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In Some Depth: Rangers Shuffle

Carson Cistulli

Carson Cistulli writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

This is In Some Depth -- RotoWire's weekly look at depth charts around the major leagues and how they can spell victory (with either a capital- or lower case-V, it's your choice) for the fantasy owner.

In this edition of In Some Depth, you will almost definitely find:

1. A total omission of the words Eric Hosmer, because, duh, go pick up Eric Hosmer.

2. Serious question marks about Ian Stewart and Miguel Tejada.

3. Serious other sorts of punctuation, too.

Now, enjoy:

Team: Texas Rangers
Position: First Base, Right Field
Players: Craig Gentry, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli
Notes: Nelson Cruz went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 4, making him eligible to come off May 19th. The most interesting outcome of this situation concerns Mitch Moreland. Slashing .289/.373/.526, the 25-year-old Moreland figures to get the majority of the right-field starts in Cruz's absence. That will easily take him over the 20-game threshold at the position (he's at 17 games in RF as of press time). Craig Gentry, the player recalled to fill Cruz's place started in right field Sunday against CC Sabathia, and shifted over to center field later on. He could steal bases with regular playing time, but he's unlikely to receive that.

Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: Shortstop
Players: Mike Fontenot, ???
Notes: Including Sunday, Fontenot has now played nine consecutive games at short for the Giants. That's not necessarily how I saw this situation (i.e. the Pablo Sandoval Injury Situation) unfolding. But Fontenot has also batted .333/.441/.667 with only three strikeouts over 34 plate appearances in that span. Does that represent Fontenot's true-talent level? No. Will it likely persuade manager Bruce Bochy to continue playing Fontenot? Yes, almost definitely. RotoWire projected him to slash .266/.325/.385 before the season. With regular playing time, he could hit a little better than that -- but only a little. In other words: he's fine, but he's not a cure-all.

Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: Third Base
Players: Mark DeRosa, Conor Gillaspie, Ryan Rohlinger, Miguel Tejada
Notes: For as well as Mike Fontenot has been hitting since Pablo Sandoval's injury, that's how poorly Miguel Tejada has been hitting. (Actually, if you want to get technical, Tejada's been worse: per Win Probability Added, Fontenot's been worth 0.507 wins; Tejada, -0.609.) Tejada's line since April 30th (not including Sunday) is .161/.188/.161. Again, this isn't to say he's a true-talent .349 OPS hitter, but rather to say that manager Bruce Bochy might begin looking for other options at third. The most sensical one is Mark DeRosa, set to return to the club on Tuesday, although if I had my druthers, it'd be minor-leaguer Conor Gillaspie. Gillaspie probably will never be a superstar, but he understands the strike zone and can make contact.

Team: Cincinnati Reds
Position: Third Base
Players: Miguel Cairo, Juan Francisco, Scott Rolen
Notes: For the fantasy owner, Miguel Cairo is an exercise in uninteresting. He has no power. No speed. Decent contact skills, sure, but not exceptional. In some ways, Juan Francisco is the total opposite. Tons of power. Upside, generally. As a reference, consider this: the 24-year-old Francisco has more home runs in his last two minor-league seasons than Cairo has in all the 4021 plate appearances of his major-league career. Francisco is currently rehabbing from a calf injury but should return mid-week, it appears. If Dusty Baker for some reason announces that he'll serve as Scott Rolen's (shoulder) replacement in lieu of Cairo, do consider him.

Team: Colorado Rockies
Position: Third Base
Players: Jose Lopez, Ian Stewart
Notes: Entering play Sunday, Ian Stewart was striking out in 42.1% of his at-bats. Here's a list of non-pitchers from 2010 with (a) a 42.1% strikeout rate and (b) more than 50 plate appearances: Ryan Langerhans (132 PA, 47.7 K%), Kyle Blanks (120, 45.1 K%), Kelly Shoppach (187, 45.1 K%), Brandon Allen (56, 44.4 K%), Mark Reynolds (596, 42.3 K%). Of those batters, here's how many batted over .200: one. (It was Allen, who batted .267 with a .440 BABIP.) Stewart could regress to his career rate of 32.4%, but even that is quite high. The Rockies obviously recalled Stewart from Triple-A with the intention of giving him at-bats. Still, I'll advocate on behalf of Jose Lopez, who (a) could hit for excellent power in Coors and (b) could very well qualify at MI in some leagues.

Team: New York Mets
Position: Starting Pitchers
Players: Dillon Gee, Pat Misch, Chris Young
Notes: Gee was forced into starting Saturday when Chris Young was scratched as he was unable to get loose. Now Young is on the DL with shoulder stiffness and there's a starting spot open in the Mets rotation. Gee's the most likely candidate, but isn't what you'd called "any great shakes." Misch is better at baseball than I, personally, am, but that's damning with faintest possible praise. The numbers says that somebody named Chris Schwinden is currently the team's best pitcher at Triple-A, with 25 strikeouts and nine walks in 27 innings. Maybe hold off on your overwhelming desire to go and pick up Chris Schwinden, though.

Team: Washington Nationals
Position: Center Field
Players: Rick Ankiel, Rogearvin Bernadina
Notes: The Nationals recalled Bernadina from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday, after placing Ankiel on the DL with a wrist injury. In terms of fantasy value, Bernadina's basically worth exactly the same, giving up something in power but getting it back in terms of speed. Bernadina might actually have an advantage, in that he's currently in his age-27 season and could therefore have some developing left to do.

Team: Boston Red Sox
Position: Shortstop
Players: Jose Iglesias, Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro
Notes: There was a lot of excitement Sunday over the promotion of the 21-year-old Iglesias from Triple-A Pawtucket -- a move corresponding to the placement by the Red Sox of shortstop Marco Scutaro on the DL with a rib cage injury. A look at Iglesias's offensive numbers -- his 2:17 BB:K ratio, for example -- should give you an idea of how/why he's made his way to the majors. (For his glove -- in case you didn't get that.) All this, of course, is excellent news for Jed Lowrie owners, as now Scutaro's (temporarily) out of the way and his replacement (Iglesias) poses little threat for playing time. Up till Sunday, Scutaro and Lowrie has split shortstop duties as evenly as possible (17 starts for the former, 16 for the latter). Now Lowrie should have a couple weeks with the job all to himself.

Team: Minnesota Twins
Position: Left Field
Players: Ben Revere, Rene Tosoni, Delmon Young
Notes: The news out of Minneapolis is that Young will likely begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday, which would put his most likely date of return at Friday or so. That's fine. The strange/disappointing thing here is that the Twins haven't been more aggressive in trying to get plate appearances for prospect Ben Revere. Recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday, Revere's only made two starts so far, with Tosoni taking the remainder of the games. With a contact-heavy approach and excellent speed, Revere could still provide some very short term returns. Mostly, though, it might be best to use this period to scout him, as he'll likely be returning to Triple-A for a while after Young comes back.

Team: Detroit Tigers
Position: Second Base
Players: Carlos Guillen, Will Rhymes, Scott Sizemore
Notes: When you talk about Carson Cistulli, you're talking about a guy who's not really that excited about Scott Sizemore. About a minor-leaguer, I'm usually asking myself "Does he have power?" and "What're his contact skills like?" There are other considerations, obviously, but those are the first two. Unfortunately, Sizemore has no real power, nor does he possess excellent contact skills. A lot of fantasy owners are probably pretty excited by his .408/.495/.605 slash line at Triple-A to start the season, but that's almost entirely propped up by a crazy .518 BABIP. If you have him, trade him. Trade him twice, if possible.