Week 8 Lineup Tools: Hitter Streamers
It's been a sad week for baseball. Losing Jose Fernandez to what's looking like season ending Tommy John surgery isn't just a blow for fantasy owners, it's a body blow to baseball as a whole. Fernandez is one of those few players who makes you want to drop whatever you're doing to watch him play. He's a pitcher who shapes the flow of the game just by his presence on the mound. Losing him is losing a part of what makes baseball great, and that makes me terribly sad.
Sadly, though injuries, even extreme ones like Fernandez's, are a part of the game. A regrettable, annoying, heartbreaking part of the game, but a part of the game nonetheless. It's not just pitchers that get hurt (although they've been capturing all the headlines lately). Maybe you were a Matt Wieters owner who's now staring at a gaping hole in your catcher slot. Maybe you were a Bryce Harper owner now dealing with a rotating cast of characters parading through your OF slot while he's recovering. Fact is that injuries are part of the game we play as fantasy owners. The good news is that this article should give you some ideas for guys to plug into your lineups for next week if you are one of those unlucky owners. All of these players are guys owned in less than 50% of leagues who have a shot at making a real impact next week in your weekly lineup. Let's take a look them.
1) Devin Mesoraco (C, Cincinnati Reds )
2014 Stats: .468 BA, 10 Runs, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB
Average Ownership: 32.6%
Opponents: (at) Nationals, Cardinals
Games Scheduled: 6
Say it with me people: He's coming baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. After being sidelined for the past few weeks with a hamstring injury, Devin Mesoraco should be ready to rejoin the Reds around the weekend, giving him plenty of time to get adjusted and ready to make an impact for fantasy owners next week. Before his injury Mesoraco was one of the hottest hitters in the major leagues, providing power, RBI's, Runs, and plenty of average for his owners (and even one of the most unlikely stolen bases you'll ever see). While he's not going to hit .500 the rest of the season, I do expect him to be exceedingly good going forward. He's a bonafide top 10 catcher who you can snag for cheap. Add him freely next week and frankly I'd hang on to him going forward. Mesoraco is a special talent, and one that I want on my fantasy team.
2) Dustin Ackley ( OF/ 2B, Seattle Mariners )
2014 Stats: .255 BA, 17 Runs, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 1 SB
Average Ownership: 19.5%
Opponents: (at) Rangers, Astros
Games Scheduled: 6
Over the past week, Dustin Ackley's been crushing the baseball, having gone 7/17 with 3 home runs in his last 5 games. He's always been a talented hitter and he faces a rather unimpressive lineup of pitchers next week. This is your prototypical ride the hot hand scenario, and considering you can plug him in at either 2nd or the outfield, I'd grab Ackley while he's hot and enjoy the streak.
3) C.J. Cron (1B Los Angeles Angels )
2014 Stats: .393 BA, 3 Runs, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB
Average Ownership: 9.6%
Opponents: Astros, Royals
Games Scheduled: 6
I recommended picking up C.J. Cron last week and if you'd done so you'd already have a home run to your credit for the week. In a quiet sort of way Cron has been very impressive so far, limiting his strikeouts (16.7% K rate) and driving the ball exceedingly well when he does make contact (29.2% LD rate). The Angels enjoy a 6 game homestretch next week and while Cron's hitting the way he is, I would continue to count on him for help at 1st. Like I said last week, he could end up being a poor man's Michael Cuddyer when all is said and done. That's worth a good long look.
4) George Springer (OF, Houston Astros )
2014 Stats:.227 BA, 6 Runs, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB
Average Ownership: 48.2%
Opponents: (at) Angels, (at) Mariners
Games Scheduled: 7
I don't think I need to tell you how much talent George Springer has. If you've been following the game enough to read this site you probably know this is a guy who could go 20/20 the rest of the way if everything clicks. You also probably know he's someone who could hit like Dan Uggla if everything doesn't. This is why I recommend George Springer here with one big caveat: he's only a player to add if you need to make up ground in a big way. He's not a safe play, but given a 7 game week and Astros manager Bo Porter's recent willingness to move him up into the number two spot against lefties (batting higher in the order means more at bats, which is a big deal in short samples), I like the situation Springer will find himself in next week. He's had better at-bats lately and has started to flash the power that almost made him a 40/40 player in the minors last season. If you need an impact player and are willing to gamble a bit on the batting average, I'd take a chance on George Springer next week.