It hasn’t been as bad as recent Aprils, but fantasy baseball players have
taken their share of hits this month. Most recently, Bartolo Colon‘s
rib cage tear has landed him on the DL for a couple of weeks. He joins
Kevin Brown, Rusty Greer, Damion Easley and Brian
Jordan as prominent fantasy contributors who, well, aren’t contributing
much from the sidelines.
Still, someone has to rack up counting numbers in their absence, and
injuries and ineffectiveness can create opportunities for players who were
overlooked on cutdown day–or draft day. Here are a handful of those who
might be available in your league, and who could help make the loss of your
fantasy baseball stud a little easier.
- Sean DePaula, Indians. DePaula was called up to take Colon’s
place on the Indians roster. Bobby Witt will move into the rotation,
and DePaula will pick up some middle-relief innings. If you watched the
1999 ALCS, you’ll remember DePaula as the Indians’ only effective reliever.
In a perfect world, a good few weeks would enable him to stay in Cleveland,
taking the spot Witt or Scott Kamieniecki. DePaula has no shot to
get saves, but won’t hurt your ratio or ERA.
- Jeff Manto, Rockies. He’s a popular roster-filler pick,
mostly because he plays on Planet Coors. He actually deserves a shot on
merit: he can hit, the same way he’s been able to hit for years. On a team
with left-handed hitters on three corners, he could get some spot starts,
and with the Rockies’ need for pop and their collection of fragile
outfielders, he has the upside Terry Shumpert did a year ago.
- Geoff Blum, Expos. He’s not replacing anyone, but call this a
hunch play. As much as Felipe Alou likes Orlando Cabrera, Cabrera
doesn’t have much upside and won’t hold his job with his glove if he
continues to hit .195. Blum isn’t good defensively, but has more power than
your average middle infielder and has played well in his limited time in
the majors. If he does get a job, there’s a lot of roto upside.
- Steve Cox, Devil Rays. It’s not the first time someone at BP
has pushed this name, and it probably won’t be the last. Tampa has serious
balance problems, with most of its power coming from the right side. Cox
has made the roster, the first hurdle, and is backing up aging, fragile
players at DH and first base. Jose Canseco should start hurting
soon, and when he does, Cox will get some of those at-bats. All he needs is
a chance, and he’ll be 2000’s Kevin Millar.
A DiSars update: it looks like Jacque Jones is determined to win his
first title. He’s up to 49 walkless at-bats, and now no one else in the
American League is close (Greg Norton is second with 27). Once Jones
walks, I’ll take a peek at when the other prominent candidates garnered
their first free passes.
In the National League, there’s a great three-horse race. The Expos’
Orlando Cabrera, the overwhelming readers’ favorite, has batted 41
times without trotting to first. Two players with the opposite profile–the
Brewers’ Geoff Jenkins and the Padres’ Ryan Klesko–are
neck-and-neck with 48 and 43 ABs respectively.
Joe Sheehan can be reached at email@example.com.