By Sam McPherson
We are now in the final third of the fantasy baseball season, and if your team is like everyone else’s team, the injuries are starting to pile up on your roster. This can be devastating to the owner’s mentality, watching stars like Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw or Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer suffer injuries right when your team is ready to put the league title away.
This happens to every owner, every year, and if it doesn’t happen to you, consider yourself really fortunate (and get ready for major payback in 2018). The skilled fantasy baseball team manager has backup plans for the backup plans, and even if your league rules only allow for three bench slots, you still can manage to overcome almost all injuries to your roster.
The worst thing you can do is just sit and hope for the best without actually doing anything. Sometimes, you can weather the absence of a pitcher or two, but when it comes to hitters, you absolutely cannot have a “dead” lineup active every day and expect to do well. So hit the waiver wire and be proactive when countering injuries to your roster.
Players to Get Onto Your Roster Now
1. German Márquez, SP, Colorado Rockies: Sure, some people recommend avoiding pitchers from Denver as an absolute rule, but sometimes, desperate times can call for desperate measures. Márquez has won four in a row while posting 44 strikeouts in his last 39 1/3 innings. Only 12 2/3 innings in that stretch was on the road, so he’s been doing just fine at Coors Field. Hint, hint.
2. Shane Greene, RP, Detroit Tigers: He has notched three quick saves this month already as Detroit’s new closer, and overall this year, Greene has posted a 2.54 ERA and a 1.168 WHIP. Toss in his 9.6 Ks per nine innings pitched this season, and he’s a solid candidate to keep the job for the Tigers through the end of 2017.
3. Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox: The touted rookie is doing well so far, hitting .350 through his first ten MLB games. That includes three home runs and six RBI in just 45 plate appearances. The good news, too, is that he’s drawn five walks, too, showing plate patience that can keep him relevant in fantasy baseball for the foreseeable future.
4. Charlie Morton, SP, Houston Astros: This 33-year-old veteran has had a renaissance this summer, posting a 6-2 record since early May for the best team in the American League. Since the All-Star break, Morton is 3-1 with 36 Ks in 31 2/3 innings. The ERA (3.69) is acceptable with the wins, strikeouts and accompanying WHIP (1.011) during this stretch of brilliance.
Players to Sit/Drop This Week
1. Chris Owings, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks: A broken finger basically has ended his regular season, although he may come back for the National League playoffs if Arizona qualifies. That won’t help you in fantasy baseball, however. With 12 HRs and 12 stolen bases this season in just 97 games, Owings sets himself up nicely as a solid draft option for 2018.
2. Alex Avila, C/1B, Chicago Cubs: The 30-year-old catcher had a hot first half for Detroit (.299 average, 11 HRs, 29 RBI), but his second half has been ugly (.132, one HR, five RBI). The Tigers traded him to Chicago, where he is going to be the backup (at best) on a team that has a lot of options at the position. Drop him and consider yourself lucky for his first-half stats.
3. Addison Reed, RP, Boston Red Sox: No longer the closer for the New York Mets, Reed now is a set-up man in Boston. The Red Sox already have an All-Star closer in Craig Kimbrel, so Reed loses most of his fantasy value—if not all of it, depending on your league rules. You probably can drop him, unless your league uses holds as a scoring category.
4. Justin Wilson, RP, Chicago Cubs: Back on May 15, we recommended picking up as the new Detroit closer, but with his trade to the Cubbies, Wilson has no fantasy value. The defending champions have a deep bullpen with one of the best closers in the game (Wade Davis)m, so Wilson won’t be seeing any significant action that can help you statistically in standard fantasy leagues. Drop him.