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Fantasy Baseball Lineup Takeaways: NL 05/04

Our National League lineup analysis rolls on for the third straight week. With a full month of action in the books, stats are starting to stabilize and big decisions on keeps and cuts are being made. This article keeps you up to date on the latest news you need to know in terms of performances and playing time. The five hottest hitters in the National League have been: Jurickson Profar, Christian Walker, Will Smith, Mookie Betts, and Alec Bohm. Keep reading for the latest news and notes from all 15 lineups in 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

  • Alec Bohm has remained as hot as they come
    • Bohm has brought his average up over .350 as he continues to produce especially with runners in scoring position
    • Batting in the middle of a loaded lineup should produce excellent counting stats for Bohm
    • His barrel rate is up and the launch angle is on the rise. More power could be coming which would turn Bohm into an elite fantasy asset
  • Bryson Stott’s season could be turning around
    • The season did not get off to a fast start for Stott but a two-HR game could be just what he needed
    • His launch angle is the highest it has ever been as is his barrel rate and his pull percentage
    • Stott should start seeing his BABIP increase and he still profiles as a player with 15/25 potential
    • He will continue to sit against some lefties but is not a full platoon player
  • Trea Turner exited Friday’s game early with a hamstring injury
    • Turner scored from second on a passed ball showing off incredible speed but was injured at some point on the play
    • The severity of the injury has not been determined and an IL stint is possible
    • If Trea Turner is forced to miss time, Edmundo Sosa is most likely to see his playing time increase while JT Realmuto could move up in the lineup

Miami Marlins

  • Jesus Sanchez did not spend any additional time on the bench after a lazy fielding play earlier in the week
    • Sanchez was benched during the game on Monday after allowing a single turn into a double from a mental error
    • The Marlines put him right back into the lineup the next day as he has been batting fifth most days
    • Sanchez absolutely smokes the ball but low launch angles prevent him from turning his raw power into game power frequently. He is nothing more than a streaming option depending on pitching matchups
  • Dane Myers is up from Triple-A
    • Myers has not been in the lineup on a regular basis since being promoted but he could start seeing his playing time increase
    • Nick Gordon has been serving as the team’s primary left fielder but owns a wRC+ below 50 and has not hit a home run since April 14
    • Myers has flashed plus hit tool and solid speed in the Minor Leagues but did not perform well enough at the Major League level last year to be considered fantasy-relevant
  • Vidal Brujan has been playing well and could become the everyday second baseman with the reported Luis Arraez trade
    • He is showing off excellent contact skills while also walking more than he is striking out
    • Brujan surprisingly has yet to steal a base and is not posting great quality of contact numbers
    • Until he starts stealing bases or hitting home runs with more playing time, he is not worth picking up

Atlanta Braves

  • At this point, it is fair to wonder if Ronald Acuna Jr. is healthy
    • Acuna was the consensus 1.01 pick but has been a major fantasy disappointment this year
    • His max EV sits at the lowest single-season mark for any point in his career as does his barrel rate. His whiff rate is up and the home runs are down
    • You cannot sell Acuna but it is fair to be concerned
  • Jarred Kelenic’s strikeout rate has crept back up over 30%
    • Kelenic’s season-long average still sits around .300 but is closer to .200 since April 13
    • After showing signs of improvement earlier this season, his whiff and chase rates are both back up around his career averages
    • With zero home runs, zero stolen bases, and an average that is crashing down; Kelenic is not worth rostering. At this point, dynasty managers should probably be giving up on his future outlook

Washington Nationals

  • Luis Garcia is in a platoon
    • Garcia has been on the bench against both lefties in the past week with Ildemaro Vargas entering the lineup
    • Garcia remains an intriguing fantasy asset thanks to an increased barrel rate. He is hitting the ball hard with more fly balls which should lead to more home runs
    • He is still a player I am looking to buy in keeper and dynasty leagues
  • Fantasy baseball managers are wondering how much longer James Wood will be stuck in Triple-A
    • Wood has been absolutely dominating Triple-A pitching and ranks as my top prospect in baseball
    • Eddie Rosario looks lost offensively in his strong side platoon role which opens the door even further for Wood
    • Fantasy managers should expect him up before the end of the first half and he is one of the top stash options
  • Nick Senzel is batting second in the lineup
    • Senzel has gotten red hot at the plate and has settled into a home at DH for Washington
    • The former second-overall pick has shown flashes of fantasy relevance before but has never demonstrated this level of power output
    • He is up to five home runs with a barrel rate of over 12%
    • Senzel is getting the ball in the air more and finally looks healthy. He is worth taking a shot on to see if Washington truly unlocked Senzel’s potential

New York Mets

  • JD Martinez is playing a lot but not everyday
    • Martinez is batting fourth or fifth in the lineup most games but is sitting about twice a week in favor of DJ Stewart
    • This could be the Mets’ way of easing Martinez back into action or this could be the plan moving forward
    • He has yet to hit a home run and is striking out over 30% of the time. Do not expect him to hit .300 but the home runs should start coming
  • Starling Marte is back from the bereavement list
    • Marte returned to the Mets’ lineup on Wednesday and should continue as the team’s everyday right fielder
    • He is already just one home run shy of matching his total from last season and is a perfect 6/6 on stolen bases
    • So long as he stays healthy, he should remain a solid fantasy option for managers

