Hot Take: With Snell & Gallo Hitting The IL, Do McKay & Calhoun Become Must Grab Options?

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There were a pair of key injuries reported today with Blake Snell and Joey Gallo landing on the IL and are set to miss at least the next month of action.  It’s easy to argue that their loss will be difficult for fantasy owners to replace, but both create opportunities for young players to return to the Majors and potentially make an impact.  Let’s take a quick look:

Willie Calhoun – Texas Rangers
He was disappointed when he was demoted to make room for Hunter Pence, but he’s going to get another opportunity.  His overall numbers in the Majors were solid, hitting .277 with 5 HR and 13 RBI over 94 AB, though in his final 11 games he hit .154 with 1 HR over 41 PA.  Over his entire time in the Majors he was taking a pull heavy approach (17.3% Oppo%), and regardless of how hard he hits the ball (38.7% Hard%) that’s going to help to suppress his BABIP.

That said he has some power and has always shown an ability to make consistent contact.  He also hasn’t struggled against southpaws while at Triple-A:

  • vs. RHP – .280/.438/.523
  • vs. LHP – .367/.406/.567

There’s more good than bad, though is there enough power to make him a true difference maker?  That’s a hard sell and since he’s likely to hit .260-.270, as opposed to .300+, he’s more of a mid-level option as opposed to a must add.

Brendan McKay – Tampa Bay Rays
There’s no guarantee that Snell will be able to return this season, despite the early chatter that he’ll possibly return in early September.  That should lead to the return of McKay, who struggled in his last start in the Majors before being demoted back to Triple-A. 

There are going to be questions regarding the number of innings he’s allowed to throw after throwing 78.1 IP last season due to an oblique injury (he’s already thrown 86.0 innings this season).  We also don’t want to draw too many conclusion off of 19.1 IP in the Majors, though he’s shown more than enough control at each level he’s pitched this season (BB/9):

  • Double-A (41.2 IP) – 1.94
  • Triple-A (25.0 IP) – 2.16
  • Majors (19.1 IP) – 0.47

Throw in an ability to miss bats (15.5% SwStr% in the minors, 12.6% in the Majors) and while there are potential home run issues there’s reason to believe he can make an impact.  There should be enough bullets left making McKay an intriguing option (though one you will want to be cautious with when he’s facing teams like the Yankees or Red Sox.

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com

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