I’m the new guy here at Razzball, but there’s no need to be stuffing me in lockers or treating me to a lunch time swirly in the men’s room — I’ve been around the block for a while. Shoot, I was playing fantasy sports before this great thing called the interweb existed. When I first started I had to fax in my lineups for weekly leagues! I’m not old, I prefer the term “seasoned”. [Ed. Note — That seasoning comes with an AARP discount, no?] Don’t think of me as the Kathy Bates of the Razzball team, rather I prefer to be thought of as the Helen Mirren of the bunch — you know, “the hot older temptress that if you were slightly buzzed and on vacation you wouldn’t mind…” kinda type. Nah’msayin???
We’re all fantasy baseball fans, and nothing makes us cringe more than having our star players get hurt (except maybe this). It happens though, but just like them, other players are pulling groins and getting blisters as well. Guys that aren’t on your roster, but are readily available on most waiver wires, can be just as useful. Most leagues employ at least one DL spot, if not more. It’s important to take advantage of these. Under no circumstances should any of your allotted DL spots be vacant at any time. Just because your players turned to the left, coughed, got a thumbs up and were given a farewell slap on the ass, doesn’t mean you can’t fill that emptiness. Grabbing DL-eligible guys off your wire, whether they are All-Stars or not, is a speculative move that could prove beneficial in the end.
Every other week, I’ll be dishing out the who’s who and what’s what in the world of hurt. I’m not a doctor, and I’m not gonna say I play one on TV, cuz I don’t. The closest thing I’ve come to being a doctor is when I had to super glue a plastic window shade to the wall after a gust of wind had knocked it down. I am, though, familiar with sports injuries and things of that nature — my career in the fitness and health field has kept me informed on such matters.
Today I’ll be focusing on some hitters that are widely available on fantasy baseball league waiver wires that you should be adding and stashing on your disabled list. I won’t be suggesting the Jose Reyeses or Manny Machados of the world, but instead going a little deeper down that totem poll.
Hitters to Grab and Stash:
Devin Mesoraco, C, Reds: I loved this guy last year, and with Ryan Hanigan no longer in Cincy, he will finally have the chance to play full-time. A nagging oblique injury landed him on the DL to start the season, but he’s played in two of his three scheduled minor league rehab games and could be activated as soon as he’s eligible this coming Monday. Last year Mesoraco hit 9 HR in just 323 at bats and his minor league profile suggests he could easily reach 15-17 this year, especially playing his home games in the cozy Great American Ballpark.
Gordon Beckham, 2B, White Sox: Beckham, who is also dealing with an oblique injury, has failed to live up to the hype that he garnered coming out of the University of Georgia. In fact, he’s been anything but a bulldog, playing more like a chihuahua with his tail between his legs. But in these hard times, fantasy owners can still stash him on their DL and hope maybe he can figure this baseball thing out. The guy is still only 27 years old and has proven pop, hitting 14 HR his rookie year and 16 homers in 2012. Earlier this week, White Sox manager Robin “I Got Beaten Into Submission By Nolan Ryan” Ventura insinuated that Beckham may have been able to come back this Wednesday, but he’s now missed three straight rehab starts, putting that timetable in serious jeopardy. A late-April return looks like the best case scenario for the White Sox’ second baseman.
Cody Ross, OF, Diamondbacks: Ross suffered a horrific injury late last season and is just now setting a timetable to return. He began a rehab assignment on Thursday and has performed rather well, going 3-for-8 with 2 RBI in three games played. The D-Backs have said that he will remain in Reno for at least the next 7-10 days, so it’d be best to get ahead of the game and stash him now. The Snakes are going with Gerardo Parra in RF as of now, but the two of them could go into a full-on platoon once Ross comes back. Ross has hit left-handers to a tune of a .297/.362/.576 slash line during his 10-year career.
Mark Ellis, 2B, Cardinals: He lost his starting job to Kolten Wong in spring training and has since been sidelined with a minor knee injury. At 36 years old, Ellis will likely take a backseat to the younger Wong all year, but the Cards forked over $5.25 million to him this offseason and he plays tremendous defense. Those two things should make him relevant in NL-only and deeper leagues.
Marco Scutaro, 2B, Giants: After being named the 2012 NLCS MVP, Scutaro proceeded to crap the bed last season. Yes, the .297 BA was good, but a 57/2/31/2 line with 23 doubles ain’t gonna cut it. He’s dealing with back issues, something that can’t be good for a 38-year-old. As of now, there is no set date of return, but he’s worth stashing in NL-only and deeper leagues to see if he may have one last hurrah in his 5-foot-10 frame.
