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Fantasy Baseball 2012: 5 Infielders Who May Go From Part-Time to Starter

After taking a look at 5 outfielders, let's now look at 5 infielders who should see an increase in their playing time. Again, while I wouldn't recommend any of them for a starting position on your team, there can be some value in these guys as backup infielders on your roster.

Ryan Raburn - Tigers 2b

The quintessential utility man, Raburn will qualify as a 2b, lf, and even a RF or 3b depending on your league rules. This year he might be given a true shot to anchor down the 2b position for the Tigers this year. While the Tigers did re-sign Ramon Santiago on November 30th, he is ideally suited for a utility infielder role. Raburn would have decent pop for a second baseman, exhibited by his double digit tally in homers the last three years playing part-time (16, 15, 14). He has mashed LHP his entire career, sporting a .500+ SLG vs. lefties. His main problem seems to be his penchant for starting the season real slow and heating up as the weather does (Career 1H/2H BA .228/.300). A nice start to the season for Raburn should nail down the job.

Ruben Tejada - Mets ss

Taking over for the departed Jose Reyes, Tejada is a nice player who will be the Mets shortstop probably for the next couple of years. Now I know nice players are better on the field than they are in fantasy, but Tejada has been getting better in handling the bat as his playing time has increased (he batted .303 in the second half last year). Now I certainly don't expect Tejada to hit .300 next year, but I could see .270-.280, double digit steals, and maybe a decent amount of runs if he could work his way up to the top of the lineup. He should also qualify as a 2b in most leagues, so Tejada wouldn't be the worst guy to have as a backup middle infielder in deep leagues.

Scott Sizemore - A's 3b

Coming over from Detroit in late May last year, Sizemore was handed the 3b job after the Kouzmanoff/LaRoche experiment crashed and burned. With nothing left to prove at AAA, Sizemore needs to step up his game to ensure he doesn't end up in the trash heap of recent third base occupiers for the A's. If he can hit like he did in Sept/Oct (.263 avg., .461 slg.), he might have a chance to stick. If not, he could end up being tagged with the dreaded AAAA label, or if he's lucky, a situational bench player. Sizemore could be worth a flier at the end of your roster or real late draft pick, as he should be the starter for at least the first two months.

Jed Lowrie - Astros ss

Can he stay healthy? That's all anyone wants to know. He has the starting job for the woeful Astros, can probably also qualify as a 3b in most leagues, absolutely destroys LHP (career BA/SLG - .324/.534), and will continue to play his home games in a hitter-friendly park. I would expect somewhere between 2010 and 2011 numbers (my projection - .270 avg, double digit homers, 25-30 doubles). All we need to know Jed, can you stay healthy?

Mat Gamel - Brewers 1b

Gamel might not actually fit this article since he will be going from no-time to starter, but I thought he should have received a shot last year at replacing McGehee at 3b sometime last year. Hopefully, his time is now. Unless Prince Fielder miraculously re-signs with the Brew Crew, Gamel should be given every shot at first base in 2012. Another guy with nothing to prove in the minors, Gamel has good power and should be able to hit for a decent average. He's a guy I may reach for in the middle to late rounds of a draft with the hope of him hitting 20-25 homers, 75-85 rbi, .280 avg.

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