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In Some Depth: Seizing the Day

Ryan Eisner

Ryan Eisner

Ryan has been writing for Rotowire since 2007. He currently writes about baseball and covers the White Sox.

Tumult is on the horizon with the remainder of the Biogenesis suspensions looming and the non-waiver trade deadline finally arriving at mid-week. Both of those events will figure prominently into next week's In Some Depth. But this week, it is just your usual tour around the league's depth charts.

Without any further ado...

Angels RF
In the mix: Kole Calhoun, Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo, Brad Hawpe

Kole Calhoun figures to be the biggest beneficiary of playing time from Albert Pujols' absence for the foreseeable future. Sure Calhoun may not play first, and he may not DH that frequently, but the newly-created hole at DH should open up a spot in the outfield for him. Plus, it looks like the Angels may finally be giving up on the 2013 season (see: Scott Downs trade), so it will be more likely he receives at-bats than someone like Brad Hawpe. Calhoun had a 1.047 OPS in 59 games for Triple-A Salt Lake, but be cautious with your expectations for a 25-year-old coming out of the PCL.

Brewers LF
Starters: Caleb Gindl
Next: Logan Schafer, Khris Davis

Logan Schafer started 26 games in left field for the Brewers this season prior to Ryan Braun's suspension. So it seemed like a pretty safe bet he would serve as the team's primary left fielder moving forward. Instead, Caleb Gindl has been the man in left for five of the seven games in the post-Braun era. Gindl has hit well over that stretch (8-for-23, one home run, one steal), and he had a .849 OPS for Triple-A Nashville this season (albeit in his third trial at Triple-A).

Yankees 3B
Starter: Brent Lillibridge
Next: Eduardo Nunez, David Adams
Injured: Jayson Nix, Luis Cruz, Alex Rodriguez

Introducing the starting third baseman for your New York Yankees...Kevin Youkilis!...David Adams!...Jayson Nix!...Luis Cruz!...Chris Nelson!...Brent Lillibridge? The Yankees' travails at the hot corner continued this past week, as Lillibridge became the sixth man this season to start at least five games there. He enters Monday on a seven-game start streak, over which he has hit .185/.214/.222. His run should come to an end this upcoming week. Jayson Nix is expected back from the disabled list Tuesday, and his 95 plate appearances from the position rank second on the squad. Also, Eduardo Nunez may finally see some time at this spot now that Derek Jeter has reclaimed short. Lillibridge's sub-.220 OBP may convince manager Joe Girardi that even David Adams would be a wiser option.

Cubs LF
Starters: Junior Lake
Next: Cole Gillespie, Julio Borbon
Injured: Brian Bogusevic

Alfonso Soriano was finally traded from the Cubs this past week after spending nearly 6.5 years with the club. Junior Lake, who has roughly 6.5 days of experience in the big leagues, will replace him in left. Lake has started three of the five games since Soriano's departure, and he has shifted over to center in those other two games to cover for David DeJesus against left-handed starting pitching. Lake's “hit” tool was seen as a flaw as he was coming up through the Cubs' organization, so his 1-for-16 run over the past four games should not come as a huge surprise. He remains much more promising than Cole Gillespie, who has not had an extra-base hit in the majors since 2010. Brian Bogusevic could be a factor when he returns from the disabled list in August, and former top-100 prospect Brett Jackson could be up in September.

Giants LF
Starter: Jeff Francoeur
Next: Kenuske Tanaka, Gregor Blanco

I covered this situation last week, and dubbed it as a platoon between Jeff Francoeur and Kenuske Tanaka. Instead, it looks like the job is all Francoeur's, as he started the Giants' last six games, which includes three games against right-handed starting pitching. The move back to the National League has not salvaged Francoeur's slash line – he has hit a “robust” .200/.222/.229 since joining the Giants right before the All-Star break.

Marlins LF and CF
Starters: Christian Yelich, Jake Marisnick
Next: Justin Ruggiano, Juan Pierre
Injured: Chris Coghlan

I'll say this about the Marlins' management of their young players -- they may promote guys like Jose Fernandez, Marcell Ozuna, etc, too aggressively to the majors – but they play them once they get there. The same holds true for new arrivals Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick. Each has played complete games in their first six contests with the Marlins, while veterans like Justin Ruggiano and Juan Pierre have been limited to pinch hit duty. Yelich has held his own through his first week in the majors (7-for-25), but Marisnick has not (2-for-22), but both should be given the opportunity to stake their claim to an outfield spot for the remainder of the season.

Braves LF
Starter: Evan Gattis
Next: Reed Johnson, Joe Terdoslavich, Jose Constanza

The Braves have shuffled up their outfield with B.J. Upton (leg) on the disabled list. Jason Heyward has moved from right to center since returning from a hamstring injury, and Justin Upton has swung from left to right since coming back from a calf strain. That has opened up the door in left for Evan Gattis, where he has started eight straight games heading into the new week. The new defensive position has not had much of an impact on his bat, as he has hit .333/.355/.433 over the eight-game stretch in the outfield. He will likely head back to the bench once B.J. Upton returns from the disabled list (likely in the next two weeks), but he should have regular playing time (and catcher eligibility) until then.

Mariners C
Starter: Henry Blanco
Next: Humberto Quintero
Injured: Jeff Zunino, Jesus Sucre

Humberto Quintero started at catcher for the Mariners on Saturday, making him the seventh man this season to crouch behind the plate for the M's. That is the most of any major league team, and two more than the next closest team (the Phillies have used five catchers). How did they get here? Well Jesus Montero was not very good, Jesus Sucre hurt his hand, Brandon Bantz existed, Kelly Shoppach got DFA'd, and Mike Zunino broke his hand, which left the Mariners with Henry Blanco and Quintero as their two top options at catcher. The nearly 42-year-old Blanco figures to be the team's primary catcher for the next six weeks (the expected duration of Zunino's recovery), but you have to wonder how many innings his knees can handle in his 15th professional season.

Pirates RF
In the mix: Jose Tabata, Travis Snider, Josh Harrison, Garrett Jones

The Pirates gave Jose Tabata a shot at being their everyday right fielder. He started every game from July 3 through July 20 before a minor forearm injury curtailed his reign. However, he has gone 1-for-24 since the 14th, and the Pirates have begun to re-introduce guys like Travis Snider, Josh Harrison, and Garrett Jones to the corner outfield spot. As a whole, Pirates right fielders have posted the second-worst OPS of any spot on the team (their .650 OPS only outranks the shortstops' .576), and it would be a surprise if the club does not add a fresh face by Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline. If they do not, then Tabata will likely get another shot at everyday duty.