of the five, Urias has the highest OPS at .680. Cardinals • Injuries and some games at an AL park make it a little tough to guess the playing time going forward. • Edmundo Sosa has started 10 straight at short with Paul DeJong on the IL. Cubs • The bottom half is just a mess. Eric Sogard, Rafael Ortega, and Patrick Wisdom all started yesterday. • Ian Happ has hit clean up the last two games. • The Cubs will limit Alzolay’s workload only if he starts struggling. For now, though, pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said the focus is on Alzolay’s development. With his seven-inning outing against the Cardinals on Saturday, the 26-year-old starter has reached 44 innings (more than double his MLB total of 21 1/3 innings last year). “Look, I’m much more concerned with watching him grow,” Hottovy said prior to Sunday’s game in St. Louis. “The stuff just gets better and better every outing. And his workload gets a little bit higher and a little bit higher. “And I think we’re going to see, there will probably be a point where he hits a wall and we’ll be able to make that adjustment, make an assessment [about] what we want to do. But right now, I think the pace he’s on and the stuff we’re seeing, we want to roll with that as much as we can.” Diamondbacks • Josh Rojas has hit leadoff in the last two games. • Pavin Smith has moved down the lineup with Ketel Marte off the IL. • Josh Reddick (.577 OPS) has started six of seven since joining the team. Dodgers • The outfield situation is a mess with five different players starting in left field over the last six games. DJ Peters is starting against lefties. Matt Beaty, Sheldon Neuse, and Yoshi Tsutsugo are in the battle for one or two outfield spots depending on if Albert Pujols is starting. • Albert Pujols has started seven of ten games since joining the team. • Mookie Betts has been playing through a bum shoulder. Betts missed four games last month because of a back issue and missed another after taking a pitch to the forearm. The club gave him Saturday, Sunday and Monday’s off day to rest a left shoulder ailment that Betts said had been bothering him for two weeks. Dave Roberts classified his star right fielder this week as playing at “80 to 85 percent,” a grade Betts agreed with, adding that the feeling is normal for any player through this point in the season. It’s something Roberts said he will have to be mindful of while noting that a compromised Betts still presents a threat to opposing clubs. Giants • With Darin Ruf 러프f and Brandon Belt hurt, Jason Vosler started at first base. • Austin Slater and Mike Tauchman are in a center field platoon. • Donovan Solano and Mauricio Dubón are splitting time at second base. Marlins • Injuries have have put the lineup in flux over the last couple of days. Magneuris Sierra has led off with Corey Dickerson batting third and Adam Duvall hitting fourth. Mets • What a nightmare of a lineup. Billy McKinney is hitting third or fourth. Jose Peraza has started four straight. Something called a Mazeika is playing firstbase. Nationals • Really steady with Andrew Stevenson playing center field and batting eighth with Victor Robles on the IL. Padres • Tommy Pham has led off for five of the last six games with Trent Grisham out. • Ha-Seong Kim has started seven straight with Manny Machado hurt. Phillies • Brad Miller has started six straght games at four different positions. • Odubel Herrera hits somewhere in the top half of the lineup. • Nick Maton and Ronald Torreyes are splitting time at short. Pirates • Ben Gamel has hit second in the last three games. • Folk hero Will Craig has started 12 of 13 games at first base. Reds • Tyler Stephenson has started eight straight add first base or catcher. • Max Schrock and Jonathan India are splitting time at second. • Kyle Farmer (.599 OPS) has started 19 straight at shortstop. • While the whole article goes into detail the Reds bullpen, this bit stood out. It seems that the Reds want to use Tejay Anotone to hold a lead. It’s a different kind of bullpen usage, but much of it comes from the unique skills of Antone, the team’s best pitcher. He’s still a starter in waiting, but he can pitch multiple innings in relief, and when he comes in, well, “You don’t want to come out of the game at all, but when you’re coming out and you look down and it’s Tejay running in, I’m sure every starter in the game would be pretty comfortable,” Mahle said after his three-hit, two-strikeout start Tuesday. Antone struck out three and walked one in 2 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth. That set up Garrett for the bottom of the inning, but Sims was also getting ready so he could enter if a fourth batter came to the plate. “It’s not always about left-on-left or right-on-right. There is how rested are guys, what the score is, a lot of factors,” Bell said. “Again, all the credit goes to our guys in the bullpen who have stayed ready. They’ve had a great attitude toward it. Look what happened tonight. Tejay doesn’t get the save, but he comes in and gets us to that point and allows his teammates to come in and get the big outs in the ninth.” With this setup, Antone will likely not be inline for Wins or Saves until the starter goes deep into the game. Rockies • One of Ryan McMahon, C.J. Cron, Brendan Rodgers, and Josh Fuentes sits every game. This setup puts a damper on three of their values.