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In Some Depth: It's Raining Prospects!

Ryan Eisner

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

Itís raining buckets in Chicago as I write this, and itís raining prospects across the major leagues. Other articles/common sense should tell you to pick up the gameís elite minor leaguers as they transition to active rosters, so In Some Depth will not re-delve into those thought conversations. However, most of those prospects were recalled to fit a need on a somewhat competitive team, so I thought it would be useful to identify other needs on very competitive teams. Below are some of the teams with a more than a 50 percent chance of making the playoffs (according to FanGraphs on Monday afternoon), as well as each of those teamís weakest positions. Not all of those slots can be filled with Buxtons, Correas, or Lindors, but there may be some names of some use in deeper formats.

Without any further ado...

Dodgers (96.3 percent)
Shortstop


The Jimmy Rollins acquisition clearly has not worked out for the Dodgers, as they are currently receiving a .205/.267/.346 production from their shortstop position (and worse than that from Rollins himself). The production (or lack thereof) clearly has not affected the team too much, as they remain prohibitive favorites to make the postseason. Still, a team like this probably does not want to carry such a glaring weakness, especially with a bright spot like Corey Seager waiting to pounce at Triple-A Oklahoma City. If head honcho Andrew Friedman does not want to be that aggressive, they could use Hector Oliveraís promotion to push Justin Turner to short on a more regular basis.


Nationals (86.8 percent)
Left Field


Bryce Harper has made a ton of noise this season, but the other side of the Nationals outfield has put up a cool .595 OPS so far this season. The left field crew is led by Jayson Werthís shell and Michael Taylorís underwhelming five home run, five steal performance. Taylor is the most prospect-y of any of the Natsí outfield options, while former top-100 prospect Brian Goodwin has a .292 OBP for Double-A Harrisburg. Non-40 man roster guys at Triple-A Syracuse include former big leaguers Tony Gwynn Jr. and Darin Mastroianni.

Pirates (71.4 percent)
Shortstop


Two men have played short for the Pirates this season, Jordy Mercer (with his .293 slugging percentage) and Jung Ho Kang (with a .634 OPS in 20 games at the position). For a stretch in mid-May it looked like Kang might overwhelm Mercer, but the latter has held onto the position. Alen Hanson, who is already on the 40-man roster, has 17 steals as the starting second baseman at Triple-A Indianapolis and he has 369 games of minor league shortstop experience. Also on the 40-man roster are the less-ritzy Pedro Florimon and Gustavo Nunez.


Yankees (67 percent)
Second base


Second base has been a whole bunch of yuck for the Yankees this year. Stephen Drew has hit four home runs in the month of June, but the clubís second basemen as a whole have slashed .189/.245/.355 in 239 plate appearances this year. The hot streak likely earns Drew a little bit of leash, and Jose Pirela has played a minimal role since his May recall. Of greatest interest is probably Rob Refsnyder, who is not on the 40-man roster but has a .376 OBP in 135 career games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before his 25th birthday.

Cubs (62.1 percent)
Second Base


The Cubsí worst offensive position this year has been second base. That said, "worst" equals a .629 OPS, and Addison Russell has a .704 mark in his 45 games there. Russellís biggest competition at second would be Javier Baez, and he is out for the next while with a broken finger. Arismendy Alcantara has gone 11-for-12 on the basepaths at Triple-A since his April demotion.

Astros (57.8 percent)
Third Base


The Astros recently replaced their shortstop, but it has been the other position on that side of the infield that has been the "weak" link on the squad. Luis Valbuena has hit 14 home runs in 234 plate appearances, but as the style for the 2015 Astros, he has done little else at the plate besides hit home runs and strike out. The DLíd Jed Lowrie has not played third base since 2010, but he could conceivably be an option here once healthy, and Marwin Gonzalez should see more play here with Carlos Correa manning short. Colin Moran, who came to the Astrosí organization in the Jarred Cosart trade, has been banged up with a litany of injuries in 2015 and has been limited to 29 games.

Blue Jays (51.9 percent)
Center Field

The Blue Jays have leaned on Pillar more for his defense than his sub-.300 on-base percentage. Dalton Pompey, who struggled in the majors affter being named the Jaysí starting center fielder, hit a mere .209 in 102 plate appearances for Triple-A Buffalo before being doubly-demoted to Double-A New Hampshire (where he has finally hit well). Chris Dickerson is hanging around at Triple-A

Royals (50.1 percent)
Second Base


Omar Infante may be the leading vote getter in the AL second base race, but it is clearly a function of the jersey he wears rather than the bat he swings. Infante has been one of the leagueís worst everyday second basemen this season, posting a .219 OBP and 32:3 K:BB over his 200-ish plate appearances. Christian Colon is the clear No. 2 behind him, though he carries less cachet than his first round peers. Minor league names to monitor include Whit merrifield (.360 OBP, 15 steals for Triple-A Omaha) and Dusty Coleman (who may be more of an "org" guy, but had a .966 OPS for Double-A Northwest Arkansas before his promotion to Omaha).