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Shortstops in Seattle

With Brendan Ryan hitting a sultry .149 at the dish, there’s going to be an opening for a new shortstop in the Seattle Mariners’ lineup. There are a few different options to be explored, and since finding shortstops in deeper fantasy leagues is a royal pain, let’s take a look, shall we?

The first option is a player currently on the major league roster, and that player is Munenori Kawasaki. The Mariners brought Kawasaki over from Japan this offseason, and he has been serving as the backup to Ryan early in the year. Kawasaki is pretty much what you’d expect from a Japanese import playing in the middle infield. He doesn’t have much power to speak of, and his best tool will be his ability to make contact and maintain a respectable batting average. In Kawasaki’s case, it’s hard to see him hitting above .270, but if he can simply hit .250 while playing everyday and stealing a handful of bases every month, that’d be good enough for deeper AL-only leagues.

The second option is one of the Mariners’ top prospects, and that player is Nick Franklin. Franklin is a switch-hitter measuring in at about 6’1”, and he is likely best known for his 2010 campaign in which he hit 23 dingers and stole 25 bases in Single-A. Franklin hasn’t carried the home run power over with him, but he’s still a great doubles hitter. At 21-years-old and in Double-A, Franklin has cut down on his strikeouts while maintaining his gap power. The Mariners aren’t going to rush him to the bigs just because Ryan can’t hit, but there’s a good chance he’ll be moved up to Triple-A soon enough and see big league action by the end of the year.

The third option is the least likely to happen, but it involves Kyle Seager sliding over and playing shortstop. The Mariners have played Seager at short in the past, and should they feel like Alex Liddi deserves a chance at third base on a more than platoon basis, they could opt to travel down this road. Seager would be a very good fantasy option at short, and he is already eligible there in Yahoo! leagues. If Seager played even ten games at short, it would preserve his eligibility in Yahoo! leagues next year, and 20 games would make him eligible in all formats. Everyone should be rooting for Seager to at least get a crack at shortstop again.

In the end, it’s likely that the solution is going to be a combination of all the above options. Brendan Ryan played Sunday against the left-handed Andy Pettitte, and there’s a good chance he’ll stay on that side of the platoon and the Mariners will turn to Kawasaki against righties. Franklin should be on everyone’s watch list, particularly in AL-only and deeper keeper leagues.