Biogenesis is real, and it's about to get super real with the announcement of suspensions coming on Monday. I've dubbed the Biogenesis scandal as the "Sour Grapes of Bud Selig's Wrath," but it could easily be called "A-Rod's Last Stand" or "How Bartolo Colon Was Able to Stand All These Years."
While it appears Colon will be free from further suspension, a trio of players are about to disappear, including the Padres' Everth Cabrera, the Tigers' Jhonny Peralta and the Rangers' Nelson Cruz. This article is for those about to lose these important bats down the stretch, and not for those looking for the biography of the greatest band of all time, Genesis.
The shortstops, Everth Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta
This one really hurts. Everth Cabrera is the No. 2 shortstop in ESPN leagues with an NL leading 37 steals in 48 attempts. If you're losing Cabrera, there are absolutely no options to make up for the loss of elite speed at the shortstop position. Jhonny Peralta, meanwhile, has been pretty damn good in his own right, hitting .305/.360/.463 with 11 home runs, 49 runs, 54 RBIs and three steals. The Tigers recently acquired Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox in the three-way trade that sent Jake Peavy to Boston, so it appears Peralta is as good as done in Mo Town.
Alcides Escobar, who is still available in 52% of Yahoo! leagues, is probably the best speed add of the bunch. I was super high on the Royals shortstop coming into the season, but he's failed to back up his 2012 numbers, which included 35 steals and a solid .293 BA. This year, Escobar is hitting a measly .230/.259/.302 and he's contributed just 12 steals, 39 runs and 35 RBIs in 105 games. The month of July has actually been his worst 30-day stretch, so if you add Escobar, you're really hoping for a turnaround in August and September.
While Escobar provides the best pure speed going forward, I think the safest add is the Rays' Yunel Escobar, who is available in 92% of ESPN leagues. He's not sexy or even well-liked, but he has an everyday gig on a team fighting for its playoff lives. In 102 games, Escobar is hitting .254/.320/.372 with eight home runs, 42 runs, 42 RBIs and three steals. He should be able to pass 60 runs and 60 RBIs along with a double-digit finish in home runs. If you're looking for the "home run" add, Derek Jeter is your man. The Yankees captain is still available in 35% of ESPN leagues, but, unfortunately, he's day-to-day with a calf injury. If he does avoid the disabled list, he's more than worthy of a pickup. If you have a DL spot to spare, stashing Jeter is a smart move.
The slugging outfielder, Nelson Cruz
isn't likely to may or may not appeal his forthcoming suspension, meaning those who own the Rangers slugger might have to replace 26 home runs and 75 RBIs in the outfield -- not an easy task. One of my bold predictions this season was Cruz smacking more long balls than Giancarlo Stanton, specifically by a 36-to-35 count. Cruz still has a good shot to out-homer Stanton (they are currently at 26-13), but it doesn't appear the Texas outfielder will have a chance to get to 36 home runs. So who to add?
There are more favorable options for Cruz owners than there are for Cabrera and Peralta owners, starting with the Athletics' Brandon Moss, who is available in 44% of ESPN leagues. Oakland's all-or-nothing slugger has smacked 17 home runs and driven in 51 runs with a .244 BA and .783 OPS, including a .341 BA and .851 OPS in the last 15 days. If Moss is owned in your league, Chris Carter -- still available in 75% of ESPN leagues -- is somewhat of a Moss clone with 19 home runs and an identical 51 RBIs. The downside to Carter, however, is a .212 BA. If you can, passing on Carter is preferred.
My No. 1 recommendation for Cruz owners is the Diamondbacks' Cody Ross, who is still available in 95% of ESPN leagues. Ross was a key contributor in the Giants' 2010 World Series run, and I get the feeling he's about to make somewhat of a repeat performance in Arizona. It must be said that Ross is a monster against lefties -- .394/.430/.589 -- and not so much against righties, but he's basically playing full-time now in the Arizona outfield. Besides, playing righty/lefty matchups often times leads to you missing out on some important stats -- for example, Ross has four home runs against lefties, and three against righties. In his career, Ross has done his best hitting in the latter months, including a career-best 28 home runs, 41 doubles and 88 RBIs in 159 games in September. Over the last month, Ross is hitting .353 with a .898 OPS to go along with two home runs, nine runs, 10 RBIs and three steals, so the "He's Heating Up!" phase is already under way. Last year, Ross hit six homers and 16 doubles with 23 runs and 31 RBIs in August and September -- numbers I think he can realistically reach again.
Alex Kantecki is a fantasy baseball writer for Fake Teams. He also writes the "Closer Chronicle" for Vigilante Baseball every Thursday, ranking and tiering all 30 MLB closers. You can follow Alex on Twitter at @rotodealer.