It seems odd that an injury to Stephen Drew, who is having a largely disappointing season, could be classified as devastating.

But this is the world of fantasy baseball in 2011.

The dearth of capable shortstops in the game this year means that taking Drew’s uninspiring season line of .252-4-45-44-4 actually could hurt your lineup. Even ignoring the fact that Drew’s career numbers and trends suggest he was due for a solid hot streak, his production thus far is MVP-worthy compared to what you can find on the wire to replace him.

Here’s a couple guys I would consider if I couldn’t make a trade.

Good luck.

(Percentage is based on availability in Yahoo Sports Fantasy Leagues)

Rafeal Furcal Los Angeles Dodgers (31%)

The problem with Furcal (in photo) is that his bones are held together by Tinkertoys these days and he’s due for another DL-stint any day. The fact is that he’s always been productive in his career when healthy and especially in the second half. In the last week he’s batting .304 with four runs, four RBI and two steals. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Mike Aviles Kansas City Royals (18%)

This is a bit of a speculative add, but it’s not uncommon for decent players to hit the minors for a while, sort things out and then be productive again. Aviles was solid last season and will be given an opportunity to prove that wasn’t a fluke.

Brendan Ryan Seattle Mariners (4%)

It seems odd to suggest a guy on a team that hasn’t won in over two weeks, but Ryan has been surprisingly steady over the last month, hitting .303 with 15 runs and six steals. His RBI total was inflated by a five RBI game, but right now he’s not hurting owners.

Cliff Pennington Oakland Athletics (3%)

This is a lukewarm endorsement at best, but there just isn’t much else out there. Pennington is a 27-year old, first round pick, so he makes this list by default. Actually, over the past two weeks, he’s been on fire hitting .455 with seven runs scored and seven RBIs. I don’t expect a lot, but he should be better than leaving an empty lineup spot and probably better than Derek Jeter.

Here are some other waiver wire guys (around 40% ownership or less) that I am looking at this week.

Cameron Maybin OF San Diego Padres (40%)

I noticed Maybin starting to get hot a while ago, but a severe distrust of him caused me to not mention him. Well, time to swallow the pride and admit I missed the boat on this one. If he’s still out there, take a chance and grab him. The one-time center piece of the Miguel Cabrera trade has been ridiculously hot the past two weeks. He’s been the No. 1 fantasy player by hitting .433 with 10 steals, six RBI and 11 runs scored. He might bat .150 the next month, but he has elite talent as well.

Desmond Jennings OF Tampa Bay (39%)

I’m assuming most competitive leaguers don’t have Jennings available, but I’m going to mention the mega-hyped minor league call up just in case. He’s good.

Pedro Alvarez 3B Pittsburgh Pirates (42%)

Some “experts” believed Alvarez was due for a breakout season and while I didn’t agree with this assessment, I do think he could be a solid waiver add. Freshly called up from a .365, three homer, 113 RBI stint in the minors over 18 games, maybe he’s figured a few things out.

Juan Pierre OF Chicago White Sox (48%)

A month ago, Pierre was just another disappointing White Sox hitter. But in the last 14 days he’s been able to hit his weight (A lot more than Adam Dunn and Alex Rios can say). Pierre has hit a sneaky .350 in that span and while he’s stolen just three bases more could be on the way.

Dexter Fowler OF Colorado Rockies (19%)

Another minor league reclaimation project, but this one has some help from the Coors Field offense. Fowler has been tearing it up since his return with a .342, eight RBI, 10 run and three steal line in the past two weeks. Play him at home at least.

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Douglas Elish

Doug Elish is new to after spending four years as the Sports Editor of the LaPorte (IN) Herald-Argus and two years as a writer for the NWI Times. He has been a all-around fantasy sports addict for 12 years.

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