This is Rich Hill’s second DL stint of the year already. What were you expecting? Now he’s asking the MLB to allow him to pitch with tape on his finger. He’s also asking around the Dodgers locker room if anyone will pee on his hands. I’d be surprised if either side said yes. Stash or Trash: Sure go ahead stash him — just don’t set up a Google alert for his name or your phone will literally explode with weekly injury updates. He’s going to miss a month this time. Trash in shallow leagues. Fill In: Vince Velasquez (22.8%.) VV is someone who we’ve all been tempted by due to his 10+ K/9 potential. However, that came with a BB/9 over 4 and a HR/9 close to 2 most of his career. He’s been limiting his walks so far this year though — he’s only allowed more than two walks once. He’ll always be prone to getting blown up like his 4 IP/6 ER start against the Braves or his 4.2 IP/4 ER start against the Diamondbacks at the end of April, but if he can limit the walks and keep the ball in the yard slightly less against lesser opponents — he could be a solid matchups play.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Hamstring Strain
Time makes fools of us all. Beltre makes a fool of himself any time anyone touches his head. This is the second time he’s been placed on the DL for this same injury. Stash or Trash: He has too long of a great track record to trash him so I’d stash. He still has a .314 average and with an extra 2 or 3 weeks off he could come back 100%. Just be wary — he’s 39 years old with over 2,800 games on his legs — he might just be breaking down. Fill In: Max Muncy (0.6%.) This is a REAL deep league option. Muncy filled in for Justin Turner and I think we all expected him to head back to AAA after Turner’s return. However, Muncy has still drawn 5 starts in the 7 games since Turner has returned — mostly at 1B. After a rough start to his 2018 after getting called up in mid-April (2 hits in 18 at bats,) Muncy has really turned it on hitting .302 in 66 plate appearances with 8 runs, 4 HR, 13 RBI and 11 walks. He’s made himself pretty indispensable to the Dodgers line-up. By the way — that walk rate is for real if you’re in an OBP league. He consistently put up double-digit walk rates throughout his entire career.
Ryan Braun, 1B/OF, Back Tightness
Braun is already due back Sunday from this old man injury. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’s due back soon, although he hasn’t looked great so far (.214 AVG/.681 OPS.) Fill In: John Hicks (9.4%.) Hicks has really been crushing since the calendar flipped to May. He has a .333 AVG with 14 runs, 3 HR and 13 RBI this month. He’s been hitting in the middle of the Tigers lineup as of right now, but it’ll be interesting to see what the Tigers do when Miggy returns. If you need a replacement until Braun returns though — Hicks will still be getting ABs.
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Strained Hip
Bad news: Mets manager Mickey Callaway says that Cespedes is going to need a longer timetable to recover. Worse news: the Mets have started talking about signing Jose Bautista after he was just dropped by the Braves. Maybe the Mets think the further North he plays the better he hits? Stash or Trash: Stash. Cespedes is an Ambulance Chaser frequent flyer but given some extra time he’ll hopefully be back to 100%. Fill In: Need a power hitting outfielder in the National League? Buy some shares of Tyler O’Neill (13.7%.) All O’Neill has done since his recent call-up is crush. He’s 7 for 12 overall with HRs in three straight games. Yes, the Cardinals OF situation is crowded, but with Dexter Fowler hitting .160 and Marcell Ozuna hitting .241 there are some ABs that can be stolen by O’Neill.
Paul DeJong, SS, Fractured Hand
DeJong seems to have changed his approach from last year. After only drawing 21 walks in 108 games he’s up to 16 in 41 games this year. The expected power (8 HRs) is still there albeit with a slight dip in average (.260 compared to .285 last year.) Stash or Trash: DeJong had surgery right away which seems to be to shorten a typical 8 week recovery timeline. I still think we won’t see him for at least two months so if you know that DeJong won’t get swiped up in your league — feel free to trash him. Fill In: Jose Iglesias (8.4%.) Somehow Iglesias is still only 28 years old. I feel like he’s been around for 20 years. He got off to a particularly cold start only mustering up 2 hits in his first 35 ABs. Since then he’s really turned it on hitting .304 with 13 runs, 2 HR, 15 RBI and 6 stolen bases. He’s buried in the Tigers 8th spot in the line-up, but as a flat broke, cheap source of steals and respectable ratios, Iglesias has some value.
Dee Gordon, 2B/OF, Fractured Toe
Gordon bruised his toe after fouling a pitch off it earlier this month. That might explain the 1 stolen base in his last 11 games. This also explains what a man Dee Gordon is for playing for 10 days with a broken toe. Stash or Trash: Stash. Dee is an elite second basemen. Unfortunately his timetable hasn’t been released yet, but you can expect at least a month off for Dee. Fill In: Can’t find a more perfect replacement for Gordon than Jonathan Villar (16.7%.) After Villar’s disappointing 2017 he has bounced back to put up a respectable 2018. I think his ownership is so low because of how bad last year was for him. This year he has a .288 average (which is much more in line with what he did in 2015 and his break-out 2016) with 8 stolen bases. Unfortunately for Villar, his 2017 has made the Brewers play him a bit more conservatively by batting him in the bottom half of the lineup.
