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Fantasy Baseball Lineup Analysis: NL 06/16

Fear not, this weekend I am back to bring you both AL and NL lineup analysis. The American League edition of the article released yesterday and you can check that out here. Now, it is time for the National League. The five hottest hitters in the NL over the past two weeks have been Heliot Ramos, Fernando Tatis Jr, Ketel Marte, Freddie Freeman, and Jeimer Candelario. Keep reading for news and notes on all 15 lineups across the National League.

Please note that this article is finalized the day prior to publish. I will do my best to update the information as it comes in later that night.

Fantasy Baseball Lineup Takeaways: NL Edition

National League East

Philadelphia Phillies

  • JT Realmuto is on the IL
    • Realmuto underwent knee surgery that is expected to keep him sidelined for four to six weeks
    • With Realmuto out of the lineup, Garrett Stubbs is most likely to step in as the primary catcher
    • Rafael Marchan was also promoted from Triple-A and will factor into the playing time mix as well. Neither player is worth rostering
  • Brandon Marsh is also on the IL
    • Marsh landed on the IL with a hamstring injury, but is already rehabbing in Double-A
    • Marsh could be back as early as this weekend or Monday of next week if all goes well
    • In his place, the team promoted David Dahl from Triple-A who is turning back the clock and playing excellent
    • There is a chance the team could move Marsh to center field and demote Johan Rojas if they want to keep Dahl on the roster
  • Kyle Schwarber owns the month of June
    • Every season, Schwarber’s bat comes alive in June and this year is proving no different
    • He is now up to three home runs this month and is quietly batting over .300 since May 25
    • Batting leadoff should lead to Schwarber producing elite counting stats and he remains a top-tier outfield option for fantasy managers

Miami Marlins

  • Tim Anderson has three multi-hit games in the past week
    • Anderson spent some time on the bereavement list but has returned and looked much more like the player we knew prior to last season
    • This is not worth looking much into from a fantasy perspective as he is unlikely to continue this success
    • Anderson is only viable in NL-only formats thanks to his consistent playing time
  • Jesus Sanchez has been slumping since the start of June
    • Sanchez has remained in the four spot in the lineup despite his struggles while continuing to sit against lefties
    • The one option the Marlins have is to promote Victor Mesa Jr to the Major Leagues if Sanchez continues to struggle
    • Mesa is up to 11 home runs on the year in Triple-A and could provide a spark to Miami’s lineup

Atlanta Braves

  • Ronald Acuna Jr. is out for the season
    • A tragic injury for one of the game’s best players will keep him sidelined until at least partway through the 2025 season
    • With Acuna out of the lineup, Adam Duvall has moved into an everyday role and is batting sixth in the lineup most games
    • Duvall has six home runs on the season and can be a sneaky source of power if needed. He will not contribute much in the average or stolen base department
  •  Michael Harris II is now on the IL with a hamstring injury
    • Harris had moved to the top of the lineup with Acuna out, but the Braves will now need to find another replacement
    • The most likely scenario is that everybody just moves up a spot with Ozzie Albies taking over leadoff duties
    • With Harris out, the team promoted Ramon Laureano from Triple-A and he figures to get the majority of the playing time
    • Laureano is not worth rostering in fantasy leagues
  • Sean Murphy has struggled since returning from the IL
    • Murphy has taken over the primary catcher responsibilities but has yet to regain his timing
    • His average launch angle is nearly 10 degrees lower than it was last season making it fair to wonder if an injury is still bothering Murphy
    • He continues to bat seventh in the lineup most games but could lose some playing time to Travis d’Arnaud if his struggles continue

Washington Nationals

  • Joey Gallo is back on the IL
    • With Gallo out of the lineup, Joey Meneses should return to regular playing time
    • Meneses has been batting fifth or sixth in the lineup recently
    • The power Meneses showed off in 2022 has continued to regress and he is not worth rostering at this point
  • Lane Thomas just keeps on running
    • Since returning from the IL on May 27, Thomas has added another five stolen bases and has even attempted a steal eight times
    • He is batting second in the lineup for Washington and has seen much better BABIP luck since returning
    • Thomas is also barreling the ball up more signaling more power could be on the way. He should be viewed as a reliable outfield asset moving forward this year
  • Jesse Winker has continued to be a remarkable story for the Nationals in 2024
    • Winker is batting over .350 since the start of June and is up to 11 stolen bases on the season
    • The one fear moving forward is that Winker could get traded at the deadline to a team who is going to platoon him or play him less frequently
    • Winker also has not hit a home run since May 25 and is barreling the ball less than five percent of the time during that span
    • He is a sell-high option for me

