Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Expert Advice
Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

MLB Trade Deadline: Lineup Spot & Team Opportunity Impact

The trade deadline unofficially was kicked off on Sunday, when the Rays acquired Nelson Cruz and the Padres nabbed Adam Frazier. Fantasy managers will always be quick to scrutinize trades through the lens of fantasy - and that's good, we should be looking for any edge we can find. However, it's possible that we sometimes overstate the environmental changes in terms of how much impact they have on statistical production.

In NBA and NFL, the context of the team you play on makes a big difference. You see mediocre players go to a different team where they blossom into an elite fantasy contributor because their new team makes them more conducive to fantasy output. This is still true in baseball but to a smaller degree.

I wanted to take a look into the 2021 data and see how "environmental changes" affect fantasy output. By "environmental change", I just mean going to a new team and/or spot in the lineup. Let's take a look.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and weekly lineup resources:


Lineup Spot

You will hear a lot of talk about how a player will be hitting in a new spot in the order after joining their new team. That will lead to speculation about how it will affect their statistical production (namely runs and RBI, and also walk rate in some situations).

For the last couple years, I've been compiling a dataset that collects every box score generated from MLB games. In this dataset, I have marked down what spot in the lineup each hitter was in that game. That's given me the ability to generate insights about each spot in the lineup. Here's a table with the most relevant results that I've chosen for this piece:

I left out the ninth spot in the lineup because that gets really skewed with pitchers taking up about half the plate appearances in that spot. It's also unlikely that any of the fantasy-relevant players being traded have hit in that spot or will in the near future.

Plate Appearances

You see that for every spot you drop in the lineup, you lose between 0.11 and 0.14 plate appearances per game. The differences get wider as you get towards the bottom of the lineup, because those spots are pinch-hit for more often, and my data was using player stats rather than just lineup spot stats. But a good rule of thumb is just to subtract 0.12 plate appearances per slot.

What does that equate to? Well, each team has played right around 100 games, leaving 60 or so left. That means you can expect about seven fewer plate appearances for the rest of this season for each lineup spot demotion.

Let's take the most pertinent example, Adam Frazier. Frazier had been in the lead-off spot for 413 of his 428 plate appearances with the Pirates. He is unlikely to hit there for the Padres. If he would hit in the seventh spot for the rest of the year (this is somewhat likely, I think), that would take him down from 4.48 PA/G to 3.78 PA/G, a drop of 0.7 PA/G, which would cost him 42 plate appearances over the rest of the season with the Padres.

Now the fact that the Padres are a better lineup and get more plate appearances reduces that expectation a bit, and his hits are likely to result in more runs and RBI given the more talented hitters around him, but it certainly won't make up for all of that lost opportunity. Dropping that far in the batting order is significant, and will very likely affect counting stats negatively.

Runs and RBI Rate

These two stats are more correlated to what team you're on rather than what lineup spot you hit in, and we'll get to that in a bit. However, lineup spot does make a difference on these as well.

You can see in the table that for each lineup spot, I found how many total bases a hitter has needed to score one run or drive in one run. Unsurprisingly, hitting in the lead-off spot makes it easiest to score runs. Hitters have needed just 2.679 total bases to score a run. Those numbers form a bit of a bell curve as you go down, as you see that more bases are required to score a run in the middle of the lineup before they start coming down again towards the bottom. Basically, you want to be in front of those three and four hitters who produce the most runs, and the further away you get from them, the fewer runs you can expect to score.

RBI is a mirror opposite of runs, with the lead-off spot being the worst spot for RBI and the four to five spots being the best. The first inning likely explains a lot of this, I think. The only way to get an RBI in the first at-bat of the game is with a homer, and if you're a three or four hitter batting in the first inning, there's probably already an out or two which makes it less likely for you to score a run. I would imagine that if you ignored the first inning, these numbers would all get much closer together, but of course we cannot just do that.

Walk Rate

I couldn't really control this one for individual player ability like the rest, so what you see in the table is probably not telling you much of a legitimate story. However, it is interesting that the walk rate pops up from 7.9% in the seventh spot to 8.6% in the eighth spot. That is definitely attributable to the pitcher batting directly behind about half the league's eight hitters.