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

  • Pete Crow-Armstrong hit his first Major League home run
    • PCA has been getting consistent playing time hitting at the bottom of the lineup
    • So far, PCA is proving to be very aggressive at the plate and is likely to struggle with strikeouts this season
    • He has immense upside but should not be considered a reliable fantasy asset just yet
  • Matt Mervis’ Major League stint is not going any better than it did before
    • Mervis is continuing to whiff too often and is hitting the ball on the ground too frequently
    • Despite his Minor League numbers, Mervis looks overmatched against Major League pitching
    • He is not worth adding or stashing anywhere

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Alec Burleson might be worth a look in deeper leagues
    • Burleson has two home runs in the past week while showing off an improved barrel rate
    • The hit tool has always been a plus and now he is showing signs of tapping into his 6’2″ raw power
    • He is still out of the lineup against lefties but worth a look in leagues with daily lineups
  • Nolan Gorman is batting eighth in the lineup
    • Gorman’s strikeout rate continues to be an issue and seems likely to plague him throughout his Major League career
    • His fantasy value is capped due to the likelihood of him hitting for a low average
    • Gorman is still hitting home runs at a high rate but he is more Joey Gallo than fantasy star

Milwaukee Brewers

  • The team promoted Tyler Black from Triple-A
    • Black has put together excellent Minor League numbers over the past two seasons and is now getting his chance at the Major League level
    • Defensive liabilities have forced Black to first base which could potentially limit his fantasy value. He has plus speed and should post solid OBP numbers although the power is suspect
    • Owen Miller was optioned to Triple-A and Jake Bauers has moved into more of a bench role. Black has been inserted right into the middle of the lineup
  • Jackson Chourio seems to be losing playing time
    • Chourio’s Major League career has not gotten off to the best start but the Brewers are still likely to be patient with their top prospect
    • His strikeout rate sits over 35% but he has four home runs and five stolen bases speaking to his upside
    • Jake Bauers has been in the lineup back to back games against a right-handed pitcher although this could just be the Brewers’ way of giving Chourio a reset
    • This could open up a buy-low window for Chourio in dynasty leagues
  • Willy Adames has slid into the cleanup spot in Milwaukee’s lineup
    • Adames has three home runs in the past week and is already up to four stolen bases
    • If Adames is going to be stealing bases, this would take his fantasy value to a whole new level
    • Adames has lowered his chase rate by over eight percent this season which is helping to fuel this resurgence. He profiles to be an excellent fantasy asset

Cincinnati Reds

  • Christian Encarnacion-Strand was hit by a pitch in the hand but returned to the lineup on Friday
    • This HBP kept CES sidelined from Saturday forward although X-rays came back negative
    • This injury is not expected to linger
    • While he has been out of the lineup Jeimer Candelario has shifted to first base and Santiago Espinal has entered the lineup
    • Espinal has been getting more playing time over the past two weeks and is up to four stolen bases but is not worth adding in any fantasy formats
  • Tyler Stephenson hit fourth in the lineup on Friday
    • Stephenson has primarily been batting toward the bottom of Cincinnati’s lineup but is now getting a chance to move up
    • He is up to three home runs on the season and is barreling balls up at the highest rate of his career
    • He may never have hit for a significant average but he could be an intriguing fantasy asset in two-catcher leagues

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Jack Suwinski is seeing his playing time decrease
    • Not only has Suwinski been on the bench more frequently, but he is also batting lower in Pittsburgh’s lineup
    • Suwinski is batting below the Mendoza line this season with just two home runs. He makes for an interesting buy in dynasty leagues as his BABIP is the only glaring issue in his profile
    • He should start to see his luck improve and get back into the lineup on a regular basis
    • Edward Olivares is seeing more playing time with Suwinski on the bench
  • The Pirates are trying Oneil Cruz out in the middle of the lineup
    • Batting Cruz seventh did not seem to work so the team is moving him up to third in an attempt to spark the offense
    • Cruz is striking out over 35% of the time as he continues to struggle with making contact at the Major League level
    • I am selling Cruz while he still holds some name value despite his upside
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes is batting leadoff
    • After seemingly making significant strides to his launch angle and barrel rate last year, both have dropped back down in 2024
    • Hayes is making more contact than ever before but is also making less hard contact than ever before. He also is not stealing bases
    • Hayes is a fine fantasy asset but he seems unlikely to ever reach his full potential

National League West

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • The Dodgers have faced a plethora of left-handed pitchers this past week
    • With lefties on the mound, Gavin Lux and James Outman are on the bench every game
    • Max Muncy is also sitting against most lefties although he draws the occasional start
    • Chris Taylor, Miguel Rojas, and Enrique Hernandez are the right-handed bats who enter the lineup
    • The only player worth rostering at this point from these six players is Muncy. Outman’s start has been so bad he is a fine drop
  • Is it possible we are undervaluing Will Smith
    • The top half of the Dodgers’ lineup is filled with some of the biggest names in baseball. Sometimes Will Smith batting fourth gets overshadowed
    • Smith has excellent contact skills, a great barrel rate, and is an elite all-around producer
    • He is up to four home runs and is batting over .350. Smith is one of the top catching options in fantasy without the price tag of Adley Rutschman

