Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend full of family and chocolate rabbits. The major theme of Easter is resurrection, which already is the word for some baseball clubs and individual players around the league who are off to slow starts or trying to revive their careers on different teams. In this Easter edition of Line 'Em Up we'll go through some notable lineup moves that revolve around this resurrection theme.
The Chicago White Sox lineup has been a massive disappointment as of late, scoring more than three runs just once in their last ten games and failing to cross the plate at all in the last two. As a result there have been some major shakeups for the Pale Hose as manager Ozzie Guillen attempts to resurrect his lineup. Second baseman Gordon Beckham has been dropped to 8th in the lineup due to a batting line of .208/.253/.338 so far in the season. He'll be brought back once he figures things out (and he will) but until then the age-less wonder Omar Vizquel and Alexi Ramirez will fill in, tremendously boosting each of their values batting in front of mashers Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin.
Speaking of Quentin, he has come back from the dead this season, hitting .308 with six home runs and an OPS over one so far. He has been moved to third in the lineup as the team's best hitter currently and figures to remain there until he cools off. He will at some point (.310 BaBIP 55 points higher than career average) but he should definitely be owned in all formats for his power-potential.
After an atrocious start to the season that nearly led to him being removed from the rotation, Daisuke Matsuzaka has resurrected himself with two excellent outings, allowing just two hits and zero runs over 15 innings. Why is that important to an article about batting lineups? Because it was Jason Varitek, not Jarrod Saltalamacchia, that was behind the plate for his two most recent starts. Salty was brought in as the starting catcher for the Boston Red Sox but has struggled mightily behind the plate and with his bat. We know the veteran Varitek is the superior game manager and when you're batting .205 and not providing the offensive presence you were signed for you're not really doing much to justify playing time. With the Red Sox pitching staff faring better with Varitek behind the plate, look for him to keep eating into Salty's playing time.
Of course, with Varitek's single hit the thing keeping him from posting a big Easter egg in the batting department this season, the Red Sox will be looking to make a move for help at this position. There's a very good chance one of these two don't make it through the entire season in a Boston uniform.
In other American League catching news, the Texas Rangers called up Taylor Teagarden from Triple-A this week. Now that they have three catchers, manager Ron Washington will be much more willing to use Mike Napoli at first base and as the designated hitter. With five home runs and a .312 batting average, the former Angel is looking like a fantastic catching option for those in need of help at the position or who are struggling to find a replacement for the injured Victor Martinez.
Well that didn't last long. It appears Andrew McCutchen has already been removed from the third spot in the lineup that had everyone so excited about his five-category potential. He is now back at the top of lineup, with Lyle Overbay replacing him in the three-spot and Jose Tabata moving down to second. McCutchen has struggled so far this season, batting .233 with only one home run since the third game of the season. Also odd to see is that he has three stolen bases but has also been caught three times, a success rate way too low for how good we know he is. He will put everything together soon and hopefully he will regain that third spot in the lineup. In the meantime, enjoy the increase in stolen bases.
Since this is the Easter edition, it's only fitting we talk about the religious conundrum that is Angel Pagan, the latest player to fall victim to the dreaded oblique strain that is rampaging through the MLB. Second baseman Daniel Murphy has been batting second in replacement of Pagan, and with Brad Emaus being returned to the Toronto Blue Jays, he figures to see the lion's share of the platoon with Justin Turner. He is worth a look in NL-only leagues. Jason Pridie and his 15 career at bats is the replacement in center field for Pagan. Nothing to see here, though he did hit his first career home run on Sunday.