I decided to dive into the latest Spring Training lineups to see if any possible trends are emerging. Today, I’ll start with the National League.
Note: I just looked through the lineups and didn’t read up on each team. There is probably a good chance the manager has stated a different plan during the season.
- It’s tough to really get a good read on a set lineup but Wilmer Flores, Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Steven Souza Jr., David Peralta, and Jake Lamb are in the top-six spots in random order.
- Ildemaro Vargas looks to be the team’s Utility player and is probably relevant in 20-team or deeper leagues with a 10/10/.270 projection if playing a full season.
- Now that Ronald Acuna is cemented into the cleanup spot, the only question is the leadoff hitter with Ender Inciarte and Ozzie Albies battling for the spot. It a big deal to be the winner of this battle. The winner gets the extra plate appearances and has the two to four hitters after him instead of seven to nine. Albies has the better projection (.332 wOBA vs .315 wOBA) but Inciarte has the better spring training stats (.667 OPS vs .631 OPS). I am a little worried about Albies still nursing the effects of an early hit-by-pitch since he hasn’t hit a single extra-base hit this spring.
- The Cubs are so tough to figure out during the season, it’s even tougher to figure out their plan in Spring Training. The only four hitters I feel deserve full-time projected plate appearances from their positions are Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Willson Contreras.
- The Reds still seem to be working out a set lineup. The only item of interest to me is that when Matt Kemp plays, he has hit third. Kemp might be a streaming option in daily-lineup leagues.
- The Rockies seem set with an order of Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, Daniel Murphy, Trevor Story, David Dahl, and Ian Desmond.
- In the past week, Garrett Hampson and Ryan McMahon have only played in a game together once. Hampson led off but Blackmon didn’t play. I’m a little worried Hampson will get buried in the 8th or 9th spot and limit his stolen base upside.
- I didn’t even want to look but I did. It’s as bad as I thought with everyone playing everywhere. The only item I found of interest in Alex Verdugo leading off a couple of times.
- Curtis Granderson will be leading off.
- Martin Prado has been getting time at first base and hitting in the lineup’s top half. I thought the Prado experience was over.
- With the resigning of Mike Moustakas, the lineup seems similar to the Brewers playoff roster. The only question will be who replaces Braun when he sits.
- Some spots are set with Robinson Cano batting third and Michael Conforto fourth. Either Jeff McNeil or Brandon Nimmo have been leading off.
- Amed Rosario seems to be buried in the 7th or 8th spot which could really put a damper on his stolen base opportunities (few PA’s) and attempts (pitcher hitting after him).
- Fantasy owners will need to monitor this one. It’s been just a few games with Bryce Harper in the lineup and J.T. Realmuto hasn’t played in those games. Also, Andrew McCutchen and Cesar Hernandez have taken turns leading off with Odubel Herrera and Jean Segura swapping time in the two hole. The big loser could be Cesar Hernandez getting pushed to the eight spot and see his stolen base shrink (Note: it’s now official, Hernandez is hitting 6th or 7th).
- The Pirates lineup has been coming into shape the last few days with the following order: Adam Frazier, Starling Marte, Corey Dickerson, Josh Bell, Francisco Cervelli, and Jung Ho Kang.
- I like Cervelli’s value hitting fifth with the extra RBI chances.
- It’s a little tough to figure who is going to bat right after the first three spots (Ian Kinsler, Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado).
- They have Mejia batting 4th at times which may be from a 1.111 Spring Training OPS.
- Luis Urias, Austin Hedges, and Manuel Margot seem entrenched in the last spots.
- The order of the putrid Giants lineup doesn’t matter. It’s like mixing manure. Brandon Crawford (.713 career OPS) is the likely cleanup hitter.
- The Cardinals seem to have Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna batting somewhere between 2nd and 4th, but the rest seems to be a total mystery. Matt Carpenter missing time complicates the issue even more.
- Tyler O’Neill has been getting some play in the 4th and 5th spot while hitting .191/.309/.553 this spring.
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.