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Who has been in a favorable or unfavorable spot in their team’s batting order of late? Who is in a platoon? Let’s get to the Lineup Lowdown.
- The Braves have been mixing and matching in left field amidst the absence of Marcell Ozuna (fingers). Most of the starts have gone to veteran utility man Ehire Adrianza, who is miscast as a regular outfielder. They’ve also given a look to Abraham Almonte. Neither option is ideal, and with Ozuna facing a possible domestic violence suspension after he gets healthy, the Braves seem likely to be in the market for outfield help next month.
- Atlanta needing outfield help applies to center field, as well. The Braves have preferred Guillermo Heredia to Ender Inciarte in center field, giving him 14 starts to Inciarte’s three over the last three weeks (Inciarte did miss a couple days during that stretch while on paternity leave). Heredia has been competent at the plate so far, but the track record says that won’t continue. Cristian Pache has looked overmatched offensively in the majors, but his defense is so good that the Braves will probably give him another shot if he can string together a nice run at the dish at Triple-A Gwinnett. Drew Waters might leap past him and get the call first, although he’s not on the 40-man roster. Waters isn’t a bad stash in fantasy leagues.
- Jazz Chisholm was moved down to the No. 6 spot on Friday and then the No. 5 spot Saturday before being elevated back to leadoff Sunday after a homer and a double in Saturday’s game. The 23-year-old is striking out at a 32.9 percent clip and, if anything, has been lucky to hit .264 (his xBA is .220). However, he’s also on pace for a 20-20 season even after missing a month’s worth of action with hamstring and ankle injuries.
- Chisholm has moved over to shortstop with Miguel Rojas (finger) on the shelf, with Jose Devers and Jon Berti occupying Chisholm’s old spot at second base. Devers is Rafael Devers’ cousin but couldn’t be more different as a player. He’s hit just one professional home run, and that came in rookie ball four years ago. The 21-year-old is sure to be sent back down once Rojas or Brian Anderson (shoulder) return.
- Isan Diaz has been the regular third baseman of late with Anderson sidelined. He’s sporting a healthy 14.7 percent walk rate but overall has been dreadful with a .487 OPS. It’s too soon to give up on Diaz since he just turned 25 a couple weeks ago, but he’s provided little reason for optimism during his big league opportunities to this point.
New York Mets
- It’s been a patchwork job by the Mets as they deal with a multitude of injuries. Billy McKinney has been getting regular run in right field, and with Jonathan Villar (hamstring) joining the wounded, has even batted leadoff the last two games. Another guy getting an extended look in the outfield has been Mason Williams. McKinney is in his fourth organization in the last four years. Williams, his fourth in the last five years.
- On the infield, it’s been Jose Peraza at second base and Brandon Drury at third base of late. Villar will hopefully be ready to handle third again soon. He’s avoided the injured list to this point but hasn’t been in the lineup for the last four games. Luis Guillorme (oblique) is due back any day now and should be in line for regular playing time. Of the Mets’ injured starting position players, J.D. Davis (hand) and Brandon Nimmo (finger) seem closest to a return, but neither is imminent.
- It’s been partly out of necessity that James McCann has found himself not batting lower than fifth in any of his last 12 starts, but the catcher (and also, briefly, first baseman) has also finally turned it on at the plate. McCann has homered three times in his last four contests and is sporting a 1.031 OPS during the aforementioned 12-game span.
- Nick Maton fizzled after a red-hot start in his first exposure to the big leagues and was sent back to the minors over the weekend. He hadn’t been playing much lately, as manager Joe Girardi has turned to old friend Ronald Torreyes as his regular shortstop with Didi Gregorius (elbow) still on the mend.
- Odubel Herrera has staked claim not only to the Phillies’ center field job but also to their leadoff spot with starts there in each of the last six tilts. He’s 10-for-28 at the dish during that stretch, which includes a two-homer game last week. Former leadoff man Andrew McCutchen has been moved down to the No. 6 spot and has taken well to it with three dingers and eight RBI in his last six contests.
- Josh Bell was moved down in the batting order as his slump deepened, but he’s been back to hitting either third or fourth regularly now that he’s finally making strides offensively. Over his last 81 plate appearances, Bell has posted a .924 OPS with five long balls and 14 RBI.