Is that relevant for fantasy purposes? Probably not, but I thought it was interesting to note!


Team Context

Here are some of the same numbers we looked at above but broken down by team instead of lineup spot. You can sort through each column if you want.

These numbers are much more subject to change than the lineup spot numbers since we're talking much more about individual players in this space.

Let's take that Frazier example again. With the Pirates so far in 2021, it's taken 3.32 total bases per run and 3.54 per RBI. With the Padres those numbers are 2.84 and 2.99. The Pirates are dead last in that category, and the Padres are fifth in both. That will make Frazier's many singles much more valuable for fantasy purposes, especially if he hits near the top of the lineup (it's possible this is the case against right-handed pitching, but we'll see).

The best place to be for scoring and producing runs are the White Sox, Dodgers, Astros, Rays, and Padres. All five of those teams figure to be buyers this week (and two of them already were!).

Here's a quick bonus data table. This shows the average plate appearances for each lineup spot for each team this year. You can use this to compare plate appearance opportunities when a player moves to a new team and/or spot in the lineup (you can search by team abbreviation in the search box there):

So there you have it. You can use these tables for reference when more hitters are inevitably traded this week, enjoy the deadline everybody!

Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy baseball app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, sleepers, prospects & more. All free!

More Fantasy Baseball Advice


Expert Advice
Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts




Gerrit Cole12 mins ago

Expected To Throw On Tuesday
Alex Lyon60 mins ago

Getting The Starting Nod Monday
Charlie Lindgren1 hour ago

Making Fifth Straight Start Monday
Brent Rooker1 hour ago

Could Return When Eligible
Robert Stephenson1 hour ago

Dealing With "Elbow Soreness"
Eloy Jiménez1 hour ago

Eloy Jimenez Back From Injured List
Braxton Garrett1 hour ago

Experiencing "Dead Arm"
Boone Jenner1 hour ago

Practices Monday
Framber Valdez1 hour ago

Plays Catch Monday
Adam Fantilli2 hours ago

Practices Monday
Giancarlo Stanton2 hours ago

Getting A Breather Monday
Rasmus Sandin2 hours ago

Skates In Non-Contact Jersey Monday
2 hours ago

Lane Hutson To Make NHL Debut Monday
Kyle Bradish2 hours ago

To Make A Rehab Start Tuesday
Lance McCullers Jr.2 hours ago

Luis Garcia, Lance McCullers Jr., Jose Urquidy Play Catch
Alex Bregman2 hours ago

Back In Action Monday
Salvador Perez2 hours ago

Not Playing Monday
Erik Swanson2 hours ago

Jordan Romano, Erik Swanson Likely To Return Tuesday
Danny Jansen2 hours ago

Activated From The Injured List
Corey Seager2 hours ago

Absent From Monday's Lineup
Parker Meadows3 hours ago

Resting Against Rangers
Edouard Julien3 hours ago

In Lineup Against Lefty
Anthony Santander3 hours ago

Not Playing Monday
Dominic Canzone3 hours ago

Placed On 10-Day Injured List
Brock Bowers4 hours ago

Visiting With Jets
Sonny Gray4 hours ago

Will Be Limited To 75 Pitches In Monday’s Start
NBA4 hours ago

Ja’Kobe Walter Declares For NBA Draft
J.J. McCarthy4 hours ago

Patriots Visiting With J.J. McCarthy On Monday
Max Meyer4 hours ago

Optioned To Minors
Lonnie Walker4 hours ago

IV Noncommittal On Future With Nets
Daniel Jones4 hours ago

Plan Is For Daniel Jones To Be Fully Cleared For Training Camp
Vit Krejci4 hours ago

Hawks Hope To Keep Vit Krejci This Offseason
Aaron Rodgers4 hours ago

Reports For Voluntary Workouts
Kris Bryant4 hours ago

Out Of Rockies’ Lineup On Monday
Indianapolis Colts4 hours ago

Colts, DeForest Buckner Agree To Two-Year Extension
Giannis Antetokounmpo4 hours ago

