Christian Yelich is someone to target in keeper leagues if you’re ready to pack it in with Ryan Braun.
In what could be the biggest scandal to hit baseball since the 1919 Black Sox scandal, the threat of suspensions in the wake of the Biogenesis clinic scandal is now very real.
Fantasy owners worldwide are holding their breath. Ryan Braun owners will definitely want to stock up on Kleenex. Other names being mentioned include Alex Rodriquez, Jhonny Peralta, Gio Gonzalez, Everth Cabrera and Melky Cabrera. Melky, of course, has already serviced a 50-game ban for testing positive for a banned substance.
There are some other names out there but the aforementioned ones will have the biggest impact on the Fantasy, should the hammer fall.
For Braun owners, the consensus here at RotoRob.com is that we are very sorry. He is not someone that you can just go to waiver wire and replace. There is hope in knowing that this could take a while and that MLB must be sure before these hefty suspensions are handed out. Also there is no need to scour the Brewers farm system because there isn’t really much there that could really translate on a Major League level.
If you are in a keeper league and you want to deal Braun before the fan starts oscillating, we suggest trying to get a package of young players. Miami Marlins minor league outfielder Christian Yelich is a name you must target as the top prospect in a stacked system has five-tool potential. Baseball Prospectus compares him to Adam Jones, Vada Pinson and Willie Mays.
Cincinnati Reds minor league outfielder Billy Hamilton is another player to target, especially if he’s shortstop eligible in your league. He stole a zillion bases last summer and is working hard on becoming a more consistent hitter. Hamilton might be a year a way from an extended stay in Majors, but he can always flipped to one of those owners that loves stolen bases.
If you owner Peralta or Evereth Cabrera chances are you were very happy until they were linked to this Biogenesis mess. There is still hope though.
Look at Seattle youngster Nick Franklin, as he appears to be in the majors to stay barring any extended slump. Franklin has power and speed potential which is rare for a shortstop, so 20-20 seasons could be his norm. Stephen Drew is another candidate to snag as he appears to finally be past his injuries and settling in nicely. He is veteran on a contending team and he will assuredly be getting at-bats. The dark horse is Minnesota Twin 2B/SS Brian Dozier. He is not going win any batting titles but he seems to have a very acute Shawon Dunston quality about him. If you understand that statement much respect to you. If you don’t, just know that is a slight upgrade for Dozier going forward.
If you own Melky Cabrera you were probably praying for more production at this point. Owners of St. Louis outfielder Jon Jay and Miami outfielder Justin Ruggiano were probably thinking the same thing. They both possess the potential and experience to have much better second halves. A dark horse replacement possibility is Boston’s Mike Carp. He is a veteran that knows how to make the best of his opportunities. With Shane Victorino now off the DL, Carp who will be forced to scrap and rake if wants to keep getting at-bats. Remember that Carp, 26, is in the majors for reason and Boston is not going to keep him around to sweep the dugout. He can hit and he has done so everywhere he has been (career minor league batting average of .276 with 136 homers in 3,552 plate appearances). Considering Carp has been in affiliated baseball since he was 18, you have to take those numbers as a surface scratching compliment.
Maybe an even darker horse is Oakland outfielder Chris Young. Once a 30-30 threat, he now a product of the talent squeezing Billy Beane system. A’s skipper Bob Melvin has recently given Young a vote of confidence, so we suppose that’s reason enough to not let his sub Mendoza Line average scare you. The aging Young might not have elite base stealing wheels anymore, but his power is still there. Patience comes with age and given Young’s past, his future is certainly not bleak.
Gio Gonzalez owners were grinning like possums when they drafted him and his 200-strikeout potential. Now, they face a post All-Star break challenge of trying replace his strengths. Fear not, there are always Cubs pitchers available. For those not afraid of a little goat take a look at Scott Feldman and Travis Wood. Both are having Matt Garza like years and the future of Cubs baseball might actually be bright. Both have legit MLB experience and each seems to have turned the corner in their careers. Sure, pups like Tony Cingrani, Chris Archer, Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler and Kevin Gausman are sexy, trendy snags but if you want to win now you need consistency.
Some other arms that can be had cheaply include Angels’ Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson. Again, experience trumps promise and with that ye will flourish. Vargas started slow but he is another veteran that just finds a way to win. He is also a very patient person, stemming from his years in Seattle (that included no run support). Hanson has been dealing with a lot of off-field distractions, but he is now finally back and seems poised to get his season going.
Replacing Gonzalez’s strikeout potential is not easy. Some will stream, testing their league’s innings max. This can only bruise your team ERA and heighten your WHIP. Smarter owners in well-developed keeper leagues should look to the bottom of the standings and remind those cellar dwellers how fresh Gonzalez will be next season, should the long needle of the MLB poke him this season.
Another name to file in the back of your skull is starter John Danks of the White Sox. With Gavin Floyd out forever and Jake Peavy done for at least a month, the Sox will look to Danks for stability every fifth day. Danks has been plagued by injuries over the last year or so, and he’s struggled with inconsistency on the comeback trail. He appears to now be fully healthy (although we’re still waiting for his velocity to bounce back) and given his successful past he is certainly worth a waiver bid.
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