Chances are the parade to the waiver wire has already taken place with Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis scandal suspensions to Alex Rodriguez, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and 9 other players for their involvement with performance enhancing drugs. Peralta, Cabrera and Cruz were all All-Stars this year and were very valuable fantasy players.
Everth Cabrera was enjoying a nice season as well with a .283 batting average and 37 stolen bases, just three behind league leader Jacoby Ellsbury. Cabrera was a nice fantasy option at 2B/SS, and he was ranked as the sixth best second baseman and the third best shortstop. Inside the Locker Room yesterday we talked about Rajai Davis being a nice waiver wire pick up if your fantasy baseball team needed speed, so you may want to look to him to replace Cabrera’s stolen bags for head-to-head matchups. Davis however won’t fill your need at the shortstop position.
Jhonny Peralta was ranked as the fifth best fantasy baseball shortstop and was consistent all year, posting a slash line of .305/.361/.461 with 11 home runs, 54 RBI and 50 runs in the potent Detroit offense. The Tigers knew this day would come when they went out and acquired Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox as a replacement last week. Iglesias won’t provide the same kind of offensive numbers that Peralta did as Jose’s specialty is his fielding, however he has a .323 batting average and yesterday he batted 8th in the Tigers lineup. If he can get on base he’ll have some power hitters behind him looking to drive in some runs for your fantasy team. You can never go wrong adding a .300 hitter in an offensive lineup, and Iglesias is currently owned in only 25 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Iglesias is a great Tiger-for-Tiger swap, and might be the obvious choice for some fantasy players out there, however other owners may take a look at Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew… as they should. Drew has played in 11 straight games and is currently riding a six game hitting streak where he’s enjoyed four multi-hit games. However, he has had an injury filled past, therefore fake baseball lovers should look deeper into the Boston organization and take a shot with Xander Bogaerts.
Bogaerts – who Boston wouldn’t part with in the Cliff Lee trade talks – is the Red Sox top hitting prospect which made Iglesias expendable. The 20 year old is listed as a shortstop in Yahoo! leagues, but he has been playing at third base for Triple-A Pawtucket for the past couple weeks. In 47 games with the minor league club, Bogaerts has compiled 49 hits, 8 home runs, and 25 RBI.
Bogaerts spent virtually no time at the Double-A level where he ripped up the league, and if he continues to impress it’s only a matter of time before the kid gets called up to play third or perhaps short for the big club. He’s currently outplaying Will Middlebrooks who is only batting .259 in 40 games with Pawtucket. The Red Sox started Brandon Snyder at third base yesterday and Brock Holt was their only other option which makes you think Bogaerts is on his way to Beantown at any moment.
If you find yourself swapping players in and out of your fantasy lineup every other night then adding a guy in Bogaerts and stashing him away could end up helping the future of your team. If he gets a call up, he may be able to provide a spark like Manny Machado did for the Baltimore Orioles last year.
If you feel like Bogaerts is too much of a risk for your fantasy team or you’re playing in a redraft league then Andrelton Simmons (55 percent owned) or Erick Aybar (56 percent owned) are solid options at shortstop. Both play every day on a high-powered offense and both have been top 10 shortstops in standard Yahoo! leagues over the past month and are inside the top 15 for the season.
Zack Cozart and Nick Franklin are less appealing options at the shortstop position and although Franklin can also play second base he has struggled of late and has been in and out of the Mariners lineup. Cozart is batting .324 with 2 home runs over his last two weeks with the Reds and Jonathan Villar has 9 stolen bases and 9 runs since the Astros called him up on Jully 22nd.
Not only did the Texas Rangers lose a big bat in Nelson Cruz, but if you were a fantasy baseball owner then you’ll miss the 27 home runs and 76 RBI he racked up this year. Cruz was a top 13 hitter and ranked 34th overall in standard Yahoo! leagues. It’s hard to replace that kind of power and you won’t find it with Jurickson Profar but he should see more bats in the Rangers lineup. He went 2/4 last night with 1 RBI and has hits in four straight games. He can play 2B/SS/3B and is most likely available on the waiver wire.