Darin Ruf, 1B/OF, Phillies: These oblique injuries seem like the ailment du jour these days, amiright? They definitely make hitting very difficult. Imagine the entire right side of your torso being more sore than a woman with eight boobs after an octopus convention — and then having to quickly reach over your left shoulder to grab that bag of Cool Ranch Doritos sitting next you. Now think of someone doing the same thing, but with a baseball bat and a 96 mph fastball coming straight towards them. Painful. That’s what Ruf and some of the aforementioned guys are dealing with. Ruf is currently being blocked by Ryan Howard in Philly, but the kid was tied for fourth among all rookies last year with 14 dingers. Howard will get hurt, and when he does, Ruf will be the man.
Freddie Galvis, 2B, Phillies: Another injured young Philly on this list. Galvis is recovering from an MRSA infection (someone’s been showering in the Tampa Bay Bucs locker room) and been playing in extended spring training games, but could return to the Phillies’ lineup as soon as Monday. He may have gained notoriety for being one of the degenerate, scab scratching junkies popped in the Biogenesis scandal, but he can still provide owners with decent upside in the middle infield. He has a little pop (9 HR in 128 major league games) and there’s a chance he could gain multi-position eligibility. Last year, in addition to the 23 games he played at second base, Galvis also played 16 games at 3B, 11 games at SS, and 10 games in LF.
Rafael Furcal, SS, Marlins: Sometimes you feel like Furcal has been around forever, which he has, but then you look at his age and see that he’s only 36. That’s what being a rookie at age 22 will do. Now in Flori — errr — Miami, Furcal has a chance to play pretty much full-time, because well, the Marlins suck donkey butt. He’s recovering from a hamstring injury and will begin a minor league rehab stint on Monday. The team is targeting April 14 for his return. You’ll notice the “SS” tag, but the Fish plan on him playing 2B for them, which should give fantasy owners some nice dual eligibility. Furcal missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he scored 69 runs and stole 12 bases with the Cardinals in 2012. Derek Dietrich and Jeff Baker aren’t exactly racking up the prize tickets at the keystone, so the opportunity will be there for Furcal when he returns.
Craig Gentry, OF, A’s: Gentry picked a bad time to hurt his back. The A’s outfield is pretty crowded right now, but Bob Melvin always seems to find a way to get the most out of his players. This makes Gentry worth an add and stash, especially if you need steals. The speedy Gentry has stolen 37 bases over the past two seasons and hit .292 during that span as well.
Cameron Maybin, OF, Padres: I heard a rumor (from a very credible source) that every time Miguel Cabrera hits a home run, Cameron Maybin loses a second of his projected lifespan. The once-prized outfielder was the centerpiece (on the receiving end) of the trade that sent Miggy from the Marlins to the Detroit Tigers. The rest is history, as they say. Maybin has always been loaded with talent, but has unfortunately spent a good part of his career dealing with injuries. I can only hope his nurse’s bedside manner are as good as the one in the J.B. Lippincott novel “Johnny Got His Gun”. You get it, right? Right!? *nudging you with my elbow like that creeper sitting next to you at your niece’s 8th-grade play recital* Maybin spent nearly all of 2012 recouping from multiple injuries and is now on the mend from a ruptured biceps. He has been playing in extended spring training games and his original timetable of 2-3 months has since been reduced to 4-6 weeks. With that new date, it’s possible we could see him roaming the PETCO Park outfield by mid- to late-April. His upside makes him worthy of a stash, but owners shouldn’t be going too out of their way to acquire him.
No Thank You:
Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres: His knees are just so bad. He’s always had the power, but the constant game-time decisions and DL stints is not worth your time. The three-year, $27 million extension GM Josh Byrnes gave him in 2012 — just four months after having knee surgery — might be one of the most short-sided moves this decade.
Jeff Keppinger, 2B/1B/3B, White Sox: The position eligibility is nice, but the White Sox are going with a youth movement, and at 33 years old, Keppinger is closer to collecting social security than he is to doing body shots off spring breakers in Cancun.
Wilson Ramos, C, Nationals: He’s still heavily owned in most leagues, but since being diagnosed with a fractured hamate bone in his left hand, owners have been dropping him faster than a pair of panties at a Kid Rock concert. He was once rostered in nearly all fantasy leagues, but his ownership percentage has dropped 10 points since Opening Day — and that number should continue to plummet. It can be a slow injury to recover from, but given his 4-6 week timetable, you could do worse than stashing a guy who hit 16 HR in just 287 at bats last season.
Up Next week: Those pesky DL-ridden pitchers…