Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy Fallout: Danny Duffy and Mike Trout Injury

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The MLB and Fantasy Baseball worlds were staggered with the horrible news Monday when it was announced that superstar outfielder Mike Trout will be out six to eight weeks to recover from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Mike Trout, the best all-around player in baseball, jammed his thumb into second base on a head-first slide Sunday. He will undergo surgery Wednesday and will not be back until mid-July at the earliest. He has averaged 158 games a season over the last four seasons.  This will be his first time in his career that he has landed on the disabled list.

Over the last five seasons, Trout ranks fourth in home runs, first in runs scored, sixth in RBI, third in batting average, second in on-base percentage, and first in slugging percentage. He has also won two MVP awards and is a three-time runner-up.

Trout was once again off to a fantastic start, hitting .337 with an AL-leading 1.203 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He ranks second in the league with 16 home runs and has 36 RBIs, 36 runs, and 10 stolen bases.

Mike Trout Injury

The Angels are in Trouble

The Angels were not expected to do much this season.  They are sitting at 27-28, 11 games behind AL West Division-leading Houston Astros. They are a huge long shot to win the division, but only two games out of a wild-card spot. Unfortunately, their pitching staff has suffered numerous blows with Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, and Andrew Heaney all missing significant time this season.

Now with Mike Trout missing 6-8 weeks, the team might become the worst team in baseball. Even with Trout, the Angels were next to last in the A.L. in runs per game, tied for 13th in average (.236), and 12th in home runs prior to Monday. The Angels’ hitters have not been productive and the Angels are now in serious trouble.

The Angels promoted OF Eric Young Jr. to provide depth and to take Trout’s spot on the roster.  They will move Cameron Maybin to center field and platoon Ben Revere with Eric Young in left field.

A third consecutive season without the playoffs suddenly appears probable.

The Fantasy Replacements

In the most obvious statement of the century, this is a catastrophic blow for fantasy owners who will need to try to replace the best player in baseball for two months.

You are not going to find that type of production on the waiver wire, but there could some options that could help you hopefully maintain where you currently stand for the next two months.

Let’s take a look at a few options (players owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues):

Adam Frazier, OF, Cincinnati Reds- .330/.409/.464, 3 home runs, 18 RBI, 16 runs, 13 walks, 2 SB

Since outfielder Starling Marte was suspended for 80 games for performance enhancing drugs, Adam Frazier was set to take on a bigger role for the Pirates.  Adam Frazier has been one of Pittsburgh’s most productive hitters this season.

He took over the leadoff spot for the Pirates and has given opposing pitchers headaches of late.  He is hitting .468 (18-for-37) with 10 RBIs, 10 runs, nine walks, and two steals in the last 10 games.

Frazier does not have home run ability, but he has tallied double-digit steals in each of the past three seasons in the Minors.

The Pirates’ leadoff man has a lifetime .397 OBP, which makes him valuable in deeper fantasy leagues. He should be a nice “replacement” for Trout owners looking for counting stats across all categories except for home runs.

Domingo Santana, OF, Milwaukee Brewers-.267/.367/.466, 8 home runs, 29 RBI, 27 runs, 25 walks, 4 SB

Domingo Santana looks to be coming into his own this season.  He has a promising power-speed combination with real fantasy upside.

He makes a valuable contributor in deep leagues that use on-base percentage. Fantasy owners should expect to receive more than 20 homers and a dozen steals from Santana this season.

His talent is legitimate and now that he is gaining more playing time, Santana is a valuable fantasy commodity who can really help Trout owners get through two months without its best player by assisting in all categories.

Steven Souza, Jr., OF, Tampa Bay Rays-.277/.386/.497, 9 home runs, 31 RBI, 26 runs, 30 walks, 1 SB

In the last seven days, he is 11-for-25 with seven runs, three homers, and six RBI and a stolen base, slashing .440/.548/.880. His streakiness can come somewhat close to Trout in counting stats.

Souza isn’t a great asset in batting average, but his power certainly helps and he’ll provide some steals in too. He’s also drawing a hearty number of walks, making him a terrific asset in OBP formats.

Other Players to Consider:  Tommy Pham. OF, St. Louis Cardinals, Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Tampa Bay Rays, Josh Reddick, OF, Houston Astros

Conclusion

There is no way to replace the number one player in nearly all formats. Hopefully, you are able to pick up one of the above options to help you maintain and not fall too far behind.

There is absolutely no reason to drop Mike Trout, he is the best player on the planet. He will be back probably after the All-Star Break, and if you were able to maintain your status in the standings, you will reap the benefits of having the best fantasy player for the second half of the season.

Another consideration could be to trade Mike Trout. His name will bring a group of players back that can help you now!  It never hurts to listen to offers, someone may overwhelm you.

Danny Duffy Injury

Royals’ Opening Day Starter Danny Duffy is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a Grade 1-plus oblique strain. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to May 29. He posted a 4-4 record with a 3.54 ERA in 11 starts this season.

Duffy was a fantasy darling coming into drafts this season.  He has developed into the ace of the Royals’ staff after he pitched as both a reliever and a starter during the 2016 season.  He finished the season 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 179.2 innings pitched.

It’s a devastating blow for the Royals, who sit at 21-29, the worst record in the American League, and are poised to be obvious sellers moving into the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Duffy’s role as a reliever combined with becoming a starter during the season is what made Duffy very desirable in Fantasy drafts.  Anytime, you can place starter’s numbers in the relief pitcher slot, it’s a gigantic win.  Duffy was the top pitcher with dual eligibility.  For Duffy owners, this aspect was part of their draft strategy.  Let’s take a look at pitchers with dual eligibility that can help these owners.

JC Ramirez, SP, Los Angeles Angels

In nine starts, Ramirez is 5-3 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. The right-hander will not get many strikeouts but he is an innings-eater. He has gone seven innings four times and registered five quality starts.

Joe Biagini, SP/RP, Toronto Blue Jays

Biagini has appeared in 19 games this season, 14 relief appearances and five starts.  He is 1-3 with a 3.64 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 42 innings. He has an impressive 1.93 BB/9 rate this season. The right-hander is a very intriguing option in deeper mixed leagues.

Brandon McCarthy, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

The veteran right-hander has been a very steady stream option for fantasy owners this season.  He is 5-1 with a 3.28 ERA, 1.09 WHIP along with 41 strikeouts in 46.2 innings. McCarthy has allowed just one run on five hits and two walks over 12 innings in his last two starts.

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Conclusion

If you have a DL spot in your league, then, of course, you are placing Danny Duffy there and picking up one of the above pitchers to help your season.  While Duffy is the Royals’ ace, his team will probably look a lot different when he gets back.  The Royals will conduct a fire sale and this team will be fighting not to have the worst record in baseball. It is safe to drop Duffy if needed.


Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

About Dennis Sosic

Dennis Sosic is from Cleveland, Ohio and a HUGE sports fan including NFL (GO BROWNS!) and college football (GO BUCKEYES!) MLB (GO TRIBE), NBA (GO CAVS!) and MMA. He has been called a Sports Geek by friends and foes alike and that fits him perfectly. He has been competing in fantasy sports, mainly fantasy football and baseball for over 20 years. Please do all of us a favor and follow Dennis @ CALL_ME_SOS.

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