RotoWire MLB Depth Charts Analysis
Another week, another tour around the league's depth charts. Lineups continue to churn as injuries provide opportunities, Biogenesis continues to ripple and sinking teams begin to give at-bats to the next generation.
Chris Colabello killed it at Triple-A Rochester this season to the tune of 24 home runs and a .432 OBP in 85 games. You might expect those kind of numbers from a 29-year-old at Triple-A, but it is worth remembering Colabello was bouncing around the Canadian-American Association from 2005-2011 until finally signing an MLB-affiliated minor league team in 2012. Chris Parmelee, who started 57 games in right prior to his demotion to Triple-A Rochester, should be back with the Twins in September. His overall line since joining the club July 19 is not that impressive, but he has a .404 OBP and three home runs in 39 at-bats since July 27. That kind of production should help him keep a spot in right for the duration of Ryan Doumit's concussion, and he could see time at first if the Twins can move Justin Morneau through waivers.
Starter: Logan Forsythe
Next: Ronny Cedeno, Alexi Amarista
It looked like Alexi Amarista would be the first to take on the role of Padres' everyday shortstop when the league suspended Everth Cabrera for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic. Instead the Padres have kept Amarista in the outfield while Logan Forsythe has edged Ronny Cedeno to starts 3-to-2. Forsythe has only hit .215 on the season, but he was moderately better (.250) when he received a month's worth of starts at second base earlier this year. He was a bit better than average at the plate last year (.343 OBP, 107 OPS+), but he is putting a far lower percentage of his balls in play this year (72 percent of his plate appearances in 2012 versus 63 in 2013). He's probably a better guy to bet on than Cedeno, who was cut by the Astros earlier this season.
Todd Helton's perpetually balky back does not appear to be keeping him off the field as he heads into what could be his final few weeks in the league. He has not formally announced his intentions to retire or keep plugging away, but Helton will be 40 by the end of the month, and his contract expires shortly thereafter. With that in mind, and the Rox fading from relevancy in both the NL West and Wild Card races, manager Walt Weiss may try as best he can to keep Helton on the field. Helton has already eclipsed his at-bat total from his injury-plagued 2012, but his power stats are what you might expect from a nearly-40-year-old. He has even struggled to hit at Coors, posting a .733 OPS in home games. Still, the Rockies have few reasons to not play him on an everyday basis. The only other real alternative would be Michael Cuddyer, but his services are needed in the outfield.
Starter: Scooter Gennett
Next: Jeff Bianchi
Injured: Rickie Weeks
Rickie Weeks' nightmare season came to an end last week when he tripped over his bat and suffered a surgery-inducing hamstring strain - a fitting end to a less-than fitting season. Scooter Gennett quickly returned from Triple-A Nashville to fill the void, and he should serve as the Brewers' regular second baseman as long as he does not trip over a bat as well. A 5-for-11 three-game stretch elevated Gennett's cumulative batting average to .270, but his minor league stats are not suggestive of much major league success, especially against same-handed pitchers (he hit .248 against lefties while with Nashville). Jeff Bianchi may see a handful of starts here as well, but he is busy helping out at third.
The good news for both Cardinals fans and Yadier Molina owners is that Molina may return from his knee injury as soon as this weekend. The bad news, at least for Cardinals fans, is that they are stuck with Tony Cruz until then. Cruz has hit a blustery .211 since taking over from Molina on July 31, but his reign should not last long.
The Phillies may have had designs on trading away Michael Young when they recalled Cody Asche prior to the July 31 deadline, but Asche's ascendency to the top of the organization's third base depth chart has survived Young's persistence on the roster. Asche has started all but two games since joining the Phils (both against left-handed starters). He came out of the gate a bit cold, but he has gone 6-for-18 (.333) over his last five starts. Young was back at third against those two left-handed starters, but he has otherwise found a home at first base. Freddy Galvis should return to the Phillies in September, and he could see some action here as well, but Asche should remain the starter as the Phillies assess his viability for 2014.
Starter: Grant Green
Next: Thomas Field
Injured: Howie Kendrick
The Grant Green era in Anaheim has begun. Howie Kendrick's hyperextended left knee resulted in his first disabled list stint since June of 2011, and the newly-acquired Green quickly stepped into his now-vacant shoes. Green went hit-less in five games with the A's earlier this season, but he already has seven through his first five games with the Angels. It is not clear how long Kendrick will be out, but he was hitting well enough to regain his job once he returns. Of course, the Angels could easily shuffle their defense to accommodate both hitters. Kendrick could see time at first, Green could go to third, or either could go to the outfield.
Before the season, many identified first base as a weak link in what looked to be a high-powered Rangers offense. Mitch Moreland proved those critics wrong for the first part of the season - he was hitting .295 with 10 home runs on May 20. He suffered a hamstring injury a few weeks later, and he has hit a much-less-than-impressive .184 in 141 at-bats since returning from the disabled list in mid-June. As a result of those struggles, manager Ron Washington has increasingly turned to Jeff Baker at first base, especially when the Rangers face left-handed starting pitching. Baker has killed left-handed pitching this season, slashing .361/.444/.836(!!) with eight home runs in 61 at-bats against southpaws.
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