Many fantasy baseball teams, not to mention the Mets, were dealt a blow this week when Ike Davis (1B, NYM) went down with an ankle injury. Davis was coming on strong in his second full season in the majors. Thusfar, Ike Davis’ season was favorably comparable to Albert Pujols’. How can fantasy owners cope with the loss of a guy who was the 12th ranked first baseman over thusfar in 2011?
This is where fantasy baseball gets fun. When the perennial sluggers and first-rounders are taken, and a sudden need crops up, there is plenty of overlooked talent, available in most leagues, that can help minimize damages. This is, of course, highly dependent on the kind of league you are in, so I’ll look at several options that should be available at various depths. Whoa – did I just reference Ike Davis as a ‘perennial first rounder?’ Not off to a good start…
We were hoping for a year of .270 average with average pop for a first baseman; basically good productivity from any spot on the diamond other than first or outfield. Some other 1B’s that are raking right now, and you may or may not have the luxury of being able to snatch up from the free agent pool:
Deep or NL-only leagues: Todd Helton
Thought he had gone the way of the dinosaur? Helton may not be a top tier fantasy baseball bat any longer, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help a fantasy squad when he gets hot. And right now, he’s en fuego.
Deep or AL-only leagues: Mark Trumbo
So Ike Davis isn’t the only one at his position to go down to injury. But he might be the only one without a more than capable replacement. Morales injury has paved the way for playing time, and currently productivity, from Trumbo. This guy can hit; power and average in the minors; and the injury may be just what he needed to break in as a big time ball player.
Shallower formats: Freddie Freeman, Eric Hinske
Folks love Freddie Freeman. Well, they did, and then his mendoza-line balancing act the first few weeks made people forget how excited we were this spring and last fall. Well, while he hasn’t exactly turned it around, more like 120 degrees- there are some signs of life. A .258 clip in May ain’t bad, and his future should continue to approach projections.
Speaking of the Braves, how about Eric Hinske as an add for you 14-team, NL-only league? The backup outfielder/first baseman has eight hits in twenty at bats in May, with three homers. If you are desperate, their might be another drop of juice before the backwash.
Who is that rising out of the grave? Why it’s Casey Kotchman! He doesn’t want to suck your blood, he just wants you to enjoy this brief flashback to his former self (in an Angels uniform). Don’t get me wrong – the ball didn’t bounce his way in 2009-10. In the past two weeks, Kotchman has been surprisingly productive. If you’re looking for a stopgap, as with Hinske, ride cautiously, and as briefly as possible.
The injury to Ike Davis shouldn’t cause more than a few weeks of agony even if you need to stoop to Kotchman-esque levels. The greater question will be, will Davis’ health be an issue going forward?