- Josh Harrison was moved up to the two hole for the Nats following a nice stretch. Naturally, he has gone just 2-for-22 at the plate since. Both Harrison and Starlin Castro are probably stretched as everyday players at this point, but there doesn’t look to be help on the horizon. Carter Kieboom has been taking his walks at Triple-A Rochester but is slugging just .368.
- So, is Kris Bryant an outfielder now? Bryant hasn’t started a game at third base since April 20, which is pretty crazy to think about. Initially, Bryant’s move to the outfield was in part due to injuries, but of late he’s been in the outfield because of Patrick Wisdom’s emergence at the hot corner. Wisdom cranked two more home runs on Sunday, giving him seven over just 36 plate appearances. The 29-year-old is sure to cool off sooner rather than later, but until he does it could mean Jason Heyward and/or Joc Pederson losing some starts. Heyward just returned from a hamstring injury, while Pederson sat out Sunday after exiting Saturday’s game with back tightness.
- With Nico Hoerner (hamstring) on the shelf again and David Bote (shoulder) also out, it’s been Eric Sogard settling in at second base against right-handers. Sergio Alcantara has started at the keystone versus the last two lefties and is off to a 6-for-14 start at the plate, so perhaps he’ll start seeing some action against righties.
- After giving Eugenio Suarez a trial run in the leadoff spot in hopes that it would help get his bat going, the Reds have since turned to Jonathan India at the top of the order for their last two contests. All he’s done in those two games is reach base five times, hit a home run and score three runs. It’s a continuation of what’s been an excellent stretch for India, as he’s now sporting a .323/.443/.554 batting line with four homers, three steals and a 10/11 K/BB ratio over his previous 21 games.
- As for Suarez, he popped his 13th home run over the weekend. However, his average hasn’t reached even .170 since April 18, he’s striking out at a career-high 31 percent rate and walking (7.5 percent) at by far his lowest rate in five seasons. Suarez’s strikeout rate is below 20 percent in his last 11 games, so hopefully he’s starting to correct that to some degree.
- The Keston Hiura we’ve seen since his recall following a stint in the minors has looked an awful lot like the one who was demoted. Actually, he’s been worse, having gone just 2-for-29 with a 48.5 percent strikeout rate. He started Sunday’s finale, but Hiura was on the bench for the Brewers’ first three games of their weekend series versus the Diamondbacks. There would seem to be a good chance that he’ll be sent back down again soon, and if that demotion happens it figures to last longer.
- Luis Urias lost his shortstop job when the Brewers acquired Willy Adames, but between Travis Shaw’s struggles and Kolten Wong’s (oblique) injury, Urias has maintained a regular role while bouncing between third and second base. He’s been more productive of late, too, reaching base 11 times in his last seven contests. Urias has even batted leadoff for the Brew Crew the last three days, taking Wong’s spot not only in the field but also at the top of the order.
- The Brewers handled Christian Yelich carefully initially upon his return from the injured list, giving him frequent days off. The kid gloves appear to be off now, though, as Yelich has started each of the last seven games in left field (and eight of nine, with the one he didn’t being the second game of a doubleheader). He’s not totally locked in at the plate yet but has homered in two of his last four contests.
- With Ke’Bryan Hayes back from the injured list and in the two hole in the Pirates’ lineup, Kevin Newman has rightfully slid back down to the lower third of the order. The 27-year-old showed promise in his first full season back in 2019, but he’s been one of the worst-hitting regulars in baseball since the start of 2020 with an embarrassing .216/.260/.267 batting line.
- The Pirates also got Colin Moran back Sunday and returned him to the cleanup spot. While Moran was out, the four hole was occupied by Gregory Polanco against righties and Jacob Stallings versus lefties. The favorable lineup spot and nice walk rate has helped Stallings be an adequate second catcher in mixed leagues.
