Poor Aaron Sanchez (SP, Index Finger Contusion) probably hurt his finger on the latest episode of Chopped: All-Stars! The boring old baseball version of Aaron Sanchez has yet to rediscover his Cy Young caliber abilities after missing most of 2017. Sanchez rebounded nicely after a 5 inning, 7 ER performance at the end of May with three quality starts in a row in June. Hopefully this injury won’t derail his progress too much. Stash or Trash: I’d stash. If he can come back quickly he could provide some solid value in the second half. Fill In: Rather than force myself to find five starting pitchers who I might not even fully believe in — I’m going to give you three solid options at the bottom of this article who could fill in for the five injured starting pitchers this week.
- Gary Sanchez, C, Groin Strain: The yin to Cervelli’s yang this season, Sanchez is obviously still putting up respectable power numbers (14 HR, 41 RBI,) but his batting average hasn’t been over .235 all season. Here’s what I said in my Top 100 Hitters column on Sunday after dropping Gary 28 spots in my rankings: “Gary is still hitting the ball with authority as evidenced by his 36.7% hard hit rate, but he’s only hitting line drives at a 14.5% clip and is hitting 40% of his balls into the ground.” Stash or Trash: Stash. Hopefully he comes back revitalized and ready to crush. Fill In: Sometimes the best catcher is no catcher at all. Illegal in your league? Ugh, fine! I’d see if Tom Murphy (4.5%) is still available in your league. Since his call up he’s hitting .306. Murphy hit .295 with 46 HRs in 200 games in AAA in his career and now, at 27, maybe he’s finally bringing that to the major leagues.
- Jay Bruce, OF, Sore Hip: Reports are that Bruce has been nursing this injury for months now, and let’s hope so, maybe that’ll help justify the .212 AVG. Stash or Trash: Trash. Didn’t you just hear me talk about his .212 average? Keep a close eye though — he’s someone who, if he returns healthy, could get hot in a hurry. Replacement: Jesse Winker (3.9%.) The only good Red is a Red with a K/BB ratio lower than 1. Winker is just that so far — he has 36 K’s to 38 BBs. On top of that, in his last 18 games he’s hit 4 HR and knocked in 15 RBI. Time to start batting your eyelashes back at the Winker.
- Clay Buchholz, SP, Strained Oblique: The Clay Buchholz redemption tour has taken a left turn at Albuquerque. No timetable yet, but Rotowire believes he won’t pitch before the All Star Break. That seemed like it was a long time away — but the All Star Game is only three weeks away. Time flies when you have to follow ALL the injured players! Stash or Trash: Surprise stash. Little peek behind the curtain — if a player is owned in less than 5% of leagues and they get injured — I don’t even write about them (see: Jason Vargas this week.) It feels like forever since Buchholz has been relevant enough to even make this article. Fill In: Rather than force myself to find five starting pitchers who I might not even fully believe in — I’m going to give you three solid options at the bottom of this article who could fill in for the five injured starting pitchers this week.
- Dylan Bundy, SP, Sore Ankle: Another pitcher who hurt himself running the bases. You really have to wonder if major league pitchers just have a team of people who brush their teeth, chew their food and wipe their butts for them because they don’t seem to be able to do anything except throw — some of them can’t even take their pants off or know how to make it to a bathroom on time. Stash or Trash: Stash. Bundy is having a moderately successful season with a K/9 over 10 and an ERA under 4 for the first time in his career. It’s easy to forget that Bundy is still only 25 years old since we’ve been hearing about him (and his injuries) for seemingly a decade now. Fill In: Rather than force myself to find five starting pitchers who I might not even fully believe in — I’m going to give you three solid options at the bottom of this article who could fill in for the five injured starting pitchers this week.
- Lorenzo Cain, OF, Groin Strain: Boooooo! Cain was on pace for the best season of his career leading off for the Brew Crew. He’s already halfway towards passing his career high in SBs and HRs. Stash or Trash: Obvious stash. Hopefully this won’t affect the SB total going forward. Fill In: Manuel Margot (17.9%.) Remember when, it’s back again! Manny Margot was a joke heading into June with his .204 batting average and .570 OPS. Now the joke is on us — he’s raised his batting average .045 points and his OPS .129 points. He’s 0 for 4 in steals in June, which is what we all originally drafted him for — but hopefully he can turn that around too.
