Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Position Uncertainty AL

These positions will have competition, platoons, new eligibility for players and a chance for someone to shine. From these positions we might find the next Drew Stubbs (not a starter on Opening Day 2010) or Ryan Rayburn who started at 5 different positions last year. These will not be players I am endorsing or expecting you to draft but ones who should be on your radar or watch list. We all know that once someone is given that chance at starting they may never look back. We will revisit this post through spring training and keep a dynamic perspective about each position. Today the American League.
Toronto-3B: The Jays have of course Edwin Encarnación and José Bautista to man the position.
Tampa Bay-1B: Currently the Rays have Dan Johnson penciled in on the depth chart. He has both 1B and 3B eligibility and hits from the left side. Super utility man Ben Zobrist could see time at first as well but will man 2B and RF. The loser of the most playing time will be Sean Rodriguez.
Boston –SS: Jed Lowrie views himself as an everyday shortstop, and with his performance during the final two months of last season, he may have a case. But the Red Sox value his versatility as a switch-hitter capable of playing every infield position. Marco Scutoro could be sent away via trade sometime soon.
New York-RF: Curtis Granderson has a strained oblique and may miss the start of the season. If so pencil in Andruw Jones.
Baltimore-LF: Luke Scott has the opening day job but has to continue to fend off both Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie.
Chicago-3B: Three players are still vying for time at this one position. Though Brent Morel has been given the opening day start he still could be a liability on offense. The ageless Omar Vizquel & steady Mark Teahen will both be on this team out of spring training and could slide into the 3B job by early May.
Cleveland-OF: While it's expected that Grady  Sizemore will begin the season on the disabled list, club officials are hopeful he will be activated at some point in the early weeks of the season.  Then there is Michael Brantley who hits from the left and has speed and will start in CF in Sizemores absence. Look for Austin Kearns to starting in left and then platoon with Brantley after Sizemore returns.
Detroit-LF&2B: The Motorcity has two super utility guys, Don Kelly has 1B, 3B and OF eligibility while hitting from the left side and Ryan Raburn with 2B and OF eligibility hitting from the right. Raburn will get the nod in left and Will Rhymes will start at 2B until Carlos Guillén returns from injury. This could change with Rayburn moving back to 2B if Rhymes falters.
Kansas City-All 3 OF: The Royals will keep 5 OF. Melky Cabrera whose spring batting average is .500 (22-for-44) has secured the starting spot over Lorenzo Cain. The others:  Alex Gordon, Gregor Blanco, Mitch Maier, and Jeff Francoeur will battle for time. It is a make or break April/May for Gordon…produce or be banished.
Minnesota-SS: With the departure of J.J. Hardy to Baltimore the door is was open between switch hitting Alexi Casilla and former 1st round pick Trevor Plouffe. The door slammed quickly on Plouffe. Japanese hitting champ Tsuyoshi Nishioka will be the opening day 2B while batting 2nd.
Angels-3B: Does Brandon Wood ever meet his potential or do they revert back to the ex-Royal Alberto Callaspo at 3B? Wood was also considered as a fill in until Kendrys returns but that has been put on hold due to the fantastic and powerful spring of Mark Trumbo.
Oakland-INF: They have Mark Ellis who has only twice played in more than 120 games in his career or lefty hitting Eric Sogard. The utility infielder could see 2-3 starts a week and Adam Rosales should be considered too. With his multi-position eligibility he is a good one to keep on your radar in daily H2H leagues.
Seattle-2B: A good battle brewing for the opening day start here. There is super prospect Dustin Ackley has freakish power for his size and the newly acquired Brendan Ryan has the early nod.
Texas-DH: The DH in Arlington could change daily as long as Michael Young is still on the team. Include Mike Napoli and Taylor Teagarden in the mix too.

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