St. Louis Cardinals
- With Justin Williams (neck) landing on the injured list, the Cardinals have used Tommy Edman in right field and Matt Carpenter at second base in each of their last two games against right-handers. Carpenter has reached base nine times in his last five starts and delivered a pinch-hit, two-RBI double Sunday. He could continue to see some starts at second base in the coming days, although the Cards will probably want to use Edmundo Sosa some there when Paul DeJong (rib) returns this weekend.
- Speaking of Sosa, he’s started each of the last 20 games at shortstop for St. Louis. Unfortunately, after a red-hot start he’s regressed at the plate lately with just a .442 OPS across his last 11 tilts.
- Since Christian Walker was activated from the injured list, he, David Peralta and Josh Reddick have all started six of nine games. Meanwhile, Josh Rojas has started eight over that stretch and Pavin Smith has started seven. A trade of Peralta would help alleviate some of the logjam there, and it sounds like the rebuilding D-backs are more than willing to flip him to a contender.
- Injuries have obviously hindered Ketel Marte this season, but it’s noteworthy that all 20 of his starts have come in center field. That’s after he almost exclusively played second base last season. It appears Arizona has determined that having Marte in center and Rojas at second is their best alignment moving forward.
- After starting just two of his first four contests off the injured list, Brendon Rodgers has now started 10 of the last 12 games. He’s also gone 6-for-12 with a home run over his previous four tilts. Each of Rodgers’ last seven starts have come at shortstop, so it will be interesting to see how the playing time breaks down here when Trevor Story (elbow) returns Tuesday. The Rockies should put Ryan McMahon at third base and Rodgers at second, but manager Bud Black seems to have an affinity for Joshua Fuentes. Fuentes, by the way, is batting .330/.358/.573 with five homers and 26 RBI at home this season versus just .155/.211/.197 with no homers and on RBI on the road.
- Yonathan Daza has earned each of the last eight starts in center field for the Rockies and is sporting an even 1.000 OPS over that span. He’s also batted second in each of the last seven games. Meanwhile, Garrett Hampson has started just half of those eight games. His playing time could be squeezed further when Story is back.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Since the Dodgers signed Albert Pujols, 12 of Max Muncy’s last 15 starts have come at second base. Prior to that, 35 of 38 starts came at first base. Manager Dave Roberts has pretty much been able to find enough playing time for everyone still, but some tougher decisions will need to be made when Corey Seager (hand) makes it back and Gavin Lux returns to the keystone. On a related note, Zach McKinstry is just 1-for-16 since returning from the IL.
- The Dodgers bringing in Pujols seemed to signify that they planned to leave Cody Bellinger in the outfield when he was activated, and that’s indeed been the case with all seven of his starts coming in center. Bellinger went 0-for-10 with seven strikeouts in his first three contests upon activation but has reached base eight times over his last five tilts and had a six-RBI game last week.
San Diego Padres
- The assumption when Austin Nola (knee) headed back to the injured list was that Victor Caratini would be given all the playing time he could handle behind the plate. Interestingly, though, he’s split time right down the middle with Webster Rivas, a 30-year-old who is in his first stint in the majors. It’s not the worst idea keeping Caratini fresh since Nola has had trouble staying healthy, but it does dampen his fantasy appeal a bit.
- Jurickson Profar has served as the Padres’ everyday center fielder with Trent Grisham (heel) on the shelf, but he might see his playing time squeezed once Grisham makes it back. Profar is just 2-for-19 at the dish so far this month and his OPS on the season is down to .614. Meanwhile, Tommy Pham boasts a 1.014 OPS in his last 16 contests.
San Francisco Giants
- Since both Brandon Belt (oblique) and Darin Ruf (hamstring) have been out, LaMonte Wade has been the Giants’ regular first baseman and also their leadoff hitter versus right-handers. It no surprise that manager Gabe Kapler has stuck with him, as Wade has posted a 1.022 OPS with three homers during that stretch, including two dingers over his last three games. With Belt due back Tuesday, we could see Wade play more in the outfield at the expense of Mike Tauchman and/or Alex Dickerson.
- Also red-hot for the Giants lately has been Steven Duggar, who has put up a 1.087 OPS with three dingers across his last 15 games. He’s batted fifth in the last two contests. Meanwhile, Austin Slater hasn’t made a start against a right-hander since all the way back on May 4.