2013 Fantasy Baseball: Potential Pickups With Biogenesis Suspensions Looming
Fantasy owners have been waiting months for the metaphorical whip that could be getting cracked this Monday due to alleged PED use across baseball. The league is expected to announce disciplinary action for possibly 20 players. Many, if not all of these suspensions, are expected to last the rest of the 2013 season and the fantasy implications that follow could cost many their chance for a championship.
Some of the alleged suspensions include Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon and Everth Cabrera, all of whom contributed substantially in one form or another fantasy wise. Stashing possible replacements before these suspensions come down could salvage your season. Below are some names to help do just that.
Up to this point in 2013, Bartolo Colon is in the discussion for an old school Cy Young award. He has 14 wins, with a 2.50 ERA and a WHIP of 1.12. Even us saber friendly ‘’nerds’’ are happy with Colon’s 0.6 HR/9, 5.6 HR/FB ratio (5th among pitchers), 3.30 FIP and 4.6 bWAR (6th among pitchers) while being tied for the lead league in quality starts with 19. That happiness would continue for all Colon owners if he makes his next scheduled start Wednesday in Cincinnati vs. the Reds. However, that might not be the case. If Colon is suspended, his owners could be missing out on approximately seven wins and a low WHIP (ESPN projections) for the remainder of the season. Of course #killthewin is sweeping the twitterverse because wins are evil but they do matter in fantasy. Luckily, wins are available on the waiver wire. Wade Miley (available in 51.2 of ESPN leagues and 53% of Yahoo leagues) has won four of his last five starts while posting a 1.85 ERA and K:BB of 25:11 in 34 innings. Uber prospect, Zack Wheeler (avail in 59.9 of ESPN and 48% of Y!), has won three of his last five and not given up more than 3 earned runs in any of those starts. If Colon was being used as an innings eater to help keep you WHIP down you may not be so lucky in finding a replacement. Orioles starter, Wei-Yin Chen might be your best bet as his WHIP currently sits at 1.17 and he has gone at least 6.1 innings in his last four starts. In those starts he has kept opponents triple slash at .236/.274/.358.
For the last five years Nelson Cruz has averaged 27 HRs and 81 RBI while playing 125 games a season. His 2013 projections have him hitting 38 HRs while driving in 109 runs while playing 156 games. That all may come to an end the next few days one way or another as Cruz might be suspended for 50 games or need some time off to deal with a leg injury. If Cruz’s pop is all that you will be missing, Astros 1B/OF, Chris Carter (available in 72.3 of ESPN leagues and 77% of Yahoo leagues) should be considered. His power has never been in question, it’s his ability to make contact that is suspect. 2013 has been a prime example of just that as he has 19 HRs but also struck out 145 timed in just 340 at bats. If Carter’s batting average killing ways will hurt your team too much, hot hitting 2B/OF eligible, Ryan Raburn could solve your problems. In his last 15 games, Raburn has three HRs, nine RBI while batting .400. Just know that there should be some regression coming as his BABIP is .438 in that time and he’s never hit more than 16 HRs in a season.
Everth Cabrera is on track to steal 54 bases this season which would have led the league in 2012. Cabrera owners also have been blessed with a slight increase in his batting average as well. Currently he is batting .282, 30 points above his career mark of .252. The worse part of Cabrera’s possible suspension is his owners will have to try to replace the second ranked shortstop on ESPN’s Player Rater. Unfortunately, speed at the shortstop position is not going to be easily replaced. Alcides Escobar is available in about half of all leagues but only has 12 stolen bases for the season and only one in the last 30 days. The most comparable player to Cabrera might be recently called up Astro, Jonathan Villar. He has five SBs in just 41 ABs but has an OBP of just .298 and no HRs or RBI. If neither of those names, or anyone else on your waiver wire, catches your eye, look to top prospect Xander Bogaerts. He is more than holding his own at the age of 20 in AAA, hitting .276/.372/.471 while being two of four in the stolen base department. Bogaerts could very easily be called up at any moment to become the Red Sox 3B but is eligible at SS in both ESPN and Yahoo leagues.