- Francisco Cervelli, C, Concussion: The surprising third ranked catcher on ESPN’s Player Rater has already set a new season high for HRs with 9. His average is on par with what he’s done in the past while his OPS is higher than it has ever been in his career. Cervelli might be the face of the launch angle revolution — his 49.6% is 20 percentage points higher than anything he’s done in his past four years. If he can keep from grounding out so much this hot start might be a bit believable. Stash or Trash: Stash. Fill In: ANOTHER CATCHER?! I’ve never done this before, but just go read Gary Sanchez’s blurb — the catcher waiver scene is a tragic wasteland of .210 batting averages and RBI totals in the teens. Tom Murphy is really the only bum worth making YOUR bum.
- Michael Soroka, SP, Shoulder Inflammation: Thank the baseball Gods, there is no structural damage in his shoulder. Soroka will be a major part of the Braves next dynasty as all of their young pitchers slowly make their debuts in the next few years. Yes. My not-so-bold prediction is that the Braves are going to be a huge problem for the next decade. Stash or Trash: Stash. We don’t know much about this injury just yet, but we do know that Soroka is only 20 years old and had a 2.81 ERA in 65 minor league starts and is worth holding onto. Fill In: Rather than force myself to find five starting pitchers who I might not even fully believe in — I’m going to give you three solid options at the bottom of this article who could fill in for the five injured starting pitchers this week.
- Arodys Vizcaino, RP, Shoulder Inflammation: Vizcaino is expected to come back when first eligible on Sunday, July 1st. Stash or Trash: Cries for AJ Minter or Dan Winkler to take over for Vizcaino have been silenced as Vizcaino has been the best reliever in the Braves bullpen allowing only 6 ERs in 29.2 IP. Fill In: Someone I’d be keeping my stink eye on is Kirby Yates (9.9%.) The dude has been so money this year and he DOES know it. His ERA is under 1.00, his K/9 is over 10, is HR/9 is under 0.5, and his POWER LEVEL IS OVER 9,000!!!! With the inevitable Padres bullpen sell off coming soon — Yates might find himself in a closing situation.
- Michael Wacha, SP, Oblique Strain: Restrain yourself Kerry. Now is not the time for obvious anti-Cardinal Fozzy Bear references. Before his June 15th blow-up against the Cubs where this injury originated Wacha was pitching like a Cy Young. He had a 2.47 ERA with 67 K’s in 76.2 IP. The 8 ERs allowed in 4 IP in that Cubs game raised his ERA 0.77 points. Stash or Trash: Stash. There isn’t a timetable, but Wacha will definitely be out until after the ASB — hopefully back to his pre-injury form. Fill In: Rather than force myself to find five starting pitchers who I might not even fully believe in — I’m going to give you three solid options at the bottom of this article who could fill in for the five injured starting pitchers this week.
Starting Pitcher Fill-In Options:
- Ivan Nova (18.9%): Old Nova is dead. Long live new Nova! Well maybe not yet entirely — I’m still a little cautious, but you have to like the results over his last three starts. After a respectable 3.32 ERA in April, Nova dropped his new joint in May: a 7.61 ERA. Well good news y’all, his three starts in June have been even better than April — he’s allowed only 2 ERs over 19.2 IP. Maybe the DL stint that Nova endured at the end of May was holding him back for the entire month. Buy your Nova shares now!
- Dereck Rodriguez (7.8%): Who better to coach a young starting pitcher than the greatest catcher of all time? Dereck is being offered starting opportunities out in San Fran and not just because he looks like his dad Ivan if he grew up in hipster 2016 Brooklyn. Rodriguez had solid numbers in the minors, 3.54 ERA in 427.1 IP including a 3.40 ERA in 9 PCL starts this season which is basically Cy Young caliber. I wouldn’t start Rodriguez at his next start in Arizona — but he’s a young guy to keep an eye on in deeper leagues if you need some spot starts.
- Nathan Eovaldi (7.1%): Now, if you’re looking for one guaranteed quality spot start in the upcoming week — look no further than Eovaldi. On Tuesday night he kept the Nationals off the board over 6 IP and even notched 9 K’s against them. Well boy has Eovaldi earned a vacation for his next start. His opponent, the Marlins of Miami have the 9th most K’s against righties and are 26th in OPS against righties. Bon appetit.