Today was a day that a lot of fantasy GMs were dreading. Fantasy GMs are used to dealing with injured players. Some of them even seek injury guys out as buy-low guys. Injuries can happen at any time, but part of the strategy is that injured players usually come back at some point. We wonâ€™t be seeing any of the suspended guys again until 2014. Itâ€™s time to turn to the dreaded waiver wire to look for possible replacements for the players unlucky enough to be caught holding the bag when Bud Selig finally brought out the ban hammer.
Jordany Valdespin has already had an amazing career for a fringe major league baseball player. Heâ€™s thrown a tantrum after being hit by a pitch. He was suspended in Triple-A after starting a bench clearing kerfuffle. That was last week, by the way. His twitter is a barrage of selfies. He also got nailed in the junk by a Justin Verlander fastball last spring training. This wouldnâ€™t be that big of an issue, but he chose not to wear a cup. Now, he can add PED cheat to his resume. Heâ€™s a bizarre paternity/kidnapping case away from shattering the record for weirdness by a single player. None of this is fantasy relevant, but Valdespinâ€™s antics will probably wear thin at some point and heâ€™ll find himself looking for a job in a different country sooner than later.
A lot of middle infields took a hit with the loss of Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera and Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Mariners shortstop Brad Miller is only owned in 10% of Yahoo! leagues and is one of the better options on the waiver wire. His .145 ISO isnâ€™t that different from Peraltaâ€™s .156 and he already has as many steals in a month of baseball as Peralta does for the year (3). Heâ€™s shown solid strike zone judgment and an ability to get on base (10.9% BB %). Having Miller on your roster is better than having a suspended guy.
Zack Cozart also qualifies at short and is available in 76% of Yahoo! leagues. Heâ€™ll strike out some (16.7% K% this year), walk infrequently (4.2% BB%) and pop an occasional homer (15 homers as recently as last year). Heâ€™s about as exciting as Jhonny Peralta. Thatâ€™s not a compliment, but Peralta is still owned in 36% of Yahoo! leagues.
Fantasy GMs who had Everth Cabrera (â€œhadâ€ because you should have probably cut him by now) need to find a way to replace the steals that Cabrera wonâ€™t be able to get while suspended. Meet Jonathan Villar. Heâ€™s only owned in 5% of Yahoo! leagues, plays shortstop and has a similar profile to a pre-PED Everth Cabrera. Heâ€™s going to play every day and heâ€™s already 9 for 11 in steal attempts in only 14 games played.
Fantasy GMs with Nelson Cruz on their roster have been hoping the Biogenesis story would go away at least until Cruz wound up on the DL. Cruz did a remarkable job of staying healthy after suffering a stomach ailment that required Cruz to start taking PEDs in 2012.
Itâ€™s not all bad. First of all, fantasy GMs got four solid months out of Cruz before he started serving his rip. Take those 27 homers and 76 RBIs and put them in your pocket. Fantasy sports services wonâ€™t be taking them away. Now, you get to find another player and add his stats to those totals over the next two months.
The Rangers called up Triple-A outfielders Joey Butler and Engel Beltre. Butler is essentially a Quad-A, PCL league slugger and Beltre is essentially empty stolen bases. Itâ€™s probably a good idea to look elsewhere.
Padres outfielder Will Venable is in the middle of one of his power/speed surges. In the past 14 days Venable has two homers and two steals with a .429 batting average. Venable could be a player worth using to fill in some of the counting stats for Cruz.
Royals outfielder David Lough will need a few days off, but heâ€™s actually been competent this season. Competent in that heâ€™s managed to have success while posting an atrocious 0.16 BB:K ratio and only walking at a 2.2% clip. Heâ€™s managed to pop a handful of homers (four) and steal a few bases (three), but heâ€™s essentially empty batting average riding a .333 BABIP in a small sample size. Lough is only owned in 3% of Yahoo! leagues and itâ€™s probably best that heâ€™s left on the waiver wire. Look elsewhere.
Mets outfielder Juan Lagares will finally be able to get a look now that he doesnâ€™t have Jordany Valdespin blocking him. Itâ€™s too bad we canâ€™t use hashtags here because â€œ#sarcasm.â€ Lagares doesnâ€™t have much power. His career high in homers was 13 across three different levels in 2011. He will strike out a ton (24.4% K% in 217 PAs this year) and steal an occasional base. Whatâ€™s in Lagares favor is that the Mets outfield makes the White Sox outfield look like the Alou Brothers in the 1960s or the Bonds/Bonilla/Van Slyke outfield in Pittsburgh in the late 1980s. Lagares has a path to a job and should pick up most of the playing time for the Mets in center field for the next month or two.