Playing Time Changes: Everything You Need to Know

An examination into EVERY roster's playing time.

One of the easiest ways to gain an edge in your leagues is plucking the breakout player who finds more playing time. Think back to last year when Taylor Ward broke out and anyone that scooped him up early reaped massive benefits. However, part of the problem is identifying which player will get those opportunities. By now, we are a couple of weeks into the season and rosters are really starting to come together for some teams.

The endgame is to spot players finding additional playing time and making gains at the dish to pay off over the season. To help assist in the process, I’ve scrubbed through major league box scores, analyzing who is playing where, and if they are playing over the competition on the team. Now, since we’re not far into the season, the statistics aren’t a main factor. Instead, the main focus will be on a few other areas.

In this piece, we’ll break down EVERY team’s roster and hope to uncover the ebbs and flows for fantasy purposesThe criteria will be pretty straightforward.

  • Batting Lineup Observations – Analyzing batting orders from the previous week. Which players are moving up/down the lineup card?
  • Potential Platoons – Based on a pitcher’s handedness, a team will swap players in-and-out of the lineup to maximize performance. Which players are in the starting lineup vs. lefties and righties?
  • New Positional Eligibility – Players moving into different defensive to gain eligibility at a new position.


Arizona Diamondbacks

  • While Arizona has utilized Ketel Marte as leadoff vs. LHP, they’ve also gone with Josh Rojas as leadoff vs. RHP. Rojas, who early on sat vs. LHP is also in the #2 hole. Perhaps this sticks around but against LHP, he’s carrying a 67 wRC+ and 33% K-rate.
  • As that situation shakes itself out, it’s hard not to notice Corbin Carroll moving up in the lineup.
  • Alek Thomas has been playing more and started four of the previous five games against LHP. His overall stats don’t look enticing but some of the underlying metrics suggest good things could be coming: sub-20% K-rate, .195 BABIP, and .349 xwOBA.
  • As Thomas gets more playing time, Jake McCarthy’s abysmal start to the season is causing him to sit a few games.
  • Geraldo Perdomo and Nick Ahmed are still in a platoon at SS.



  • Travis d’Arnaud is still slow to recover and Michael Harris II doesn’t have a timetable for his return.
  • Since d’Arnaud’s injury, Sean Murphy is on fire (11-for-37 with four HRs, nine Rs, and 12 RBI). He should solidify his bat in the heart of the lineup.
  • With Harris II still out, Sam Hilliard looked like the primary candidate to take over, but Eli White has entered the conversation. White will start vs. LHP and Hillard vs. RHP. Unfortunately, neither has the advantage as they’ll face three lefties and four righties in the upcoming week.
  • In LF, Kevin Pillar (vs. LHP) and Eddie Rosario (vs. RHP) will share responsibilities.
  • Marcell Ozuna’s playing time is sporadic, at best. If you’re still holding on, it’s time to cut your losses.


Baltimore Orioles

  • Austin Hays keeps getting the leadoff spot vs. LHP, while Cedric Mullins drops to the bottom half of the lineup. Still, Mullins grabs every leadoff AB vs. RHP. Additionally, Hays slides into the 5th/6th spot vs. RHP too, so there’s value in his bat while he’s still producing.
  • Adam Frazier has pushed his way up the batting order and getting an abundance of playing time. However, he’s still going to be a bench bat, at best.


Boston Red Sox

  • Alex Verdugo is leading off against both LHP and RHP. That could significantly add value to his run total.
  • On Monday (4/17), Jarren Duran was promoted to the MLB squad. Additionally, he’s started every game in the OF.
  • Kiké Hernández started the year toward the bottom of the lineup but has since pushed his way into the middle. Still, he’s getting run at OF, SS, and 2B.
  • Should the Red Sox get a string of LHP, Rob Refsnyder is a solid pickup. He bats in the heart of the lineup whenever facing a southpaw.


Chicago Cubs

  • Seiya Suzuki is back and hit in the clean-up spot for six of his seven games back. Good to see the injury isn’t lingering and he didn’t need extra days off for rest.
  • As noted last week, with Suzuki returning, Trey Mancini should lose OF playing time. Indeed, he’s only splitting time at 1B with Eric Hosmer
  • Patrick Wisdom was in a platoon with Nick Madrigal until he decided to mash HRs right and left. Until he cools off, you should expect Widsom’s bat in the lineup every day.


Chicago White Sox

  • Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson are still on the IL.
  • That opens up time for Jake Burger, who has been really cooking. In his 34 PA, he’s already swatted five HR with an 11% walk rate. Unfortunately, the defense isn’t solid and will limit his playing time when Moncada returns. Gavin Sheets has fallen out of favor and sits on the bench.


