This is a unique time of the year as the All-Star break gives players some extra time off. Those who may have otherwise been placed on the 15-day disabled list will be able to catch a bit of a breather. Unfortunately there were several injuries that forced teams to place players on the shelf, some with six to eight week time frames. Consider this the triage version of the Ambulance Chasers as the lesser injury write ups will wait until next week. In addition to the players on the shelf, there are some replacement suggestions who should be available in most formats as well.
Clay Buchholz, Red Sox: After posting a strong 8.5 K/9 alongside a career best 1.83 BB/9, Buchholz was lifted from his start on Friday after just 3 ? innings pitched. The Sox were quick to place him on the DL with tightness in his right elbow. Officially it’s being called a right flexor strain, and he’ll be shut down from throwing for one week before being reevaluted. With no timetable on his recovery — not to mention a spotty health history — we may not see Buchholz again for some time. According to Brooks Baseball you can see him sitting around 93 mph with his fastball, even touching 94, early in the game. Contrast those numbers with the fact he didn’t touch 92 in the fourth inning and it’s clear something was wrong. To help offset the loss of the Buch and his K’s, Rubby de la Rosa is whiffing batters at a similar rate and his 3.29 xFIP tells us he’s a better pitcher than the 4.89 ERA. If you’re the adventurous type, both Erasmo Ramirez and Andrew Heaney have pitched well, however they also both have unsustainably low BABIPs of .256 and .222 respectively.
Other starting pitchers injured in the past week:
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (Oblique strain)
Jesse Hahn, Athletics (forearm tightness)
Steven Matz, Mets (partially torn latissimus muscle in his left back)
Jaime Garcia, Cardinals (left groin strain)
Carlos Frias, Dodgers (lower back tightness)
Josh Harrison, Pirates: Let’s start with the good news, and that is Jung-ho Kang should get plenty of playing time going forward. The bad news is Harrison is likely to be out seven weeks from the diagnosis of torn ligaments in his left thumb; about six more weeks from now. His breakout campaign last season would be tough to repeat (especially the .353 BABIP) however Harrison was still hitting a respectable .279 with nine steals prior to the injury. Think of it this way. he’s on pace to miss about half of the remaining season. In one of my 10-team leagues he was already dropped, yet in 12-and deeper formats he’s probably worth hanging on to. To help replace the lost batting average, Martin Prado should be activated any day now, though he possess even less power than Harrison. If you’re hurting for steals then Delino Deshields is a better bet, and he can be plugged into second base or the outfield, just like Harrison. For those of you who can spare the rate stats but need some power, take a look at Jonathan Schoop. He powered 16 home runs last season and heading into Saturday’s games he cracked five dingers in 47 plate appearances this year.
Alex Gordon, Royals: Injuries to the groin area aren’t a laughing matter, unless this is 1994 and we’re on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Certainly no Royals fan is filled with laughter given that Gordon is set to miss eight weeks due to a grade two strain of his left groin. For now it looks like the Royals have in-house options in Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando, and a platoon situation seems likely. Dyson has wheels for days and so does Orlando, but if forced to choose I’d go with Dyson as his left-handed hitting should grant him the larger portion of playing time. Both Dyson and Orlando are speedy torpedoes headed to sink your rate stats, so if you need AVG and don’t trust Gregor Blanco’s .373 BABIP, I like Ender Inciarte. If you need help in an on-base percentage league then it would be wise to think about picking up Chris Coghlan or Scott Van Slyke. Coghlan has been healthy and owns a .344 OBP this season, a number in line with his .340 career rate. I wish the Dodgers outfield wasn’t so crowded so I could roll with Van Slyke with confidence, but as a great writer once said: “So it goes.”
There is some good news in today’s Ambulance Chasers as two players (in addition to Schoop) made their season debut or are otherwise coming off the 60-day DL:
John Jaso, Rays: Great OBP and excellent against right-handed pitchers, Jaso is a must-own in two-catcher leagues. Even if he gets plugged into your UTIL spot, take advantage of his walk rate and his spot high in the Rays lineup.
Brandon Beachy, Dodgers: At the time of writing Beachy had tossed three shutout innings, however it took him 51 pitches to do so. I still fondly remember his breakout 2011 performance, and while it is unlikely he’ll ever repeat that season, he’s a solid hurler in a pitcher friendly park with a good offense around him.