Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Position Uncertainty NL

These positions will have competition, platoons, new eligibility for players and a chance for someone to shine.  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.


Atlanta-1B: The highly touted 21 year old rookie
Freddie Freeman or the highly average (yes, I have decided someone can be highly average) Eric Hinske for the 1B job has been won by Freeman.

Florida-CF: The Marlins have given the early nod to
Chris Coghlan and his surgically repaired left knee over Scott Cousins. Look for either Infante or Coghlan to bat lead-off.
NY Mets-RF & 2B: Carlos Beltrán has been troubled not only by the surgically repaired right knee that cost him most of last season, but by an arthritic left knee, too. Look for Scott Hairston or Lucas Duda to be the opening day RF. Now that Castillo is gone look for Brad Emaus to get the early nod and 2B.

Washington-CF: It sure sounds like the Nationals could be considering optioning both Nyjer Morgan and Roger Bernadina to Class AAA Syracuse, which would mean the Nationals feel like Rick Ankiel, Jerry Hairston and Laynce Nix will give them enough in center field to be without Morgan and Bernadina.


Chicago-2B & 5th SP: In Chicago you have the light hitting
Blake DeWitt or the lighter hitting Darwin Barney challenging Jeff Baker at 2B. Throw I fan favorite Augie Ojeda just to make it more interesting. It is still up in the air as to who wins the fifth spot between young fireballer Andrew Cashner and veteran Carlos Silva.

Cincinnati-SS: The Reds signing of, multiple WS MVP,
Édgar Rentería should not have the edge over slick fielding Paul Janish. Instead he is good insurance over the often injured Scot Rolen.

Jason Castro‘s season-ending knee injury leaves the Astros with career-long backup Humberto Quintero and prospect bust J.R. Towles atop the catching depth chart. Not much fantasy value in either. Keep alert of any trades for a true frontline catcher.

Brewers-CF: With top prospect Lorenzo Cain moving to the Royals in the Greinke trade The Brew Crew is left with incumbent  
Carlos Gómez and recently acquired from the Reds Chris Dickerson.

Pittsburgh-RF: Is the
Ryan Doumit outfield experiment over? If it is here are the next in line; Garrett Jones and Matt Diaz. They will platoon out of the No. 6 spot, as each fares quite well against pitchers from their preferred side.

St. Louis-3B: The obvious choice is
David Freese but after his injury last year other stepped in and contributed. Additional options are Allen Craig and Tyler Greene with eligibility at 2B, 3B, and SS. Third baseman David Freese, who had surgery on both ankles last year, hit with power once he started playing exhibition games, and he seemed to be moving well in the field. But, under the pressure of the regular-season microscope, Freese's durability will be something to watch, too.


Ian Stewart (who I own in my Dynasty League) may be challenged this year if he does not perform early. Waiting in the wings are newly signed Ty Wigginton who has 1B, 2B, and 3B eligibility. Wigginton is a good player to have stashed on your bench, he could be used in the right matchups throughout the fantasy season.

Colorado-OF: These four should bide for both CF & LF spots.
Seth Smith, Eric Young, Dexter Fowler, and Ryan Spilborghs each bring a different skill set to the game, this just emphasizes once again that Colorado always has one of the strongest benches in all of baseball. At this time both Fowler CF and Smith RF have the edge for opening day.

Los Angeles-LF: Now that Manny is gone, Mattingly will have to decide between
Jay Gibbons, Marcus Thames or Tony Gwynn. They are no Manny but they are not a sideshow either. Whoever gains control of LF look for them to be hitting in the 7th or 8th hole.

San Diego-RF: The choice has been made; the underappreciated
Will Venable will get the nod and bat lead-off. Keep him on your radar for a back-up OF especially in OBP leagues.
San Francisco-1B-RF: If Brandon Belt breaks camp at 1B Aubrey Huff will man RF. If not move Huff back to 1B and place Cody Ross in RF. But with the lackluster Pat Burrell in LF anything could happen. Don’t forget that DeRosa can play anywhere on the diamond too. This truly a wait and see situation.

Arizona-3B: A couple of veterans will battle for the starting spot in the dessert.
Melvin Mora (1B, 2B, 3B eligibility) should get the nod but Geoff Blum (1B, 2B, SS, 3B eligibility) just hits and hits when given a chance to start. They should both be looked at carefully in H2H leagues due to their multi position eligibility.

The first base job appeared wide open 10 days before the start of the regular season. The candidates were Russell Branyan, signed to a minor league deal the week camp opened, Brandon Allen and Juan Miranda. Branyan had swung the best bat, and he could provide the home runs lost with the departures of Mark Reynolds and Adam LaRoche. Allen is the best defender, and he had strong minor league power numbers.

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