by Will Overton
I speak from experience when I say that there is nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of a chase for first place, or being locked into a tight playoff battle and having your best players go down with injury. I lost Hanley Ramirez and Mark Teixeira for the whole weekend in my semi-final matchup and thus ended my season. If you are stuck in a similar situation don’t give up hope. Here is a look at some of the notable injuries right now in baseball and what the latest news on the injury is. This is also coupled with a discussion on who might be available to take these guys place down the stretch run and try and salvage your late season run.
Ryan Zimmerman: According to Jim Riggleman he doesn’t expect Zimmerman to play again this season. If the manager doesn’t expect him to play, you shouldn’t either. So with Zimmerman done for the year it’s time to look for possible replacements. The first place to look is at the guy replacing the injured player. In this case it’s likely to be a comination of three guys; Alberto Gonzalez, Adam Kennedy and Willie Harris. None of these three have any fantasy value, even if one takes the rest of the playing time. So we move on to the waiver wire. The rotoprofessor discussed Melvin Mora yesterday and he is one of the three guys I would be looking at to fill this spot. Another guy is Jose Lopez, he’s been a huge fantasy bust this year and so you’re probably a bit skittish to entertain this one, and rightfully so. However he has at least two hits in four of his last seven games and he showed a bit of power the other night finally, hitting three home runs. Probably the best option in my opinion to fill a third base opening though, would be Pedro Alvarez. The kid is raking right with 13 hits in his last 27 at bats, and three homeruns mixed in there. He has legitimate power and his upside is through the roof in terms of power making him the biggest potential reward play out of this bunch.
Miguel Cabrera: It looks like Cabrera is calling himself day to day and will likely be given the choice of playing or not playing on any given day. He’s still in the thick of an AL MVP race, so he doesn’t want to be shut down, but there is only so much you can do on a sprained ankle. If he’s playing you are going to want him in the lineup, but you’ll have to pay attention on a daily basis to see if he is playing that day. Your best bet is to have someone on your bench ready to go for the days where Cabrera sits out. The guy likely to get in the lineup if Cabrera is out is Don Kelly. If you’re in a deeper league he’s not a horrible option. He’s actually hitting .337 between the months of August and September and has 6 HR’s in 86 AB’s. One of the guys who might be available in more shallow leagues is Ike Davis. With the Mets needing to know just what they have here, you know Davis is going to play everyday. And while he has had his ups and downs, he’s currently playing his best baseball of the season, hitting .375 in September.
Hanley Ramirez: Ramirez is listed as day to day with the nagging sore elbow. The Marlins don’t have anything to play for and neither does Hanley, so chances are there will be a very precautionary approach taken here. Like Cabrera you want to keep an eye on things to see if he is going to play, but don’t hold your breath, and make sure your prepared day to day to have someone else take his place in your lineup. The Marlins are shuffling a few guys in at shortstop. Emilio Bonifacio is getting the most consistent playing time, but he’s struggling lately. Ozzie Martinez has gotten a look, but he’s not playing regularly and he’s not ready to be a fantasy contributor yet. If Mike Aviles is still available in your league you should snatch him up without hesitation because he is blazing hot. However it’s likely to late in many league. One guy who is available in virtually every league who could help you out if Jed Lowrie. He’s playing every day and he has quietly had a very solid August and now September, hitting .280 with a little bit of pop as well (7 HR’s). Obviously Hanley coming back is ideal, but you need to be prepared if he’s out and the choices aren’t great. If you can’t get someone like Aviles or Yunel Escobar, Lowrie is worth a shot.
Justin Upton: Upton is in the same boat as Zimmerman it would seem. His team isn’t going anywhere and so they’re not going to risk their franchise player injuring himself any worse. The D-Backs haven’t come out and said it, but I would bet Upton is done for the season. Cole Gillespie and Brandon Allen are the two guys seeing their playing time boosted with this injury, and if you need power Allen could be a sneaky source of it, but you can probably find someone a bit more reliable on the waiver wire. Two guys available in a fair amount of leagues who are both getting hot and have the potential to hit for power are Cody Ross and David Murphy. Both guys are utilizing injuries on their own team to get regular playing time and both are hitting the ball well right now and could be put in your lineup with a fair amount of confidence. If you are forced to dig a little deeper to find someone you could certainly do worse than Wil Venable. He’s hitting .373 and he’s a very sneaky source of speed and some decent pop to couple it with.
These are just a few of the injuries making news right now. If you’re dealing with a player injury feel free to lay out your situation and we’ll see if we can offer some advice.