By now you’ve heard the news Brett Lawrie has a fractured index finger after getting hit in the hand with a pitch and was placed on the DL. He is expected to miss three to six weeks. He currently has the second most home runs (12) and RBI (38) among second basemen and was on pace to be a top five second baseman. If I have the bench space I’m holding onto him. If I didn’t have the roster space I would try to hold onto him in deeper formats, but I’m cutting bait in 10-team mixed leagues.
The biggest reason why I would be willing to drop him in a shallow format is I don’t know when he’s coming back and if he will continue to hit for power when he does come back. Below are possible middle infield replacements for Lawrie that are available in 75% of leagues:
Derek Dietrich, MIA
With Rafael Furcal going back on the DL (who didn’t see that coming?) Dietrich was called back up to the majors where he will presumably be on the positive side of a platoon with Ed Lucas. I presume that will happen because before getting sent down to AAA he was on pace to hit 20 home runs. His batting average ceiling is .260, but he can provide the power lost by Lawrie.
Danny Espinosa, WAS
It’s funny to read previous posts and realize I’ve written a lot about Espinosa this year. When Ryan Zimmerman went on the DL in April I recommended Espinosa should be added in most formats because he had 20/20 upside. He’s currently on pace for 13/13, but if he has a hot BABIP month those projections could soar. During a Nationals TV broadcast this weekend, F.P. Santangelo, the Nationals color analyst, said he expected Zimmerman to stay in left field the rest of the year. If that happens, Espinosa will have consistent playing time. Espinosa is a streaky hitter so if you roster him just set it and forget; do not get antsy if he has an 0-for-15.
Scooter Gennett, MIL
He’s currently being platooned with Rickie Weeks, which is a good thing because it keeps his batting average up (at this point Gennett has not shown he can hit left-handed pitching). Also, he has consistently been batting leadoff of late, which means he should score more runs, making him more than a one-category player. Weeks will likely be traded in July (because this is the last year of his contract) and Gennett will get to play every day, which will hurt his batting average and improve his accounting statistics.
Tommy La Stella, ATL
Very quietly La Stella has inherited the leadoff position. His fantasy profile is similar to Gennett’s, but I like Gennett more because of his home ballpark and higher upside for power and stolen bases. That said, I caught a few at-bats from La Stella and I was impressed with their quality. Unlike Gennett, he doesn’t mind hitting with two strikes and has a good approach at the plate.
Brad Miller, SEA
The fantasy darling among shortstops in drafts is finally starting to hit. In the month of June he has a slash line of .323/.375/.508 with three home runs. He’s currently on pace for 13 home runs and six stolen bases, but if he maintains an OBP greater than .320 the stolen base total could tick back up.
Brandon Crawford, SF
He’s hitting for more power, but I’m not buying it. Crawford is a very streaky hitter and could have prolonged dry spells. Last year he started off hot by hitting five home runs in the first month of the season, but only hit four the rest of the year. His biggest fantasy asset is he plays every day.