In Some Depth: Out of Left Field

In Some Depth: Out of Left Field

This article is part of our In Some Depth series.

Well, we made it past Memorial Day. Summer has unofficially started, and there should be more churn in team's depth charts as struggling teams start to put pieces on the market, slow-slumps turn into platoons, and another wave of prospects make the 25-man. But for now, I'll take a look at a few outfield situations (and one catcher conundrum).

Without any further ado...

Diamondbacks C

Starter: Tuffy Gosewisch
Next: Jordan Pacheco
In the minors: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Peter O'Brien

The Diamdondbacks may have a more interesting catching situation at Triple-A Reno than they do at the major league level. Tuffy Gosewisch remains the starting catcher for the Diamondbacks. He hit his first home run of the season over the holiday weekend, but he was still slugging just over .300 through his first 120+ plate appearances of the season. Jordan Pacheco has settled into a role in which he starts two or three times per week, which has him on a pace to set a career-high in catching starts for the former Rockies corner infielder. The more interesting names are in Reno, where newcomer Jarrod Saltalamacchia has struggled in his first seven games (one home run, but a .512 OPS in 31 plate appearances). Peter O'Brien has the best stat line of the four names mentioned thus far. Despite the Diamondbacks' insistence that he would only play the outfield this season, he has made eight starts at catcher during the month of May.

Rockies LF

In the mix: Ben Paulsen,

Well, we made it past Memorial Day. Summer has unofficially started, and there should be more churn in team's depth charts as struggling teams start to put pieces on the market, slow-slumps turn into platoons, and another wave of prospects make the 25-man. But for now, I'll take a look at a few outfield situations (and one catcher conundrum).

Without any further ado...

Diamondbacks C

Starter: Tuffy Gosewisch
Next: Jordan Pacheco
In the minors: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Peter O'Brien

The Diamdondbacks may have a more interesting catching situation at Triple-A Reno than they do at the major league level. Tuffy Gosewisch remains the starting catcher for the Diamondbacks. He hit his first home run of the season over the holiday weekend, but he was still slugging just over .300 through his first 120+ plate appearances of the season. Jordan Pacheco has settled into a role in which he starts two or three times per week, which has him on a pace to set a career-high in catching starts for the former Rockies corner infielder. The more interesting names are in Reno, where newcomer Jarrod Saltalamacchia has struggled in his first seven games (one home run, but a .512 OPS in 31 plate appearances). Peter O'Brien has the best stat line of the four names mentioned thus far. Despite the Diamondbacks' insistence that he would only play the outfield this season, he has made eight starts at catcher during the month of May.

Rockies LF

In the mix: Ben Paulsen, Brandon Barnes, Rafael Ynoa
In the minors: Drew Stubbs
On the DL: Corey Dickerson

It looked like Corey Dickerson's placement on the DL would finally present an opportunity for Drew Stubbs to right his season-starting slump with some regular at-bats. Instead, the team shuttled him to Triple-A Albuquerque to try to help him escape a funk that has seen him hit below .120 through 51 at-bats. Hence, playing time has primarily gone to Ben Paulsen, Rafael Ynoa, and the freshly-recalled Brandon Barnes. Paulsen will likely see the greatest number of at-bats of the three, since he is splitting his time between the outfield and first base. Barnes has had an excellent first week back in the majors (8-for-13 with three doubles in six games), and he may also see time at the other outfield slots.

Nationals LF

In the mix: Michael Taylor, Clint Robinson, Tyler Moore
On the DL: Jayson Werth

As in the Drew Stubbs/Corey Dickerson situation discussed above, it looked like Michael Taylor would benefit in Washington with Jayson Werth on the disabled list. Afterall, Taylor had an .814 OPS, two home runs, and two steals while subbing for Denard Span in April. Instead, Taylor has split starts in left field with Tyler Moore and Clint Robinson. Taylor's four starts in left lead the Werth-less Nationals, but Robinson and Moore have made two each. Werth could be back from the DL in a week's time, and it does not seem like the Nationals are too committed to supplying Taylor with much playing time when the team's regular outfielders are at full health.

Rangers OF

In the mix: Shin-Soo Choo, Josh Hamilton, Delino DeShields Jr., Leonys Martin, Jake Smolinski

Josh Hamilton made his return to the Rangers' lineup Monday in Cleveland, posing manager Jeff Banister with something of a conundrum. Delino DeShields has been one of the pleasant surprises this season for the Rangers, hitting .280 with 20 runs scored and 11 steals in fewer than 100 plate appearances. However, his playing time was in question with a healthy Prince Fielder making the DH slot unavailable to Hamilton or Shin-Soo Choo. Banister painted a picture before Monday's game of Hamilton and Choo starting regularly, with Leonys Martin splitting time in left while also spelling the other two outfield slots. So Deshields won't see the bench on a permanent basis, but it also appears as if he is due for a downturn in playing time.

Astros LF

In the mix: Preston Tucker, Colby Rasmus
In the minors: Robbie Grossman

Preston Tucker hit two home runs in the Astros' recent series against the Tigers, but he appears to be no closer to usurping Colby Rasmus for the team's everyday left field role. The two have been splitting the job ever since Robbie Grossman was optioned to Triple-A. Rasmus has remained in the lineup despite a sub-.300 OBP due to his plus-defense and a .500 slugging percentage. Rasmus has also seen some time subbing in center, but he does not shift over there often enough to increase Tucker's playing time by a noticeable amount.

Angels No. 1
Erick Aybar

Erick Aybar and Kole Calhoun have been trading stints at the top of the Angels' lineup for much of the season. Aybar is back in the leadoff spot for now, as he has hit leadoff for eight straight games. Aybar only has a .277 OBP in his 66 plate appearances from the leadoff spot, so he may tag out for someone else soon.

Braves No. 2
Cameron Maybin

Welcome back, Cameron Maybin. Maybin has not only been playing regularly for the Braves, but he has also replaced Andrelton Simmons as the team's No. 2 batter. He saw a nine-game hit streak end Monday, but he has swung a very solid bat in the month of May (20-for-68 with 12 runs scored and a 12:10 K:BB). That should be good enough to keep him in the top-third of the lineup ahead of Simmons, who has a sub-.400 OPS over the past two weeks.

Reds No. 1
Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart

After 36 games, the Reds demoted Billy Hamilton to the bottom-third of the order. Makes sense, given his OBP in the neighborhood of .250. Zach Cozart hit leadoff for the first four games of the post-Hamilton era, but Brandon Phillips has hit first for the past four. It would certainly be a change in role profile for Phillips, who had been the team's cleanup man and has not hit leadfoff with any regularity since 2012.

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