This article is part of our In Some Depth series.
Well, another week of baseball, and another dozen injuries have wreaked havoc on your fantasy baseball roster. Rather than repeat the news and run through all of those injuries and subsequent ramifications, here are a few other playing time situations of interest.
Without any further ado...
I made my first ever trip to Yankee Stadium this past week and caught the third game of the Orioles-Yankees series. One of my big takeaways (other than that I could get a Goose Island IPA for about the same price as a Bud Light), was that Derek Jeter looks old. His throw from deep in the hole barely beat the runner at first, and he was asked to bunt in a key situation late rather than swing away. Jeter has already received three days off, and we may see more as the season wears on. Not only may resting Jeter help keep him healthy (and apparently he is not already), but it might help keep the Yankees afloat in a competitive AL East. The 27-year-old rookie Dean Anna, appears to be the No. 2 of choice in the middle. The cooling phenom Yangervis Solarte only played 30 games of short over his 600+ game minor league career, but 20 of those games came in 2013. He could also be in the mix to play short when Jeter sits. Kelly Johnson has never played shortstop in his major league career, but he had never played third base prior to last season either.
Josh Wilson started at second base for three of the Rangers' first five games, but it has been the Donnie Murphy show here ever since. Wilson had been called on to cover third more often in the wake of Adrian Beltre's quad injury, but Kevin Kouzmanoff's arrival from Triple-A should make Wilson available to play second. Murphy hit 11 home runs in part-time duty for the Cubs, but power had not been much of his skill set before 2013. Wilson was once renowned for his glove, but that was three years (and three clubs) ago. Remember when the Rangers were spoiled for choice between Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, and Jurickson Profar? Speaking of Profar, we're still looking at a return sometime near the All-Star break. Rougned Odor's name got tossed around a bit on the internet after Profar got hurt, but I do not see him in Arlington this season.
White Sox 3B
Conor Gillaspie served as the White Sox's starting third baseman for nearly two-thirds of 2013 (albeit uninspiredly), but he still needed a few things to break right in spring training to re-earn the spot for 2014. Jeff Keppinger's recovery from October shoulder surgery has taken longer than anticipated, and it was determined new arrival Matt Davidson needed some more reps in Triple-A to work on his plate discipline. So Gillaspie got the job, and he has since tallied a hit in 11 straight games to start the season. Even more intriguing is the fact that he is hitting third in the lineup, in lieu of more experienced or venerated bats. Still, the team will likely have no issue placing him into a platoon once Keppinger is healthy, or into a bench role once Davidson is deemed ready (likely early in the summer).
A.J. Ellis was among the laundry list of players to hit the disabled list in the past week, sidelined for four-to-six weeks after undergoing surgery on his left knee on April 8. His departure leaves the majors' "best" team with two sub-par options behind the plate - Tim Federowicz and Drew Butera. I would be surprised if either is able to post a .280 OBP while Ellis is out. Federowicz was the team's catcher of choice for the past week, starting four of the team's six games. So he may be your guy if you need a warm body for your catcher spot. It is worth noting that Miguel Olivo currently plays for the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque, and he may be in the picture if Ellis' recovery takes longer than expected.
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The Astros missed out on Jose Abreu and prospect Jonathan Singleton is not quite ready, so they have started the season with three guys at first. Essentially, it is a two-man platoon between Marc Krauss and Jesus Guzman, and Chris Carter intrudes when manager Bo Porter wants to utilize the DH slot for another player. It seems to be a traditional handedness platoon with Krauss as the left-handed bat and Guzman the right. Singleton is off to a quick start at Triple-A Oklahoma City (three home runs and seven walks in nine games), so he could be in Houston sooner rather than later.
The good news? The once-prodigious power prospect Mike Olt has two home runs through his first 24 at-bats. The bad news? Olt only has four hits and one walk besides those two home runs. The lack of hits has Luis Valbuena gaining more steam in a situation that Olt could very well own. Instead, the two are in essentially a 50-50 split that depends on the situation rather than the opposing pitcher's handedness. NL hit and stolen-base leader Emilio Bonifacio has played a few innings of third base as a defensive replacement in the season's first two weeks, but he should be in line for a few starts as well. Top prospect Javier Baez has gotten off to a slow start at Triple-A Iowa (and is now on the 7-day DL with an ankle sprain), but he could be in the Chicago infield in June.
The Mariners started an outfield of Dustin Ackley, Abraham Almonte, and Michael Saunders on Opening Day. Of the three, I would have thought Saunders to be the safest bet, with 31 home runs and 34 steals over the past two seasons. Instead, he has made as many starts in right as Logan Morrison, and Stefan Romero has started five of the Mariners' first 11 games. None of the three have done anything exciting through the season's first two weeks (a collective .179/.214/.231 line through Saturday), so the first to hit could get the lion's share of the playing time.
Most teams are scrambling to find replacements as their star players land on the disabled list, but the Indians face the opposite problem in center field. Michael Bourn is due to return from a hamstring strain Tuesday, which means they will need to figure out what to do with Nyjer Morgan, who has served as the team's center fielder against right-handed starters and has been one of the team's hotter hitters (.484 OBP, three steals in three attempts). He could hang around as a left-handed bat and pinch-runner, but that would leave the team with five outfielders.