The All-Star Break is over and the second half of the season is upon us. Some major league managers have used the time off to tinker with their lineups a bit, and teams are beginning to establish themselves as sellers and featuring certain players as trade bait for the upcoming deadline. We'll take a look at some of these situations popping up around the league in this edition of Line 'Em Up.
Milwaukee made some big changes to its lineup by shifting Rickie Weeks into the fifth spot behind Prince Fielder and putting Corey Hart in the leadoff spot. Owners of Weeks must be distraught and confused, as their second baseman will lose an extra at-bat a game along with some stolen base opportunities with the move. The likely bet is that this arrangement won't last though, as it really doesn't make sense to slot one of the team's fastest players in the middle of the lineup while having Mark Kotsay bat third with Ryan Braun out of the lineup.
An ideal lineup for all involved would be putting Nyjer Morgan and his hot bat (.352 average this month) in the leadoff spot with Weeks hitting second to utilize his power numbers a bit more. A 2-3-4 of Weeks, Braun, and Fielder would be extremely formidable for opposing pitching staffs.
Dexter Fowler is back in a Colorado Rockies uniform after playing well for Triple-A Colorado Springs. It's pretty tough to gauge his value from a lineup spot-perspective right now, as he has batted first, seventh, second, and eighth in his first four games, in that order. He recorded one double and a stolen base in his first game but that is it entering Monday night's contest. He figures to help the Rockies defensively but fantasy leaguers should take a wait-and-see approach before deciding whether he can help their squad.
After posting a .306/.427/.579 this season at Triple-A Reno, the Arizona Diamondbacks called up Brandon Allen to replace the struggling Juan Miranda at first base. He will bat primarily against right-handers with Xavier Nady getting the call against southpaws. He has shown a decent power stroke this season, hitting 18 home runs over 377 at-bats in the minors and could contribute eight home runs or more during the second half. Deep mixed leaguers should monitor how the 25-year-old performs as he could be worth a pickup if he plays well. He did hit his first home run over the weekend.
Andy Dirks has taken over at the top of the Detroit lineup since Austin Jackson sustained a wrist injury right before the All-Star Break. He has batted well since being called up, posting a .746 OPS while belting six home runs. Now he has the opportunity to provide some extra value for AL-only leaguers in the top spot while Austin Jackson continues to recover from his wrist injury.
In other Tigers news, Carlos Guillen is back from the disabled list, batting seventh. This kills most of Ryan Raburn's value for the time being as he becomes a part-time player once again.