by Will Overton
I’m sure I think this every year, and it may not even be true, but it sure feels like there are more injuries so far this year than we normally see. Every day it feels like some other big name player is hitting the DL and fantasy owners have to be taking a beating by it, I know I am. In one dynasty league with three DL spots, I still have two DL players sitting on my bench.
If you’re like me, and I know there are a lot of us out there it can be absolutely maddening. All you can really do though is make the best move possible to replace your injured stars and hope your team survives until your big names are back in action.
I thought with all the severity of the injury bug as it is right now I would highlight some of the DL players and also give you some of the guys I see as a good potential replacement at that spot.
The first basemen position has been hit harder than any other in baseball lately it would seem. Just in this last week we have seen Prince Fielder, Joey Votto and Jose Abreu hit the DL, those aren’t just average 1B, those are superstars and big pieces of your team. We’ve also got Brandon Belt, Adam LaRoche and Mark Trumbo on the DL as well. If you need a new first sacker here are a couple of the better options in my opinion:
Garrett Jones – Miami Marlins: Certainly if you have played fantasy baseball for the last few years you have already picked up Jones at one point or another to fill a short term void. There are few guys in baseball whose ownership rates fluctuate as much as Garrett Jones. Still, while he isn’t a splashy name to add, he’s about as solid of a guy as you’ll get off the waiver wire at 1B. This would be a pretty good time to grab him too as he is hitting the ball well, going 14 for his last 30 and hitting .324 for the month of May. Jones has decent power, 6 HR’ to date, and hits in the middle of a lineup so his run production isn’t bad either, 24 R and 23 RBI. Jones might not jump off the page at you because you’re so used to seeing his name on the waiver list, but you shouldn’t be so quick to pass him up.
Mitch Moreland – Texas Rangers: One injury creates another opportunity and Pricne Fielder’s trip to the DL means Mitch Moreland has even more playing time coming. Moreland has seen most of his time this season splitting time at DH and now he’ll find more at-bats at first base. Moreland is a solid, if unspectacular hitter who hits righties hard and struggles mightily against lefties. Moreland showed a power boost last season hitting 23 HR’s, so while he only has two to his name so far this year, there’s likely still more to come. Moreland is batting .342 in May and so this is a pretty good time to get him even more AB’s.
While the outfield injuries aren’t quite the same whose who of the position as first base is, there are still some tough ones to overcome. Just recently Carlos Beltran, Ben Zobrist, Colby Rasmus and Corey Hart have all wound on the DL. Beltran could be looking at a lengthy stay, depending on the results of upcoming testing. Here are some guys to look at to take their place:
Denard Span – Washington Nationals: This last week Denard Span has been quite possibly the hottest hitter in baseball, accumulating nine hits in just his last three games. Span has the potential to be a run scoring machine, 25 R so far, especially if he keeps on getting on base the way he has been. We should also see more steals from him as well. Span has swiped six bases on six attempts so far and the Nationals should be giving him the green light more with that kind of success. Span is a little like Garrett Jones in that he won’t blow you away with his numbers, but he’ll bring consistency to your team while you wait for the likes of Zobrist and Beltran.
David Murphy – Cleveland Indians: It always felt like David Murphy was a bit of an afterthought in Texas, and now that he is in Cleveland he has a bit more of a starring role. Murphy has embraced the change so far and already has 31 RBI, putting him on pace to pass his career high by a longshot and top 100. Murphy is also finding his power a bit as of late with 3 HR’s in the last week after only hitting two of them prior to this. Murphy does still struggle against lefties like he always has, but he’s very much in line for a career year. Also keep in mind that if you play in an OBP league or points league Murphy walks a fair amount and doesn’t strikeout very often.
James Jones – Seattle Mariners: The Mariners newest attempt at finding an everyday center fielder is going pretty well with James Jones. The 25 year old outfielder is on an 11 game hitting streak right now and has recorded at least one hit in all 13 games that he has started so far in the big leagues. Not only is Jones being counted on as the everyday center fielder, he’s being counted on as the everyday leadoff hitter too. That has helped spark a nice streak of run scoring with a total of 11 runs scored in just those 13 starts. Jones has speed, with 28 SB’s last year in the minor leagues, so we should start seeing that. He also has a little power in his past with a couple of minor league seasons in which he hit double-digit HR’s. At 6’4 there is certainly potential for more power than what we’ve seen thus far as well.