With a lot of other fantasy websites I’ve noticed that in their waiver articles they’re recommending players who are owned in over 50% of standard leagues. For every league I’m in if a guy is over 50% owned he is already long gone. So going forward I’m going to focus on players who are less than 25% owned unless I really can’t find someone who fits that criteria. I really want to highlight some deep league gems who might be able to help your team after an injury. You Razzball readers are smart and don’t need me to tell you to add Cesar Hernandez (52.1% owned) if he’s available. And that’s me pandering you!
If you’ve got a question about an injury replacement on your team or any question at all — leave it in the comments!
Byron Buxton, OF, Migraines/Toe Contusion
I went to the DL with migraines and all I got was this lousy toe contusion. In a rehab game, Buxton fouled a ball off his toe. A rough break for sure, but luckily, no break for sure. Rotoworld is reporting a Friday 4/27 return. Stash or Trash: Stash even though he’s Buxtoning so far (.195 average.) Fill In: Franchy Cordero (7.7%.) With two outfielders on the disabled list themselves, the Padres have turned to young Cordero as their own fill in option. He has responded by crushing four HRs and stealing two bases in 11 games. Even when Renfroe returns I could see Cordero deserving additional ABs until the league figures him out a bit more. He has a 32.6% strikeout rate and a measly 4.3% walk rate which unfortunately isn’t too far off from his minor league numbers.
Avisail Garcia, OF, Strained Hamstring
I’m sorry — you were expecting maybe a .330 average with 20 HRs this season? Would you like that with a side of .392 BABIP like Garcia put up in 2017’s miracle season? Or the 0 walks he has so far through 76 ABs? Stash or Trash: Trash for me. Last year was a fluke and that’s okay. There’s no timetable for his return anyway. Replacement: Jorge Soler (2.8%.) Yep THAT Jorge Soler! Remember: not every top prospect gets called up and sets the world on fire right away. Soler’s 5 run, 1 HR, 2 RBI line might not look like much — but I’m getting the feeling he’s about to turn on the Soler power! After going 0 for 11 in his first four games I bet we were all thinking “Here comes another Soler season!” In the 12 games since that start he’s hit for a .366 average with a 1.017 OPS. In deeper leagues you can grab Soler and hope that he’s finally achieved enlightenment. Praise the sun!
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Strained Hamstring
I was actually pulling for CarGo this season. With up and down seasons, injury concerns and no contract going into this off-season I was happy to see the Rockies give him a shot to be a part of their radical 7 outfielder alignment. Stash or Trash: Trash. Sorry guys — if David Dahl is about to get his ABs and run with them there might not be a place for CarGo to play. He was hitting .235 anyway so it’s not like he was deserving of the line-up spot or my affection. Replacement: David Dahl is an obvious/lazy pick by me. But in order to earn the millions Grey signed me for I’ll give you someone else: Denard Span (6.5%.) Much like I wrote about Howie Kendrick last week, Denard Span will be on every one of our teams this year as an injury replacement. He hits enough over a 2-3 week period to help us out when one of our starters hit the DL and right now we are in the midst of one of those periods. Span is hitting .364 over his last 5 games with 4 runs, 1 HR, 9 RBI and 1 SB. All while hitting leadoff for the Rays.
Rich Hill, SP, Cracked Nail
Gross. Hill expects to be back on Monday so you won’t be missing him too much longer. Stash or Trash: Stash. But poll time: over/under seeing Hill 5.5 more times in this column? I’m taking the WAY over. Fill In: Sean Newcomb (17.0%.) Newcomb now has three solid starts in a row allowing only 4 ERs over 17.1 IP. His control is a little concerning (he’s walked 4, 0, 4, and 3 batters respectively in his 4 starts this season.) But his next start comes against the Reds who have the worst record in the league and are a few games away from giving Joey Votto the player/coach title.