New York Mets

  • Francisco Alvarez is back from the IL
    • Alvarez missed extended time with a thumb injury but is back and serving as the team’s primary catcher
    • He has hit eighth in the lineup since returning
    • Prior to the injury, Alvarez was a major disappointment seeing his power disappear. He may never hit for much average, but fantasy managers should remain patient with his home run totals thanks to his long track record of Minor League success
  • Jeff McNeil is platooning
    • McNeil’s 2024 season has been a disaster and he is now losing playing time as a result
    • He is batting just .223 on the season and just .182 since May 20
    • He continues to bat lower in the lineup and is a prime candidate to be traded away into a bench role for a contender at this year’s deadline
  • Mark Vientos has continued to maintain a batting average over .300
    • This is the longest leash Vientos has had in the Major Leagues and he is taking full advantage
    • The raw power is obvious but Vientos has continued to run a ground ball rate above 55% which limits his home run potential
    • He is also likely to experience significant regression to his BABIP which will bring down his average
    • For now, he is batting sixth or seventh most games in the Mets’ lineup

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

  • Christopher Morel is sliding up in the lineup
    • Morel had been serving as the Cubs’ cleanup hitter for much of the season but the team is experimenting with hitting him first or second lately
    • He has been seeing his luck improve lately with three home runs since June 4 and a .265 average
    • Morel is never going to bat .300 but he has elite power and plus speed that makes him a reliable fantasy option
  • Mike Tauchman has cooled off at the dish
    • Tauchman continues to bat at the top of Chicago’s lineup but is batting under .200 since the start of June
    • His wRC+ since May 12 is just 66
    • With Pete Crow-Armstrong already on the roster and a more than viable defender, the team could give him a look in center field over Tauchman

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Dylan Carlson is getting into the lineup more often
    • With Lars Nootbaar back on the IL, Carlson is getting more of a chance batting in the bottom half of the lineup
    • He is still splitting playing time with Matt Carpenter although he seems to be washed up at this point
    • Carlson has hit safely in four of his last five games but is not worth picking up until he shows he can sustain this brief hot streak
  • The catching situation is more of a time-share
    • With Willson Contreras sidelined, Ivan Herrera was given a chance to run away with the starting job
    • His mediocre performance has opened the door for Pedro Pages to earn additional playing time
    • Pages has an excellent eye but does not offer much in terms of fantasy value. Splitting time makes neither one of these options very attractive for fantasy managers
  • Masyn Winn has fully taken over as the leadoff hitter
    • The Cardinals have rewarded the young rookie for his excellent start by batting him in a more favorable lineup spot
    • His average could come down a tad but his high line drive rate should lead to BABIPs that are above the league average
    • The move to the top of the lineup should provide more run-scoring opportunities and he will continue to hit for a high average

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Jackson Chourio is heating up and moving up in the lineup
    • Chourio’s offensive production had been lackluster up to this point, but he seems to be figuring things out
    • Since the start of June, Chourio is slashing .296/.345/.556 with two home runs
    • The biggest issue continues to be a low launch angle which prevents him from unlocking more game power. He is yet to show any significant strides in this department
  • Joey Ortiz is dealing with a hamstring injury
    • This injury has kept Ortiz out of the lineup since Monday and could sideline him through at least this weekend
    • With Ortiz out of the lineup, Andruw Monasterio and Oliver Dunn are splitting time at third base
    • If Ortiz is forced to miss extended time, Dunn is most likely to see the largest bump in playing time
  • Brice Turang is out of his platoon
    • The Brewers are keeping Turang in the lineup against lefties although he does move down to ninth
    • This additional playing time should lead to more counting stats for fantasy managers which is always nice
    • Turang is not going to contribute much power but he is hitting for excellent average and has elite speed. His 600 plate appearance stolen base pace is currently 65

Cincinnati Reds

  • Noelvi Marte is nearing a return
    • Marte was suspended for 80 games earlier this season for PED usage but is eligible to return on June 27
    • He is currently rehabbing to regain his timing and should be picked up and stashed wherever he is available
    • Upon returning, Marte figures to serve as the team’s everyday third baseman
    • This will likely shift Jeimer Candelario to first base, Spencer Steer to the outfield, and Jacob Hurtubise to the bench
  • Elly De La Cruz is in another one of his slumps
    • This is likely to be the case throughout 2024 for Elly who is as polarizing a player as they come
    • Since May 24, Cruz is slashing just .159/.266/.261 but continues to bat second in the lineup
    • The worst part for fantasy managers is that he has stopped running as often as well with just three stolen bases over that time

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Yasmani Grandal and Henry Davis are splitting time at catcher
    • Grandal has the slight edge in playing time, but both catchers are rotating in and out
    • From a fantasy perspective, neither one is doing much offensively making this a position to avoid
    • Davis may never live up to the hype of being the first overall pick
  • Connor Joe is locked into the third spot in Pittsburgh’s lineup
    • Joe is not doing anything amazing offensively but has been solid for much of the season
    • He is not going to win you any leagues, but if you are looking for consistent at-bats he is currently getting those in a prime lineup spot
  • Oneil Cruz was scratched on Friday with an ankle injury
    • The injury does not seem serious, but this remains a situation to monitor
    • Since the start of June, Cruz is batting .286 so hopefully, this injury does not impact his offensive performance
    • If Cruz is forced to miss extended time, the team could promote Liover Peguero from Triple-A or role with Jared Triolo

