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Your Daily MLB News & Analysis: The Rule of Thumb...Injuries


Daily Dose of All the MLB Action from April 28th

Sliding headfirst incorrectly has claimed another victim. Josh Hamilton is in the midst of recovering from a UCL tear in his thumb due to a headfirst slide into first base, Dustin Pedroia struggled last season due to a similar injury, and now the Nationals prized young-gun Bryce Harper has damaged his bat grabber. [chuckle] Moral of the story: slide feet first, kids. rotoballer-fantasy-baseball-advice-bryce-harperSo, you drafted Bryce Harper ahead of CarGo, Stanton, Hanley, Tulo and Freeman? I say you due to the fact that I wasn't overpaying for him anywhere this season, therefore I have no shares in him. Surely you can't feel great about Monday's news that Harper would indeed need surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament of his left thumb; an injury which is expected to keep him on the shelf until July or later. It's obviously impossible to get your return out of Harper this season which is a total bummer. Instead of urging you to make an ill-advised trade to further weaken your team this early in the season, I will give you three buy low targets to possibly target on the waiver wire.

Buy Low Candidates to Replace Bryce Harper

Gregory Polanco (AAA), PIT - Polanco is off to a scorching start for Triple-A Indy and after a 2-for-5 night on Monday he's slashing a ridiculous .400/.457./652 with a 1.089 OPS. Leading the International League with sixty total bases in ninety at-bats, Polanco should be in Pittsburgh already. With Travis Snider's production slipping, we could see Polanco in the Steel City very soon. His ownership is at 65% in CBS leagues and just 25% in Yahoo!-- it should be higher. Josh Reddick, OAK - Reddick started off the season mired in an offensive funk which may have resulted in owners bailing. He was hitting under the Mendoza Line up until April 18th when he had a three hit game. Since that date he's had 4 additional multi-hit games and has his average up to .250 on the season. With just 1 HR and 6 RBI thus far Reddick could be a nice buy low candidate right now for Harper-less squads. Mike Olt, CHC - Olt is about as post-hype sleeper as they come. A once highly-touted top prospect with the Rangers, Olt is finally getting his shot to play often at the Major League level with the Cubs. Olt hit 28 homers in Double-A back in 2012 and already owns 4 dingers in 2014. His average is lacking but he's gotten spotty playing time to this point. With a steady dose of at-bats the once can't miss slugger could be a sneaky add for Harper owners looking to find power offense deep in the barrel. Olt is currently owned in just 25% of CBS leagues and just 4% of Yahoo leagues.

AL Notes

Late Monday evening the Indians announced that they will shift Carlos Carrasco to the bullpen which presumably opens the door for Trevor Bauer to be recalled from Triple-A. Bauer is now a must add in all formats. Sonny Gray tossed a dandy game versus Yu Darvish and the Rangers as he allowed just 3 hits and a walk in route to his first career complete game shutout. Gray struck out 6 and lowered his ERA to a sparkling 1.76 with only 8 runs allowed over 41 IP. Gray is looking like a viable ace on a dominant Oakland staff. Yu Darvish was removed after throwing 83 pitches to get just 10 outs. Darvish just didn't have command of his pitches which ultimately led to the shortest outing of his MLB career. He'll look to bounce back against the Angels later this week. Joe Smith notched his first save as the newly appointed closer for the Angels allowing a hit and no runs. Smith closed out three games for Cleveland last year and could just steal the job away for good with a few solid showings. WHEW! Carlos Santana finally woke up a bit with a 2-for-4 night including a three-run blast for his second home run of the season. Santana is off to a brutally slow start but I encourage you to be patient with the multi-positional slugger. Santana can be streaky, but when he gets going he can drive in a bunch of runs in short order. Jose Abreu notched his 32nd April RBI on Monday which set a new club record for the White Sox. With 10 HR to his credit Abreu is looking like a top 15 fantasy contributor and most likely the biggest draft day bargain for 2014. Andre Rienzo improved to 2-0 with a win over the Rays on Monday. Rienzo doesn't profile as a fantasy asset due to lacking K% and peripherals, but he has 2 more wins than Jeff Samardzija and unfortunately wins are still a standard 5x5 scoring stat. With Chris Sale coming back though, Rienzo's time is coming to an end. Alejandro De Aza collected his 4th homer of the season. Even with his measly .188 BA, De Aza can definitely contribute to fantasy teams thanks to his knack for stealing and his sneaky pop. He's on pace for another near 20-20 season and his average will climb with the temperatures in May.

NL Notes:

Khris Davis was 0-for-5 with 4 strikeouts before coming up with a clutch RBI triple in the top of the 12th inning to give the Brewers the lead and eventual win over the Cardinals in 12. Francisco Rodriguez came in to nail down his Major League leading 12th save in as many chances. Franky has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2014 fantasy season with his 0.00 ERA and 12 consecutive save conversions in as many chances. Keep rolling with the veteran and his nasty splitter. Matt Holliday and Allen Craig homered for the Red Birds in a losing effort Monday. The homers were each of their second on the season. Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Morneau went deep for the Rockies to help Franklin Morales earn his third win on the season. Tulo's 6th homer on the season was a three-run jack. Morneau, also now with 6 taters, put one in the pool area at Chase Field. Morneau has found his stride with the Rockies and is now hitting .351/.376/.628 with 21 RBI. It's good to see. LaTroy Hawkins notched his 8th save as yet another reborn veteran closer gets the job done. Hawkins struck out one over a clean frame lowering his ERA to 2.61 through 10.1 IP. Tyson Ross and Madison Bumgarner allowed 4 ER and neither made it thru 6 innings as the Padres and Giants battled on Monday. Brandon Hicks hit his 4th homer of the season in a loss to the Padres Monday night. Hicks actually has some pop and has hit 47 HR over the past three seasons at Triple-A. Only 28, Hicks could carve out a starting gig with more production like this. Marco Scutaro has shown no signs of returning so I think it could be Hicks' spot to lose at this point. If you were a Kolten Wong owner or simply need a boost at middle infield, I suggest snagging Hicks ASAP. Padres 30 year old backup catcher Rene Rivera homered and drove in 5 runs on Monday against the Giants. Rivera is merely a backup and not worth rostering, but that was a hell of a performance tonight. Jace Peterson started at 3B for the Padres and actually went 2-for-4 with a SB. With Chase Headley working his way back though, Peterson's time is limited. He makes for an intriguing player to watch however knowing Headley's fragility. Huston Street notched his 10th save of the season with a clean 9th to defeat the Padres. Street has been another veteran gem in the bullpen whom has outperformed expectations. He's allowed just 1 ER over 11 IP.   Irrelevant thought of the day: Possibly of some relevance due to it's sporting nature; I ask: Why has no one made a video compilation of all the cut-away shots by camera-MEN who are zooming in on big breasted or attractive women during sporting events? Here's to you sexually deprived camera men. Thank you for keeping it real.