Michael Fulmer is officially oblique strain 1 of 3 in this report! Collect all three for a frustrating prize! Luckily it’s a grade 1 strain. Unluckily it’s a friggen oblique strain. They all suck and they all linger for weeks. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’s 3-9 and his frustration will frustrate you — but he’s still a worthy SP4 or 5 on your roster. Fill In: Carlos Rodon (19.6%.) Last week I told you to add Carlos Rodon, but apparently the message was not received as he’s still under 20% owned. Rodon’s K/rate is still approximately 2 strike-outs behind his career numbers so you have to believe that number will normalize as he gets more starts under his belt. As it stands now he still has a 1.19 WHIP and a 3.56 ERA in 7 starts.
DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Oblique Strain: Oblique strain 2 of 3! Manager Bud Black is hopeful that this won’t be a month long oblique strain, however, after heading on two seasons writing this column I can tell you with some certainty that this will be at least a month long absence as every oblique injury is. Stash or Trash: I’d still stash him as his spot in the powerful Rockies line-up and his consistent, yet not overwhelming skill set make him a valuable second base option. Fill In: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (2.3%.) Lourdes has 6 multi-hit games in his last 6 games to push his average to .288. In the past few weeks Lourdes has been batting second for the Blue Jays and he’s been thanking them for that promotion. If you’re a little nervous about Lourdes let me point out that he had a .299 AVG in 198 minor league at bats this season before his call up. So at worst he’s great at making contact and any power you get from his gravy.
Carlos Martinez, SP, Oblique Strain: Ding ding ding! Oblique strain 3 of 3! I only had CMart and Fulmer so I guess I win the consolation prize. Surprisingly, Martinez is hoping to start Monday against the Rockies. ESPN currently has him listed as the probable pitcher for both Sunday and Monday’s game. What is this? The 1890s when the same pitcher pitched every single game and accumulated 600 innings pitched in a single season? I’d love to participate in a historical fantasy baseball game where you draft players from any season ever. Give me Rickey Henderson’s 1982 season. 130 Stolen bases?! That’s more than 29 TEAMS had all season last year! Stash or Trash: Stash. CMart was the hottest pitcher over the first two months of the season before his first DL stint, but really hasn’t looked the same since. If you can sell high on him — I’d see who might be desperate for pitching help. Fill In: Trevor Williams (17.5%.) I know that his crappy walk rate and crappy K rate make it look like you should want nothing to do with Williams, but he just shutout the Indians over 6 innings and shutout the Nationals before that over 5 innings. His next opponent is the Mets who are the hottest of hot messes this year. I’m predicting another 6 shutout innings.
- Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Heel Calcifications: After missing 57 games with a hip injury, Cespedes’s season is now probably over after reporting calcification in both heels that will require surgery. The Mets are waiting for a second opinion to confirm their first opinion. Stash or Trash: If you’re feel optimistic stash him for 2-3 more days when the second opinion rolls in. Fill In: Cameron Maybin (6.3%.) Maybin has sneakily put together a nice July. In 55 ABs he has 7 runs, 3 HRs and 5 SBs with a .309 AVG and a 11:13 BB/K ratio. If you need an injection of instant speed on your roto team — don’t forget that Maybin stole 33 bases last season.
- Nomar Mazara, OF, Sprained Thumb: Nomar hasn’t touched a bat which is a key component of his game. I think maybe by the end of next week he’ll begin a rehab assignment so we’ll see him again in time for the start of week 19. Stash or Trash: Unfortunately, Mazara’s power production has disappeared. He has only 1 HR in his last 30 games. I think he’s still a solid stash as he’s a great young slugger and maybe this injury was secretly lingering and he’ll come back to help you in your final weeks. Fill In: Kole Calhoun (13.9%.) His batting average is still under .200, but since his own DL return in mid-June Calhoun has been one of the hottest hitters. How hot? In 95 ABs he has 19 runs, 9 HRs, 19 RBI and a .274 AVG. Some mechanical adjustments he’s made to his swing have really paid off. Go grab him before it’s too late.
- Brandon Morrow, SP, Biceps Inflammation: Always love to see when your relief pitcher says that his MRI revealed that there was “stuff in there.” Oh I hope it’s candy! Stash or Trash: Stash. Cubs are hopeful he won’t miss much time. What else would they be? “We’re hopeful he’s out for the season! Good riddance!” Fill In: Robert Gsellman (20.6%.) I know he’s the Mets closer, but even a terrible, awful, no good, lousy, coxsackie infested clock will get some save opportunities right? Look, beggars can’t be choosers and the Mets starting pitchers still are 11th in starting pitcher ERA (and are even better than that without Jason Vargas and Matt Harvey’s starts included) and are 28th in runs scored which should lead to lots of acquired close leads.
