Has anyone started calling David Dahl (OF, Broken Foot) China Dahl yet? If not, let me be the first. ANOTHER major injury for China Dahl that will see him miss 6-8 weeks. Stash or Trash: Trash. He wasn’t getting consistent playing time and now two months on the shelf? You deserve better! Replacement: You know who will never let you down? Leonys Martin (17%.) Oh god, what did I even just type? Oh well, let’s commit to the bit. Martin actually has been downright ownable in 12 team mixed leagues. 34 runs, 7 HRs, 20 RBI — only two steals which is what we all wanted — really not bad. The athleticism was always there with Martin but he never seemed to be able to get out of his own way. Well he’s out of his own way now and hitting pretty well. Leonys more than anyone else on the planet has committed to the launch angle revolution — he’s hitting a staggering 51% of balls in the air. I don’t know how sustainable that is with only a 16% line drive rate — but we’re not going to find gold on the waiver wire — only pyrite.
Chris Archer, SP, Abdominal Strain: Archer was pulled from his Saturday start and saw a specialist a few days later. Apparently that specialist saw enough to necessitate a DL stint for Archer. It’s a bit early for a timetable but… Stash or Trash: You’re stashing him anyway. Archer had a butt ugly 6.61 ERA in April, but returned to form with a 2.47 ERA since. Fill In: Since there are five injured starting pitchers this week (!) I’ll be giving my SP fill in recommendations below.
Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, Appendectomy: Captain Can’t-catch-a-break is on the DL again. This is just another laundry list of freak injuries for Belt. Hard to predict how long he’ll be out — but I can’t imagine it will be longer than it takes for his entry wound to heal. So 2-3 weeks? Stash or Trash: Stash. Belt has the best first basemen west of the Mississippi. Fill In: Yuli Gurriel (27.7%.) The only reason Gurriel is so low-owned is the complete lack of power. Since May 1st he’s been crushing with a .323 average with 18 runs and 12 RB, but only has 1 HR on the year. He often gets overlooked in the Astros lineup, but if he starts to redistribute that 50% ground ball rate he could really improve his ownership.
Mookie Betts, OF, Strained Abdominal: Take a breath everyone — it’s looking like Mookie won’t be playing hookie for long. I don’t think he’ll be back on June 8th like he hopes (why risk longer term injury issues when you can sit him for the meaningless games in June?) but it won’t be too much longer than that. Stash or Trash: Stash. Fill In: Greg Allen (1.7%.) Consider this the deep/AL-only pick of the week. Allen has fantastic speed potential as evidenced by his 57 stolen bases in the minors 2 seasons ago. He had a double-digit walk rate in the minors and a contact rate above 80 which — if he can make strides towards in the majors — will help turn him into an elite stolen base threat at the major league level as well. As it stands right now, he’s striking out too much (26.5%.) but has a great line drive rate (30%) and is hitting his balls in play with a medium or hard contact rate of 91%. If he continues to work on his plate discipline he could be a SAGNOF wet dream by the end of the year. Not to mention hitting 9th in front of Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez is guaranteed to do wonders for his run total. He already recently had a run scoring streak of 7 games in a row.
Byron Buxton, OF, Fractured Toe: Here is what I wrote about Buxton in week 5: “I went to the DL with migraines and all I got was this lousy toe contusion. In a rehab game, Buxton fouled a ball off his toe. A rough break for sure, but luckily, no break for sure.” Turns out, Mama’s wrong again. The toe is broken and Buxton will be back on the DL. Stash or Trash: It’s at that point where you can strongly consider trashing him. In my 14 team mixed league he was just dropped and I think he’ll remain on the waivers for a while. A modern day Melvin Upton? I hope not. Replacement: You wanted power, speed and an average over .200? Haaaaaavvee you met Harrison Bader (8.6%)? In 100 inconsistent at bats, Bader has 5 HR, 6 SBs, 19 runs and a .270/.348/.450 slash line. The St. Louis outfield situation is a mess for a variety of reasons — but Bader will still get the occasional start and has been a solid contributor when he’s in there.
