Every team gets bit by the injury bug at some point in the season.
While the severity of the injuries dealt out by the baseball gods isn't always in equitable fashion, every GM and manager seeks depth in hopes of lessening the impact one overextended stride may have.
Matt Carpenter, the Cardinal's team leader in OPS by a margin of about 60 points, hit the DL yesterday, creating a roster shift that you can take advantage of.
While this has been a very unorthodox season for the Cardinal brass, the door reopens for Randal Grichuk and Kolten Wong to have fantasy value in the coming weeks.
Throughout the entire year I've noticed a lengthy leash has been extended to Grichuk, and for good reason. He was a young, good average power hitter last year with a hard hit percentage (36.9%) that got everybody excited for production this coming season. Unfortunately, that didn't manifest, as his .652 OPS in the month of April followed by a slightly better .757 OPS in the month of May was extremely disappointing.
Even at that time he remained a juicy buy low to some, including myself who swapped David Peralta for him in what I thought was a great move at the time (needless to say, a week ago both players were on the waiver wire). Other owners simply avoided dropping him for fear of missing out on his signature multi HR stretches and impromptu hot streaks. These factors among others contributed to his high ownership until his demotion to AAA in mid June.
Recently recalled and now with a clear shot to gain stable playing time in center field, Grichuk is 5 for his last 8, with a homer off Tyler Glasnow and only one strikeout. I think he is a must add in nearly all leagues for the upside he has yet to fulfill and would take him over a majority of other streaking outfielders. He is currently owned in only 19% of ESPN leagues.
The other piece of the puzzle that moves from center field back to his home at second base is Kolten Wong. Another popular value pick late in drafts, Wong has been extremely mediocre this season. He hasn't been hitting anything hard and possesses a rock bottom slugging percentage, but there's still some deep league value to be siphoned out of an asset the Cardinals have locked up through 2020.
Wong has hits in 10 of his last 12 games, including two extra base hits, but more importantly has a 4:6 strikeout to walk ratio in that time. This makes him mildly intriguing in deeper points leagues if he can push aside Greg Garcia (spoiler alert, he probably can).
The upside for both these Cardinal youngsters is still bubbling, and I like what I see.
Miller, Cron, and the Grandy Man
Brad Miller - Have to give credit to the guys over at Razzball for this one, they've been pumping him up since the preseason and despite the slow start (.607 OPS in the month of April), Miller looks poised to be a 25 homer, 10 steal bat with SS and OF eligibility. He's shown more power in this short stretch of July games, with three home runs, but I am a little bit concerned about his lack of walks and tendency to strikeout. This makes him a classic roto play for the time being with some steals to come, but I would caution myself in points leagues. He should be owned in your 12 team roto leagues despite what his ownership percentage says. (19% owned ESPN, 10% owned Yahoo)
C.J. Cron - One of the few young young talents on the Los Angeles Angels is having a coming out party. I'm becoming more and more confident in young hitters and their ability to quickly cut strikeout rates, and Cron is just another example. A 6% drop in Ks from 2015 to 2016 has brought about a better average, more power, and a better spot in the Angels lineup. There's really nothing more that you could want from him and I'm a buyer that he'll produce respectably past his 6-for-6 2 HR day at Fenway that started the buzz around him. He's worth an add in all leagues. (35% owned ESPN, 32% owned Yahoo)
Curtis Granderson - It may only be a few games, but Granderson is either finally healthy, or he loves hitting out of the number two spot in the Met's lineup. The Grandy Man has strung together a few multi hit games in the past week and has other things working for him as well. Both his average and strikeout to walk ratio have positively adjusted in the first three months of the season, and his batted ball data shows he should be able to creep near the 30 HR mark for the first time since 2012. I wouldn't be shocked to see a counting stat boost with how Cespedes and Reyes look around him in the Met's order as well. Worth a look in most leagues, especially with the lack of consistency in the outfield this year (53% owned ESPN, 56% owned Yahoo)
Josh Bell - With speculation and confirmation that Josh Bell will in fact be up today with Glasnow heading back to AAA. I've already been asked if he is a must add and my response has been yes. This kid can HIT. He's come into his power a lot more this year (13 HR in 83 games at AAA) and has always been a high average hitter with fantastic discipline from day one. He's going to be a pleasure to own in OBP leagues and with any translation of his power, he no doubt has a chance to be one of the best call up bats this season given starts (until Alex Bregman of course). The only thing I'm mildly concerned with is his playing time as I don't think many prospectors saw this move coming and it could just be for the weekend. I might be a little bit too excited for this debut if it's just for the weekend, but that's because I got to him first in a lot of leagues - thanks Twitter. (2% owned ESPN, 16% owned Yahoo).