Cincinnati Reds


Cleveland Guardians

  • Still not many changes.
  • Amed Rosario has been out with an injury, and Gabriel Arias stepped in as SS. Arias has started games at SS, 1B, and 3B. However, the bat hasn’t amounted to much.
  • Left field is still a platoon: Oscar Gonzalez (vs. LHP) and Will Brennan (vs. RHP).


Colorado Rockies

  • There has been a change in the infield. Ryan McMahon shifted back to 3B and Alan Trejo moved into 2B. This pushes Elehuris Montero out of the infield and into a bench role.
  • Yonathan Daza continues to get starts in CF but is living at the bottom of the order. With no potential for power and very little to contribute to SBs, he should completely be off your radar.


Detroit Tigers

  • Veterans Miguel Cabrera and Jonathan Schoop have been passed on the depth charts. If you’re holding either for name value, it’s time to drop them. They aren’t consistently getting playing time.
  • In the leadoff spot, Matt Vierling gets the nod vs. LHP. Against RHP, Nick Maton starts the batting order. Furthermore, he’s not eligible at 2B/SS/OF on Yahoo.
  • Akil Baddoo is pushed down the lineup for #5 vs. RHP but is starting every day.
  • Kerry Carpenter is playing some OF and become a fixture at the clean-up spot vs. RHP.


Houston Astros

  • After donning Chas McCormick as the leadoff, he hit the IL and Mauricio Dubón becomes the leadoff hitter. While Dubon won’t do much, in terms of power or speed, he’s gotten on base and provided runs. Unfortunately, McCormick should be back sometime next week.
  • With McCormick out, Jake Meyers grabs the CF duties.


Kansas City Royals

  • Michael Massey has been a disaster at the dish and losing playing time. He’s only started one time at 2B in the last four games. Until he shows improvements, we should expect this type of sporadic playing time.
  • Hunter Dozier continues to lose playing time as well. He is an easy drop in nearly every format.
  • The infielder gaining more playing time has been Nicky Lopez. He’s a speed-only player with zero power.
  • As the OF shapes up, it’s Kyle Isbel in CF, with Edward Olivares and MJ Melendez getting most of the corner OF time. Unfortunately, Nate Eaton and Jackie Bradley Jr. don’t garner any attention.


Los Angeles Angels

  • Zach Neto got the call to the bigs. After a couple of starts at the leadoff spot, he’s firmly entrenched in the bottom of the order. Still, he’s going to play SS every day. If you lost one recently, this is a solid fill-in option.
  • Jake Lamb’s poor hitting performance has pushed him to the bench. Instead, Gio Urshela is platooning 1B with Brandon Drury.


Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Back from the Paternity List, Mookie Betts gets a start at SS??? That’s very intriguing since SS thinned out with recent injuries. In some formats, he’s already scooped up 2B too.
  • Should Mookie stick at SS for a bit, it’ll open up some playing time in the OF. James Outman is a lock in CF. However, the corners are up for grabs. We’d likely see a combo of Jason Heyward in RF and David Peralta in LF (vs. RHP).


Miami Marlins

  • Jean Segura continues to struggle and moved down the batting order.
  • After getting a few days starting at 1B, Yuli Gurriel sat four of the last five days.
  • The leadoff spot is getting a new look with Jon Berti on top vs. LHP. Jazz Chisholm Jr. still remains #1 vs. RHP.


Milwaukee Brewers

  • Garrett Mitchell hits the IL. We all assumed Sal Frelick might join the MLB squad, but he’s out with a thumb injury.
  • Rowdy Tellez (vs. RHP) and Luke Voit (vs. LHP) are still sharing 1B duties.
  • Brian Anderson continues to make quality contact and keeps moving up the batting order. With Mitchell out, he slides back to OF and Mike Brosseau should see more time at 3B. For Brosseau, he already leads off vs. LHP.


Minnesota Twins


New York Mets

  • The DH vs. RHP continues to be Daniel Vogelbach. However, against LHP, it’s a split of Tommy Pham and Mark Canha (who moves to the OF vs. RHP)
  • Brett Baty was finally promoted to the big leagues. Although, he is only starting against RHP and Eduardo Escobar remains the 3B option vs. LHP. You can’t allow Baty to sit on the wire. He smashed five HRs and stole two bags in only nine Triple-A games (35 AB).


New York Yankees

  • Anthony Volpe is running away with the leadoff spot. Quite literally too, as he’s already swiped eight bases.
  • Willie Calhoun is sporadically DHing, no need to consider rostering him.
  • DJ LeMahieu is back but batting in the #5 spot. Additionally, he’s serving as the 3B while Josh Donaldson is out.
  • Franchy Cordero’s hot start cooled off as the team faced a few LHP. Keep in mind, he’s only going to start vs. RHP and you’ll need to make adjustments if NY faces a bunch of southpaws.


