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In Some Depth: It's Getting Ugly

Ryan Eisner

Ryan Eisner

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

Welcome back to In Some Depth, the weekly tour of the league's depth charts and playing time situations. The fantasy maxim holds that talent trumps playing time, but in many leagues, playing time is often a scarce commodity. Often you need to find the least damaging option for your fifth outfielder, second catcher, or third middle infielder.

With only a half-dozen or so games in the books, there has not been much change since the end of spring training. But here are a few infield situations worth monitoring as we shake the cobwebs.

Without any further ado...

Baltimore 2B

Starter: Steve Lombardozzi
Next: Jonathan Schoop, Ryan Flaherty

It seems like the Orioles have been struggling to fill the second base spot ever since it became evident Brian Roberts could not stay healthy for more than a week at a time. The Orioles no longer have to worry about whether Roberts is returning to the lineup, but their options have not improved much. The Jim Johnson-Jemile Weeks trade yielded little resolution for the O's, as Weeks' unsurprising spring line (7-for-41 with nine strikeouts) resulted in the trade for Steve Lombardozzi. Lombardozzi appears to be the man at second, starting five of the Orioles' first seven games. Ryan Flaherty and and Jonathan Schoop were also kicked around during spring training, but they have been splitting time at third in place of the injured Manny Machado. Lombardozzi also has the ability to play other positions in the infield or outfield to stick in the lineup once Machado crowds the infield or if the O's decide to give Schoop more at-bats at second (assuming Schoop sticks on the major league roster).

Blue Jays SS

Starter: Jonathan Diaz
Next: Ryan Goins, Maicer Izturis
Injured: Jose Reyes

It took all of one at-bat for Jose Reyes to land on the 15-day DL with a hamstring issue. Most assumed Maicer Izturis would be the first to take over the position, but it looks like the Jays would prefer to keep him at second most days. That means Jonathan Diaz is now the 12th player to start at short for the Jays since the start of the 2011 season. Diaz showed little average or power in the minor leagues, but this is a team that allowed Munenori Kawasaki to play every day last year while Reyes was out. Diaz's glove should keep him in the lineup...at least until Reyes returns. Even then, Reyes is not known for his durability, so Diaz could be back at short before long.

Braves 2B

Starter: Dan Uggla
Next: Ramiro Pena
Lurking: Tommy La Stella, Tyler Pastornicky

Remember when Tommy La Stella was supposed to challenge Dan Uggla for the Braves' starting second base gig? A .941 OPS in the Grapefruit League from Uggla quickly dispensed of that position battle. But the performance has dropped a bit since the Braves went north, and Uggla has as many hits as strikeouts (five apiece) through 20 at-bats. While it's too early to draw too many conclusions, Uggla has enough of a track record to give me some pause that either La Stella may get a shot at some point, or Tyler Pastornicky could get an extended look once he's fully healthy again. Uggla is in line to make a bunch of money through 2016, but the already hobbled Braves figure to be in a tough NL East battle with the Nationals.

White Sox 2B

Starter: Marcus Semien
Next: Leury Garcia
Injured: Gordon Beckham (oblique)

Gordon Beckham injured his oblique in the middle of camp, and his recovery is currently up in the air. He began a minor league rehab stint last week, but his side flared up and he sat out the weekend. Marcus Semien has served as the team's primary second baseman in Beckham's stead, and the former is a somewhat intriguing product of the team's farm system. Semien had more walks than strikeouts in the minors last year on his way to a .401 OBP across three levels, but he has 31 strikeouts over 101 career MLB plate appearances (he debuted last September). Semien may be able to hold onto a utility role if he can re-discover his on-base skills. Otherwise, the backup job may remain Garcia's once Beckham returns.



Rangers C

Starter: J.P. Arencibia
Next: Robinson Chirinos
Injured: Geovany Soto

J.P. Arencibia is the Rangers' starting catcher. The Rangers do not want J.P. Arencibia to be their starting catcher. They do not appear to have much else of a choice, as Geovany Soto is down for the next two-to-three months, and the only other internal option is Robinson Chirinos. Arencibia's raw power could be intriguing in the Arlington summer, but his proclivity for strikeouts has him hitting ninth in the Rangers' lineup

Giants 2B

Starters: Ehire Adrianza, Joaquin Arias, Brandon Hicks
Injured: Marco Scutaro

When Marco Scutaro went down with injury, most assumed the Giants would go back to the same old well and plug Joaquin Arias in as their regular second baseman. Instead, Ehire Adrianza parlayed a strong spring into a platoon at second with Arias and Brandon Hicks. Adrianza slashed .310/.409/.441 for Triple-A Fresno last season, but that's the Pacific Coast League, and there is little else in his minor league resume to suggest he will hit consistently in San Francisco. Adrianza should see time against right-handed pitchers, while some mix of Arias and Hicks play against lefties.

Brewers 2B

Platoon: Scooter Gennett, Rickie Weeks

Rickie Weeks is one of a handful of Brewers making more than $10 million in 2014, but the club has shown no qualms in platooning him with Scooter Gennett. Good on the Brewers for trying to get one of their younger bats into lineup on a regular basis. Weeks had a fantastic spring, but he is now stuck on the short side of a straight right-left platoon. Avoiding lefties should help Gennett post a better average, but the lack of playing time could hurt Weeks' counting stats.