Oh, Danny Boy

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Who has been in a favorable spot in their team’s batting order of late? Who is in a platoon? Let’s get to the Lineup Lowdown.

Baltimore Orioles

- Anthony Santander returned from a month-long stay on the injured list this past weekend, was immediately inserted into the cleanup spot and went 6-for-13 with a homer and a couple doubles against the Nationals. Between a sluggish start and the injury, Santander was dropped in a lot of leagues. It’s time to scoop him back up.

- After designating Rio Ruiz for assignment and sending Ramon Urias down, the Orioles have been using Pat Valaika and Stevie Wilkerson at second base. It’s tough to get a gauge on how the playing time will shake down between the two because the O’s have faced an inordinate number of lefties lately, but Wilkerson against righties and Valaika against lefties would seem to be the most likely scenario. Jahmai Jones might have been up already to take over at second base if he hadn’t suffered an oblique injury at Triple-A Norfolk.

Boston Red Sox

- The Red Sox are overloaded with super utility players after Danny Santana was added to the roster this past weekend to join Enrique Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez. Santana didn’t waste time in making a favorable first impression, hitting two homers and stealing a base. He got one start at first base and two in center field, slotting into the first, fifth and second spots in the lineup, respectively. Santana should play nearly every day and should be rostered in most leagues.

- Franchy Cordero has perked up a little at the plate lately but still seems the likeliest to lose playing time with Santana’s arrival. A demotion of Bobby Dalbec is also a possibility. He’d been swinging the bat better of late, though, before going hitless over the weekend. The Red Sox’ best lineup probably has Santana at first base and Jarren Duran in center field. Duran is crushing it at Triple-A Worcester, having already popped a career-high seven homers. The 24-year-old began adding loft to his swing at the alternate site last summer and then impressed in winter ball and spring training. He’s an excellent stash in fantasy leagues.

- J.D. Martinez got into his 10th game in the outfield on Sunday, so he should have added eligibility there in leagues where he didn’t already have it.

New York Yankees

- The Yankees appear poised to get Giancarlo Stanton (quad) back this week, perhaps as soon as Tuesday. That will push Rougned Odor to the bench, with DJ LeMahieu returning to everyday second baseman duties.

- Brett Gardner has assumed the everyday center fielder role with Aaron Hicks (wrist) likely done for the season. He’s been batting second versus right-handers even though he has just a .616 OPS against them this season. Gardner will surely move down once Stanton is back, though. With Gardner stretched as a regular at this point and Clint Frazier still struggling, the Yanks really need outfield help. Estevan Florial could get a shot, but he doesn’t seem ready.

Tampa Bay Rays

- The Rays cleared the deck for Wander Franco by trading Willy Adames to the Brewers last Friday. For now, though, they’ve installed Taylor Walls at shortstop. Walls is a nice prospect in his own right as a plus defender with some on-base skills. It’s probably only a matter of time before Franco gets the call, though, and Vidal Brujan is also on his way soon.

- Ji-Man Choi has started six of nine games since returning from the injured list, including two against left-handers. He’s gotten off to a scorching-hot start with a 1.260 OPS and a couple dingers. On the flip side, Joey Wendle has been on the bench for three of the last four games versus southpaws.

- Mike Zunino and Francisco Mejia have split starts at catcher down the middle since the latter returned from the IL, with Mejia also garnering an additional start in the designated hitter spot. Mejia has posted an .807 OPS and has homered in each of his last two starts, although that’s still nearly 100 points lower than Zunino’s .904 OPS and 11 bombs.

Toronto Blue Jays

- With Cavan Biggio (neck) out indefinitely, the third base job has been handled by Santiago Espinal. The Jays might be more inclined to give Vladimir Guerrero Jr. another shot at the hot corner if Rowdy Tellez were doing enough to earn playing time at first base, but he’s been a major disappointment. Joe Panik is also back from the IL to give the club another option at third.

