Another week, another edition of In Some Depth. I took at look at weak links on playoff teams last week, but it's back to a tour of the league's depth chart for the current week.
Without any further ado...
Starter: Cody Asche
Next: Cesar Hernandez, Ronny Cedeno
In the minors: Maikel Franco
On the DL: Reid Brignac
Cody Asche returned from the disabled list Friday, and he immediately grabs the Phillies' starting third base gig. In other words, the Phillies were unable to find any other alternatives in his month on the disabled list. Reid Brignac filled in surprisingly well in Asche's stead, showing signs of 2010 with a .738 OPS, but he hit the disabled list with a rolled ankle. Maikel Franco was supposed to be a factor at some point this season, but his .209 average is among the worst in the International League. Things are not improving for Franco at Triple-A Lehigh Valley -- he owns a .168/.195/.271 slash line over his last 107 at-bats.
Starter: Josh Harrison
Next: Clint Barmes
On the mend: Neil Walker
Hat tip to RotoWire's John Toperzer for bringing the Pirates' roster jam to my attention. Neil Walker will return from an appendectomy this week, which will bounce the surprisingly effective Josh Harrison from a regular spot in the lineup. Harrison has slashed .342/.409/.474 in 10 games since taking over for Walker at second, but obviously Walker will take over the keystone on a regular basis. There is no room for Harrison in the outfield now that Gregory Polanco is in Steel City, and Pedro Alvarez is not going anywhere even though he has only put up mortal power numbers to this point. So it looks like Harrison is bound for some sort of uber utility role.
Starter: Joe Panik
Next: Brandon Hicks, Ehire Adrianza
On the DL: Marco Scutaro
I will give myself a little pat on the back for mentioning Panik's name in my “weak links” column last week. Second base has been an offensive hole for the Giants this season, so they have turned to their top pick from the 2011 draft. Panik showed little power or speed over his 410 minor league games, but he hardly strikes out (lifetime 9.8 percent strikeout rate), hits lefties well (.359 average against them in 72 plate appearances this season), and gets on base (.382 OBP this season). The Giants will likely play Panik as much as possible over the next month or so before deciding whether they need to look outside the organization to help at the position.
Starter: Tommy Medica
Next: Yasmani Grandal, Seth Smith
On the DL: Yonder Alonso
Yonder Alonso hit the disabled list late last week with wrist tendinitis, and it will be interesting to hear if the injury has had any role in his season-long struggles. Alonso should have been primed for a breakout in his age-27 season, and instead he was on a career-worst pace. Tommy Medica should be the primary man to step in at first while Alonso is out, and there is some promise with the .202 ISO he has hit in limited time this season. Yasmani Grandal should also nab some starts at first, and the Padres may throw a spare outfielder, like Seth Smith or Carlos Quentin, here from time to time.