- Wilson Ramos, C, Strained Hamstring: Every time I see a catcher go on the DL I die a little inside. Stash or Trash: Hard stash. In the vast wasteland of catcher, Ramos is an oasis. He’s second in home runs and RBI at the catcher position. Fill In: Elias Diaz (21.7%.) Elias has been getting starts in Francisco Cervelli’s absence and he is rewarding them in a major way. His average is sitting at .282 and he has 7 HRs in 177 ABs. Lately he’s even been hitting clean-up behind Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco. You can probably add Diaz even if you don’t have Ramos or Sanchez.
- Gary Sanchez, C, Strained Groin: Not another catcher! After everyone in New York called for his head after not running out a game-ending ground out, the Yankees saved Gary’s face by placing him on the DL. Well played. Stash or Trash: The consensus pre-season C1 hasn’t played up to that ranking so far, but when healthy you know what he’s capable of. Fill In: See: Wilson Ramos.
- Scott Schebler, OF, Sprained Shoulder: Scheb’s had an okay season I guess. Looking at his numbers (42/12/37/3/.278) screams to me that he is the very definition of an average fantasy baseball player this season. He’s the Earl Grey tea of fantasy baseball players, the Black Eyed Peas of fantasy baseball players, the Frasier of fantasy baseball players. Stash or Trash: Stash if you’re in an NL only league or 14+ team league. Fill In: Mallex Smith (14.9%.) Like Maybin, Mallex has put together quite a spicy July. In 41 ABs he has 8 runs, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 2 SB and a .415 AVG. Mallex’s average is sitting at .287 on the year which doesn’t match up with his 15% ownership rate. Change that.
- Blake Snell, SP, Shoulder Fatigue: No structural damage and he’s only expected to miss one start meaning he’ll be back pretty SCHNELL! Stash or Trash: Stash. Snell is firmly in the AL Cy Young conversation. You don’t need me to tell you this right? Okay good. Fill In: Edwin Jackson (11.5%.) Dare I be so bold? I dare, I dare! Don’t look at his 5+ ERA’s over the past two years. Look at the 4 QS he’s put up in his first 5 starts of this season. Edwin’s next start should come against the Rangers on Wednesday night who have only a .234 batting average against righties this year. I’m fully aware this ride probably won’t last, but maybe he can generate enough hype and hope in your league that you can send him to an owner hurting for solid starting pitching. Maybe someone who is struggling through injuries to Carlos Martinez, Eduardo Rodriguez, Michael Fulmer, Brandon Morrow and Sean Doolittle. That someone is me.
- Brent Suter, SP, Torn UCL: He’s bonafide. He’s a Suter! His 10% ownership should tell you all you need to know about Suter this season. He was okay at best, disappointing at most. Stash or Trash: Trash unless you own the worst dynasty team of all time. Fill In: Clay Buchholz (19.0%.) Look. I don’t want to recommend Buchholz anymore than you want to read about me recommending him. But fresh off his own oblique injury absence Buchholz held the Cubs to 1 ER on 6+ IP on Tuesday night. Now, I know this ain’t your older brother’s Cubbies — but Clay’s rebirth has been unbelievably impressive and he could carry you through your playoffs if you grab him now.
- Noah Syndergaard, SP, Coxsackie: Gross. If I’m Devin Mesoraco I am boiling my hands in bleach right about now. Stash or Trash: He should only miss one start and should be very lonely over the next week. We had a coxsackie breakout at my real job last year and you better believe I came in that next day with hand sanitizer, Lysol spray and was walking around opening doors with a rag like I was Bill Murray in What About Bob? Fill In: Mike Fiers (15.9%.) Who is this and what has he done with the 5.22 ERA Mike Fiers from 2017? In his last 10 starts he’s pitched 62 innings and only allowed 17 ERs (2.47 ERA.) His 50/14 K/BB rate is also extremely impressive. With numbers like this over his last 10 starts 15.9% is criminally under-owned for Fiers.
- Justin Turner, 3B, Groin Strain: Turner wouldn’t shut up about this injury before the All Star Break. He just kept telling us he wouldn’t need a DL stint. The polygraph test tells us that was a lie! Stash or Trash: Stash. Hopefully the red rocket comes out (pause) and is healthy upon his return. Fill In: Yairo Munoz (6.1%.) I’ve yet to list Munoz as a fill in option because I was worried about his playing time and if he can keep up his performance. However, looking at Yairo’s 2017 minor league numbers I’m liking what I see. In 117 games he had 13 HRs, 23 SBs and a .295 average across AA and AAA. This year, before his call up he was hitting .287 in AAA so the hit tool is definitely there. In 162 fill in ABs all over the diamond Yairo has been a pretty ideal fill in option. He’s hitting (.296 average) and getting on base (.354) and anything else he does (6 HRs/4 SBs) is whip cream. The three position eligibility (SS/3B/OF) is just the cherry on top.