Alex Rodriguez was placed on the 15 day disabled list yesterday, and the hope is that he will be able to return after the minimum time on the DL. Clearly not what his owners wanted to see as fantasy playoffs approach in head to head leagues. In the meantime, who can you find to replace him?
It really just depends on what you need to replace the most. Neil Walker will provide good batting average, and is owned in only 33% of ESPN leagues. Aramis Ramirez is owned in 88% of ESPN leagues, and has been really hot of late as well. If power is the thing you need the most, and Ramirez isn't available, take a look at Pedro Alvarez (30%). Pedro Feliz has also been hot of late, and is also owned in less than 1% of leagues if you need a deeper league play.
Stephen Strasburg left his start yesterday with what ended up being a tendon injury, and I have to imagine that this is the excuse the Nationals have been looking for to shut him down for the season. Keep an eye on the news, but the most prudent action for the team would be to stop pitching him until the offseason.
Javier Vazquez really looks pretty bad out there, and I'm wondering how long the Yankees will continue to run him out there in the rotation. His velocity looks like it has been dropping, and his location isn't helping things either. I dropped him in one league, and at this point I don't think he's going to get better before the end of the year.
Cliff Lee had a rough start, and the surprise was that this one was against the Orioles. He went 5 2/3 innings, and gave up 8 earned runs and 11 base runners. After seeing the highlights, Lee was really having some issues locating, and seemed to have a lot of his pitches end up right over the heart of the plate.
The thing that was interesting out of this start to me was that two of the homeruns he gave up were to Josh Bell, who in his minor league career was a very poor hitter against lefties, and had no homers in the Majors until today either. He could be a play if you're really desperate in your league.
So much for that theory about owning Jeremy Hellickson for the rest of the season. The Rays sent him down to Single A yesterday so that he could work out of the bullpen to get ready for the rest of the season. I still think he's the better pitcher, but Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann have not done enough to earn a demotion to the pen either. Both are expected back from the disabled list in the next few days.
Brett Anderson had a great start but ended up with a no-decision after the bullpen lost the lead. He went 7 innings, allowed 2 earned runs, and struck out 8. I think that he's honestly a top 25 starter for next season, but I don't know if he's going to be ahead of his teammate Trevor Cahill or not.
Max Scherzer is another pitcher who's going to be right around my top 25 for next year. He had another great start last night, striking out 8 and allowing just 1 earned run over 7 innings. Since the All-Star break, he has 38 strikeouts in 44 innings, and has a 2.25 ERA as well.
Ryan Howard returned to the Phillies yesterday, and went 1 for 4 with an RBI. Put him back in your lineups if you haven't already.
Koji Uehara got the save yesterday for the Orioles, and I think that he will be getting the save chances going forward. Mike Gonzalez pitched the 8th inning of the game, so it seems that Buck Showalter has at least decided that Gonzalez isn't the answer.
Wandy Rodriguez was a tough luck loser last night, as he went 6 innings and allowed 2 earned runs. The 10 strikeouts were pretty nice too, and since the All-Star break he has a 3-1 record with a 1.74 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Tim Lincecum continues to struggle, giving up 4 earned runs and striking out 4 in 5 1/3 innings. They mentioned on Baseball Tonight that he changed his delivery a few starts ago (after he was already struggling), and whatever he did doesn't appear to have helped. If he doesn't put together a couple of good starts to end the season, I'm not sure I can put him into my top 10 for pitchers for next year. It has been a while since he's had a good start.
Juan Gutierrez was activated from the disabled list in the past couple days, and recorded the save for the Diamondbacks. I wouldn't go after him unless I was very desperate for saves, because he's just as likely to have a blow up save with 3 earned runs and more baserunners.