NL Lineup Analysis (6/27/19)

The Mets and Giants have new-look outfields, and the Diamondbacks must now figure out how to make room for Jake Lamb. These recent lineup changes, along with many others, are detailed just below.

Arizona

Christian Walker’s fantasy owners have probably been a bit nervous in recent weeks, knowing that Lamb’s return from the IL was coming soon. That day arrived on Wednesday, and in fact, it was Walker who was forced out of the lineup to accommodate Lamb at first base. It’s not clear how Torey Lovullo is going to split Lamb’s and Walker’s time at first base, but it is conceivable that Lamb could also play some third base. That would shift Eduardo Escobar to second base, with Jarrod Dyson sitting more often to make way for Ketel Marte in center field.

Ever since Caleb Joseph was recalled on June 14 to replace the injured Alex Avila (calf), he and Carson Kelly have fallen into a predictable playing time pattern with Joseph starting every third game.

Atlanta

Another week of metronomic consistency for Brian Snitker’s lineups and batting order.

Chicago

Albert Almora Jr. had seen a bump in playing time starting five of six games, but he sat in favor of Carlos Gonzalez (with Jason Heyward replacing him in center field) for Thursday’s series finale against the Braves. Almora went just 2 for 15 during that six-game stretch, so he could easily see his playing time recede.

Addison Russell has been getting the bulk of the starts at second base, getting the nod for four of the last seven games. Even so, David Bote had started four straight games and seven of the last 10 games, garnering starts at both second and third base, before sitting on Thursday.

Cincinnati

The Reds’ lineup has been steady against righties, with Jose Peraza and Kyle Farmer supplanting Derek Dietrich at second base and Phillip Ervin filling in for Jesse Winker in left field against lefties. It probably doesn’t mean much long-term, but Winker has also sat twice over the last nine games featuring a right-handed starter. He has emerged from an early June slump, going 12 for 31 with two homers since June 16, and he has led off four of the last five games with a righty starter. Nick Senzel has moved down to the fifth spot in the batting order for three of those games.

Colorado

The playing time windfall for Brendan Rodgers created by Trevor Story’s sprained thumb was short-lived, as Rodgers himself wound up on the IL on Tuesday with a right shoulder impingement. Garrett Hampson has made the last two starts at shortstop. Since getting recalled on Sunday, he has made three starts (including one in center field) and gone 4 for 12 with two stolen bases.

Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl are playing steadily, but the balance of playing time for the third outfield spot may be shifting. Raimel Tapia had been played sparingly for a nearly two-week period, but he has started three of the last four games, with Ian Desmond starting only one of those contests.

Los Angeles

The Dodgers have actually had something resembling a steady lineup lately, with Joc Pederson settling in at first base, Max Muncy playing regularly at second base, Matt Beaty and Kyle Garlick comprising a platoon in left field, and Alex Verdugo and Enrique Hernandez platooning in center field. Peterson started his fifth game at first base on Tuesday, so he now enjoys multi-position eligibility on CBS and Yahoo.

Miami

Now that Neil Walker is back from the IL, Garrett Cooper figures to start regularly in right field against righties, with J.T. Riddle in center field and Harold Ramirez and Curtis Granderson splitting time in left field. The Marlins faced lefty Patrick Corbin on Wednesday night, and Cooper moved back to first. Brian Anderson played right field, and Yadiel Rivera covered for Anderson at third base.

The top half of the batting order has been shaken up. Miguel Rojas has led off nine games in a row (including Thursday night’s tilt with the Nationals), typically followed by Ramirez or Granderson. Cooper has batted third in six of the last nine games, and Anderson has hit cleanup in all but two of those nine games.

Milwaukee

There has not been much new on Craig Counsell’s lineup cards, other than Eric Thames once again getting the vast majority of starts (five of the last seven) at first base and Yasmani Grandal taking over the leadoff spot from Lorenzo Cain. Grandal has now sat atop the batting order for the last five games. Cain hit third last Friday, fourth on Saturday and then missed three games while receiving cryotherapy treatment for his thumb. In Thursday’s game against the Mariners, Cain slipped down to the sixth spot.

