Over the past month or so, I’ve been discussing injured players and their possible replacements — in real life and in fantasy. In that time I’ve covered guys ranging from the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg to the Astros’ Jed Lowrie.
Today, instead of recommending players that could help fill the void left by one of your star pitchers, I’ll be doing the opposite and suggesting a couple hurlers whom are already on the disabled list. These are pitchers you can add, put in your DL spot and hopefully reap the rewards once they return to the mound. It’s a strategy I like to call “the grab ‘n stash”.
Stashing away injured players is a key part of any fantasy team’s championship run. Your league mates are often so focused on winning their current head-to-head matchup or maintaining their place atop the roto standings that they overlook players on the DL. If you have an expendable player that you can drop, and you also have an open DL spot, there is absolutely no reason not to utilize it. Once the second half of the season comes around, you’ll all of a sudden have a player that can produce for your team, and you won’t have to use a high waiver priority or spend the same amount of FAAB that you would had you waited.
I won’t be suggesting players like Jose Fernandez, Doug Fister or Hisashi Iwakuma, because they are heavily owned. The two pitchers I’m recommending are under 10 percent owned in ESPN fantasy leagues and will be able to help your team further down the line.
Ivan Nova, Yankees (3.2% owned)
Nova made his first rehab start on Monday, allowing two runs (one earned), three hits and no walks in 4.2 innings. He struck out three batters, and his pitches were clocked between 91-95 mph, obviously a good sign for a pitcher coming off of Tommy John surgery. Nova is now a little over 13 months removed from the operation and is almost assured a spot in the Yankees’ rotation when he returns to the Bronx.
Nova’s 2014 season wasn’t going well prior to tearing his UCL (8.27 ERA, 6 HR allowed in 20.2 IP), but that very well could have been due to the injury. He was stellar in 2013, winning nine games and posting a 3.10 ERA. He’s not a strikeout pitcher (career 6.78 K/9), but he can be a solid addition to any deep-league fantasy teams while he has the first-place Yankees hitting behind him.
Brandon Beachy, Dodgers (1.6% owned)
If there’s any team that Brandon Beachy could be a fantasy asset for, it’s the Dodgers.
It’s status quo for Kershaw and Greinke — they are the dual aces of this staff — but what the other three have done is beyond miraculous. Anderson has pitched well throughout his career, but injuries have limited him to an average of 14 starts per season. Bolsinger and Frias are glorified minor leaguers that were forced into the rotation after season-ending injuries to Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu. And while the two have done a great job, there’s plenty of reason to believe that won’t last all season.
This is where Beachy comes in.
The former Atlanta Brave had the second Tommy John surgery of his career last March. It’s no guarantee that he’ll be effective when he’s back, but on pedigree alone, he’ll be an upgrade over at least one of Bolsinger or Frias. Back in 2011, a first-half ERA of 3.21 put Beachy in the early Cy Young conversation. He followed that up by posting a 2.00 ERA though his first 13 starts of the 2012 season, but he ended up tearing his UCL and underwent the first of his two Tommy John surgeries that June.
The Dodgers were willing to take a chance on Beachy this winter, signing him to a one-year, $2.75 million contract. It’s a “prove-it” deal, and that’s what Beachy will intend to do. He’s always been a fierce competitor, and with his reputation on the line, expect him to give it his all.
The 28-year-old won’t be back till July, maybe after the All-Star break, and unlike to Nova, he’s not guaranteed a spot in the rotation. But of the widely available starters on waivers, he has one of the greatest upsides, making him worth a stash if you have an open DL spot.