- Manager Charlie Montoyo has opted for defense-first in center field of late, as Jonathan Davis has received six straight starts there. It’s probably the right decision in the short term, although Davis isn’t the answer in center over the long haul if George Springer’s (quad) progress continues to come slowly.

Chicago White Sox

- Leury Garcia has received 11 starts to Billy Hamilton’s seven starts in center field since Luis Robert (hip) went down. Predictably, neither player has offered anything offensively. Adam Engel (hamstring) is finally beginning a rehab assignment and is set to take over in center field once he’s ready. It could take a while since he’s been out all season and previously had a setback.

- Jake Lamb has drawn starts in the outfield three of the last four times the White Sox have faced a righty, although that was due in part to Jose Abreu (ankle) being banged up. Lamb is not an outfielder and hasn’t been a competent hitter consistently for several years.

Cleveland Indians

- The Indians made the decision last week to send the struggling Andres Gimenez down to the minors, which meant returning Amed Rosario to his natural position at shortstop. Perhaps the comfortability has allowed Rosario to relax more at the plate, as he’s gone 11-for-26 over his last seven games. The Tribe promoted Owen Miller on Sunday, as well. His primary position is also shortstop, but he had made starts at five different spots at Triple-A Columbus and figures to continue bouncing around with the big club. The DH spot has also opened up with Franmil Reyes (oblique) getting hurt.

- With Rosario going back to shortstop, Jordan Luplow and Harold Ramirez have been splitting the center field duties. Both players are more suited for the outfield corners, and Luplow has cratered at the plate over the last month after a hot start. The Indians would be better off with Oscar Mercado and/or Bradley Zimmer in center. Mercado has really struggled for Columbus in the early going, while Zimmer has been hitting well of late.

Detroit Tigers

- Akil Baddoo has rebounded at the plate lately after a rough stretch, but even with that being the case he’s started just two of the last seven games. JaCoby Jones has been sent down and Victor Reyes is set to be recalled. It seems like a pretty easy call to use Baddoo, Reyes and Robbie Grossman as their everyday outfield alignment, but the Tigers don’t seem ready to pull the plug on Nomar Mazara just yet and they’ve even used Eric Haase a bit in the outfield for some reason.

- Also losing playing time of late has been Willi Castro, who has started just two of the previous six contests. There’s no disputing that Castro has been a disaster at the plate, but it seems silly for the rebuilding Tigers to not ride it out with one of their young guys with upside.

- Wilson Ramos has started all six games since being activated from the IL, but five of them have been in the DH spot. Perhaps it’s just the Tigers not wanting to use him much behind the plate as he returns from a back injury. Haase and Jake Rogers have been splitting catching duties of late, with Haase, as previously mentioned, also seeing some action in left field. Haase has pop and has gotten off to a nice start, but I’m skeptical that he’ll ultimately be able to make enough contact for the power to matter.

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Kansas City Royals

- Kelvin Gutierrez has started each of the last seven games at third base, as the Royals have opted for him over Hanser Alberto with Hunter Dozier (concussion) on the shelf. He’s their best defensive option at the hot corner and is off to a nice start at the plate. It could buy Gutierrez more playing time when Dozier returns, which should be this week. The trickledown effect would be Dozier playing right field and Jorge Soler sliding into the DH spot.

- Nicky Lopez has started 42 of 45 games at shortstop with Adalberto Mondesi (oblique) out. He’s provided solid defense but has continued to look overmatched at the dish. The Royals are poised to get Mondesi back soon and will have some decisions to make at that point. Will they demote Lopez or put him at second base and move Whit Merrifield to the outfield?

Minnesota Twins

- With Jake Cave (back) joining Byron Buxton (hip) on the injured list, the Twins have turned to Rob Refsnyder in center field, giving him five straight starts there. It’s meant Max Kepler returning to his traditional right field spot while also seeing some time at DH with Nelson Cruz (wrist) banged up.