“Up In The Air” For Game 1
Rashee Rice4 hours ago

To Be Virtual To Start Offseason Program
CeeDee Lamb4 hours ago

Not Expected To Attend Start Of Voluntary Program
Grayson Allen4 hours ago

Lands Four-Year Extension With Suns
Justin Jefferson4 hours ago

Doesn't Report For Voluntary Workouts
Andrew Copp4 hours ago

A Game-Time Decision Monday
ANA5 hours ago

Ducks Sign Cutter Gauthier To Entry-Level Deal
Joseph Woll5 hours ago

To Start Tuesday
Calle Jarnkrok5 hours ago

Questionable For Game 1
Alex Pereira5 hours ago

Defends Light-Heavyweight Title At UFC 300
Max Domi5 hours ago

Out Tuesday, Unlikely For Wednesday
Jamahal Hill5 hours ago

Knocked Out At UFC 300
Bobby McMann5 hours ago

To Miss Final Two Regular Season Games
Yan Xiaonan5 hours ago

Unsuccessful In Bid To Capture UFC Title
Arman Tsarukyan5 hours ago

Edges Out Competitive Decision At UFC 300
Charles Oliveira6 hours ago

Drops Decision Matchup
NASCAR8 hours ago

Bubba Wallace Finishes Seventh At Texas Motor Speedway
DeVonta Smith8 hours ago

Eagles Sign DeVonta Smith To Three-Year Extension
Kyle Busch8 hours ago

Earns Top 10 Finish In Backup Car At Texas Motor Speedway
Chase Elliott9 hours ago

Emerges Victorious in Texas Race Riddled with Cautions
William Byron9 hours ago

Finishes Third at Texas After Wrecking Ross Chastain
Ross Chastain9 hours ago

Gets Wrecked on Final Lap at Texas While Battling for the Lead
Kyle Larson9 hours ago

Sees Dominant Day Slip Away at Texas Due To Loose Wheel
Nikola Jokic9 hours ago

Wraps Up Regular Season With 68th Double-Double
Bradley Beal9 hours ago

Leads Phoenix Into Playoffs With 36-Point Effort
Myles Turner9 hours ago

Dominates Against Hawks
Max Strus9 hours ago

Records First Career Triple-Double
CJ McCollum9 hours ago

Remains Hot For Pelicans Ahead Of Play-In
Brandon Ingram10 hours ago

Returns With Efficient Performance
LeBron James10 hours ago

Notches 112th Career Triple-Double
NASCAR13 hours ago

Daniel Suárez the Luckiest Driver at Texas, Scores Top Five
Denny Hamlin13 hours ago

Late Spinout Costs Denny Hamlin Likely Second-Place Finish
Ty Gibbs13 hours ago

Had Speed at Texas, But Burnt by Pit Crew
Ryan Blaney14 hours ago

Was Best Ford Driver Until Wreck With Ryan Preece
Tyler Reddick19 hours ago

Earns Hard-Fought Fourth Place Finish At Texas
Austin Dillon19 hours ago

Gains His Best Finish Of The Year At Texas
Carson Hocevar19 hours ago

Rounds Out Top Ten At Texas
Joel Embiid19 hours ago

Will "Be Ready To Go" For Play-In
Chase Briscoe20 hours ago

Ends Up Sixth At Texas
Davante Adams20 hours ago

Plans To Remain In Vegas
Miami Dolphins20 hours ago

Jaelan Phillips Seemingly Believes He'll Be Ready For Week 1
Tee Higgins20 hours ago

