First, let’s be clear on one thing: you can’t replace Mike Trout. Before going down with a ligament tear in his thumb, he was the #1 player in nearly all formats, slashing .337/.461/.742 with 16 HR and 10 SB.
You’re not going to find that production on your waiver wire. But there could be some options that could help you hopscotch the next 6-8 weeks (Trout’s injury timetable) to ensure you don’t fall too far behind.
The Yankees outfielder is just over 50% owned in most fantasy leagues, but if he were getting regular playing time, that number would shoot up.
Well, he’s getting regular playing time.
Jacoby Ellsbury sprained his neck and suffered a concussion on May 24 and in the latest update he’s yet to resume baseball activities. Manager Joe Griardi tabbed Hicks as the regular centerfielder and since then he’s gone 4-for-18 with 2 runs, 2 RBI and a SB. Don’t let the pedestrian sample size fool you though. Hicks is slashing a whopping .295/.427/.554 with 8 HR and 7 SB this season and is walking more than he’s striking out.
Playing time is not guaranteed once Ellsbury comes back, but at the very least it looks like Hicks is in the clear for another week, maybe two. He might be your best bet to mirror Trout’s production right now.
Steven Souza Jr.
Souza suffered a thumb injury earlier this month that knocked him out for five games. When he returned and went 4-for-36 with only 1 HR and 4 RBI, owners couldn’t drop him fast enough. But in the last week, Souza is back to hitting like he did in April.
In the last seven days, he’s 11-for-25 with 7 runs, 3 HR and 6 RBI and a SB, slashing .440/.548/.880. The Rays are 15th in baseball in stolen bases so Souza isn’t going to match Trout’s numbers in that category, but he can definitely come somewhat close in counting stats.
If you missed out on Hicks, Souza is owned in roughly 30 percent of leagues. But act quickly because he’s tallied 7 hits in his last 12 AB with 4 runs and 2 RBI.
Let’s forget for a second that Choo is 34 and has nagging injuries every now and then. When you’re trying to find stopgap for Trout, we can only focus on the positives.
Thanks to a strong .366 OBP, Choo is leading off for a Rangers team that’s 11th in scoring. And despite his age, he’s swiped three bags (I’d temper your expectations here though as he hasn’t attempted a steal since May 10). Though this is more of a play in OBP leagues, Choo still has a respectable .267 AVG in the last week with 2 HR and 7 RBI.
It doesn’t look like he’s getting removed from the top of the lineup anytime soon. Owned in about 10 percent of all leagues, the lefty should be freely available in your leagues.
Before you roll your eyes, remember I cautioned you can’t replace Mike Trout, you can only come close to trying. Parra had his moment in the sun in April and it looks like Rockies manager Bud Black is trying to squeeze him more into the lineup after a scorching two weeks.
In the last 15 days, Parra is 10-for-19 with 6 runs, 2 HR and 10 RBI. The majority of that damage has come in the last two days where he’s notched 6 hits, including a HR, with 5 RBI.
The obvious drawback with Parra is the logjam in Colorado. As such, Parra is recommended for managers in daily leagues who can monitor lineups and swap him in and out when necessary. But a Rockies player swinging a hot bat is almost a must-add when he’s in Coors.
Unfortunately, after May 30, the team is home for only two of the next 14 games. But keep an eye to see if Black forces several OF to have a day of rest to ensure Parra keeps getting the playing time. He’s owned in less than 10 percent of leagues.
The St.Louis outfielder is seeing his ownership tick up after Randal Grichuk got banished to the minors on Monday. Pham now has everyday AB and is entrenched in the No.2 spot in the order.
In only 20 games he has 5 HR and 4 SB. He’s 5-for-11 in his last three games with 2 HR, 3 runs, 3 RBI and a stolen base (Disclaimer: both HR came @COL). Pham might not excite you, but consider that in 448 MLB PA he has 19 HR and 8 SB with a career .261/.349/.483 line. His ISO is a whopping .275 right now, which if he qualified, would be 29th in baseball between Justin Smoak and Nolan Arenado.
Like Parra and Choo, he’s barely in double-digit percentage in ownership. And if you missed out on Souza and Hicks, but think Choo and Parra are boring, Pham is perfectly acceptable as a Trout stopgap.
Who’d you use as a stopgap for Mike Trout?
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Steven Souza Jr.