Kole Calhoun, OF, Right Oblique Strain: Wait…people still owned Kole Calhoun? But…he was hitting .145. Stash or Trash: Trash. They’re calling it an oblique strain. I think it should’ve been called “GetYourMindRightWithJesus.” Replacement: Scott Schebler (11.6%.) No one was expecting an average over .250 really — we were all just hoping for 30 HR power again. Well, the .250ish average has been there but only 8 HRs? Oh, three have them have come in the last five games? Pick him up now and enjoy the true power run.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Calf Tightness: Oh boy. This is the (beginning of) the end, my friend. My only friend, (beginning of) the end. I don’t think Donaldson makes it through the season. He’s been nursing this calf injury for what seems like his entire life at this point and can’t shake it (PLEASE DON’T SHAKE IT JOSH — IT’LL ONLY MAKE IT WORSE!) Stash or Trash: You can’t trash him — he was a top 25 overall pick to some poor schlub (me, in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational.) Fill In: Johan Camargo (5.0%.) I was looking long and hard at Camargo in my 14 team league, but I just couldn’t get over his complete lack of power, speed and contact abilities aka hitting. He’s never hit over 6 HRs, never stolen over 7 bases and wasn’t really a stud just getting hits (career .278 minor league hitter.) Well, the most you can say is “he’s getting at bats.” He’s got three HRs over his last 7 games and is hitting in a great RBI spot in the Braves line-up. If he can hit .270ish the rest of the way behind Ender Inciarte, Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and Kurt Suzuki he could muster up a decent RBI total.
Carl Edwards Jr., RP, Shoulder Inflammation: Luckily, early reports are that there is no structural damage, just that random shoulder inflammation that pops up. No timetable has been created yet — but I’d expect the Cubs to take it easy for a week or two more with their star setup man. Stash or Trash: Edwards was doing what Edwards do so far this year — ERA under 3.00, K/9 over 12, making batters look foolish — so he’s a safe stash in my book even in saves only leagues. Fill In: Joe Jimenez (3.4%.) I know it’s hard — but don’t be scared away by his 12.32 ERA last season. Before that, in the minors, he had a 1.56 ERA and 13.0 K/9 over 167.1 innings.This year he has seemingly rediscovered that dominance and established himself as the Tigers main set-up man. He has a 2.45 ERA and 9.2 K/9.
Rhys Hoskins, 1B/OF, Fractured Jaw: RHYS NO! MY BEAUTIFUL BOY! I picked Rhys as my MVP pick in real baseball and my MVFH in fake baseball. He has been neither so far this year. He is leading the league in fouling balls off his face because it doesn’t really seem possible — yet here we are. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’ll prove me right by year’s end — or else! He’s somehow not expected to miss more than a week or two more. Fill In: Max Muncy (9.8%.) A reaaalll Muncy. Muncy is crushing the ball in limited time this year. He’s had hard/medium contact on a bat-cracking 88% of balls put in play. This has lead to 9 HRs and 23 RBI in only 107 ABs. Dave Roberts seems committed to getting Muncy’s bat in the lineup and the former 5th round pick out of Baylor is committed to making him look good.
Clayton Kershaw, SP, Lower Back Strain: Interesting debate going on with my league mates as I’m writing this: if you had to draft one pitcher next year — how many starting pitchers would you draft before you get to Kershaw? Max Scherzer? Corey Kluber? Justin Verlander? Stephen Strasburg? Luis Severino? Gerrit Cole? Stash or Trash: Stash. No structural damage — but he’s still about to miss a month or more. Fill In: Since there are five injured starting pitchers this week (!) I’ll be giving my SP fill in recommendations below.
Kenta Maeda, SP, Hip Strain: Maeda was in the midst of a pretty solid season with a 3.61 ERA and an 11.7 K/9 so this couldn’t have come at a worse time. Maeda was working out again as of June 2nd, but there is no clear timetable for his return. I think we’ll be without Maeda for about another week and a half. Stash or Trash: Stash. Fill In: Since there are five injured starting pitchers this week (!) I’ll be giving my SP fill in recommendations below.
