Lineup Takeaways: Breaking down the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup trends, Louis Robert injury fallout, and more

Mike Kurland discusses the early lineup trends, production, and other key information of the Pittsburgh Pirates that we should keep an eye on.

Welcome to the daily Monday through Friday article where we discuss all things lineups playing time, platoons, and production trends.

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Lineup Takeaways

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.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Ke’Bryan Hayes leads off against LHP and bats 3rd against RHP. The power has not shown up but two stolen bases early on with a .333 batting average will play. The counting stats otherwise we always expected to be lower but speed form third base is never a bad thing. The great plate discipline – 10% strikeout rate and 18% walk rate – will play up in points leagues as well.
  • Michael Chavis started against a RHP for the first time yesterday. Previously he only starts against LHP so there could be a changing to his role occurring but it is too early to tell. He is earning the opportunity as he hits .423/.464/.654 with one home run. Typically bats 3rd and hit 5th vs a RHP yesterday so a good lineup spot seems likely as long as he continues to produce.
  • Daniel Vogelbach is the leadoff hitter for this team vs RHP. He is having a very strong start to the season and you could do worse than streaming him in deep formats. Three home runs while hitting .316 will play in most leagues. A .391 BABIP will regress but the power is very real and you get plate appearances here as well.
  • A couple of starters are underperforming and not worth rostering outside of NL-Only formats. Players like Cole Tucker and Kevin Newman can essentially be ignored in most leagues.
  • Ben Gamel is playing most days and has a stolen base and a home run while hitting .243. Nothing flashy or fun but can be a useful 5th outfielder in deep mixed leagues.
  • Diego Castilo has started against every LHP and two of four of the last four RHP they have faced. Another player deserving of a longer look but Josh VanMeter continues to get starts over him vs RHP. Castillo is outproducing VanMeter and there is little reason not to give him the looks on this team but the Pirates are also holding down Oneil Cruz and Roansy Contreras so what do I know?
PlayerPABB%K%BAOPSwOBAwRC+
Diego Castillo330.018.2.273.667.29691
Josh VanMeter166.331.3.200.650.29288

We’re Going Streaking

Now that we finally are getting samples it is time to focus on seven-to-fourteen day windows to try and capture hot and cold streaks as they are occurring or about to occur.

Tony Kemp, OF, Oakland Athletics

If you read or listen to anything I do I have been all over Tony Kemp this draft season and what he is doing is exactly why. Over the last week he has played seven games and stole two bases while hitting .350 and scored four runs. He is doing exactly what he was drafted for.

Marcus Semien, 2B,SS, Texas Rangers

Semien is showing signs of life. The power has not been there but over the last six games he is hitting .261, flashign elite plate discipline and stole two bases. He will get going on the power side sooner than later I’d bet but regression was always due there. As long as he is running, the power dip will be easier to handle.

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

Votto has been slow to start so far and the last week has not done him any favors. Hitless in his last 23 plate appearances with a 52.2% strikeout rate. He is not someone I would drop but I would sit him until he turns things around.

On The Peripheral

Sheldon Neuse, 2B, Oakland Athletics

Playing time is king in deeper formats and he has that secured. He has hit 2nd for three straight games as well. There is some good luck going on here with a .520 BABIP and performing so well while striking out 28.6% of the time. Not to mention a 50% ground ball rate. This is more than likely just a hot stretch but it could be wroth riding out until it falls apart. He will be gaining third base sooner than later as well.

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.

Luis Urias will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday with Double-A Biloxi. 
White Sox manager Tony La Russa told reporters after Thursday’s game against the Guardians that Luis Robert left the contest with a groin injury.

This SHOULD open up playing time for Andrew Vaughn but then again Adam Engel I think is more likely to get playing time due to the need for a centerfielder. Cheap speed option here if you are desperate for speed.

Alex Kirilloff is likely to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul next week.

Trevor Larnach is the one who is most effected by his return here. With his lackluster performance to this point ( minimal counting stats batting .200/.250/.280) during his run he does not offer much of an argument to keep playing every day.

A.J. Pollock will join the White Sox in Minnesota over the weekend.

They already find reasons to sit Andrew Vaughn and Pollock’s return will further provide reasoning. This will clog the corner outfield playing time a little bit but Pollock deserves to start. It will just continue to put strain on Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn’s path to cleat 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.

Freddy Peralta, SP, Milwaukee Brewers

After looking into Peralta he just seems to have issues with his offspeed and breaking pitches. His slider was his bread and butter pitch last year. Early on he has dropped the usage of the slider from 26.4% last year to just 15.2% to this point. It is getting absolutely crushed. So he has turned to utilizing the changeup more with the usage up from 9.8% last year to 17% so far this season. Another secondary pitch that is not finding success either. Not to mention his velocity is slightly down in general so the short spring has not been good for him and he is likely getting ramped up. Do not drop but I would sit him until he gets going. He is a good buy-low target.


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 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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