Last month, we broached the topic of injuries, and since then, they seem to be piling up for a lot of drafted fantasy baseball players. There is nothing to be done about them, but we do offer some strategies for dealing with rostering injured players.
The reality is this, if you’re in a league with a short bench and limited DL slots: You have to cut some of the injured guys, especially if they’re going to be out for a long period of time. No, you don’t cut All-Star players who will be back in a month, of course, but don’t cling to players you like if you don’t have to.
Rostering injured players who are not worth holding on to will lose your fantasy league, because injured players gain you no stats. That being said, it is always more of a priority to replace injured hitters than injured pitchers. Why? Well, more pitching stats are not countable, meaning it’s not as important to compile totals for pitchers as it is for hitters. Remember this when deciding which injured players to waive and replace.
Players to Get on Your Team Now
1. Mike Soroka, SP, Atlanta Braves: He made his MLB debut last year at age 20, and Soroka did well enough. He’s even better this year so far. His awesome strikeout rate (10.3Ks/9 IP) may not last, but it’s keep his hits allowed down—and his ERA microscopic. Might as well plug him into your rotation for as long as he can keep this up.
2. Domingo Germán, SP, New York Yankees: Another example of why K rate matters the most for your starting pitchers. It means the hurler is giving up fewer hits and walks, combined, and that often means a lower ERA. Germán may not keep this up (5.1 hits allowed per 9IP right now), but his K rate should stay consistent (9.1Ks/9 this year, 10.4Ks/9 for his short career so far).
3. Danny Santana, 2B/OF, Texas Rangers: In addition to his position versatility, we like his bat this year, too. After a stellar rookie year in 2014, Santana had disappeared from the list of quality MLB hitters. But he’s a cheap source of steals in 2019, as long as he keeps hitting (.942 OPS, currently) and getting playing time for Texas.
4. Hunter Dozier, 1B/3B, Kansas City Royals: We can’t ignore his hot start any longer, and even though he’s 27 years old, maybe he’s one of those late bloomers. This key stat stands out, though, as last year, he walked 24 times and struck out 109 times. This year, those numbers are more even (19 BB, 25 Ks). That’s good plate discipline, which leads to more hits, a higher average, and more power. Grab him and enjoy it for as long as it lasts.
Players to Drop to Waivers Now
1. A.J. Pollock, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: He was a sleeper pick for a lot of people in preseason drafts, coming over to the Dodgers in the offseason. But this is not the 2015 model, and he’s now hurt again with the same elbow in question. Cut bait now, and pick up a better-hitting option.
2. Jay Bruce, 1B/OF, Seattle Mariners: Yes, he has hit ten HRs already this year, but that sub-.200 average (.182 currently) is not likely to move a lot higher. Why do we think this? First, Bruce hit just .223 last year, and he is now 32 years old with a skill set that hasn’t aged well, historically. His on-base percentage is just .261 this year, for example.
3. Miles Mikolas, SP, St. Louis Cardinals: He won 18 games for the Cards last year, so he was very overvalued in drafts this season. What you want from your SPs is strikeouts, and Mikolas doesn’t deliver them at a good enough rate. He also allowed a league-high 186 hits in 2018. Those were warning signs many ignored. His already low K rate is down; his walk rate is up. His HRs allowed are up, and again, he’s giving up a lot of hits.
4. Dereck Rodríguez, SP, San Francisco Giants: He was a flash in the pan last year, even with some bad peripheral numbers. Hopefully you stayed away in the draft. But if not, you now know why you got him so readily. His numbers are all worse than 2018, and when your already-mediocre strikeout rate (6.8Ks/9 last year, 6.5Ks/9 this year) goes down, you’re in trouble against MLB hitters. Cut your losses now as Rodríguez has allowed the same number of HRs this year that he did last year, and it’s only early May.