What to expect from key lineup returns 

July, 16, 2012
The first weekend after the All-Star break each season is generally notable for important players coming off the disabled list, and certainly fantasy owners had much to think about the past few days, with numerous key hitters reappearing in lineups. Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury might not be the biggest name of the bunch (there's a certain Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder as well), but in Ellsbury's case, his actual fantasy value likely elicits mixed feelings.

[+] EnlargeJacoby Ellsbury
AP Photo/Charles KrupaJacoby Ellsbury missed three months as a result of his shoulder injury (suffered April 13).
Ellsbury finished last season second on the ESPN Player Rater, and fantasy owners seem far more confident in that fellow (Matt Kemp) than Ellsbury. For one, Kemp at least has some interesting numbers this season, with 12 home runs and a .369 batting average in 38 games. Kemp missed six weeks because of a hamstring injury, and while it likely will restrict his stolen base potential -- he's a mere 2-for-5 in attempts this season anyway -- his owners don't seem concerned about his power or batting average. They're just elated to have him back.

With Ellsbury, fantasy owners don't seem to know what they have, what they are trading for, or what type of numbers he'll provide. After all, his 2011 campaign was so different from the rest of his career. Ellsbury didn't start 2012 particularly well before suffering a severe shoulder injury that cost him three months, as he hit .192 with nary a home run or stolen base in seven games. It's a ridiculously small sample size to determine anything. Ellsbury had three hits Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays, raising his batting average from .229 to .275 in one afternoon. That happens with a mere 40 at-bats.