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Fantasy Baseball Lineup Analysis: AL 06/22

For the second week in a row, American League lineup analysis is back. This article will help you stay up to date on the ever-changing lineups from the American League. Notes on injuries, playing time changes, hot streaks, and more. The five hottest hitters in the AL over the past two weeks have been Ceddanne Rafaela, Royce Lewis, Will Brennan, Steven Kwan, and Carlos Santana. Keep reading for the latest news and notes from all 15 American League teams.

Please note that this article was written the day before publication. I will do my best to update the article with any relevant information from the previous night’s games.

Fantasy Baseball Lineup Takeaways

AL East

New York Yankees

  • Anthony Rizzo is on the IL
    • Rizzo suffered a fractured forearm in a game last Sunday and will miss an extended period of time
    • With Rizzo absent from the lineup, the team promoted Ben Rice who has gained some notoriety in dynasty circles over the past year
    • Rice has been batting sixth or seventh in the lineup and drew a start against a lefty already.
    • Since breaking out last season, Rice has shown off excellent plate discipline and plus power. He is especially worth adding in OBP Leagues
  • Aaron Judge avoided a major injury
    • After being hit by a pitch in Tuesday’s game, there was serious concern Judge had suffered a fractured hand
    • While he missed one game, Judge returned to the lineup on Thursday helping ease any concerns for fantasy managers
    • Judge has continued to be one of the best players in all of baseball with a 211 wRC+ and 27 home runs already. He is not too far off his home run pace from 2022
  • Gleyber Torres is dealing with a groin injury
    • The injury does not seem to be too serious and he seems likely to avoid the IL
    • With Torres absent from the lineup, Oswaldo Cabrera is most likely to step in and see his playing time increase

Boston Red Sox

  • Ceddanne Rafaela is heating up
    • Rafaela continues to bat at the bottom of Boston’s lineup, but could move up if his hot streak continues
    • Since the start of June, Rafaela is batting .377, although much of that is fueled by a BABIP north of .500
    • He is just 3 for 5 on the basepaths over that time frame and has a barrel rate well below the league average
  • Reese McGuire has started the last two games against a right-handed pitcher
    • McGuire has served as the backup catcher to Connor Wong for much of the season but might be seeing his playing time increase
    • Boston’s decision to sit Wong is a bit puzzling as he continues to put up excellent offensive numbers
    • Wong is batting .341 since the start of June. Batting fifth in Boston’s lineup should provide him plenty of RBI chances if he continues to play every day

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Richie Palacios is seeing less playing time
    • Palacios is still playing a decent amount but is far from an everyday starter at this point
    • The Rays have been rotating the DH spot around to outfielders allowing Jonny DeLuca to see his playing time increase
    • DeLuca has struggled to produce after his hot start and is not worth adding in any format right now
  • Taylor Walls has lost his starting spot
    • Walls was getting the majority of starts at shortstop to start the season but has seen his playing time dwindle as his offensive struggles continue
    • Jose Caballero has stepped back into a more regular role batting in the back half of the lineup
    • Caballero is going to steal bases (24 on the season) but is not going to contribute very much offensive production elsewhere
  • Yandy Diaz is heating up
    • Diaz has hit safely in 13 straight games and 17/18
    • While there is no denying Diaz has an excellent hit tool, fantasy managers should not get ahead of themselves. Since the start of June, Diaz has a negative launch angle
    • Negative launch angles are never a recipe for success and therefore I am not buying a Diaz bounce-back for fantasy purposes

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Orelvis Martinez was promoted from Triple-A
    • Martinez was ranked by many as the Blue Jays’ top prospect and finally earned a promotion to the Major Leagues
    • While there are concerns over his ability to limit strikeouts, he has tremendous power with significant fantasy upside
    • Since being promoted, Martinez has not been in the lineup. He could be on the short side of a platoon with Addison Barger or Spencer Horwitz
  • Speaking of Addison Barger, he is getting regular playing time
    • Barger has been playing regularly since being promoted splitting time between the outfield and third base
    • He is batting sixth or seventh in the lineup
    • In his small Major League sample size, Barger is running too high of a ground ball rate to post impressive offensive numbers
    • He could lose his lineup spot if his struggles continue
  • Kevin Kiermaier is seeing his playing time decrease
    • Kiermaier has continued to be a glove-first player this season and his offensive struggles are leading to less playing time
    • The team has been experimenting more often with Daulton Varsho in center field and Davis Schneider in left
    • Schneider is batting toward the top of the lineup when playing, but is not playing consistently enough to be a reliable fantasy asset

Baltimore Orioles

  • Ramon Urias has reentered the starting lineup
    • The team continues to experiment with who they want as their fourth infielder
    • Jorge Mateo has moved into more of a bench role now with Ramon Urias playing third base
    • With Jackson Holliday injured, these two will likely continue splitting time for the extended future
  • Cedric Mullins has hit safely in seven straight starts
    • Mullins has turned things on a bit at the plate and has been hitting seventh in the lineup recently
    • Since June 9, Mullins is striking out less than seven percent of the time with an average over .300
    • Mullins is worth a speculative add if you need outfield help in hopes he could be returning to form

