Well, crap. You drafted at the start of March. Since then, your third baseman, named (Chase Headley)(Hanley Ramirez)(David Wright)(Pablo Sandoval)(David Freese)(Brett Lawrie)(Aramis Ramirez), has had some injury concerns pop up. You need a replacement/backup, someone you can ride out until Mr. (Headley)(Ramirez)(Wright)(Sandoval)(Freese)(Lawrie)(Ramirez) is back to full health.
It's a heck of a problem, and not just because it is really difficult to figure out how to make seven third basemen into one contiguous name without screwing with this site's formatting too freaking much. Injuries are supposed to come after the season starts, once you've gotten a home run or two out of your guy. Injuries that happen between the draft and Opening Day are like contracting a quick-acting stomach bug right after ordering your entrée. At least give me a moment to enjoy my order, virus!
Well now you're stuck. Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, and Evan Longoria aren't available, and even if they were, you'd have to destroy your strength at another position, meaning you'd have to pull off another trade when your initial third baseman returns. Unless you can get a steal, chasing one of those guys isn't worth it, and that's without even considering the injury-proneness that is Evan Longoria.
If you assume a 12-team league, there will be something like 15-18 third basemen off the board by the time you have realized your desperation. So there won't be a Pedro Alvarez, a Kyle Seager, a Todd Frazier, or a Manny Machado out there for you.
It'll be rough. You're drawing for a lottery ticket. And since that guy I mentioned above is a seven-named player, around half your league is going to be looking for an emergency fill-in as well. You'll want to act fast, so you don't end up being the guy who hopes Brandon Inge thinks it's suddenly 2006 again.
I'm not exactly reinventing the wheel here, but there are guys who, based on my experience so far this spring, are flying further under the radar than I might expect: Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter. If I had to guess, this is based on the fact that, in February, we didn't predict either guy to get full playing time. That playing-prediction got ingrained, and so now we don't think to look for them.
With Brett Lawrie as a keeper in one league and Chase Headley picked (after his injury) in a seriously late round in another, I ended up drafting Gyorko to fill in for Headley in the 23rd round, and picked up Carpenter as a free agent to replace Lawrie. In a third league, when I had only Pedro Alvarez as a third baseman, I could have picked up either guy off our waiver wire for nothing, and would have, had a trade for Adrian Beltre not negated that need.
Now, I will include this caveat: If you're playing in ESPN, Gyorko probably won't be much help for you. To start the season, he only has 2B eligibility, and he is projected to get the Padres time at 2B while Logan Forsythe plays 3B with Headley out. Gyorko is delightful and all, but if he isn't eligible at the position you need a replacement, you're not doing much. Gyorko won't help you at catcher either.
But in Yahoo (or any league where he has 3B eligibility), Gyorko can help. And he and Carpenter are owned at about the same percentages as Trevor Plouffe, Jeff Keppinger, and Mark Reynolds. With Headley and Freese (plus Rafael Furcal) guaranteed to miss time, Gyorko and Carpenter appear to have easy lines to full-time gigs for as long as you're likely to need them to have full-time gigs.
If Gyorko and Carpenter had the obvious full-time job as Plouffe with the Twins, Keppinger with the White Sox, and Reynolds with the Indians, their percentages would be up around Kevin Youkilis and Michael Young. But, because those full-time gigs didn't develop until after the primary publications put out their position rankings, Gyorko and Carpenter are simply getting overlooked.
Stop overlooking them. And if you have part of the CH-HR-DW-PS-DF-BL-AR combo platter, and your backup third baseman from the draft was Michael Young, toss a waiver claim onto Jedd Gyorko or Matt Carpenter. Two months ago, the primary advantage Young had on those guys was playing time. Today, that advantage is gone. Now that they have the jobs, those guys are the guys you want. At least, until your stud is healthy again. Someday.
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