Seven games into the season and we’ve already got some season altering injuries. A lot of injured players that are out there have been injured for a while like Salvador Perez, Michael Fulmer, Alex Wood etc. They’ve been injured for a long time so you had a plan to replace them — or not draft them at all so I won’t be talking about them.
Below are some recent injury updates that are affecting your teams. Every week I’ll be posting injury updates and my thoughts on what you should do with that player and if there are any sneaky replacements who are owned in less than 35% of leagues or so on the waivers you can pick up in their place. Often I won’t just name that player’s replacement that’s on his team. That’s lazy journalism.
However, every league is different so treat this column like a mailbag — if you suffered an injury and don’t know who to replace them with — just drop a comment with some of the best available options in your league and I’ll give you my advice!
Miguel Andujar, 3B, Tear in Throwing Shoulder: Andujar injured himself diving back into third base on 3/31. The latest news is that Andujar wants to avoid surgery. Sure, we all would. Avoiding surgery would allow him to come back sooner, but the problem might not be 100% remedied. The fact that he had “good results” on his strength test is “good news.” However, I’d be concerned that he is about to miss most, if not all, of this season. Fill In: Jeimer Candelario (10.9% owned): Of the under 40% crowd, Candelario is someone I could see picking up with sneaky value. Last season in 539 ABs he had a 78/19/54/3/.224 line. That average might be a little lucky, but I think there is going to be quite a deal of improvement on that number considering he was a .292 hitter in 679 AAA ABs. He’s a lock to play everyday in Detroit and falls under my favorite “won’t hurtchya” category of waiver injury replacement.
Scooter Gennett, 2B, Groin Strain: Unfortunately for the Reds and Gennett owners this severe groin strain should sideline him until June(!) Fill In: In that time, I’d run to your waivers to pick up Kolten Wong quick, quick like a bunny. Wong has been a sleeper darling since his breakout minor league season in 2013. Unfortunately, he’s never lived up that 10/20/.303 line. 2017 was arguably his best season when he hit .285…but with 4 HRs and 8 SBs. Every year he’s lost playing time, gained playing time, gotten injured and been completely given up on. Well give up on giving up on Wong! Wong is swinging some big wood early in the season hitting safely in every game so far with 3 HRs already! He’s still barely 5’9” tall and looks closer to 140 pounds than his listed 185 — but he could finally top into his moderate pop. 10-15 HRs and SBs is feasible.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Calf Strain/Ankle Sprain: God help you if this becomes a Josh Donaldson 2018 situation. I was avoiding him in all leagues due to drafting Donaldson last year. The early timetable says “at least three weeks,” but you can’t really tell. Hopefully this doesn’t turn into a lost season for Lindor — but I’d at least expect his speed to be gone for 2019. Fill In: Nick Ahmed (2.6%): I’m done doubting Nick Ahmed. Last year it seemed like he was always going on a hot streak at the time when a major infielder was going down. Maybe that’s due to the 5/17/.864 OPS he put up in April or the 4/20/.922 OPS he dropped in July. He had awful months in May and August — but he’s capable of being a hot replacement hitter. He’s started off his April with 3 doubles, 4 runs and 5 RBI with a SB — if you’re desperate in deep leagues I’d say take a flyer on Ahmed.
Daniel Murphy, 2B, Broken Finger: We were all salivating at the prospect of Murphy in Colorado, but unfortunately we’re going to have keep a napkin handy for a few weeks. The obvious adds here are Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson — but their ownership should be skyrocketing any second now. Fill In: Instead I say you should have a look at Jeff McNeil (30.6%.) McNeil was a career .311 in 426 minor league games and even knocked out 19 HRs in 2018. So far he’s 5 for 11 to open the season and is going to return huge sleeper value this year.
Matt Olson, 1B, Right Hand Surgery: Olson had the dreaded hamate bone removal surgery. He’ll be out for a month and a half and his power should struggle to return for the first half of the season. Still stash him because he’s a great power threat when 100% and hope that the second-half sees him return some value. Fill In: Christian Walker (6.6%.) Larry’s kid? No — but he hit like it in 2017 in the minors. His 104/32/114/.309 line was unfortunately blocked by Paul Goldschmidt. These are PCL numbers — but still impressive. Goldy is gone, Jake Lamb is still around but if Walker can continue his hot hitting (6 for 11 with 2 HRs and a stolen base) he’s a great replacement option for Olson.
Steven Souza, OF, ACL, LCL, PCL tear: Gruesome is one word for this injury. Heartbreaking is the other. Souza missed a lot of time last year with injury and we were all hoping he’d bounce back in 2019. Maybe next year — anything that was tearable in his knee — was torn. Replacement: Jorge Soler (22%.) Check out what I wrote in my Top 100 Hitters column earlier this week: https://razzball.com/top-100-hitters-week-2-wild-overreactions/
Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Biceps Strain: Stanton must’ve spent too much time getting swole on the beach this off-season. Or not enough? Who knows — my old baseball coach used to tell us “curls are for girls” any time he saw us working our biceps in the weight room. I thought he meant jheri and had a lonely 6 years of high school. Early reports are that Stanton will be back before May 1. Fill In: You’ve got to have POWAH! Grab Franmil Reyes (13.9%.) Yea, he’s hitting .077, but that’s through 13 ABs. Relax your body. Reyes had a 29.6% HR/FB rate in the majors last year and a 32% in the minors. The boy can slug. Don’t overreact to his first few games — he’ll start getting into them soon.
Hunter Strickland, RP, Lat Strain: Oye. What else can I say about Strickland? He’s about to miss two months. Replacement: Seranthony Dominguez (31.1%.) The honorable lord Seranthony of Esperanza! Two innings for David Robertson — 3 ERs. It’s early, but I’m worried about a 34-year old reliever in a tough division with a 92ish mph fastball. Robertson always seemed to thrive as a set-up guy so I’m expecting Gabe Kapler to mix and match between these two. If Robertson can’t right the ship — grab Dominguez.
Joey Wendle, 2B, Left Hamstring Strain: Wendle ran too hard trying to outrun all the infield competition in the Rays infield and tweaked his hamstring. Reports I’m seeing say “a couple weeks.” Fill In: Ian Kinsler (7.1%.) The guy who has scored the most runs in the 2010s gets no respect. He’s back leading off for the Padres in front of Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado and the aforementioned Franmil Reyes so he’s in a great run-scoring spot. If you’re in desperate need for a deep 2B replacement — you know who Kinsler is, you know what he’s about, you know what he’ll do: score runs and eventually get injured himself. Stay tuned!
If a new injury happens and you need an immediate pick-up option — hit me up on Twitter: @KerryKlug