As the regular season nears, I’m trying to stay on top of any lineup changes. It’s the National League’s turn to go under the microscope.
- The Diamondbacks lineup is in flux with Steven Souza Jr. possibly having a messed up knee. Adam Jones may have stumbled into some full-time reps and possibly Jarrod Dyson if Jones’s defense is subpar.
- Ketel Marte has not been playing in the outfield, so the center field experiment may be over before it even started. The problem is that there aren’t enough infield spots to go around. The biggest issue is that Nick Ahmed has played shortstop in five of the last seven games. Eduardo Escobar seems entrenched at third. So the Wilmer Flores experiment may be over at second base (Marte’s spot) and Flores and Jake Lamb will platoon at first.
- The Braves are still going with a set lineup with Ender Inciarte leading off and Ozzie Albies batting sixth
- The Cubs may be working into separate versus lefty and righty lineups. Against righties, Ben Zobrist leads off with Kyle Schwarber fifth, and Albert Almora ninth. Against a lefty, it was Almora leading off, Zobrist batting sixth and Schwarber last.
- Jason Heyward is batting seventh.
- In the last five games, they have batted the pitcher 8th with a cast of characters batting 9th.
- With the injury to Scooter Gennett, the Reds have move Jose Peraza to second and Jose Iglesias to short.
- The outfield situation is a nightmare right now with Nick Senzel hurt and Matt Kemp playing in the field in four of the last five days. Even Jesse Winker has played center field. Right now, it seems like Kemp, Winker, Yasiel Puig, and Scott Schebler are in a major timeshare situation. For reference, here is how the four have hit in Spring Training.
- With the move of Nolan Arenado to the third spot, the Rockies have a set lineup with the exception of Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson equally splitting time at second base.
- The Dodgers are usually tough to figure out but they’ve used the same lineup against a righty for two straight days with Joc Pederson leading off, A.J. Pollock batting fifth and Cody Bellinger sixth. Against the last lefty, Pollock led off and Joc Pederson sat with Chris Taylor in the outfield. Taylor is going to need those at-bats to maintain any fantasy value after Enrique Hernandez was named the starting second baseman.
- Does it even really matter?
- In the last two games, Lewis Brinson has been buried in the sixth and seventh spots.
- Brandon Nimmo is leading off with Peter Alonso batting second quite a bit.
- A sneaky value play may be Keon Broxton for steals as he may be locking up the center field spot with a .788 OPS in Spring Training while Juan Lagares is just hitting just a .496 OPS. Broxton’s 20+ steals in 2016 and 2017 might be hard to pass on. Potential Broxton owners will need to keep an eye on the strikeouts. In Spring Training so far, he only has a 28% strikeout rate while his career mark is 37%.
- The Phillies seems set with the only red flag being where Cesar Hernandez hits. Hopefully, he can stay out of the eighth spot.
- The Pirates have set the top spots with Adam Frazier leading off, Starling Marte batting second, Corey Dickerson third, and Josh Bell cleanup. After those four, it’s a mess.
- I’ve taken quite a bit of heat by giving Franmil Reyes a 600-plate appearance projection. The Padres have constantly hit him third or fourth. They aren’t going to sit one of their top bats just so worse hitters can play. With Myers also playing fulltime, Manual Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Franchy Cordero will need to fight over the last outfield spot.
- Fernando Tatis Jr. has been playing a ton. If Luis Urias or Ian Kinsler are struggling and Tatis gets off to a hot start, Tatis may be in the majors in less than a month.
- I took one for the team and looked at their lineups. /shivers
- The good news is that Brandon Crawford is no longer batting cleanup, Brandon Belt has become the run producer.
- The Cardinals lineup seems set with a possible outfield platoon with Dexter Fowler facing righties and Jose Martinez facing lefties.
- I’m a little worried about Harrison Bader’s stolen base potential since he’s getting slotted in as the seventh or eighth lineup spot.
- I’m also worried about Turner’s stolen base potential with him batting second. Adam Eaton is an on-base machine and Turner will have Eaton ahead of him on the bases. Maybe I’m over thinking it, but to hit the magical 70 stolen base number, Turner should be leading off.
- Victor Robles has been batting ninth so the Nationals may be hitting the pitcher eighth.
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.