But so far he’s made me wanna roll my windows down and snoooooooze. Nelson Cruz wasn’t doing what we all drafted him to do anyway so maybe this rest will do him a body good. He’s designated to only hit 7 HRs and 22 RBI? Not on my team! Cruz is saying he’ll be back on May 24th when eligible. I say take all the time you need and remember who you are and become what you are supposed to be. Replacement: Albert Almora (3.2%) has been on a tear in his last 15 games. In 53 ABs he’s got 12 runs, 3 HR, 7 RBI with a .340 AVG. Almora has always had a solid average, but just never gets enough starts to improve. He’s never been a high HR guy, never been a huge SB guy — just average and the runs and RBI that sometimes come with that. Maybe if he starts getting more starts he can develop either more power or speed.
Mitch Garver, C, Ankle: Shohei Ohtani the ankle assassin slid hard into Garver at home plate and now we’ll be without the biggest surprise at the catcher position so far this year. Garver has joined the fly ball revolution upping his fly ball percentage from 37.7% last year to a whopping 50.8% this year. His contact rates have all remained about the same though. Replacement: Anyone who’s read this column before knows how much I loathe catcher replacements. Go with Christian Vazquez (16.6%.) Vazquez has been mashing the ball in May (.476 AVG) and for a catcher who can ask for anything more? Plus he’s on the Red Sox so he’ll get some nice runs and RBI regardless of how good/bad he is. Look at Andrew Benintendi!
Dee Gordon, 2B/OF, Wrist: It took the Mariners 12 days to realize that Gordon was injured I guess. He was hit with a pitch on May 9th and is only now going on the DL. I’ve never been a huge Gordon guy. “Yay 40 steals! Oh….5 HRs, 20 RBI and now barely any runs…” Hard pass. Replacement: Ambulance Chasers replacement hall-of-famer Howie Kendrick (10.3%) makes another appearance on this list! Kendrick already has that dual eligibility that I crave for my replacement players and since May he’s been on one of his patented Howie hot streaks: 58 ABs, 7 runs, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 1 SB, .293. He’s also played 9 games at 1B so he’s about to have trip-trip-triple eligibility!
Ender Inciarte, OF, Back: The fall of Inciarte has brought us the RISE of Austin Riley! RISE RILEY RISE! Riley wasted no time surpassing Inciarte’s HR total and is already 4 RBi and 9 runs away from passing Inciarte in those categories. In 102 less ABs no less. Not too much news on the Inciarte front — except he might find it a young buck in his place when he comes back. Replacement: Avisail Garcia (10.1%.) I know, I know. It’s Avisail. As in “let me watch my batting average Avi-Sail away into obscurity.” Did that work? I don’t know. But Garcia has made the most of his May ABs: 8 runs, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB, .340 AVG.
Kenta Maeda, SP, Thigh: Maeda is only expected to miss one start and will throw an “aggressive” bullpen session which probably consists of Maeda watching the season finale of Game of Thrones while pitching. Replacement: Cole Irvin (7.2%.) Irvin? Your name is Irvin? Irvin’s made two solid starts now allowing only 4 ERs in 13 IP. The 7 Ks are a little disappointing — but as long as he’s keeping runners off the bases (only 12 so far) he’s a valuable arm to have.
Colin McHugh, SP/RP, Elbow: Maybe this is why McHugh had a 6.37 ERA through 8 starts to start the season. McHugh is complaining of right elbow discomfort which is what we all get when we have the middle seat on airplane and the sweaty guy to our right keeps engaging us in a cold war for use of the armrest. Replacement: Hansel Robles (11.3%.) I’m surprised Robles is still only 11% owned considering he’s 4/4 in his last 4 save opportunities is sitting on a pretty 0.90 WHIP. Cody Allen hasn’t pitched a clean inning since he came back and in his last three appearances he’s given up both a hit and walk in each game. This is not the recipe for closing success.
Andrelton Simmons, SS, Ankle: Simmons went a little too hard in the paint rushing down the line to beat out a ground ball in a very important game in mid-May. I appreciate Simmons be a gritty gamer, but sometimes you just gotta take the L instead of now missing the rest of the first-half and then some. Replacement: Get yourself some shares of Nicky Lopez (7.1%) post haste! The kid was a .296 hitter in the minors and has 20 SB potential in his legs. In only 25 major league ABs he’s shown the contact (.320) but has yet to attempt a stolen base. He’ll only top out at 8 HRs in his best year, but a high contact, speed guy is still valuable especially when he’s batting second for the Royals.
Trevor Williams, SP, Oblique: Obliques are the baseball player killer. Williams was actually having a pretty nice season as part of the four generic white guys + Chris Archer starting pitching staff the Pirates have put together. Williams will be out for at least a month. Replacement: When it comes to Lance Lynn (7.0%) you have to expect the random blow up. However, if you take Lynn’s three bad starts away his ERA is sitting at 2.27 in 6 starts compared to the 4.94 the world sees in 9 starts. He’s unpredictable sure, but is still worth owning in mixed leagues.