What will the middle infield look like?
Furcal's turn will determines INF
With Rafael Furcal, an increasingly boring fake-baseball option, trying to return from another injury, this query hardly constitutes a stretch. His right elbow "popped," per the 6, late last summer and turned out to have a strain. He opted against surgery and continues to rehab. St. Louis wisely has built up insurance as they determine his availability. Pete Kozma endeared himself to Mike Matheny late last year after a mini-breakout at Memphis. Ryan Jackson and Ronny Cedeno merely constitute last resorts. These three shouldn't interest you in dual-universe pools.
Daniel Descalso is the presumptive leader at the keystone, but Matt Carpenter's transition there from the hot corner is gaining steam. Coaches would love to get his bat as many hacks as possible; he was improving his drive as 2012 was ending.
This comes down to Furcal's durability (chuckle), and maybe David Freese's. Descalso, who plays shortstop, and Carpenter, a natural third baseman, could easily wind up on the field simultaneously even if someone wins the initial battle. Of course, top youngster Kolten Wong may force his way to the Gateway City sometime this year; if so, he's an instant deep-league pickup. The more logical situation, though, is that the 22-year-old waits until a September call-up.
If his bat can follow, to a bigger degree, in the successful position-switch footsteps of Skip Schumaker, Carpenter will yield the biggest fantasy payoff in any format. Descalso winning the job would provide you with an in-season mixed middle infielder who'll neither help nor hurt you; sometimes, you need buoys like that.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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