Anthony Rendon, 3B, Toe Contusion
After missing eight games in a row you had to think Rendon was going to be ready to go soon. Wrongdon. He is now scheduled to come back on Sunday of this week. Stash or Trash: Stash. Hell, buy low if you can. Fill In: Yolmer Sanchez (9.7%.) Lost in all of the “What is wrong with Yoan Moncada?!” banter, another guy with a unique Y first name is doing some solid work for the White Sox. Yolmer is hitting .292 on the year with a .351 OBP. Last year’s 12 HRs were a career high ever for him so don’t expect too much power, but 15 is attainable. He also has moderate speed stealing 8 bases last year (getting caught 9 times though!) A 15/15 season isn’t out of the realm of possibilities and if he keeps up a solid average Yolmer really wouldn’t be such a bad UTIL/bench player to have on your AL-only/deep league especially with his 2B/3B eligibility.
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Elbow Inflammation
If Renfroe read one article about himself while he was in the minors he would know that he needed to work on his plate discipline. In the minor leagues you can get away with a sub 5% walk rate with a mid-70% contact rate. Not where the big boys play. Renfroe will probably struggle to hit .240 and with Manuel Margot, Wil Myers and the emerging Franchy Cordero all pushing for ABs — Renfroe might be the odd man out. Stash or Trash: Trash. He’ll need a fresh start DHing for an AL team next year. Replacement: As an NL-only recommendation I think you should give Mac Williamson (3.8%) a look. Williamson is a real world injury replacement as well replacing Hunter Pence in the Giants outfield. Williamson was crushing the ball in AAA early this season hitting 6 HRs in 11 games in the hitter-friendly PCL where even I have 68 career HRs. Don’t Google it. Williamson’s minor league career is nothing to write home about, but unlike Renfroe, Williamson has rebuilt his swing in the offseason in attempt to improve his career. A rebuilt swing could all be BS, but if you’re in an NL only league you could do worse than Williamson and the ABs he’ll be receiving.
Adam Wainwright, SP, Elbow Inflammation
Wainwright himself said that he doesn’t expect to miss a lot of time, but you’re still going to be without him for this week’s match-up. Stash or Trash: Trash. He’s already owned in only 5.5% of leagues and Jack Flaherty should probably be starting over him anyway. Replacement: If you’re going to go the streaming route in NL-only or deep leagues take a chance on Tyler Anderson (4.8%.) He’ll be facing the Marlins in Miami on Thursday, April 27th. The Marlins have only a .241 AVG and .670 OPS this season against lefties. Anderson has actually been pretty solid over his last 4 starts: 22 ? IP, 24 Ks, 1.99 ERA with a .232 BAA.
Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF, Back Tightness
I remember a simpler time when Zobrist was winning people their leagues with his crazy position eligibility and 27 HR (!) season. Today, Zobrist is just a Joe Maddon swiss army knife playing left field, right field, first base and second base already this season. Stash or Trash: Eh. You can live without him. Zobrist won’t really get enough meaningful at-bats to be a difference maker for your fantasy team. Trash. Fill In: Daniel Robertson (4.7%.) I’ll be honest. I’m only picking Daniel Robertson here so I can do some personal research on him and see what the deal is with this kid. First off, he has 2B/SS eligibility currently and has 6 games at third base (and will be playing there for the foreseeable future with Matt Duffy on the DL.) The obvious numbers: 11 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 12 BB, 1 SB, .318 AVG. The numbers I’m liking to see there are the runs, walks and average. Those walks equate to a 22.8% walk rate which unfortunately is almost twice his major league career high from 2017. However, on a rebuilding Rays team, Robertson could be trying to build himself a stable future with the Rays and an increased walk rate could definitely be a part of that since neither power, nor speed, has ever been a part of his game. The one good thing to see from Robertson is his 40.6% hard hit percentage. The downside to that is his 46.9% ground ball rate. If Robertson could turn a few more of those ground balls into line drives and fly balls I think 12-15 HRs might not be out of the question. So who is this Daniel Robertson guy and are his early stats realistic? Yes they are — to an extent. I think the runs and ratios should be there which is great. But stolen bases? Not part of his game. Career high was back in 2014 and that “high” was 4. Power? Not much to speak of. He hit 15 HR as a 20 year old in 2014, but since then he’s totalled 18 from 2015 to 2018. So if you want a multi-positional player who will only help in two categories — DRob is your guy! Just make sure it’s this Daniel Robertson and now the outfielder for the Diamondbacks.