Replacing Justin Turner & Adjusting Our Overall 2018 Outlook (Projection Included)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (click here for the article):

Justin Turner suffered a broken left wrist when he was hit by a pitch in Monday’s Cactus League game against the Oakland Athletics. The Dodgers said they did not expect to have a timetable for their third baseman’s return until he visits a doctor Tuesday, but manager Dave Roberts said “weeks are involved.”

Shaikin continued by saying:

It appears unlikely Turner could return before May. Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves missed six weeks because of a broken wrist last year; George Springer of the Houston Astros missed nine weeks because of a broken wrist in 2015.

It’s a big blow to the Dodgers and, at least on the surface, for fantasy owners as well.  We have been lower on Turner than most throughout the offseason, already having him outside the Top 15 third baseman.  We had posted our projection, which you can ready by clicking here, and at the time we noted a risk of missed time and the potential for his average to plummet due to a dramatic fly ball approach. 

We saw that in the second half of ’17 when he hit .266 (backed by a 52.7% fly ball rate and .255 BABIP), and it all led to the following projection:

.268 (134-500), 22 HR, 80 RBI, 70 R, 5 SB, .284 BABIP, .340 OBP, .468 SLG

Now that risk grows even further, as wrist injuries can easily zap a player of his power (as we saw with Ian Desmond, despite playing in Coors Field, just a year ago).  That could drive Turner to take an even greater fly ball approach, in an effort to maintain his power, though even fewer balls may leave the ballpark.

While we aren’t about to project a sub-.260 average, that potential is there depending on Turner’s approach upon his return.  Altering the projection to 400 AB, as well as a drop in his power potential, turns the projection into the following:

.260 (104-400), 16 HR, 65 RBI, 60 R, 4 SB, .282 BABIP, .334 OBP, .450 SLG

Is there value in those numbers?  Sure, but they aren’t elite and it should be easy to avoid him on draft day (unless the price drops far enough).  Now the question is where do you turn for a replacement, especially if you are already an owner.  A few early season streamers who could be plugged in include:

  • Derek Dietrich (current ADP – 483.0) – We’ve discussed him as a potential late round flier before (click here to view) as he brings multi-positional flexibility, is slotted to open as a starter (in the middle of the order) and is enjoying a big spring. It’s easy to envision a strong start, helping to bridge the gap.
  • Jeimer Candelario (current ADP – 338.6) – While there are questions about his overall upside, he may open the year hitting second in Detroit’s lineup and that could lead to some early season success.
  • Matt Duffy (current ADP – 454.3) – Duffy was highly hyped a year ago, but injury wiped out his entire season. Now he’s going overlooked despite the potential to go .280/10/10 or better, so it’s easy to envision him catching many off guard in April.

Others to Consider If They Start Strong –  Eduardo Escobar (Min), Matt Davidson (CWS), Colin Moran (Pit), Luis Valbuena (LAA)

Sources – Los Angeles Times, Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers03/14/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Shortstops03/21/1802/27/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

21-40:
Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
--
Relief Pitchers02/12/18--

2 comments

  1. Big Pete says:

    Hey Prof …good luck this season
    Quick question. Who would you take Duda or Yonder Alonso?

    Thanks

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