Just like last week when I had too many outfielder injuries I am going to save all my starting pitcher fill in options for the bottom of the article. There are simply not enough credible fill in starting pitchers to take seriously. Eventually you’d be asking me “Really Kerry? You want me to start Livan Hernandez this week in his celebrity softball appearance?” Yes. Yes I do. That’s really all that’s left. Unless you want me to embarrass myself and recommend Matt Cain starting in Coors Field.
As always, you’ve got league-specific injury questions? I’ve got league-specific injury answers. Leave your question in the comments below! I love talking with the Razzball community.
Justin Bour, 1B, Oblique Strain
The giant lumberjack was just placed on the DL and will probably miss 20 or more games. Stash or Trash: Stash. Bour’s power numbers have been a nice contribution to your team at a cheap cost. He’s ranked in the top 10 in HR and RBI among first basemen. Fill In: Ring my Josh Bell (27.6%.) My NL Rookie of the Year prediction is really coming on strong. 50 runs scored, 18 HR, 55 RBI and his .253 average continues to rise. Also note that Bell’s greatest skill in the minors was his contact skills so expect that .253 to go up and up.
Starlin Castro, 2B, Strained Hamstring
This is Castro’s second trip to the disabled list with this injury so it’s good to see he’s not a quitter! Stash or Trash: Stashtro. He has so far earned that All-Star appearance with a 52/12/45/1/.307 line in 79 games at what was probably a discounted cost to you. Fill In: Let me get this out of the way now: Cory Spangenberg (12.4%) has never hit over 9 HR since he was drafted and hasn’t stolen over 9 bases in the major leagues. However he has come out of the All-Star Break gate hot hitting .359 with 8 runs, 3 HR and 10 RBI. He’s slowly moving up in the Padres batting order (because someone has to) and is in a nice RBI-producing 5th in their lineup.
Scott Feldman, SP, Knee Inflammation
In a league where the average team ERA is 4.34 the man with the 4.34 ERA is…ownable. On June 14th I recommended Feldman as a fill in option for Matt Andriese. Here is what I said then: “Scott Feldman is just weird. He’s made 6 Cy Young caliber starts (0.86 ERA) and 7 slow pitch softball starts (8.85 ERA.)” What has he done since that point? He’s made 3 more Cy Young caliber starts (1.80 ERA) and 3 more slow pitch softball starts (10.64 ERA.) He’s stayed weird…and that’s me quoting me! Stash or Trash: At this point he’s a trash. His knee was bad enough that the Reds looked into whether or not he needed surgery (he doesn’t) but it could still be a while without Feldman. Fill In: Check the bottom of this article for starting pitching fill in options.
Austin Hedges, C, Concussion
Hedges took a foul ball to the noggin on July 15th and hasn’t played a game since. He’s back with the team now, but still on the disabled list. Stash or Trash: There have been five catchers worth owning this year and Hedges ain’t one of them. Outside of a 9 game stretch in mid-April when he hit 6 HR and 12 RBI in 29 at-bats — Hedges has a .205 AVG with 7 HR. Trash. Fill In: Sometimes the best catcher is no catcher. Illegal? Fine. I’ll recommend my default catcher fill in, Francisco Cervelli (17.3%.) Any time there is a catcher injury just assume I’m going to recommend Cervelli. He won’t hurt your ratios (career .279 hitter over 10 seasons) and will sometimes win you a week with his 1 HR or SB every 2-3 weeks.
Clayton Kershaw, SP, Lower Back Tightness
The best hitter on the planet already succumbed (succame?) to a DL-stint this season so it was only right that the best pitcher joined him. Everyone has been quick to point out that this isn’t the spinal disc issue that Kershaw suffered through last season, but the news isn’t much better. The timeline is uncertain, but looking like 4 to 6 weeks until we see Kershaw again. A devastating loss to be sure, but hopefully you can grab a replacement to hold you over until Kershaw is back for your playoffs Stash or Trash: Come on. Fill In: Check the bottom of this article for starting pitching fill in options.
Cameron Maybin, OF, Sprained Knee
Don’t adjust your monitors, Maybin is on the disabled list. He has a grade 1 sprain of his right knee’s MCL. His timetable is two to four weeks until he returns. So what that really means is three to five weeks until he’s in another issue of Ambulance Chasers. Stash or Trash: Stash. Maybin is a surefire bet to be a SAGNOF All-Star at season’s end. He is currently 4th in stolen bases with 25. The fact that it is a knee injury on a speedster is concerning but you probably won’t find his speed potential on the waivers. Fill In: Rajai Davis (9.9%.) Look, you need stolen bases and that’s all Davis knows how to do. He’s got 4 stolen bases in his last 15 games and is probably the only stolen base specialist available on your waivers. He’s not getting many starts lately, but that doesn’t mean he still can’t get you a stolen base or two when he does start or pinch runs. If one of your main OF/UTIL guys is getting a rest day, put Davis in their spot even if he’s not starting. He could pinch run and get you a coveted SB. SAGNOF!
