Welcome to the daily Monday through Friday article where we discuss all things lineups playing time, platoons, and production trends.
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I had to call an audible here. I decided the only way for this section to remain relevant daily is better to break down a full team’s lineup trends instead of picking separate individual trends. This article is a new concept so of course, there are growing pains. Let’s get to it.
- After eight-straight starts leading off, Kyle Schwarber moved to 5th yesterday and Manager Joe Girardi said J.T. Realmuto could stick at the top of the lineup. He has led off two straight.
- Rhys Hoskins, Nick Castellanos, and Bryce Harper are set in the 2 through 4 spots in the order.
- Jean Segura is back from the shoulder/arm issue and continues to slot in the 6 or 7-spot range.
- Alec Bohm in a clear platoon. He has only started one game against an RHP this season. However, a 17.6% walk rate and no strikeouts are noticeable. Not to mention he is hitting .636/.588/.818 but it is just 17 plate appearances. Most of the damage comes against LHP. The sample overall is small.
- Johan Camargo is Bohm’s platoon partner. A mediocre at best start as he hits .269/.321/.346. Either they are set on Bohm sitting vs RHP or his defense is just too bad at third base. It will be difficult to keep Bohm out of the order if he continues to hit when he starts.
- Bryson Stott is struggling. 33.3% strikeout rate and hitting .154/.185/.192. This is another path for Bohm to enter the lineup. I am not sure how long the leash is for Stott but his defense and versatility might be what keeps him in the lineup. He has played three positions already this season second base, third base, and shortstop.
- Simon Muzziotti has started the last two of three but neither he nor Matt Vierling has done much to stand out. It is likely an open competition and the first one to perform will land it is my guess.
We’re Going Streaking
J.P. Crawford, SS, Seattle Mariners
Something you don’t see often but Crawford has started every game to start this young season. In his 40 plate appearances, he has a stolen base with five runs and one RBI. Crawford has only struck out 2.5% of the time while walking at a 15% clip. A very strong plate discipline base. Overall, it is not an attractive line but he has recently moved up the order. He has started four-straight games in the 5-spot and the hot start has earned an improved spot in the order which ultimately should lead to better production as long as it all sticks.
Jeremy Pena, SS, Houston Astros
Jeremy Pena is having a strong start. Hitting .345/.375/.621 and has a home run. He has yet to steal a base but the speed is there. The sprint speed is in the 92nd percentile. He is barreling the ball well and hitting the ball hard with consistency. The max exit velocity is 110.3 mph already is a flash of the power potential as well. He elevates the ball plenty which keeps the BABIP and batting average up in the process. Only a 28% groundball rate. There is a lot to like here.
Jorge Soler, OF, Miami Marlins
Although he has a hit in his last three games, Soler is off to a slow start. The 28.6% strikeout rate has slowly been creeping downward. His OBP (.286) is over 100 points higher than his batting average (.167) but both are below average. I am not sure how long he can hold off Jazz Chisholm from taking over leadoff duties.
On The Peripheral
This is simply a spot to drop a name that could provide value or be relevant in general in deeper formats. This will have an emphasis on playing time.
Jake Burger, 3B, Chicago White Sox
With Yoan Moncada on the IL for a bit, Jake Burger should continue to get some run. Early on he is hitting .300/.333/.500 with a 27.3% strikeout rate. He has a home run as well so far. All this is just in 22 plate appearances. Be mindful, that the strikeouts could get worse if the 44.2% O-Swing% and the 20.8% SwStr%. The power is real but this could become a power-only type of player here.
Notable Injuries and Lineup Fallout
We will break down the most notable injuries from the day prior and discuss those who gain from the increased opportunity.
New York Mets had two players go on the COVID IL.
Both Mark Canha and Brandon Nimmo tested positive for COVID. I believe both are asymptomatic and could be back soon. They simply require a negative test. Until then we should see more Dominic Smith and Travis Jankowski. At least that is what we have seen so far.
Nick Senzel, OF, Cincinnati Reds
COVID is suspected here. It was not confirmed but he was placed on IL without designation after dealing with illness the three games prior. Aristides Aquino is who gains playing time in the short term.
Yordan Alvarez, OF, Houston Astros
The situation is unclear here. We are not sure of his status health-wise and it is tough to say where he is in recovering. Jose Siri has gained a little playing time in the process but it has been a mix of players overall.
Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
MRI was clean and we all took a sigh of relief. Not being placed on the IL on top of it could suggest this is short-term. All things considered, this is good news. Nick Gordon is who gains playing time while Buxton is out.
Just a final section of added tidbits I want to throw in about anything I think is interesting or of note.
Andrew Heaney, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
The new sweeper is working well for him. It is classified as a slider on Baseball Savant. He is throwing it 48.1% of the time and it is inducing a 51.1% whiff rate. He only sits on two pitches so far but he has been very effective doing so. The fastball is complimenting the sweeper well early on and due to the success of these two pitches, he dropped the changeup usage to just 3.2% so far. This is from 18% usage last season. He has it in his back pocket if (or when) he needs it.
Zack Wheeler, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
It appeared Wheeler was on track to start the season close to on time and he did. Maybe he should have taken his time because the velocity is down early on and the results early on have not been what we have come to expect. The velocity is down as low as 2.5 mph on the fastball and 1.5 mph on the slider (his two most utilized pitches). We need to continue to monitor the velocity and he is someone better served on the bench if possible until we see a return to form.
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.
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