With 15-day disabled list stints popping up all over the majors, it’s time to find some fill-in guys.
These guys are obviously flawed, which is why they are on your league’s fantasy waiver wire, but they do have fantasy value in specific places. You might not replace Matt Holiday, but you can ease the pain a little and might even find a couple guys to keep around even when he comes back.
(Percentage-owned is based on Yahoo! Sports fantasy baseball leagues)
Austin Jackson OF Detroit Tigers (33%)
Jackson (pictured) entered fantasy baseball drafts with a fair amount of sleeper hype, but a miserable April (.178 BA) made his owners look foolish. Quietly though, he’s starting to come back around. In the last month, he’s hitting .286 to go along with 14 runs and six steals. He stole 27 bases last year and should pass that total this year.
Help: runs, steals
Allen Craig 2B/OF St. Louis Cardinals (21%)
The only explanation for why Craig (.343 BA, 22 RBI, 4 HR, 4 steals in just 102 Abs) isn’t owned in more fantasy leagues is that owners think his numbers are just a fluke. He probably isn’t going to hit in the .340s all year, but he’s been good in the minors, even posting 20 homer seasons, and he will offer something in every category. With Holiday out, he should get regular at bats and that’s been a good thing.
Help: avg, steals, rbi
Danny Espinosa 2B Washington Nationals (31%)
Owning Espinosa is not for the faint of heart. Or those who value batting average. But if your team has a great average or you have given up on that category, Espinosa offers more than your typical waiver wire fodder. He is going to hit homers, knock people in and score himself. He might even steal a base or two for you if you can handle some 0-fers.
Help: HR, RBI, runs
Ryan Ludwick OF San Diego Padres (39%)
Ludwick is another guy who probably isn’t going to hit for a very high average, but his power is undeniable. His homers will be a little muted playing in cavernous Petco Park, but he’s on pace to finish in the mid-20s and drive in close to 100 runs. He’s also batting .301 in the last 30 days and did hit .299 and .281 in two years back with the Cardinals.
Help: HR, RBIs
Josh Willingham OF Oakland Athletics (30%)
Willingham has spent most of his career trying to earn playing time and he finally appears to be in a place to get it. He’s not perfect, but he is batting in the heart of the A’s lineup and he has 10 homers and 39 RBIs.
Help: HR, RBIs
John Jay OF St. Louis Cardinals (14%)
Now that he should be getting more regular at bats, Jay is a perfect fill-in for your team. The 26-year old has shown he can hit for a little power (4 homers) and run a little (5 steals) in his 127 at bats. He might not wow you in any category, but he won’t hurt you in any either.
Help: avg, steals
Adam Kennedy 1B/2B/3B Seattle Mariners (9%)
Kennedy probably isn’t going to keep this up all season, but he’s always been a solid part-time player and now he’s getting regular at bats at the top of a lineup. He also offers good lineup flexibility and is offering solid production across the board (.310 BA, 10 runs, 11 RBIs, 3 homers, 4 steals in the last 30 days).
Help: BA, steals
J.J. Hardy SS Baltimore Orioles (13%)
It feels like I’m in a time-warp to 2008 (maybe I can stop the producers of Jersey Shore while I’m here), but Hardy might be a useful shortstop once again. After two injury-plagued seasons, he seems to have regained his stroke and is moving up in the batting order. He hit 50 homers combined in 07 and 08 with a decent average and some RBIs. Hardy has always been a streaky guy, but his numbers can help in the long run.
Help: HRs, RBIs
Jamey Carroll 2B/3B/SS/OF Los Angeles Dodgers (20%)
The bottom line is that Carroll is going to give you nothing in homers and RBIs, so if you need that stop reading. But if you need steals, average, and runs, Carroll received a stay in the lineup with Rafeal Furcal going back on the DL.
Help: avg, steals, runs
Josh Collmenter SP Arizona Diamondbacks (35%)
Collmenter might be just a flavor of the month type of guy, as he doesn’t have the dominating stuff required to be this good, but there’s nothing wrong with riding out a hot streak. Don’t pencil him into your fantasy lineup all year, but with his control he’s probably good for another three weeks at least.
Help: ERA, WHIP, WINS, BB