Howie Kendrick, 2B/OF, Ruptured Achilles
Nothing in your body should ever rupture. Stash or Trash: Ever. Replacement: I’m struggling to find an NL-only option at second base who is owned less than Kendrick so I’m going to treat him like an outfielder and recommend Jarrod Dyson (2.2%.) You already know who Dyson is at this point. The guy we were always waiting to get a starting job so he could steal 60 bases for our teams and win us a championship. Well turns out you still can’t steal first. Dyson is now getting ABs again as AJ Pollock’s replacement so if you’re hurting for some SB help Dyson can be your guy.
Joey Lucchesi, SP, Hip Strain
Everyone’s favorite early season success story suffered this injury after I wrote last week’s article, but there are updates. It’s not good news — so maybe it’s a downdate? Stash or Trash: As I said, the emergence of the 25 year old Lucchesi in the wake of Dinelson Lamet’s Tommy John surgery was one of the best stories in the early season. The latest update is that he hasn’t started throwing from 75 feet yet which is a bit concerning. I think he’s still going to need 2 more weeks to recover and then have 2 rehab starts. Stash in deeper, trash in shallow if there are better options and you need starts now. Fill In: An early season success story himself, Matthew Boyd (21%) is having a solid season so far. He’s made 8 starts and 6 of them have been quality starts. He’s been limiting the damage he does himself with a 2.44 BB/9 though I wish he’d have a better K/9 (7.69.) Hopefully he doesn’t make me look like an idiot tonight in his start against Minnesota.
Starling Marte, OF, Strained Oblique
Now that he’s off the cream and the clear Marte is human like the rest of us. Hopefully he lets his body heal like the rest of us this time too. Stash or Trash: Stash. Marte has been one of the best outfielders in baseball so far this season. If only his buddy Gregory Polanco could learn a thing or two from him. Fill In: Willie Calhoun (3.7%.) Enough is enough and it’s time for a change in Texas! The Rangers are currently 29th in team batting average and need to inject some life into their lineup. Joey Gallo has been playing in left while Shin-Soo Choo is DHing. They can move Gallo to first to get Ronald Guzman’s .191 batting average out of the line-up, let Choo play left while Calhoun DH’s. After hitting .236 through his first 29 minor league games this season, Calhoun has returned to form hitting .328 in his most recent 15 games. With Ronald Acuna, Juan Soto and now Willy Adames getting the call — it’s time for the Rangers to jump on board the prospect call-up band wagon.
Joe Mauer, 1B, Cervical Strain
Didn’t even know boys had those… Stash or Trash: Trash. Mauer injured himself diving for a ball over a week ago and there’s still no timetable for his return. Along with hurting his neck he’s also suffering through concussion-like symptoms. If Mauer could somehow find a way to hit 20 HRs again he’d be an MVP candidate for the Twins. In deep OBP leagues Mauer has probably been great as his .404 OBP is 5th among all first basemen. Unfortunately, Mauer, the launch angle enigma, has hit over 14 HRs just once in his career. Replacement: I’ll take this Mark Reynolds (9.7%) hot streak! In the 6 games since he’s joined the nationals he has 8 hits, 4 of them leaving the yard in true Mark Reynolds fashion. Matt Adams has picked a helluva time to slump with all world prospect Juan Soto now up for the Nats and Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman inching their way back from injury. If Reynolds keeps hitting and Adams keeps struggling (.129 AVG in his last 10 games) Adams might be the odd man out.
AJ Pollock, OF, Fractured Thumb
The phenomenal AJ Pollock is home again! He was well on his way towards rewarding his loyal drafters with another spectacular 2015-adjace season before this latest injury. In 40 games this season he had 23 runs, 11 HR, 33 RBI, 9 SB and a .293 average. Now the only numbers that matter are 4 to 8. That’s how many weeks he’s projected to miss. Stash or Trash: Stash. Hopefully he comes back and is back to normal. Fill In: Albert Almora (12.2%.) Almora is the latest in a line of guys you want just because they’re in the Cubs lineup. He’s never been much of a power threat (career high: 9, in the minors) or speed threat (career high: 10, in the minors,) but has been adept at getting hits. He’s a career .292 hitter in 2,230 minor league at bats and .296 in 533 major league at bats. Almora is a perfect fill in option until Pollock comes back in a month or two, because he’ll be getting ABs, he’ll be getting on base and he won’t be completely trashing your stats.