Last night, ZucchiniBoy asked:
Thanks for your NL Gearing Up posts. Question for you: any thoughts on Miguel Tejada and potential replacement options at the middle infield position? He's functioning like a dead spot (or a negative spot) right now on my squad. I could use some speed as well...
For lack of better analysis, Tejada has not been very good. He did not look good in spring training at shortstop, and he has not looked much better at third base. At the plate, however, I do not think it is time to give up on Tejada just yet. The last time Tejada had a strikeout rate this low was 2009 – he hit .313 and popped 14 home runs.
The isolated power number (.069) suggests that his bat has slowed considerably. The LD% (roughly 13%) supports the very low BABIP (.208). Not much else has changed in terms of contact rates, swinging strikes, etc.; in fact, his contact rate is up overall. I do see room for improvement here as the year goes on.
In terms of potential middle infield replacements, if you are in any 12 or 13 team NL-only, you are in serious trouble. Of course, you knew that already. In my home league NL (13 team 5x5), these are the players available who qualify in the middle infield: Brian Bixler, Juan Castro, Craig Counsell, Diory Hernandez, Chin-lung Hu, Joe Inglett, Michael Martinez, Osvaldo Martinez and Josh Wilson. Counsell leads that group with a .552 OPS (still 50 points higher than Tejada), and between them all, they have 136 at-bats.
Matt Downs and Blake DeWitt are both available on waivers in my league. Both have an OPS over .700, which, given the NL-only free agent pool, is not too bad. Chris Johnson is off to a terrible start and is suffering from wrist inflammation, so Downs could see some at-bats in the short term. Keep in mind that Jeff Keppinger is on his rehabilitation assignment, so the Astros’ roster is about to get crowded once again. DeWitt is buried right now on the bench, but as Rotoworld aptly pointed out, it is only a matter of time until Aramis Ramirez gets hurt. If I had to pick one right now, I would go with Downs.