AL West

Houston Astros

  • Chas McCormick is seeing his playing time return
    • McCormick had been in a bench role since returning from the IL, but is getting regular playing time again
    • He is hitting toward the bottom of the lineup and is batting just .156 since returning on May 21
    • Kyle Tucker is resuming baseball activities this weekend meaning McCormick’s stint as an everyday player could come to an end relatively soon
  • Jeremy Pena is moving down in the lineup
    • Pena’s fast start always seemed unsustainable and regression is now starting to hit
    • Pena is batting just .175 since the start of June. He also has not hit a home run since May 17
    • His barrel rate over that period is under three percent and his launch angle is also under three. He is a fine drop in 12-team leagues
  • Joey Loperfido is coming back from Triple-A
    • The Astros continue to search for answers at first base and Loperfido could get another chance to prove himself
    • Since releasing Jose Abreu, Jon Singleton has been getting the majority of starts at first base and batting fifth in the lineup
    • Singelton is batting just .186 since May 20 and has just one home run since May 10
    • Loperfido should get regular playing time and is worth a speculative add in 14+ team leagues

Los Angeles Angels

  • Brandon Drury has returned from the IL
    • Drury returned to the Angels’ lineup on Monday and has been batting sixth since returning
    • Through 32 games, Drury owns just a 34 wRC+ and could see his playing time decrease if his struggles continue
    • With Drury back, Luis Guillorme has moved into a platoon role
  • Willie Calhoun and Kevin Pillar are splitting time in the lineup
    • When Calhoun plays, Taylor Ward slides to LF while when Pillar plays Ward is the DH
    • Both players are batting fourth in the lineup when playing, but Pillar has the slight edge in playing time
    • Pillar has been a dominant offensive force since joining the Angels although major regression is likely due
  • Nolan Schanuel is barreling the ball more
    • Schanuel continues to bat leadoff for the Angels and is seeing his numbers tick up
    • Since June 8, Schanuel is batting over .300 with two homers and an 8.8% barrel rate
    • Schanuel is still just 403 plate appearances into his professional career. This could be signs of a next step and this is worth paying attention to

Texas Rangers

  • Wyatt Langford is catching fire
    • Langford’s rookie season has gotten off to a slow start but patience is often the key for young players
    • Since the start of June, Langford is batting .288 with his first “real” home run and six stolen bases
    • Langford’s new willingness to run creates an additional layer of safety and production to his fantasy value that was missing before
  • Adolis Garcia is a great buy-low option
    • Garcia’s 2024 season has been a disappointment based on his draft position, but fantasy managers should not be concerned moving forward
    • His exit velocities, barrel rate, and pull rates are all in line with his career averages while the only thing off is his BABIP
    • He has not hit a home run since June 1 despite a barrel rate north of 10%. His BABIP over that time is just .184
    • Go get Garcia now before he sees his luck improve

Oakland Athletics

  • Seth Brown was sent to Triple-A
    • Brown has been a mainstay in Oakland for the past couple of seasons, but that has come to an end
    • In a corresponding move, the team recalled Lawrence Butler who figures to get the majority of playing time in the outfield
    • Butler was limiting the strikeouts in Triple-A. If he can do the same at the Major League level, he could offer some fantasy intrigue
  • Max Schuemann has been leading off more often
    • Abraham Toro has been battling injury for much of the past week which has allowed Schuemann to move up in the lineup
    • Schuemann does not offer much in terms of fantasy appeal but he is getting consistent playing time at shortstop
    • I am not adding him outside of deep AL-only leagues where his consistent playing time holds value
  • JJ Bleday anybody?
    • The former third-overall pick has found a home in Oakland and is red hot at the plate
    • Bleday has a 142 wRC+ since the start of June and is turning into a valuable fantasy contributor
    • He is not going to steal many bases, but he is especially valuable in points leagues where his low K% and high BB% provide additional value

Seattle Mariners

  • Ty France is back from the IL
    • France returned to the Mariners’ lineup on Tuesday and has been batting fifth since returning
    • Surprisingly, the team has opted to keep Tyler Locklear on the roster even with France back
    • Locklear is likely to get into the lineup against lefties and could eat into any of Mitch Haniger, Dominic Canzone, and Luke Raley’s playing time if they struggle
    • He is a hold in keeper formats but a fine drop in redraft leagues
  • Jorge Polanco is nearing a return
    • Polanco is currently rehabbing in Triple-A and should be back early next week
    • With Polanco coming back, the team will have to choose between Josh Rojas and Dylan Moore for the third base spot
    • Rojas is the lefty but both players have an identical 115 wRC+. This decision is worth paying attention to for fantasy managers

