by Will Overton
Injuries are a double edged sword for fantasy baseball players. On the one hand when your guy goes down it can at times be a crushing blow. On the other hand when one guy goes down in fantasy baseball another guy steps up to fill his spot and potentially brings a new source of fantasy value that you can add to your team.
We’ve already seen it this year when Kevin Kouzmanoff stepped up for an injured Adrian Beltre and gave fantasy owners a big boost for a couple of weeks before getting injured himself. These guys aren’t always long term options, though it does happen, but sometimes you just need that two week boost while one of your guys is struggling to find his swing.
Here are some guys who have been or will be getting a boost in fantasy value due to an injury to their predecessor:
Collin Cowgill – OF, Los Angeles Angels: The Angels got hit with a double whammy early this season when both Josh Hamilton and Kole Calhoun ended up on the DL. The team ended up scrambling for outfielders to fill the void and while Cowgill might not be the best guy out there, he’s playing every day right now. He’s also hitting near the top of the Angels lineup in front of Mike Trout and the red hot Albert Pujols.
Cowgill has shown a decent power/speed throughout his minor league career, he’s just never been able to put it all together in the majors. He’s got another chance ahead of him now and he’s still just 27 years old. Cowgill has reached base in each of his last seven games played and if he gets on base consistently good things will happen.
Nate McLouth – OF, Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper hit the DL over the weekend and it’s likely Nate McLouth who receives those at-bats. McLouth’s numbers look awful so far, but he hasn’t really gotten a chance to play consistently. Last season McLouth hit 12 HR’s and stole 30 bases, as well as scoring 76 runs. McLouth isn’t a great player, but he’s a guy who does a good job of getting on base, has proven speed and at least double digit homer potential. Don’t look at McLouth’s numbers and ignore him, there’s potential value here.
Jemile Weeks – 2B, Baltimore Orioles: Jemile Weeks has earned his playing time in an odd way through injury. Chris Davis hit the DL and it started a domino effect that has led to Jemile Weeks starting at DH the last two days after being recalled from Triple-A. Weeks has led off in both of these games over the weekend and went 3 – 8 with a run scored in each game.
I thought Weeks would win an every day job in the spring, but he really never put it together during the exhibition season. Now though neither Jonathan Schoop or Ryan Flaherty have done anything to really secure the second baseman job and this might be just the opportunity Weeks needs. Weeks has the speed to be fantasy relevant and he’s getting a chance now.
Danny Espinosa – 2B, Washington Nationals: This is a situation similar to Weeks. Ryan Zimmerman got hurt, Anthony Rendon moved to third base and a spot opened up for Espinosa. He was on track for big things a couple years ago it seemed, but things fell apart last season. Still, this is a guy who is full of potential and still has 20/20 capability from a middle infield spot. I don’t think he’ll reach that point this year because Rendon will likely reclaim his spot at second base when Zimmerman returns. Still, Espinosa has been playing well and has value for at least the next few weeks.
Juan Francisco – 1B/3B, Toronto Blue Jays: Francisco has bounced around from team to team over the last two seasons. What keeps him in the league and what made him the replacement to Adam Lind at first base in Toronto, is his pure raw power. Francisco has the ability to hit 30+ HR’s with regular playing time. The problem is he strikes out so much and would likely hit .220 to get those HR’s. So far this season though Francisco is 8 – 28 at the plate and he hit a HR in back to back games over the weekend. Francisco isn’t the ideal addition to your team, but if you just need power, you won’t find many guys on the waiver wire playing as regularly as Francisco is that can bring this kind of power to the table.