Brandon McCarthy, SP, Blister
This is getting ridiculous now. I’m working on a spreadsheet of how many times each player has been on the disabled list this year and with what injury and if my memory serves me correct this is McCarthy’s 18th DL placement. Stash or Trash: Another day, another blister injury. McCarthy will miss a start or two, but he’s worth stashing because he has been a quality starter when healthy. Just get ready to search Ambulance Chasers again the morning after his return start because he’ll probably be here. Fill In: Check the bottom of this article for starting pitching fill in options.
Alex Meyer, SP, Throwing Shoulder Inflammation
Don’t read too much into this one. In his prior start Meyer pitched 7 shutout innings against the Nationals. The Sciosciapath has even come out and said that he doesn’t expect Meyer to miss much time. Stash or Trash: I feel like this is just a weird procedural DL stash. He’ll only miss one or starts. Despite his 5.6 BB/9 — safe stash. Fill In: Check the bottom of this article for starting pitching fill in options.
Gregory Polanco, OF, Strained Hamstring
Take alllll the time you need Greg. Alllll the time you need. As with most injuries there are conflicting reports on his return time. Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that Polanco is “week-to-week” whatever the hell that means while Polanco says he is feeling better and won’t need a rehab assignment. He’s been playing like he’s in AAA so far so what’s the difference? Stash or Trash: You can’t cut ties with Polanco’s potential or high draft cost so stash him. Fill In: Nick Williams (24.6%.) It feels like owners have been waiting for Williams’s call-up for a decade now but he’s still only 23 and finally getting his first shot. He’s hitting .315 since his call-up at the end of June and has chipped in a little power (4 HR/18 RBI) but no speed. He wasn’t exactly a bolt on the basepaths but 5-10 SB isn’t unreasonable for Nick. That 5% walk rate isn’t great, but he survived in the minors with close to that number. He’s been hitting 3rd lately which is a great place to find yourself even in the Phillies lineup.
Tyson Ross, SP, Blister
Tyson Ross you are officially my least favorite baseball player of all time. Congratulations. You did it. You’ve surpassed Chris Shelton (I’ll never forget those 13 magical games in 2006, Chris.) I drafted Ross in the 7th round in 2016 and stashed him week after week in anticipation of his return from the disabled list. A return that would never come. This year, I draft him in the 25th round, because ya know, masochism. I stash him in my DL spot once again just waiting for that big payoff. 7 starts and a 7.52 ERA later and here we are. Stash or Trash: Trash him bitterly. And insult Chris Shelton while you’re at it. Fill In: Check the bottom of this article for starting pitching fill in options.
Aaron Sanchez, SP, Blister
Sanchez has made only 8 starts this season due to four separate disabled list visits due to blisters. Sanchez is scheduled to train with Isuro “Kamikaze” Tanaka this off-season to toughen up his hands. Stash or Trash: You have to keep stashing him. Blisters aren’t a season ruining injury so you have to hope that eventually his hands toughen up a bit. Fill In: Check the bottom of this article for starting pitching fill in options.
Adam Wainwright, SP, Back Tightness
This news just dropped as I was writing this article so I’ll provide an update once I know more. Wainwright is healthy, but old. Father time is undefeated in fantasy baseball even with his obnoxious team name “Father of Deez Nutz.” Stash or Trash: Stash until we know more. Wainwright’s career is wain-ing (what have I become?), but 5 of his last 6 starts have been pretty impressive so the old dog can still go. Fill In: Check the bottom of this article for starting pitching fill in options.
Zack Wheeler, SP, Stress Reaction in Arm
Hell, my arm would be stressed too if I allowed 10.1 H/9 or 4.2 BB/9 or had a 5.21 ERA. Stash or Trash: Trash away. He hasn’t really been worth owning anyway. Fill In: Check the bottom of this article for starting pitching fill in options.
Starting Pitcher Fill In Options:
Parker Bridwell (12.2%): Is it time to start taking this kid seriously? He’s really only had one bad start in his 7 big league starts this season. His 4.74 career minor league ERA and 5.32 FIP are telling me that the most vicious regression fairies are stalking him just waiting to strike. But if you’re desperate in a deep league you can grab him and dare to believe that fairies are fake and maybe he’s figured something out.
Kyle Freeland (32.5%): Let’s play my favorite game I introduced you to last week: What is this Rockies pitcher’s splits? Whoa wait a minute. Wait a minute! You mean to tell me Kyle Freeland’s ERA at home is LOWER than his ERA away from Coors Field?! Home ERA: 3.21. Away ERA: 4.12. The Rockies need to install a cloning machine right next to that humidor and start cranking out a whole lotta Kyle Freelands. Over Freeland’s first 12 starts he had a 3.34 ERA, then he hit a rough patch in June/early July with 5 starts and a 5.90 ERA, but has responded nicely only allowing 2 ER in his latest 17.1 IP.
Alex Cobb (55%): Cobb was James Paxton before James Paxton. An under-the-radar pitcher who everyone drafted as a break-out sleeper with ace potential that just can’t stay healthy. Well Cobb is healthy this season and has really started hitting his groove after a 5 inning, 9 run allowed start in early June. After that disastrous start something must’ve clicked. He’s made 8 starts and only allowed 15 ER total for a 2.35 ERA. He’s got a pretty sad 5.8 SO/9, but if you pair him with a Chris Sale or Max Scherzer you won’t even notice.