Detroit Tigers

  • Justyn-Henry Malloy could already be losing playing time
    • The move to the Major Leagues has not been easy for Malloy who has sat against two right-handed pitchers in the past week
    • Since being promoted, Malloy is striking out over 40% of the time which is limiting his value at the plate
    • If the team decided to send him back to Triple-A, they could bring back Spencer Torkelson
  • Riley Greene continues to be a bright spot for the Tigers
    • As Greene has continued to elevate the ball more this year, his offensive numbers have continued to improve
    • He is up to 14 home runs already this year while hitting for respectable average
    • His increased patience at the plate as well as improved contact skills could lead to even more upside in Greene’s profile. He is a buy-high candidate for me
  • Colt Keith stayed in the lineup against a lefty this week
    • Keith has largely been platooning this season, but the Tigers gave him a chance to stay in the lineup this week which is hopefully a sign of things to come
    • While he is not doing any one thing poorly this year, he is not doing anything particularly well either
    • He should see his BABIP increase as the season moves along but is not a player that should be rostered in 10-12 team redraft leagues

Kansas City Royals

  • Nick Loftin is moving up in the lineup
    • Loftin got a chance to lead off with Garcia getting the day off on Thursday and has been batting sixth most games
    • Loftin is not providing much in terms of offensive production and is unlikely to retain his playing time when Michael Massey returns
    • Massey is rehabbing with Triple-A and should be back early next week
  • Vinnie Pasquantino deserves better BABIP luck
    • Pasquantino has had a hot and cold season but should be much more consistent than his numbers suggest
    • He continues to hit the ball very hard with good launch angles and deserves better than a .245 BABIP
    • He is a strong buy-low option if you are looking for help at first base

Chicago White Sox

  • Tommy Pham is back in the leadoff spot
    • Pham returned to the lineup late last week and has been playing every day
    • He has continued to produce offensively this season and should start seeing his HR/FB% increase as the season moves along
    • The only concern for fantasy managers should be the likelihood he loses his everyday playing time when the Trade Deadline rolls around
    • Nicky Lopez has slid down to the bottom of the lineup
  • Gavin Sheets and Corey Julks are platooning
    • Sheets is batting second in the lineup most games and is getting the majority of playing time at DH
    • Julks was squeezed out of regular playing time when Pham returned and is primarily playing only against left-handed batters
    • Sheets is the better fantasy asset although he is batting just .107 since June 9
    • Oscar Colas is not receiving much of any playing time and could be sent back to Triple-A
  • Andrew Vaughn continues to look like a different hitter at the plate
    • Vaughn has been on fire for almost a month now batting .346 since May 27
    • His barrel rate over that period sits at 12.5% which is helping fuel this recent power outburst
    • Vaughn is still just 26 years old and should be rostered in 100% of leagues

Minnesota Twins

  • Ryan Jeffers is losing playing time
    • After serving as the primary catcher for much of the past two months, Jeffers is splitting time with Christian Vazquez
    • Jeffers has not hit a home run since May 30 and is batting just .156 over that period
    • He is a fine drop in single catcher formats. Christian Vazquez is not worth adding at this point
  • Max Kepler is dealing with a neck injury
    • Kepler felt the neck spasms start during Thursday’s game and this could keep him out of the lineup for a few days
    • If Kepler is forced to miss extended time, Manuel Margot is the most likely candidate to see his playing time increase
    • Kepler had been in a bit of a slump since the start of June despite strong underlying numbers
  • Royce Lewis is incredible
    • Lewis just continues to mash and mash and mash becoming one of the game’s brightest stars
    • Despite playing in just 15 games, Lewis is already up to nine home runs. His average sits above .370 despite a BABIP just over .300
    • Injuries are always a concern here, but Lewis is an elite fantasy asset so long as he is healthy

Cleveland Guardians

  • Daniel Schneemann is getting everyday playing time
    • Where in the field Schneemann plays is up in the air each night, but the Guardians are finding ways to get his bat into the lineup
    • He has primarily been playing third base and center field while batting seventh in the lineup
    • When you look under the hood, there is actually a lot to like in Schneemann’s profile. He walks a lot, makes contact at a plus rate, and has an excellent sweet spot percentage
    • He is worth a look in 12+ team leagues and his positional versatility is another bonus
    • Tyler Freeman is the one most likely to lose playing time with Schneemann playing more often
  • Kyle Manzardo was optioned to Triple-A
    • This seemed to be the writing on the wall as Manzardo was playing less and less often while struggling to produce when in the lineup
    • With David Fry locked in at DH and Josh Naylor at 1B, the team just did not have a spot for Manzardo who will get consistent ABs in Triple-A
    • I remain in on Manzardo for dynasty purposes and this could create a nice buy-low window for him
  • Bo Naylor continues to play regularly
    • Credit to the Guardians for continuing to be patient with the young catcher despite his offensive struggles
    • Naylor is batting at the bottom of Cleveland’s lineup and is not showing any signs of breaking out this season
    • He is not worth rostering even with consistent playing time
  • Angel Martinez was promoted to the Major Leagues
    • Martinez is one of the Guardians’ top prospects and will likely make his Major League debut at some point this weekend
    • His promotion comes with Gabriel Arias being placed on the paternity list
    • There is a high likelihood Martinez will be heading back to Triple-A once Martinez returns
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