NL Lineup Analysis (9/6/2019)

Though each team in the National League has brought their September callups aboard, only a handful of teams are giving even a single newly-added player significant playing time. Here is the rundown of lineup and batting order changes for each team.

Arizona

Josh Rojas has become a regular in the outfield, having started each of the last six games, and he is in the lineup once again for Friday night’s game in Cincinnati. After starting his career off 6 for 33 (.182) with one double, Rojas has since gone 10 for 26 (.385) with two home runs and two doubles.

With the Diamondbacks having faced five right-handed starters over the last six games, Jarrod Dyson has seen a fair amount of playing time, but he is still not quite locked in as a daily option against righties. The only right-handed starter among the last five he sat against was Ronald Bolaños, but Dyson is also out of the lineup against Tyler Mahle on Friday night. With six of the next seven starting pitchers projected to go up against the Diamondbacks being right-handed, Dyson should continue to get enough playing time to be used in 15-team mixed leagues.

Atlanta

Austin Riley is back in the Braves’ lineup for Friday night’s game against the Nationals, just hours after he was activated from the IL. The Braves wanted him with the team specifically for this game against lefty Patrick Corbin, but it remains to be seen if he will unseat Rafael Ortega against righties. Ortega has a .224/.297/.310 slash line and -0.1 fWAR in 18 games.

Chicago

With Addison Russell filling in for the injured Javier Báez (thumb), Ben Zobrist has drawn the last two starts at second base, and he is also in the lineup for Friday night’s game in Milwaukee. However, Zobrist seems unlikely to settle into a regular role, given that Báez could be close to returning and David Bote is back with the team. In each of the games Zobrist has started, he has led off, relegating Jason Heyward to the bottom third of the batting order.

Cincinnati

Nick Senzel has been out of the Reds’ starting lineup for three straight games due to a sore shoulder, including Friday night’s series opener against the Diamondbacks. On Thursday, Michael Lorenzen got the start in Senzel’s place in center field, giving him his first career start at a position other than pitcher. Phillip Ervin filled the vacancy in Friday night’s lineup against Robbie Ray, with the just-recalled José Peraza taking Ervin’s customary spot in left field against a lefty.

Also in the lineup for Friday night is Alex Blandino, who has seized a platoon role with Freddy Galvis at second base. He is also leading off, filling a spot in the lineup usually held by Senzel against left-handed starters. Josh VanMeter has been slotted in the leadoff spot for 12 of the last 13 games featuring an opposing right-handed starter.

Colorado

Since the last iteration of this column was published, the Rockies have played six games, and Sam Hilliard has started only the three games against right-handed starters. He was replaced by Garrett Hampson in two of the games against lefties and by Raimel Tapia on Wednesday, one day after he was activated from the IL. With the Padres projected to start two lefties in their three-game weekend series against the Rockies, Hilliard won’t figure to play much until next week, when there may be only one left-handed starter on the schedule.

Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon have swapped spots in the batting order, with Story hitting leadoff for each of the last eight games and Blackmon batting second for each of the seven games he started during this stretch. Daniel Murphy has been batting cleanup against righties, but Ian Desmond has taken over the spot for each of the last three games featuring a left-handed starter.

Los Angeles

Even with Max Muncy (wrist) on the 10-day IL, the promotion of Gavin Lux has cut into the playing time of Enrique Hernández. Lux has started each of the last three games at second base, each of which has featured an opposing right-handed starter. Hernandez did start in right field on Tuesday, but that was merely to fill in for Joc Pederson, who sat with an abdominal bruise. Meanwhile, Matt Beaty is having no problem finding playing time against righties, having made seven starts in the last eight games against an opposing right-handed starter.

Miami

The return of Miguel Rojas from the IL has created some uncertainty around Jon Berti’s playing time. Rojas started each of the first three games at shortstop once rosters expanded on Sunday, sending Berti to the bench for two of those contests. Then Berti started in Rojas’ place on Thursday, and he is in the lineup again for Friday night.

Magneuris Sierra was called up two days after rosters expanded, and with his inclusion in the lineup for Friday night’s game against the Royals, he will have started three games in a row. Sierra has supplanted Harold Ramirez for two of those games, and Lewis Brinson for one game. He is 4 for 9 (.444) so far, and if he remains in the lineup, he could be a source of stolen bases over the remainder of the season. It should be noted that, while he did steal 26 bases for Triple-A New Orleans, he was also thrown out 10 times.