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Knee Inflammation: Hi Dustin! Bye Dustin! After missing the first two months of the season, Dustin came back and played 1, 2, 3, 4 games! 4 games before going on the DL again. He’s getting an MRI to help Boston remain calm — ALL IS WELL! I think he’s just going through a bit of scar tissue issues and shouldn’t miss too much time. Stash or Trash: Oh, don’t get me wrong though — trash him and pick up someone younger, healthier and maybe better at this point in their careers. Replacement: Ketel Marte (6.2%.) The 24 year old started off the year hot getting on base in 12 straight games in early April. It was not as good for his next 19 games which saw his average drop down to .205 on May 8th. From May 8th until now, however, he’s hit .275 with a .513 SLG including 4 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 HRs in his last 7 games. This could be the start of a nice little hot streak for the other Marte.
Alex Reyes, SP, Lat Strain: Four innings! 1, 2, 3, 4! 4 innings! Alex Reyes was on the DL for 16 months recovering from Tommy John surgery and how he’s back there after suffering a ‘significant’ lat strain in his first start back lasting only four innings. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’s a top starter when healthy (as we saw in his 0 ERs allowed in 23 minor league innings before his call-up.) Reyes is going to get a second look at his lat on Wednesday and then the Cardinals will set forth a timetable. If it looks bad — adjust this stash/trash accordingly. Fill In: Since there are five injured starting pitchers this week (!) I’ll be giving my SP fill in recommendations below.
Jeff Samardzija, SP, Shoulder Tightness: Samardzija has been battling this injury since spring training so I hope he really takes the time to get his shoulder (and his head) right. Samardzija played catch on June 4th and is going to throw a bullpen session on Friday. I hope it goes well and they send him on a rehab assignment so he can remember what it’s like to get batters out. Stash or Trash: Stash and pray. Pray and stash. Fill In: Since there are five injured starting pitchers this week (!) I’ll be giving my SP fill in recommendations below.
Starting Pitcher Fill-In Options:
James Shields, CWS, 5.6%: “This can’t be right — THAT James Shields? He was a punchline in some (most) of your articles last year!” Yea well, Shields hasn’t been completely terrible this year. Of his 12 starts, 7 have been quality including his last four. In those four starts he has pitched at least 7 innings and has a .210 batting average against him with 23 Ks. His next start comes against the Twins who he held to 3 ERs in 6.2 IP in early May. I don’t want to believe — but for some spot starts, maybe, juuuusssstttt maybe we can believe in Shields.
Steven Matz, NYM, 10.7%: There was once a time when Zach Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard were all making their Mets debuts that some people in New York were saying “well wait til you see this Matz kid — he’s better than all of them.” So far we’ve been waiting to see this Matz kid. At the end of April his ERA was basically 5.00 based on my elementary school knowledge of rounding. Starting in May, something has changed within him, something is not the same. Over his last six starts he has a 2.32 ERA and a .220 BAA. Matz faces off against the Yankees next and the only pitcher worth starting against the Yankees is Justin Verlander — but Matz is still worth picking up in your league.
Jose Urena: MIA, 7.0%: The Marlins ace — is that the right word? — has been an riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma covered with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles onions on a sesame seed bun. Some games he does look like a true ace (BOS, 4/3: 7 IP/1 ER, 7 K; COL, 4/27: 7 IP/1 ER/5 K; PHI, 5/2: 7 IP, 1 ER, 6 K) some games he looks like a true ass (CHC, 3/29: 4 IP, 5 ER.) Well he’s coming up on another opportunity to look like an ace. On June 10th he’ll face the Padres at home. His ERA is .63 points lower at home and when he faced these Padres on May 30th he held them to 1 ER over 6 innings with 6 Ks. Hopefully I’m more ace-uming than assuming.