It was devastating to see Buck Showalter reach over and hug Nick Markakis after he returned from the locker room with a soft cast on his left hand. Markakis’ transition to the leadoff role has been one of the great stories in the Baltimore Orioles amazing 2012 run.

But with him out for at least the remainder of the regular season, it’s time for the Orioles to find a new right fielder and top of the order guy. Here are a few options:

  • Xavier Avery – The Birds could try the X-Man out. Avery has only appeared in one game since his most recent call up, but he hit leadoff in 15 games this season, batting .254 with 4 doubles and 4 stolen bases and a .309 OBP.
  • Chris Davis – Would it be crazy to put Davis back in right? He only hit .138 with 2 homers and 8 RBI in his 16 games at a right fielder. I prefer him at DH (.256/.330/.482 with 13 homers and 34 RBI in 218 plate appearances.
  • L.J. Hoes – The Orioles would have to purchase Hoes’ contract, but he certainly earned the promotion and could bring new life to the leadoff spot. He finished with a .300 averaged in 82 games at Triple-A with 14 doubles, 38 RBI and a .374 OBP. Sounds like leadoff material to me.
  • Endy Chavez – Like Hoes, the Birds would have to purchase Chavez’s contract from Triple-A as well. Chavez only hit .190/.22/.281 with 5 doubles, 8 RBI, 4 walks and 21 strikeouts in 47 games with the O’s. He hit a cool .146 in 23 games 19 starts leading off.

I’ve been driving the L.J. Hoes bandwagon for quite some time, following his progress with Norfolk and chatting with the man himself on the BSR Podcast. I think it’s time for a new spark and Hoes could be the answer. Give him the nod and see what he can do.