Milwaukee

Keston Hiura (hamstring), Mike Moustakas (hand) and Lorenzo Cain (knee) have all missed several games recently due to injury, though Cain was healthy enough to start on Thursday night and to be in the lineup for Friday night. Cain’s return will cut into the playing time for Trent Grisham, but Cory Spangenberg could remain in the lineup awhile longer as Hiura’s replacement at second base. He has now been in the starting lineup for five straight games, including two that featured lefty starters. Travis Shaw and Hernán Pérez have split the third base duties in Moustakas’ absence.

New York

Mickey Callaway’s plan to use Jeff McNeil at a variety of positions has cost Todd Frazier and J.D. Davis a pair of starts over the last six games, and on Friday night, Davis will sit again. This is in spite of Davis going 11 for his last 31 (.355) with three home runs and two doubles. In Friday night’s series opener against the Phillies, Robinson Canó will start at second base for the second game in a row, likely signalling the end of Joe Panik’s run as the Mets’ regular at the position. Similarly, Brandon Nimmo has now started three of the last four games, limiting the playing time of Juan Lagares.

Philadelphia

For the most part, September callups and activations have not kept Gabe Kapler from being consistent in his lineup choices. The only significant deviation in the lineup over the past week occurred when Jean Segura missed three starts, as he was in the Dominican Republic for his grandmother’s funeral. That said, Friday night’s lineup is a little different, as Corey Dickerson and Adam Haseley will be on the bench against lefty Steven Matz.

Pittsburgh

The Pirates have had a steady lineup, especially now that Starling Marte and Kevin Newman are back after a brief time away due to injury.

San Diego

The Padres’ acquisition of Nick Martini has, at least for the time being, reduced the playing time of Hunter Renfroe. Martini has started four of the last five games, while Renfroe has been in the starting lineup for only the last two. Martini has also been batting second behind Greg Garcia, and he could stay in the lineup over the weekend, as the Padres are scheduled to face three right-handed Rockies starters. Manuel Margot and Josh Naylor have generally been rounding out the outfield, with both sitting out only one game out of the last five. Wil Myers is clearly serving in a reserve role, having made only four starts in the last 12 games.

Luis Urías is in the midst of a 5 for 40 (.125) slump, and playing time has become scarce. He has started one of the last four games, with Garcia starting in his place at shortstop for the other three. That has opened up regular playing time at second base for Ty France, who had previously been starting mostly against lefties. If France remains hot at the plate — he is 8 for his last 29 (.276) with three home runs and two doubles — Urías could have a hard time getting back in the lineup.

San Francisco

Immediately upon being called up on Wednesday, Jaylin Davis was in the starting lineup for the Giants’ final two games of their series against the Cardinals. He has apparently taken over Alex Dickerson’s spot in the outfield. As a right-handed hitter who has already started against two right-handed starters, Davis looks primed for an everyday role.

Mike Yastrzemski remains locked into a platoon with Austin Slater, though he should see steady playing time in the coming days. After facing Clayton Kershaw on Friday night, the Giants are not projected to see another left-handed starter until Thursday, when they play Steven Brault and the Pirates.

When the Giants promoted Mauricio Dubon, he was reportedly going to see time at both second base and shortstop, but so far, all but one of his six starts have been at second base.

St. Louis

The lineup has been consistent, though Matt Carpenter has snuck in four starts at third base over the last eight games. For three of those games, Tommy Edman remained in the lineup, starting two games in right field and one game at second base.

Washington

Adam Eaton has started only one of the last seven games due to a bone bruise in his right knee, and he is out yet again for Friday night’s game in Atlanta. Gerardo Parra had been filling in, but Michael A. Taylor has started in Eaton’s place for the last two games.

Ryan Zimmerman was activated from the IL on Sunday, and it appears that his presence leaves Asdrúbal Cabrera out of the first base mix. He should continue to see a share of the playing time at second base, where he has been splitting starts with Brian Dozier and Howie Kendrick. Cabrera had started three of the last four games at second, but Kendrick will get the nod for Friday night’s against the Braves.

We hoped you liked reading NL Lineup Analysis (9/6/2019) 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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