Lineup Takeaways: Jo Adell struggling, Andrew Vaughn finding his stride, and more

Mike Kurland reacts to Week 1 of the MLB season and the early lineup trends, production, and other key information we should keep an eye on.

Opening Day has come and gone and it just felt so great to have the sport we The other day we dropped the first of this series of articles. No, we start the Monday through Friday daily grind. We are focusing on the lineups and playing time trends as well as trends in production.

Reminder: The full team-by-team daily lineup notes will be exclusively on the Patreon. We offer a lot of exclusive content over there so feel free to check that out.

Lineup Takeaways

This is simple. I will give you the top 3 most notable takeaways from the day prior. It could be something as simple as someone possibly platooning to someone getting the odd leadoff appearance that we should keep an eye on. It could also be a note about an overall team trend.

Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels

  • Jo Adell just is not getting regular playing time. This comes on the back of a great spring training where he hit .286 with a .906 OPS and had 3 home runs and 3 stolen bases. Now he has started only two of four games. He has started against an LHP and one of the three RHP so far and has not recorded a hit yet. He is 0-9 with 7 strikeouts to start the season. Joe Maddon has already come out as well and stated Taylor Ward is a starter when he returns from injury. If Adell is already beginning to platoon then he will need to start producing quickly in order not to be completely relegated to that type of role soon.

Andrew Vaughn, OF, Chicago White Sox 

  • Before the injury to AJ Pollock, the playing time squeeze on Andrew Vaughn was starting to occur. He initially started against the first LHP of the season and proceeded to sit against the first RHP in favor of Gavin Sheets. He entered the 2nd game of the season only after Pollock left after pulling up lame rounding first base on a hit.
  • Andrew Vaughn always appeared to be on the wrong side of playing time but he has come out the gates strong and should be given a long look if the bat continues to perform well. He started the third game of the season at DH against an RHP over Sheets yesterday so there is hope for him to continue to run with the playing time. He already has 2 home runs and 6 RBI while batting .363 over his first three games and he has yet to strikeout.

Detroit Tigers

  • Austin Meadows was traded just before the start of the season and we were not sure how the lineup would be affected. But now we know he is secured into the 2nd spot in the order and this has since pushed Akil Baddoo down the order. The lineup spot and production have been ugly, to say the least starting out this season. This also makes my confidence in him sticking when Riley Greene returns feel less certain. Things should work themselves out by then.
  • Spencer Torkelson is also stuck at the bottom of the order to begin the year. Has yet to budge from the 8th spot. This is with the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Jonathan Schoop clogging the middle of the order. If Torkelson can get rolling he should be able to push himself into the middle of the order.

We’re Going Streaking

A real original of a name, I know. This is just a spot to highlight a few players who are running hot or cold. The data is limited but we will try to take note of the standouts just a few games in. Remember, it is still very early so we cannot overreact to anything we are seeing. We simply note it and monitor things from here.

  • Spencer Torkelson has played in 3 games and is still seeking his first career hit. He has a strikeout rate of 54.5% in his 11 plate appearances. The encouraging part is the 27.3% walk rate so he is still showing patience at the plate.
  • Dansby Swanson has had a rough start to the season as well. Not only has he been relegated to the bottom of the order due to the many signings and trades the Braves made this offseason but he has also gotten off to a slow start. He has just one hit in 15 plate appearances and has a 53.3% strikeout rate. This is on the heels of batting just .207 with a .568 OPS with 1 extra-base hit over 31 plate appearances in spring training.
  • Nolan Arenado has his usual plate discipline to start the season but already has run into 3 home runs. This could be in part due to facing the Pirates in the opening series of the season but a strong start nevertheless.
  • Anthony Rizzo coming out the gates strong. Walking 21.4% of the time striking out just 7.1% to go with batting .300 and 2 home runs. Can’t ask for much more. However, the BABIP is just .143 and we know the BABIP will likely get the better of him due to the pull tendencies and shift combination. So enjoy the hot run before it regulates.

On The Peripheral

This is simply a spot to drop a name or two that could provide value or be relevant in general in deeper formats. This will have an emphasis on playing time

Diego Castillo, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates

If you follow me on Twitter you know I am all about Diego Castillo. Playing time might not be the most secure thing right now BUT the potential to be relevant soon is there. He has started 2 of 3 and pinch-hit in the 1 game he was out. So far this season he has started in 2 of 4 games. This is a team that has no reason not to give him full run to see what he can do. Especially considering he came off a spring training where he hit six home runs and posted a 1.280 OPS. He is currently hitting .444 with a 1.000 OPS and a 22.2% strikeout rate. The tools have not popped yet but he has shown us it is possible.

Notable Injuries and Lineup Fallout

The title of this section says it all. We will break down the most notable injuries from the day prior and discuss those who gain from the increased opportunity.

The notable injury was mentioned previously with AJ Pollock. As long as he is out (which according to Pollock himself won’t be long) we should see playing time open up for Vaughn but also the likes of Adam Engel. He could be sneaky if you are trying to stream stolen bases in a given day and started in RF the first game Pollock missed. Engel did steal 7 bases last year in limited playing time.

Extra Innings

Just a final section of added tidbits I want to throw in about anything I think is interesting or of note.

  • Drew Rasmussen utilized a new pitch in his last start. A cutter which he threw 23% of the time (is now his 3rd pitch if yesterday was any indication). It had a 43% whiff rate & a 40% CSW. It did get hit hard though. Let’s see if the usage and effectiveness carry over next outing
  • Luis Severino upped the usage of his cutter.

We hope you enjoy this new daily concept. If you have questions please follow and reach out on Twitter. You can reach me @Mike_Kurland.

If you want a daily write up of the lineup trends in a team-by-team format, a weekly schedule trends chart, a daily position eligibility watch chart, and more check us out on Patreon. We offer a few options but the $3 Tier is where you can gain access to all this. Hope to see you there

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