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In Some Depth: Murphy's Law

Carson Cistulli

Carson Cistulli writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

You are a fantasy owner trying to dominate his league.

This is an article designed to facilitate said domination.

Specifically, it's an article that outlines 10 notable depth-chart situations and which attempts to explore the potential value in same.

It's pretty much what you'd call a "must read" article.


Team: New York Mets
Position: Second Base
Players: Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner
Notes: Although it wasn't obvious that things would work this way after the Mets DFA'd Brad Emaus, it appears as though the two other options for New York at second -- i.e. Murphy and Turner -- have settled into a platoon for the time being. Since Emaus's departure, the Mets have faced four left-handed starters (including the Sunday night game against Cliff Lee), and Turner has started three of those four. Murphy, meanwhile, has started against every righy. The lefty-righty platoon is the enemy of the fantasy owner.

Team: New York Mets
Position: Center Field
Players: Scott Hairston, Willie Harris, Jason Pridie
Notes: Injured starter Angel Pagan won't be eligible to come off the DL until the end of the week. In the meantime, we have this triumvirate in his (i.e. Pagan's) place. Pridie's probably the most interesting, if only because he's the least well-known of these underwhelming commodities. In the nine games since Pagan's last start, Pridie has started six games; Hairston, two; and Harris, one. Though he's had some success stealing bases in the minor leagues, Pridie's bat is sub-par both in terms of power and plate discipline.

Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: Shortstop, Third Base
Players: Mike Fontenot, Ryan Rohlinger, Pablo Sandoval, Miguel Tejada
Notes: Pablo Sandoval broke his hamate bone on Friday, an injury which early reports suggest will keep the third baseman out for four-to-six weeks. In the two games since Sandoval's injury -- against lefty John Lannan and righty Jordan Zimmermann, respectively -- Miguel Tejada has replaced Sandoval at third, with Mike Fontenot starting at shortstop both times. It's not clear, however, that this arrangement will last. For one thing, the Giants recalled Ryan Rohlinger, who's seen time at second, third, and short at Triple-A this season. For another thing, Tejada's gotten off to a rough start, slashing .216/.253/.307 through his first 95 plate appearances. Tejada's .222 BABIP is likely to ascend, bringing Tejada's other numbers with it. Still, Tejada is unlikely to produce the requisite offense for third. The most interesting development would be to see 23-year-old third baseman Conor Gillaspie promoted from Triple-A Fresno. Though not a power threat, Gillaspie has an idea at the plate -- a positive indicator for future success.

Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Position: Designated Hitter
Players: David Cooper
Notes: Jayson Nix, who played in 17 of the Blue Jays' first 19 games -- most of them at third base -- was placed on the DL a little over a week ago now with a shin contusion. A day after Nix went to the DL, so did second baseman Aaron Hill. As a result, the Blue Jays were faced with two holes in the starting infield. The solution? It was an interesting one: put uber-utilityman John McDonald at second, move Edwin Encarnacion from DH to third, and promote David Cooper from Triple-A Las Vegas to take over the DH role. The 24-year-old Cooper may lack value owing to the fact that he's unlikely to qualify anywhere but a utility spot. Still, as a 23-year-old in Double-A last season, he hit 20 homers in a mostly neutral park and posted decent plate-discipline numbers. For owners needing to fill a utility spot for a week, Cooper may not be the worst decision -- especially for that fact that he has something like upside.

Team: Minnesota Twins
Position: Left Field
Players: Rene Tosoni, Delmon Young
Notes: Including play on Sunday, Tosoni has started the last five games in left for the Twins -- odd, seeing as it appeared that Jason Kubel and Jim Thome would benefit. Thing is, Thome had some oblique problems in the interim, thus opening up time for the 24-year-old Tosoni. Tosoni's no great shakes, possessing nothing impressive in terms of either power or contact ability. Young should return this week, too, greatly diminishing whatever value Tosoni could've had anyway.

Team: Los Angeles Angels
Position: Middle Infield
Players: Alexi Amarista
Notes: Amarista seems to've drawn some attention by virtue of the .455/.483/.673 slash-line he posted through his first 61 plate appearances at Triple-A this season -- a performance which likely aided in his promotion last week. Fantasy owners should take care not to be seduced by the seemingly impressive numbers. For one thing, Amarista's totally unsustainable .489 BABIP is the thing largely responsible for the infielder's hot start. His plate-discipline numbers (4 BB, 7 K) don't suggest that Amarista' anything particularly special. For another thing, Salt Lake City, where Amarista was playing, greatly inflates offense, anyway. Finally, there's the issue of where Amarista could play. In three of the last five games, Howie Kendrick has actually shifted over to first, sending Mark Trumbo to the bench. Even if that continues -- which, it likely won't -- Amarista isn't a player on whom one should reach.

Team: Cleveland Indians
Position: Designated Hitter
Players: Shelley Duncan, Travis Hafner
Notes: The first 20 or so games of Travis Hafner's season have gone about as well as one could hope, seeing the DH hit .342/.393/.566, which, even for the unsustainable BABIP, appears to be just as much the product of restored health in his shoulder. Unfortuantely, he now has a strained tendon on the surface of his right foot. The club maintains (as of press time) that Hafner's not headed for the DL, but that remains to be seen. In the meantime, Shelley Duncan has played three of four games at DH, with Matt LaPorta taking the fourth. Duncan's not a particularly exciting player; he's got decent power, but the contact rates are too low. It's unlikely that, with the exception of prospect Lonnie Chisenhall, any other Double- or Triple-A player would be worthy of an add.

Team: Baltimore Orioles
Position: Shortstop
Players: Robert Andino, J.J. Hardy
Notes: Robert Andino has spent much of the past three weeks producing very much unlike Robert Andino, slashing .348/.412/.435 in place of the injured J.J. Hardy. Thing is, Andino's also got a .417 BABIP. More telling of his offensive true-talent is his career line of .238/.289/.330. Also, Hardy's due to return later this week after a brief rehab stint. Avoid Andino, is the point.

Team: Colorado Rockies
Position: Third Base
Players: Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton
Notes: Jose Lopez has now started six consecutive games at third base -- which, that'd be good news if he were earning the time via excellent play and not because Ty Wigginton has been sitting out with an oblique strain. Lopez's numbers are horrid right now, although much of that has to be attributed to his .153 BABIP. I still think Lopez will end up being a valuable player should he end up with regular time. If it turns out that Wigginton goes to the DL, then getting Lopez for almost nothing would be a good move -- provided it was clear he'd be getting the job in the short term.

Team: Houston Astros
Position: Shortstop
Players: Clint Barmes, Angel Sanchez
Notes: Sanchez somehow maintained a .300-plus batting average through 100 plate appearances. Were the Astros to give him 100 more, he'd be unlikely to repeat the feat. He's unlikely to even get a chance, however, as starter Clint Barmes has just returned from injury. In reality, Barmes isn't a better offensive player than Sanchez, for whatever he gains in power, he loses in plate discipline. Either player is capable of ruining your fantasy team, though. Avoid both.