Five Middle Infielders On the Rise
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While the recent trend of middle infielders is to hit the ball with power, a la Chase Utley, Ian Kinsler, and Dan Uggla, there is a new group of young up-and-comers int he infield who are making their mark with speed:
Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers
Just 23-years old, Dee Gordon is making the most out of his second stint in the Big Leagues. He has recorded multiple hits in four of his last six games and has swiped six bases over the last 10 games. Similar to a lot of young and up-and-coming middle infielders he lacks power, but he can make up for it with speed. So if in need for some stolen bases over the final few weeks of the season, Dee Gordon is your target.
Cliff Pennington, SS, A’s
After a slow start, Cliff Pennington has really picked up his game since the All-Star break. Since then he is hitting .324 with four home runs and 32 RBI. He has also made Billy Beane proud with a .393 OBP. This performance shouldn’t be too surprising, after all, Pennington was drafted by the A’s with the 21st overall pick of the 2005 draft. However, the franchise will not be content until he can post solid numbers throughout a full 162 games, helping the A’s offense get out of a decade long swoon.
Jemile Weeks, 2B, A’s
One of the top rookies in baseball this season has been A’s second baseman Jemile Weeks. Though he does not have the power of his brother Rickie in Milwaukee, Jemile is a line drive machine with an average over .300 and how about those 41 runs and 21 steals through exactly a half season’s worth of games. Weeks has shown some signs of burgeoning power, with 22 doubles and eight triples. He could improve his patience at the plate, but he’s definitely worth owning in all fantasy leagues.
Scott Sizemore, 3B/2B, A’s
A former top prospect with the Detroit Tigers, Sizemore never did work out in Mo-Town and is now in Oakland. There he has been a source for some much-needed power. His .243 average is nothing to write home about, but his nine home runs and 46 RBI would be doubled over a full 150 games worth of at bats. At 26-years old, Sizemore has shed the top prospect label, but he is still young enough to earn regular playing time as a middle or corner infielder. You would imagine that he’d be able to crack as many as 25 home runs should he escape the pitcher-friendly confines of Oakland Coliseum.
Ruben Tejada, SS/2B, Mets
He has yet to hit a home run this season, but the Mets are fine with that as long as Ruben Tejada offers solid defense and line drives. Tejada is batting .278 right now, which is .065 points better than his .213 mark last season. He does have 12 doubles and an impressive 31 walks, so he is not getting outmatched in the Big Leagues. I would like to see some speed from the 21-year-old middle infielder, and the reason you should pay attention o him right now is that he could end up replacing Jose Reyes, should the Mets sensation depart as a free agent this off-season.