Trea Turner suffered a broken finger which will shelve him for a good amount of time. Who could you turn to in order to try and stop the tears you're likely dealing with after losing your first round pick? Ray Flowers has some ideas as to who might be available to help you up the middle with your fantasy squad. Folks are rightly excited by the talent that is in the Brewers pitching rotation this season, but word from the manager is that at least three of the arms in the rotation shouldn't be looked at as fellas likely to rack up big innings in 2019. Finally, Ray touches on the newest gazillionare in baseball as the Jays gave Randal Grichuk more than $50 million.
TREA TURNER GOES DOWN
Remember all that talk in the preseason from mere, where I was continually harping on ‘let’s stop talking about the first round of drafts and go deeper’? Here’s another example of why I keep saying that, year after year.
Tuesday night, Trea Turner was hit by a pitch and broke his right index finger (a non-displaced fracture). There is currently no definitive timetable being listed for how much time he will be out, but you can likely kiss April goodbye.
What will the Nationals do in the interim? Wilmer DiFo is likely to take on the lead role at shortstop with Adrian Sanchez serving as the backup. Wait, no high-end prospect Carter Kieboom? Nope. The club has been very clear on this. First, Kieboom is not on the 40-man roster, while Sanchez is. Second, the team wants Kieboom to play daily and continue to develop in the minors. After all, Carter has only 273 plate appearances above Single-A, and they want to make sure he’s capable of handling things defensively as well. Third, DiFo isn’t a real option in mixed leagues as his offensive upside is limited to his ability to steal 10 bases.
So, what should you do if you own Turner? Panic? Give up? Hell no. Here’s what you should be doing – scouring your waiver wire and kicking the tires on a potential deal. There’s no way for me to know who is available in your particular league, but here are some names that could potentially be available.
Willy Adames has a high-end prospect pedigree, and he hit 10 homers with six steals in 85 games last season. Still, he generated little to no excitement this preseason, and if you’re in a 10/12 team league it seems highly likely that he could be available on waivers. He’s started slowly this season going 1-for-18 with a whopping 10 strikeouts, so he’s hardly in a groove right now, but he does have solid skills and certainly is a capable of a 15/10 type season this year, if not a little more.
Eduardo Escobar has appeared in six games and produced a .280 OPS. Hey, it’s been six games, so don’t go working yourself into a tizzy about it. Realize that Escobar appeared in 280 games the last two seasons producing an average line of .264-22-78-68 showing pretty clearly what he can do with the bat in his hands. That will play in virtually every league, as will the fact that he appeared at third base 131 times last season and shortstop 21 times given him the valuable multi-position moniker.
Garrett Hampson has been drawing the ire of many in the fantasy universe. With the injury to Daniel Murphy, everyone expected he would play daily with Ryan McMahon shifting to first base. Well, the Rockies have inserted veteran Mark Reynolds in to the first base mix, meaning we still have three guys for two spots in the Rockies lineup. Hampson has just one hit in 13 at-bats to open the year, and it may take a while for him to find substantial work, so he’s likely to be more of a stash than an add and count on type right now.
Ketel Marte has driven in six runs and scored five times in six games for the D’backs. He’s also swiped a couple of bases which means that he’s in a bit of a groove at the moment. Marte has also appeared at second four times and in the outfield four times, as the D’backs are certainly taking advantage of his versatility. There’s something to see here, even if there isn’t a long-term breakout season coming.
Jorge Polanco has a .400 wOBA through four games for the Twins. He doesn’t have an RBI or a steal, but he’s not likely to set the world on fire in either of those categories. Still, he’s a solid bat who has produced a .273 career average, and he is coming off a season if .288/.345/.427 for the Twins. I’ve never quite seen in him what others appear to – I see solid, nothing more – but he will play daily, certainly deserves that “solid” tag, and as a turn to on waivers he’s a pretty darn good get here in the month of April.
Marcus Semien has always been one of my favorites given that he’s virtually free on draft day. He’s not elite at any aspect of offense, but he plays daily, has power and can chip in a few steals. His last two healthy seasons, 2016 and 2018 (he appeared in 85 games in 2017), he’s averaged 21 homers, 73 RBI, 81 runs and 12 steals. He’s only a .250 career hitter, but the counting numbers offer him a pretty stable floor, especially as an injury fill-in.
Dansby Swanson was the first overall selection in the country in 2015, and he’s been playing catchup ever since. He’s had some nice stretches, but he’s really struggled to find his footing with the bat in the big leagues. The team liked his approach this spring though, and through four games this season he’s driven in three runs while scoring three times. He’s likely to be a placeholder type, without high end power or speed, but in a pinch, like this one, perhaps he’s not a bad guy to turn to.
BREWERS PITCHING STAFF
All three of the Brewers young arms – Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta and Brandon Woodruff –will not be making 30 starts while throwing big innings for the Brewers this season according to manager Craig Counsell with the term he used as “uncomfortable” with theme throwing a full season of starts, so get ready for short outings or skipped starts from all of them throughout the year creating frustration in the fantasy game. Here are the innings pitched totals for each guy each of the last three years (2016-18), so it’s really not surprising that the team is consider keeping the innings in check for all three.
Burnes: 158, 120.1 and 113.2 innings
Peralta: 82.0, 120.0 and 141.1 innings
Woodruff: 158.0, 120.1 and 113.2 innings
JAYS – SIGN GRICHUK
Randal Grichuk singed a 5-year, $52 million extension with the Blue Jays as teams are handing out contract extensions like lollipops. Think of it. Grichuk, who gives up three years of free agency with the extension, is 27 years old and doesn’t have a single season with 480 plate appearances. None. He also has never hit 26 homers, has never had 70 RBI, has never had 70 runs scored, has failed to hit .246 the last three years and has a hideous .297 career OBP. This contract, and the deal of Pillar out of town, would seem to lock Grichuk in to his first season of 500 PAs, and with that he has a shot to reach 30-homers, albeit with his overall limited offensive game.
Ray Flowers is the EVP of GuruElite. While others have dabbled, Ray is one of the few who has worked in the fantasy industry full-time for each of the last 17 years. A multi-time FSWA Award winner for Best Baseball Series, Ray also hosts The Fantasy Drive six days a week on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, a position he has held since the first day of the network's existence.