By Sam McPherson
A couple of workhorse starting pitchers in the American League went on the disabled list last week, joining a long line of star players already there. For example, both Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson and Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber are injured currently, leaving owners that drafted these award winners early high and dry.
Injuries are a part of all sports, and it’s impossible to replace stars like Donaldson and Kluber. While we touched on this topic just three weeks ago, it’s hard not to examine it again with the rash of injuries sweeping across the Major League Baseball landscape. Fantasy baseball owners just cannot let the wounded get them down. There are always short- and long-term solutions on the waive wire, so here are some suggestions this week to help augment a DL-heavy roster.
Players to Get Onto Your Roster Now
1. Marwin González, UTL, Houston Astros: Depending on your league rules, he could be eligible at every infield position as well as the outfield. How’s that for an injury replacement? Toss in his nine home runs and 21 RBI this year, and González certainly can fill a lot of holes in your roster.
2. Derek Holland, SP, Chicago White Sox: With 30 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings, Holland is throwing the ball like he used to when he led the AL with four complete-game shutouts in 2011. Just 30 years old still, he has a 2.02 ERA and a 1.037 WHIP for the ChiSox in 2017. Take a chance on him.
3. Andrew Triggs, SP, Oakland Athletics: The A’s seem to have 50 guys on the DL already, but Triggs isn’t one of them. He has four wins this year, which is impressive considering the lack of offensive support. His strikeout rate is lower than last year, but overall, his numbers (2.34 ERA, 1.038 WHIP) are good enough to go with right now if you need a starting pitcher.
4. Michael Conforto, OF, New York Mets: After a nice debut in 2015, he dropped off the map last season. Conforto is back in a big way this season, hitting .342 so far with seven HRs, 20 RBI and significantly improved plate discipline. That bodes well for the future, in terms of him keeping a solid pace for the rest of the year in the HR/RBI categories.
Players to Sit/Drop This Week
1. Adrián González, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers: At age 35, he’s on the disabled list, and what’s worse for him is that the Dodgers have a stellar rookie (Cody Bellinger) to take his place. This means A-Gone’s days as a starter in Los Angeles may be over, even when he returns healthy from his injury. He hit .285 with 18 HRs and 90 RBI last year, so he may have some value still if the Dodgers move Bellinger to the outfield. Proceed with caution.
2. Noah Syndergaard, SP, New York Mets: Yes, Thor isn’t infallible after all. After an All-Star season at age 23 last year, Syndergaard has a muscle issue, and he’s on the 60-day DL. You can stash him if you want, but in single-season leagues, by the time he comes back—if he comes back—it’s the second half of the season, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be 100 percent again this year.
3. Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals: When he hit 22 HRs last year, he caught a lot of fantasy owners by surprise, since he also racked up 133 strikeouts. He’s hurt with a hamstring issue right now, although Piscotty’s strikeout rate is way down this season so far (just 18 in 25 games). His OPS has been in decline since his 2015 MLB debut, so he might not be worth stashing at all. He could have high trade value, however, so shop him around.
4. Cole Hamels, SP, Texas Rangers: Landing on the DL with an oblique strain will force the 2008 World Series MVP to miss at least two months. His 3.03 ERA and 1.133 WHIP were masking a really low K rate (4.1 Ks per nine innings), anyway, so this may be a blessing in disguise for your roster if you have him. Let him go, and don’t think twice about it.