New York

The Mets may have finally found a way to keep Dominic Smith in the lineup. He has started four games in a row, and the last five games with a right-handed starter, in left field, forcing Juan Lagares and Carlos Gomez to the bench for the first three games of this week’s series in Philadelphia. The new primary outfield alignment against righties is Smith in left, Michael Conforto in center and Jeff McNeil in right.

Over the weekend, when the Mets went up against lefties Jose Quintana and Cole Hamels, J.D. Davis played left field and Lagares started in center field. Conforto and Gomez each started a game in right field, and McNeil took over for Robinson Cano at second base for one game.

Philadelphia

It looks as if Maikel Franco has reclaimed the third base job, starting four games in a row there. Roman Quinn has started three of the last seven games in center field, though two of those starts came with Scott Kingery playing third base. If Franco continues to rack up starts at the hot corner, it’s unlikely that Quinn will play much.

The batting order that featured Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins at the top was short-lived. Kingery and Jean Segura have been the 1-2 hitters for each of the last four games, with Harper and Hoskins batting third and fourth.

Pittsburgh

Bryan Reynolds‘ string of nine consecutive starts ended at an unlikely time — when the Pirates began a three-game series in Houston. Despite having a DH spot in their lineup, the Pirates’ outfield for the first two games was Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte and Melky Cabrera, while Josh Bell served as designated hitter. Reynolds was back in the lineup for Thursday’s finale, with Cabrera going to the bench.

San Diego

Even with the presence of a DH spot for the last two games, Wil Myers has not started in any of the Padres’ last three games. Manuel Margot has taken over in center field for this brief stretch, flanked by Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes. Francisco Mejia filled the DH spot on Wednesday in Baltimore, giving him his sixth start in seven games.

San Francisco

The big recent change to the Giants’ lineup has been the installation of Alex Dickerson as the starting left fielder against righties. Steven Duggar’s lower back strain and subsequent placement on the 10-day IL created the opportunity for Dickerson to start, and he has taken full advantage of it, going 9 for 21 (.429) with a home run, four doubles, a triple and a stolen base. There is currently no timetable for Duggar’s return, but if Dickerson continues to produce, it’s hard to see him losing his job.

The other notable development has been the more-than-occasional benching of Evan Longoria for Pablo Sandoval. Longoria, who is 6 for his last 34 (.176) with one extra-base hit (a triple), has started only three of the last six games, with Sandoval getting the other three starts at third base. Sandoval also started at first base in place of Brandon Belt on Monday against the Rockies, so his playing time may be increasing enough to make him viable in deeper mixed leagues.

St. Louis

After having made 21 straight starts, Harrison Bader now finds his playing time on the wane again. He has been splitting starts with Dexter Fowler in center field, with Bader getting only three of the last seven starts. Both Bader and Fowler have seen their roles reduced due to Jose Martinez suddenly getting regular play. Martinez has started seven straight games in right field. Given that he is 2 for his last 16, this arrangement may not last for much longer.

Washington

Though Matt Adams and Brian Dozier have recently solidified their playing time at first and second base, Howie Kendrick has been playing enough at both positions to remain relevant in deeper leagues. He has started four of the last six games, and with the Nationals about to embark on a three-game weekend series in Detroit, the DH spot should provide Kendrick, Adams and Dozier with an opportunity to all be in the lineup together.

We hoped you liked reading NL Lineup Analysis (6/27/19) by Al Melchior!

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Al Melchior has been writing about Fantasy baseball and sim games since 2000, and his work has appeared at CBSSports.com, BaseballHQ, Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster and FanRagSports. He has also participated in Tout Wars' mixed auction league since 2013. You can follow Al on Twitter @almelchiorbb and find more of his work at almelchior.com.

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