Plans To Play For The Bengals In 2024-25
Anthony Davis24 hours ago

Exits Sunday's Game
Jalen Brunson1 day ago

Drops Another 40 Points
Tyrese Haliburton1 day ago

Gets A Double-Double On Sunday
Payton Pritchard1 day ago

Has Another Stellar Performance
Jordan Love1 day ago

Expected To Get A Lucrative Contract
Jared Goff1 day ago

Expected To Receive Big Money
Brandon Aiyuk1 day ago

Reportedly Hasn't Asked For A Trade
Christopher Bell1 day ago

Is A Great Tournament Option At Texas
Kyle Busch1 day ago

Starts From the Rear After Texas Practice Crash
Chase Elliott1 day ago

Should Chase Elliott Be Rostered In DFS For Texas?
Ty Gibbs1 day ago

Can Ty Gibbs Score His First Win At Texas?
Cody Brundage1 day ago

Gets Submitted At UFC 300
Todd Gilliland1 day ago

Is A Quality Value Play For Texas
Bo Nickal1 day ago

Remains Undefeated At UFC 300
Denny Hamlin1 day ago

Will Start 11th At Texas On Sunday
Ryan Preece1 day ago

Brings Continued Upside To Texas
Justin Gaethje1 day ago

Gets KO'd At UFC 300
Max Holloway1 day ago

Scores Highlight-Reel KO At UFC 300
Zhang Weili1 day ago

Retains Strawweight Title At UFC 300
Obi Toppin2 days ago

Questionable For Sunday Versus Atlanta
Damian Lillard2 days ago

Listed As Probable For Sunday
Jalen Smith2 days ago

Questionable For Sunday's Contest
Jordan Poole2 days ago

Questionable For Sunday’s Game
CeeDee Lamb2 days ago

Cowboys Haven't Had "Substantial Talks"
Joe Burrow3 days ago

Confident He'll Stay Healthy
Brandon Aiyuk3 days ago

Unfollows Niners On Social Media
Rashee Rice3 days ago

Surrenders To Police
Alex Pereira3 days ago

Set For First Light Heavyweight Title Defense
Jamahal Hill3 days ago

Faces Alex Pereira In The Main Event Of UFC 300
Yan Xiaonan3 days ago

Set For A Title Shot At UFC 300
Charles Oliveira3 days ago

Returns To Action On UFC 300 Main Card
Arman Tsarukyan3 days ago

Has A Tough Test In Front Of Him
Laurent Brossoit3 days ago

Shuts Out Stars With 24 Saves
Lucas Raymond3 days ago

Erupts For Four Points
Sidney Crosby3 days ago

Enters Top 10 On NHL's All-Time Scoring List
Sergei Bobrovsky3 days ago

Logs Sixth Shutout Of The Season
Timo Meier3 days ago

Notches Three Points In Win Over Toronto
Noah Dobson3 days ago

Sustains An Upper-Body Injury
Cody Brundage4 days ago

A Massive Underdog At UFC 300
Bo Nickal4 days ago

Puts Undefeated Record On The Line
Max Holloway4 days ago

Moves Back Up To Lightweight At UFC 300
Justin Gaethje4 days ago

Puts BMF Belt On The Line At UFC 300
Zhang Weili4 days ago

Defends Strawweight Title At UFC 300
Tom Brady4 days ago

Won't Rule Out Return To NFL
Treylon Burks4 days ago

Has To Earn It In 2024
Connor Hellebuyck4 days ago

Connor HelleBuyck Getting A Breather Thursday
Timothy Liljegren4 days ago

Could Return Before Postseason
Igor Shesterkin4 days ago

Getting A Rest Day Thursday
Jason Day5 days ago

Heads To Augusta After Rough March Stretch
Sepp Straka5 days ago

Save Yourself The Heartache And Don't Play Sepp Straka At The Masters
Bryson DeChambeau5 days ago

: The Battle Of Form Versus Recent History
Dustin Johnson5 days ago

Is A True Wild Card At Augusta
Patrick Cantlay5 days ago

Lost With His Irons Of Late
Rory McIlroy5 days ago

In Good Form Heading To Augusta
Keegan Bradley5 days ago

Coming To Augusta National With Ice-Cold Putter
Nicolai Hojgaard5 days ago

Looking For Putter At Augusta National
Tiger Woods5 days ago

Set To Make Another Start At The Masters
Nick Taylor6 days ago

A Boring Play At The Masters
Akshay Bhatia6 days ago

Earns Last Remaining Invite To The Masters
Tom Kim6 days ago

Looking For Turnaround At Year's First Major
Sahith Theegala6 days ago

Making Second Start At Augusta National