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As Matt Kemp owners feared on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers are preparing to place their 2011 MVP runner-up back on the disabled list because he aggravated his previously strained left hamstring. He expects to be out for a month.
Ken Gurnick confirmed the pending transaction along with the announcement that the organization is expected to promote Alex Castellanos from Triple-A Albuquerque. LA acquired the 25-year-old from the St. Louis Cardinals last season for Rafael Furcal.
Castellanos has produced a .379/.476/.759 slash line for the Isotopes; he's hit five home runs, scored 20 runs and stolen nine bases (11 tries) in 105 plate appearances. The right-handed batter missed approximately one month because of a strained left hamstring and returned just this past weekend.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder began his professional career as an infielder, but he began playing the outfield in 2009 and played there almost exclusively beginning in 2010. This year, the Dodgers moved him back to second base, however.
With Mark Ellis (sprained MCL, bone bruise) out for multiple weeks, that position may be where Castellanos will earn the bulk of his playing time. After a hot start, Elian Herrera has cooled and is struggling to make contact. Ivan De Jesus and Adam Kennedy don't have a chance to make up for some of the offense that the team loses with Kemp's deactivation.
The Dodgers must feel and hope that Castellanos can. In 2011, between Los Angeles' and St. Louis' Double-A affiliates, he posted a .320/.386/.573 slash line, lending hope that his 2012 marks in the Pacific Coast League aren't a mirage. He hit 23 home runs and stole 19 bases last year.
Castellanos' rate of strikeouts (20.8 percent this season) reduces expectations for his MLB batting average, but it's an improvement from the marks he registered in his first couple of years as a pro. He's unlikely to hit for the kind of power that he did on the farm, but he should be intriguing to those in deep leagues immediately because of his ability to rack up extra-base hits and run a little.
Castellanos' age is a bit of a warning sign that his prospect status has about expired, but his career had a late start, so he receives some benefit of the doubt. As a roto MI, Castellanos is a better bet than the Atlanta Braves' Andrelton Simmons, for example.
The aggravation of Kemp's hamstring strain might be more serious than the initial injury. The Dodgers will make certain that it has healed completely before they bring him back, so all roto managers will have to patient.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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