Oakland Athletics

  • Esteury Ruiz is getting leadoff time vs. LHP and RHP. That could be massive as he’s the type of player that could lead the MLB in stolen bases. However, he might steal 35 bases and hit 35 RBIs with zero HRs too.
  • Brent Rooker has been on fire and should be picked up. It’s not a good lineup but he’ll bat in the middle of the lineup and show off some power. He should get plenty of run with Ramón Laureano on the IL.
  • Jesús Aguilar isn’t starting at 1B anymore. Instead, Ryan Noda is getting a majority of the playing time and batting in the #2 hole. Noda was old for his time in the minors but went 25 HR/20 SB in 464 Triple-A ABs.


Philadelphia Phillies

  • Bryson Stott is stuck atop the leadoff spot.
  • While the rest of the lineup looks similar, J.T. Realmuto has quietly dropped in the order. Brandon Marsh (vs. LHP) is batting ahead of JTR while he’s hot (.368/.419/.737).
  • Edmundo Sosa is injured, and 3B playing time opened up for Josh Harrison. However, Sosa hasn’t hit the IL and could be back any day.
  • Alec Bohm is now 1B/3B eligible.


Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Assuming the leadoff role against LHP and RHP is Ke’Bryan Hayes.
  • Ji Man Choi moved to the IL, and that opens up DH for Andrew McCutchen. That’ll keep his legs fresh and perhaps he’ll be able to live up to loftier expectations. Might we see a 20 HR/10 SB season?
  • Connor Joe moved to RF and higher up the batting order. Additionally, he’s getting every day playing time.
  • As Ji Hwan Bae heads to SS, there is a platoon at 2B between Mark Mathias (vs. LHP) and Tucupita Marcano (vs. RHP)Mathias has a bit more power and Marcano will steal more bases.


San Diego Padres


San Francisco Giants

  • The Giants acquired Darin Ruf from the Mets and recently moved him to the MLB squad. With Joc Pederson out, Ruf is starting at DH vs. LHP. However, Pederson is slated to come back over the weekend.
  • Also “back any day” is Mitch Haniger. He’s already begun his rehab assignment and, barring any setbacks, will get activated from the IL. Like Peterson, we could see him over the weekend.
  • Losing the most playing time will be Wilmer Flores, who has started eight of the previous ten games at 1B.


Seattle Mariners

  • Very few changes here.
  • Sam Haggerty hits the IL and the team promoted Jose Caballero (vs. LHP) to platoon 2B with Kolten Wong (vs. RHP).
  • AJ Pollock is not an everyday OF. He’s getting some ABs vs. LHP. If he’s on your waiver wire, ignore it for now.


St. Louis Cardinals

  • Nolan Gorman is not starting vs. LHP. After seeing time at 2B, he’ll likely return to DHing.
  • Lars Nootbaar returned from the IL, which pushed Juan Yepez back to the Minor Leagues. Furthermore, Nootbaar has been outstanding at getting on base and could push back his way back up the lineup. He should overtake Alec Burleson as the team’s #2 hitter since Burleson has cooled off.


Tampa Bay Rays


Texas Rangers

  • As Corey Seager remains out, it’s a SS platoon between John H. Smith and Ezequiel Duran. Neither has played well enough to take over the position. Instead, it’s a split and neither becomes fantasy relevant.
  • Leody Taveras is sticking in CF. He’s played there six of his first seven games back and batting toward the bottom of the lineup.
  • Oddly, Travis Jankowski has started the last three games out of the #2 hole. He doesn’t strike out much and walks a bit. However, he’s never been a good hitter.


Toronto Blue Jays

  • Toronto doesn’t have many lineup changes to speak of.
  • Brandon Belt hasn’t started every game vs. RHP. If we can’t trust him to get those PAs, he’s an easy cut.
  • At 2B, it’s a wonky little platoon. Santiago Espinal vs. LHP, and Cavan Biggio/Whit Merrifield vs. RHP. Based on Biggio’s performance at the plate, he’ll phase out eventually.


Washington Nationals

  • On Sunday (4/16) and Tuesday (4/18), Lane Thomas assumed his leadoff spot vs. RHP. However, that was short-lived as Alex Call started things off on Wednesday. To muddy the waters up more, Stone Garrett received three consecutive starts in LF. And for good measure as he touts a 1.259 OPS-albeit in 25 PA.
  • As the team tried to generate offense in any way possible, Luis Garcia started to ascend up the batting order vs. RHP.


Dave Swan

Dave Swan is an avid Chicago Cubs fan that enjoys all aspects of fantasy baseball-especially DFS. He would trade his right arm for a GIF library of Greg Maddux pitches. Swan's baseball thoughts are available at @davithius.

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