San Diego Padres

  • Ha-Seong Kim has dropped down in the lineup
    • After a fantastic 2023 season, Kim has struggled to produce at the same level offensively so far this season
    • While many expected home run regression, it has actually been his average that has disappeared. The primary culprit is a BABIP below .250 that should come up
    • Even though he is now batting seventh or eighth in the lineup, he is an interesting buy low option
  • Jurickson Profar is batting leadoff
    • After moving into the middle of the lineup last week, Profar has now been moved to the top
    • He continues to be red hot at the plate batting over .400 with a strikeout rate under 10% since April 24
    • Profar is now in a prime spot to score a lot of runs while he continues to post strong OBP rates and is up to four home runs
    • He is a strong add right now even if his success is likely to slow down as the season moves along
  • Jake Cronenworth is already up to five home runs
    • Cronenworth continues to bat third in San Diego’s lineup and is off to a much better start than he got off to in 2023
    • The biggest difference this eyar compared to last is Cronenworth’s increased barrel rate
    • His prime lineup spot should produce plenty of run and RBI opportunities making him a valuable fantasy asset
  • The team acquired Luis Arraez from the Marlins
    • In a shocking early season move, Arraez joins the Padres lineup where he figures to play either first or second base
    • Arraez could DH on days when Machado plays third base or one of Xander Bogaerts or Jake Cronenworth could get some looks at third base
    • This situation is worth monitoring although it is unlikely any of these players loses playing time. Graham Pauley is most likely headed back to Triple-A after this move

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Kevin Newman is splitting time at shortstop with Blaze Alexander
    • While Newman is still not playing every day he is drawing the majority of starts batting toward the bottom of the lineup
    • At this point, we know who Newman is and he is not worth adding in fantasy leagues. Blaze Alexander is now in a bench role and is a fine drop if you added him earlier this season
    • One player to keep in mind is Jordan Lawlar who is recovering from a torn UCL in his thumb. He should return this season and could get a chance to jump right into Arizona’s lineup
  • Jake McCarthy is batting leadoff for Arizona
    • McCarthy was a popular breakout candidate heading into last season but struggled to hit offensively
    • He has significant speed and has three stolen bases this season
    • His batted ball data still does not inspire much confidence and his .373 BABIP is bound to come down. I am not buying in on McCarthy and expect he will eventually move back down in the lineup

San Francisco Giants

  • LaMonte Wade Jr. sat against a right-handed pitcher
    • After a hot start to the season, Wade became a fixture in San Francisco’s lineup, but that could be changing
    • Wade was always sitting against lefties but being on the bench against a righty could be a shift in playing time
    • He has gone ice cold at the plate over the last week and a half opening the door for Wilmer Flores to get some more at-bats
  • Thairo Estrada has primarily been batting seventh or eighth in the lineup
    • Estrada has seen his increased home run rate carry over from last season, but his average has fallen off significantly
    • Digging into his batted ball data, there is little to be inspired about. Estrada is hitting a lot of ground balls which is in line with his career norms
    • Expectations were high for Estrada heading into the season but with only one stolen base this season, he is not a must-roster player
  • Patrick Bailey left the game early on Friday
    • Bailey had a pitch fouled off of his foot previously in the game and remained in before exiting an inning later
    • The severity of the injury remains to be seen
    • If he is forced to miss any extended time, Tom Murphy is most likely to fill in as the primary catcher. He is not worth adding in fantasy

Colorado Rockies

  • Jordan Beck was promoted from Triple-A
    • With Nolan Jones landing on the IL, the team decided to promote one of its top prospects to the Major Leagues
    • Beck was off to a fantastic start in Triple-A with five home runs, five stolen bases, and an average of over .300
    • Beck represents a high-variance prospect. The upside is immense, but there are strikeout issues that could result in a low batting average
    • He should get everyday playing time while up batting in the back half of the lineup but could also wind up back in Triple-A very quickly
  • Sean Bouchard is back in the lineup more often
    • Bouchard was getting a chance to start before the promotion of Hunter Goodman but the team already appears to be moving back to Bouchard
    • Goodman continues to strikeout too often to get to his power enough and Bouchard is also a better defensive option
    • Bouchard has a strikeout problem of his own though and is not worth adding at this point. The two players will likely split playing time moving forward
  • Brenton Doyle’s numbers are starting to come back down to earth
    • Doyle has been one of the most pleasant surprises in baseball to start the season but his BABIP was always unsustainable
    • He still has a BABIP over .400 and has seen his strikeout rate creep back up to 30%
    • Doyle has a solid blend of power and speed which could keep him fantasy-relevant even if his average starts to drop. Fantasy managers should just readjust their expectations for him after his hot start
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