National League West

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • The Dodgers picked up Cavan Biggio
    • The team traded for Biggio after he was DFA’d by Toronto
    • Since joining the Dodgers, Biggio has been playing third base and batting toward the bottom of the lineup
    • Biggio’s lineup spot is temporary until Max Muncy returns, but he has always had potential and it is worth following along to see if the Dodgers can unlock more offensive production
  • Andy Pages has turned things back on at the plate
    • Pages season can be broken down into three segments
      • April 16-May 4 where he slashed .338/.357/.600
      • May 5-May 26 where he slashed .130/.176/.188
      • May 27-forward where he has hit .373/.458/.529
    • Young hitters are going to go through struggles but the Dodgers have proven they are willing to stick with Pages and so should fantasy managers

San Diego Padres

  • Manny Machado has been the DH recently
    • Machado tweaked his hip earlier this week and has not returned to the field since
    • With Machado occupying the DH spot, Donovan Solano has entered the lineup more frequently as the team’s third baseman
    • Solano has continued to put together a very solid season for San Diego batting over .300
    • He is not going to steal or hit for much power but he could maintain a regular lineup spot even once Machado is fully healthy
  • Ha Seong Kim is seeing his luck improve and is moving up in the lineup
    • I mentioned Kim a while back as a great buy-low option and he is red hot at the plate
    • On the season he is up to nine homers with 14 steals and a walk rate north of 14%
    • The batting average is coming along as well as Kim is batting .263 since May 26
    • He is an excellent fantasy option that can likely be acquired for relatively cheap at this point in the year
  • Fantasy managers should expect Jackson Merrill to see some more home run luck
    • Although Merrill is slugging just .389 on the season, his xSLG sits at .484 as he continues to look like a budding star
    • He has two home runs since May 31 and is batting .292 over that period
    • See if you can get in on Merrill now before he fully breaks out

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Geraldo Perdomo is back from the IL
    • Perdomo returned to the lineup on Tuesday and has been batting ninth in both of his starts
    • Perdomo has excellent contact skills and plus speed but is not going to contribute much in the power department
    • With Perdomo returning to the lineup, Kevin Newman has moved back into a bench role
  • Corbin Carroll is batting .271 since the start of June
    • While the home runs are still nonexistent, Carroll is at least starting to contribute in the average department
    • He has also added three stolen bases since June 6 which is a pleasant sight for fantasy managers
    • So long as he continues to bat at the top of Arizona’s lineup, he will hold at least some fantasy value, even if it is a disappointment for where he was drafted

San Francisco Giants

  • Heliot Ramos is batting second for the Giants
    • Ramos has been excellent since joining the team slashing .305/.385/.500 with six homers this season
    • For starters, the power is absolutely legit and he has the plate discipline to work strong walk rates. This gives him a solid fantasy base
    • His batting average is due for a major regression. Ramos’ BABIP is currently over .400 and he is likely to run a high strikeout rate
    • He could reach 20 homers this season but he is likely to bat closer to .240 the rest of the way
  • Thairo Estrada is batting at the bottom of the lineup
    • Estrada has been a major disappointment for many fantasy managers this season due to a lack of steals
    • The power gains have stuck (he is up to eight homers) but he has just one stolen base this season
    • Estrada is a fine player to roster in 15+ team leagues but can be dropped in shallow formats
  • Nick Ahmed is back from the IL
    • Blake Wisely had taken over the starting shortstop duties with both Marco Luciano and Ahmed out, but could now be in a platoon
    • If Wisely is not going to play every day, he is not worth rostering in fantasy
    • Marco Luciano was also activated from the IL, but was immediately optioned back to Triple-A

Colorado Rockies

  • Adael Amador was promoted to the Major Leagues
    • Amador is viewed by many as the Rockies’ top prospect and he made his Major League debut last Sunday
    • Since joining the team, he has been batting toward the bottom of the lineup
    • Amador has excellent contact skills and plus raw power but has failed to launch the ball consistently enough to tap into his power
    • Brendan Rodgers landed on the IL with a hamstring injury in a corresponding move
  • Elehuris Montero is getting more run as the everyday first baseman
    • With Kris Bryant on the IL yet again, Montero is getting another chance to prove he can play at the Major League level
    • Montero has lowered his strikeout rate this season but is still struggling to hit for much average and the power has disappeared this year
    • He is not worth rostering in fantasy. Michael Toglia could start to see more opportunities at first base in his place
  • Nolan Jones is back from the IL
    • Jones had been out since April 28 with an injury but returned to the lineup on Friday and hit fifth
    • The 2024 season has been a massive disappointment for both Jones and fantasy managers
    • Under the hood, Jones has improved both his chase and whiff rates this season and has a proven track record of power that should show up soon. He is worth a speculative add if he is available in your leagues
  • Brenton Doyle was scratched from the game on Saturday
    • Doyle’s knee seems to be bothering him and this is something for fantasy managers to keep an eye on
    • If Doyle is forced to miss extended time, Jake Cave could maintain a lineup spot even with Nolan Jones back from the IL
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