- There’s a lot up in the air here with roles, depending on whether Cruz and/or Jorge Polanco (ankle) need IL stints. If Polanco is out a while, Luis Arraez would handle second base and allow Trevor Larnach to stick around.

Houston Astros

- The Astros have managed to stay healthy from a position player standpoint of late, which has meant a pretty static lineup from manager Dusty Baker. It had seemed coming into the season like the center field job might be fluid, but Myles Straw has started 44 of 47 games. The speedster has played good defense but has been predictably awful offensively and hasn’t even really been stealing bases. He has just five steals on the year and his last theft came back on April 28 (he’s been caught twice since then).

- I figured the catching duties would be split up fairly evenly between Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro, but that hasn’t been the case with Maldonado starting 34 of 47 games. Castro has been quite good offensively in 2021, but he doesn’t have any fantasy value while only playing once or twice per week.

Los Angeles Angels

- With Albert Pujols out of the picture and Mike Trout (calf) sidelined, the Angels’ lineup is in flux. The center field duties have fallen to Juan Lagares. The veteran outfielder can still provide good defense, but the power spike he showed in winter ball and in spring training has not shown up so far with the Halos. Taylor Ward has also been used a bit in center, but it looks like he’ll now mostly play right, with Jose Rojas also seeing time there.

- David Fletcher’s season-long slump has meant a move from the leadoff spot all the way down to the nine hole. He’ll probably pick it up eventually at the plate, but his fantasy appeal is nonexistent while he’s at the bottom of the order. The leadoff duties have mostly fallen to Jose Iglesias of late, and he’s perked up a bit offensively. He has some deep-league fantasy relevance.

Oakland Athletics

- The absence of Mitch Moreland (rib) has meant more time in the DH spot for Jed Lowrie and more time at second base for Tony Kemp and Chad Pinder. Pinder has started seven of nine games since returning from the IL, including three at shortstop. The A’s probably aren’t ever going to play him regularly at shortstop, but Elvis Andrus has been so dreadful at the plate that it can’t be ruled out.

- Seth Brown has homered in three straight games and has gone deep five times over his last 14 contests. He’s also often batted second against right-handers. He’s a viable deep-league power source as the strong side of a platoon with Stephen Piscotty.

Seattle Mariners

- Jacob Nottingham has bounced back and forth between the Brewers and Mariners multiple times this season and of late has seen regular playing time at… first base? It’s surely not going to continue, though. Ty France’s (wrist) return is imminent and he’ll probably slot in at first base until Evan White (hip) is ready.

- With Dylan Moore (calf) sidelined, Jack Mayfield and Donovan Walton have been used at second base. Mayfield has put up some nice numbers in the minors, but he’s struggled mightily in his opportunities at the big league level and has bounced around to four different organizations since last winter via waivers.

- Jarred Kelenic has been in the leadoff spot for each of his 10 starts. He figures to remain there for a while even though he’s struggled, especially with the Mariners dealing with a multitude of injuries.

Texas Rangers

- Willie Calhoun has assumed the leadoff spot for the Rangers and they’ve been using him more in left field lately than in the DH spot (which doesn’t speak too well of David Dahl’s defense). Calhoun has cooled off a bit lately, but he should remain rosterable in mixed leagues as long as he’s healthy.

- Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been batting seventh this month with Calhoun taking over at the top of the order. Thankfully, IKF has actually been running more while lower in the order, having gone 6-for-7 in stolen base attempts over his last 21 games (it helps that he’s gotten on base at a .369 clip during that stretch).

- No one is swinging a hotter power bat than Adolis Garcia, who has gone deep nine times over his last 20 games to push his season total to 14. He’s also stolen four bases without being caught over that span. There will be rough stretches given his swing-and-miss tendencies, but Garcia is knocking the cover off the ball when he makes contact, boasting an 18.5 percent barrel rate and 93.1 mph exit velocity.