This one just came across my desk in the Razzball news room. Apparently Walker Buehler suffered this injury (rib microfracture) three starts ago (!) but he’s a hockey player who fought his way through it. Conflicting reports about whether he’ll just miss one start or more in case they want to manage his innings. Stash or Trash: Stash. Kid’s looked great and a worthy heir to the Clayton Kershaw crown. Fill In: With another six starting pitchers going on the DL, I’m going to make my starting pitcher replacements at the bottom of this article.
Jeurys Familia, RP, Sore Shoulder: This is an injury Familia dealt with in spring training, but all reports are that there is minimal to no damage to the shoulder so he shouldn’t miss too much time. Stash or Trash: Hold on to all your savers. Stash. Fill In: Jordan Hicks (10.3%.) Bud Norris is still the de facto closer in St Louie, but the Cards have to see the lock down closer potential in Hicks. He has an electric 100+ mph fastball and is now working on utilizing his sinker a bit more to keep hitters honest. He already nailed down his first save with three strikeouts on 6/9 with Bud Norris being used multiple days in a row.
Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Hamstring Strain: Pitchers shouldn’t have to hit OR field! Hellickson suffered this injury on 6/3 while attempting to cover first. He’s due back the night this article is scheduled to go live, but with a lack of updates I think he’ll miss another week or two. Stash or Trash: Hellickson has been pitching fantastically this year (whether you think it’s legit or not) and hopefully he comes back 100%. Fill In: With another six starting pitchers going on the DL, I’m going to make my starting pitcher replacements at the bottom of this article.
Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH, Sprained UCL: Angels fans and Ohtani stans were praying to the Japanese baseball Gods Hideo Nomo and Sadaharu Oh that Ohtani could avoid the dreaded Tommy John surgery and it looks like maybe their prayers were answered. Until next week. When Dr. James Andrews claims another soul. Mike Sciosciapath is kicking around the idea of letting Ohtani bat even with this UCL injury. Stash or Trash: Stash, but stay tuned on this one. If the news takes a turn for the worst, start taking a look at some replacement options now. Fill In: With another six starting pitchers going on the DL, I’m going to make my starting pitcher replacements at the bottom of this article.
Daniel Robertson, 2B/SS/3B, Strained Hamstring: D-Rob himself has called this strain the “mildest of the mild” which was actually the name of my first rap album. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’ll be back on June 21st when first eligible. He’s been a fantastic bench bat with his 2B/SS/3B eligibility and .385 OBP. Fill In: Ketel Marte (13.7%.) From the start of the season, until May 27th Marte had 10 XBHs on the season with a .212 AVG. In the 13 games since then he has 12 XBHs with a .349 AVG. His .343 BABIP over that period shows me that this outburst isn’t too fluky. A lot of us had Ketel pegged as a breakout candidate in spring training, but like most of the Diamondbacks his bat was sleeping until now. Marte has a pair of 20 stolen base seasons and even a 30 base season in the minors so there could be a few more steals coming Ketel’s way.
Andrelton Simmons, SS, Ankle Sprain: This ankle sprain is being rated as a Grade 2 which means it was unable to learn long division. On 6/11 Simmons was taking swings and throwing a bit, but not running. I think we’ll still be without Simmons for another two weeks. Stash or Trash: Stash. My favorite Simmons stat this season is his strikeout rate. Among qualified players, Ian Kinsler and Michael Brantley are tied for second in strikeout rate with an 8.7%. Andrelton Simmons is in first with a 4.1%. Yum! Fill In: Ketel Marte again? Yea, read about him above — but another option is Matt Duffy (9.5%.) Duffy has already shown up in this column in the past because he’s a great fill in option. While he’s only got 2 HRs and 3 SBs on the season, his .320 AVG is exactly what you want from a fill in option in deeper leagues. Duffy has been hitting between third and fifth in the Rays lineup lately which should lead him to additional RBI opportunities, despite the supporting cast around him.
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Shoulder Inflammation: Oh it’s time already? Time for a Strasburg injury stint? There’s no damage to the shoulder which is great, but with it being his throwing shoulder I’m expecting the Nationals to be cautious with their fragile second ace. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’s still got that low 1.00ish WHIP, a strikeout per 9 over 10 and an ERA in the mid-to-low 3’s. Fill In: With another six starting pitchers going on the DL, I’m going to make my starting pitcher replacements at the bottom of this article.
Julio Teheran, SP, Thumb Contusion: Teheran suffered this injury way back on 6/4, but wasn’t placed on the DL until after I wrote last week’s Ambulance Chasers. Stash or Trash: With that in mind, it should be no surprise that Teheran is expected to make his next start this Friday. Stash. Fill In: With another six starting pitchers going on the DL, I’m going to make my starting pitcher replacements at the bottom of this article.
Masahiro Tanaka, SP, Strained Hamstrings: Pitchers shouldn’t be allowed to hit, field, run, file their own taxes or get married! Tanaka suffered this injury while running the bases against the Mets on 6/8. Aaron Boone is saying that that Tanaka won’t be back until around the All-Star Break. Stash or Trash: Stash. Tanaka really hasn’t been what the Yankees expected/needed when they signed him in 2014. Sure the 3.12 ERA his first three years was great — but the 4.70 since has been anything but. Fill In: With another six starting pitchers going on the DL, I’m going to make my starting pitcher replacements at the bottom of this article.
Starting Pitcher Fill-In Options
Reynaldo Lopez, CWS, 21.9%: Honestly, I’m surprised this guy is as underowned as he is. If you take away his two blow up games (2 IP, 6 ERs against the Pirates and 2.2 IP, 7 ERs against the Indians he has only allowed 15 ERs in 72.1 IP good for a 1.87 ERA. Sure, you’d like more than 6.3 K/9 and less than 4.0 BB/9, but if he can continue limiting the damage, and you can plan for his blow-up start every 4th start — you’ll be golden!
Jaime Barria, LAA, 15.8%: Perhaps the second biggest loser due to the Ohtani injury after the Angels is the Salt Lake City Bus Co. who won’t get Barria’s business every 6th Angels game. The biggest winner — will be you if you pick up Barria. Barria had a solid AAA career with a 3.31 RA/9 over 8 starts. (Not to be confused with RA-9 from the video game Detroit: Become Human. HIGHLY recommend) In the bigs this year, he’s held every opponent except one to 2 runs or under. The one start where he allowed 4 ERs was against the Yankees and he even held them to 7 base runners over 5 innings which, let’s be honest, should count as a quality start for him.
Dylan Covey, CWS, 6.0%: Yea his 7.71 ERA in 18 games last year should make us all nervous, but take a look at his minor league numbers (and performance this year) and you’ll get a different picture. In 81 career minor league starts, he had a 3.96 ERA. And this year, in 28.333333333 innings Covey has allowed only 7 ERs. And while his minor league strikeout numbers haven’t been fantastic (6.6 K/9) he’s actually struckout 28 batters so far in the big leagues. I’m not saying Covey is a top 100 starting pitcher yet — but at 6% owned he could a solid spot starter or replacement if you’re one of the (many, many, many) owners suffering through an injury.