National League Lineup Analysis by Paul Sporer September 11, 2018 Taking a look at the recent trends in the Senior Circuit lineups: (Check out Jeff’s work on the AL here) Braves Johan Camargo has jumped into the #2 spot the last four games with Ozzie Albies and Ender Inciarte both being pushed down to the latter third (alternating between 6th and 7th) and Dansby Swanson holding down the 8-hole. Ronald Acuna is locked into the leadoff spot and has been amazing from that position. Among the 45 hitters with at least 150 leadoff PA, his .464 wOBA is tops (worth noting that Mookie Betts isn’t far behind at .445 in 2.5x the PA). At this rate, he’s going to push into some 1st rounds next year. Phillies Carlos Santana has led off the last five games and has really taken to it. He has a 1.039 OPS and 3 HR in 40 PA (9 games) from the top spot. Maikel Franco’s wrist injury has pushed Santana to 3B allowing Justin Bour to start three of the last four games. Scott Kingery may be getting pushed to the periphery as he just can’t get his bat going and the Phillies are fighting to stay in the division and wildcard battles (5 back in both). Nationals Victor Robles is up, but consistently breaking into the Juan Soto–Bryce Harper–Adam Eaton outfield may be tough unless he gets the bat going immediately (1-for-10 so far). Matt Wieters has started just once in his last 8 games (Spencer Kieboom 4, Pedro Severino 3), but adding the other two guys wRC+ totals (77) barely tops Wieters’ meager 75 mark so just ignore the whole trio unless you’re in a catchers-only NL East-only league (those are very popular these days!). Mets I know Jeff McNeil’s AVG is a little empty (.363 AVG, 0 HR, 4 SB in L30 days), but he’s batting 2nd and scoring plenty of runs (his 17 in L30 is a 95 full season pace). Amed Rosario hasn’t quite excelled in the leadoff role like Acuna, but he has 3 HR, 12 SB, and 32 runs in 195 PA there despite a meh .268/.308/.393 line. Don’t forget that the 22-year old SS was a mega prospect and still has plenty of upside. Thankfully Rosario has pushed Jose Reyes out of the lineup as he’s gotten just 3 starts in the last 17 games. Marlins Lewis Brinson is back and finding his stroke a bit with seven straight starts, including his latest in the cleanup spot: .423/.423/.615 in 26 PA. Cubs Daniel Murphy has joined the club and taken over the leadoff spot, spurring the offense to 5.1 runs per game since his arrival. The last two games have seen Kris Bryant at #2 and Javier Baez at #4, which isn’t new, but could be interesting if they roll it out more consistently. Of course, Joe Maddon is allergic to consistent lineups. Kyle Schwarber has started just once in the last four games despite the Cubs facing three righties. Brewers Jonathan Schoop still isn’t hitting, but has still started five of the last seven. The top of their lineup is basically set in stone with Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, and Jesus Aguilar owning the first three spots. Cardinals Yadier Molina has missed the last four games with hamstring tightness which has thrust Jose Martinez into the second spot (4 of the last 5) while Francisco Pena and Carson Kelly have split the catching duties. As much as I love Harrison Bader, he’s gone cold with a .612 OPS in his last 20 games and given that he’s consistently in the bottom third of the lineup, it’s fair to cut him loose in shallower leagues. Pirates Gregory Polanco is done for the year with a left knee bone bruise, opening up the #3 spot in the lineup (he’d been firmly entrenched there since July 1st) and they’ll likely mix-and-match with it. Jordan Luplow and Josh Bell got the first two starts there since the injury. The 6-7-8 spots are completely unsettled and will likely remain so the rest of the way. Adam Frazier, Starling Marte, and Francisco Cervelli hold spots in the top 4 and the rest is wide open. Reds Scott Schebler has led off three of the last four games and should remain there thanks to his .293/.367/.528 line in 139 leadoff PA. Philip Ervin may be creeping up the order, batting 5th in three of the last five. He’s got a .296/.365/.504 line with 6 HR and 3 SB in the second half (156 PA). Rockies This is a stable lineup with Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado, and Trevor Story owning the top four spots with Matt Holliday and Ian Desmond regularly hitting 5/6 since Holliday’s return. The 7-spot rotates a bit, but then the catcher is often 8th. Dodgers They’re running some firm platoons with David Freese, Chris Taylor, and Enrique Hernandez starting each of the last three games as they faced three straight lefties. Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, and Joc Pederson were the ones to sit during that trio of games. Diamondbacks Eduardo Escobar has hit second in 5 of the last 6 games with A.J. Pollock bouncing between 1, 2, 4, and 5 during that time. Giants This lineup is remarkably unsettled outside of Evan Longoria handling the 3-spot since late-August. Other than that they’ve rarely had a guy in the same spot twice in a row this month. Austin Slater’s starting spot is now locked with Andrew McCutchen in NY and Steven Duggar out for the year with injury. He’s also hitting .302 in his last 18 games (16 starts). Padres Luis Urias has hit #2 in 10 of his 11 games since being called up (leadoff in the other one). Manuel Margot has been pushed to the bottom third of the order over the last month after a spell up at the top, though it hasn’t really changed his results: .644 OPS in 18 games from July 24th-August 13th batting mostly 1st/2nd; .689 since August 14th batting 7/8/9.