Matt Duffy - Two quick hits here. Duffy looks like he'll be activated off the DL come next weekend. He was heating up until he got hurt and was a prime candidate for a bounce back second half. I don't think that has changed and he should be owned in 12 teamers, with more value in points leagues. (27% owned ESPN, 15% owned Yahoo).
Yangervis Solarte - At one point earlier in the year I was pretty lukewarm on Solarte, but his performance over his last 15 games has my interest. A .412 average with a few home runs and really nice strikeout to walk numbers is nothing to scoff at. He has been hitting behind the god Wil Myers recently and in no way is that a bad thing for his RBI oppourtunities. (21% owned ESPN, 26% owned Yahoo).
Flurry of Moves
Lucas Giolito - Not exactly a flurry of moves, but as I'm writing this enough has happened in a short amount of time that I stand by the word. Giolito will see some time at AAA after his rough start last night, and I have to admit, he didn't look particularly great in either. Sure his first one was rain shortened, but even then he didn't really strikeout anybody and played to his defense for all four innings. I doubt he has much value this season without some serious retooling, but dynasty leaguers have a nice prospect on their hands. (55% owned ESPN, 52% owned Yahoo)
Tyler Glasnow - Of all the prospects to come up this season, Glasnow impressed me the most. Debate me all you want, but this kid is 22, has a live fastball to go with a great curve, and can throw early in the count for strikes. I'm bummed to see him go back down (Glasnow and Josh Bell are swapping spots), mainly because if he didn't come out for the 6th inning yesterday, his line would've looked a bit different. Have we ever seen another pitcher this close to big league ready with literally just two pitches? (39% owned ESPN, 55% owned Yahoo)
Jose Berrios - His game log over his last four starts in AAA is nice to look at. Despite what he showed early this season, Berrios is the same future frontline starter for the Twins he was prior to this season and I imagine he is called up very soon. The good thing about him is that he should be able to go 5-7 innings in most starts, as he is decently efficient with pitches. Giolito and Glasnow enjoy running up pitch counts and if I had to guess which of the three has the most fantasy impact ROS, I think I'd lean Berrios with Glasnow a close second. The hype around both doesn't exactly reflect my prediction, which means you can take advantage of this too. Add him while he's still available. (5.9% owned ESPN, 12% owned Yahoo).
Zach Eflin - Throw away his first start in Toronto. I'm fairly confident it was nerves, the Blue Jays, or another number of excuses I can conjure. This kid can pitch and he has shown that at every level. Great control with a increased strikeout rate this year at AAA set a very nice floor for yet another respectable Phillie's starting pitcher. He isn't worth owning in shallow leagues, but deeper than 12 teams and I think you can do much worse. I wouldn't start him in Coors this weekend, but otherwise he has the Braves and Mets in his division, that can't hurt. (5% owned ESPN, 3% owned Yahoo).
Edwin Diaz - Steve Cishek is bound to implode in any of his next save opportunities (he did last night) and Diaz's peripherals have been gorgeous. He has a 42% strikeout rate in just over 16 innings with a 16% swinging strike rate. He should've been owned last weekend in holds leagues and if you're speculating elsewhere, I think he is the stash. (6% owned ESPN, 10% owned Yahoo)
Best of luck as always.
Don't hesitate to tweet at me (@LanceBrozdow) or comment below with any questions you may have. I do my best to respond with a bit of context, which I know a lot of other fantasy gurus tend not to do (mainly because they get so many questions!).