Hosmer in the House
Minor league call-ups and disabled list returns dominate this edition of Line 'Em Up. A top prospect is making his major league debut while a more familiar minor-leaguer makes his return. J.J. Hardy and Logan Morrison are on the way back, with Nyjer Morgan nearly joining them. Let's take a look around the league for all the line up news you need to know.
We had our first call-up of a major prospect last week, with first baseman Eric Hosmer getting the nod from the Kansas City Royals after batting .439 over 98 at-bats in Triple-A Omaha. He has been batting sixth in the lineup and even got a nod at fifth in his third game. AL-only and deeper mixed-leaguers can take a flier on him, especially since he has shown so far that he can handle major league pitching, walking three times and striking out twice while recording a stolen base and an RBI-double in his three games up to this point. Barring a disaster he will continue to get regular playing time at first with Billy Butler as the designated hitter, and once we get a larger sample size we can make a better decision on how useful Hosmer will be in fantasy leagues this season.
Will Rhymes was sent down to the minors last week after struggling this season. Scott Sizemore gets the call-up after batting .408 at Triple-A, and has immediately been inserted at second base and in the second spot in the lineup. So far he is sporting a modest .261 batting average but has recorded a hit in four of his six games and stolen a base. His position and slot in the lineup makes him worth an immediate pickup in AL-only leagues in the hopes that he can continue to put up solid numbers. This also hurts Ryan Raburn, who will now see less time at second base and spend most of his time in a platoon with Brennan Boesch in left field, facing left-handed pitching.
Logan Morrison is eligible to come off of the disabled list soon, which will move Emilio Bonafacio out of left field but not necessarily out of the starting lineup. Due to the platoon from purgatory at third base involving Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms, there's a good chance Bonafacio gets some time there. Neither Dobbs nor Helms were helping your fantasy team anyway so this isn't exactly an earth-shattering lineup shift. It only slightly hurts Bonafacio as he will continue to play most days and bat near the top of the lineup. Owners of Morrison can activate him immediately.
There was going to be a paragraph this week about Milwaukee Brewers' outfielder Carlos Gomez being benched in favor of Nyjer Morgan, who was returning from the disabled list. Of course it only took two games before Morgan went back on the DL with a fractured finger and we went right back to where we started. Clearly Gomez has not been totally forgiven for all his misgivings this season, as he has been demoted to eighth in the lineup against right-handed pitching, a wise move considering he has only batted .230 against them this season. Unless he turns it around, he will end up losing that spot altogether.
Let's check in on arguably the biggest continuing lineup controversy in baseball, where Carl Crawford is still mired at the bottom of the lineup with 11 runs and .211 batting average. Things are improving for the former Tampa Bay Ray however, as he has hit .293 with eight of those runs and his only homer coming in the last 15 contests. Not coincidentally, Manager Terry Francona recently said Crawford won't remain in the eighth spot for much longer, but didn't give any indication as to when or what spot he would move to. It will be interesting to see where he ends up as it will surely mean movement for the other big names in the Boston Red Sox lineup. It would be a surprise to see him in the leadoff spot with Jacoby Ellsbury playing so well, and Dustin Pedroia is nearly a lock to stay at number two. In the end, it's too much of a headache to continue pondering where Crawford will hit. Owners should just take solace in the fact that their first round pick is playing better and will soon regain a productive spot in the lineup, and let the rest of it sort itself out.
J.J. Hardy will be coming off the disabled list on Tuesday, moving Robert Andino back to the bench. Andino wasn't exactly doing much for you anyway with only one RBI, one stolen base, and a home run during his time replacing Hardy in the ninth spot in the lineup. Hardy is a much more desirable fantasy player, though is still a very borderline option in most mixed leagues until he can show he is better than the .247 average he posted in his last two seasons in Minnesota. He will bat ninth in the lineup for now.