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Saturday, June 15, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: TROY TULOWITZKI, RYAN BRAUN

It has been a ridiculously brutal week for the fantasy baseball community as two of the top players in the game hit the DL with injury, some longer than others.  By now the news has sunk in that the Colorado Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a broken rib, while the Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun hit the 15-day DL with an ongoing thumb injury.  Obviously these two guys can't be replaced when it comes to the voids they left in fantasy baseball lineups everywhere but as always you as the owners must do what you can to minimize the absence.  With that said let's take a look at some possible solutions for each. 

Troy Tulowitzki (4-6 weeks, broken rib):

The annual Tulowitzki DL stint has become as sure as the sun coming up in the morning and the last two seasons have brought extended stays on the sidelines which undermines his status as quite possibly the most valuable fantasy baseball hitter in the game considering how shallow his position is.  So let's dig in and try to determine who could hold the fort until Tulow's return,.

Josh Rutledge:  Rutledge is the easy replacement since he will do so directly on the Rockies after getting called back up to take his place.  I never agreed with Rutledge being sent down to the minors in the first place as he hit .241 with 6 home runs and 5 stolen bases.  Yes the strikeouts were out of control and caused the average to sink but Rutledge was also demonstrating nice power/speed stats that play very well in the infield.  Rutledge went on to hit like crazy after the demotion and so he is hot coming back up to the club.  Easily the best option to pick up off the wire due to potential that still exists in his bat.

Stephen Drew:  Another guy who you got to look past the average (.218) as Drew is driving in a ton of runs on a per game basis with 27, while also knocking 5 baseballs out of the park.  He has been an annual source of frustration due to the fact he has never quite lived up to the hype but hitting in Boston will ensure decent home run and RBI totals for the time being.  After all this is not a season-long gig here.  You only are looking for Drew to fill in for up to six weeks.

Alexei Ramirez:  Another guy who never seems to meet expectations, Ramirez is actually having a decent year with 25 runs scored and 13 stolen bases to go with a .265 average.  There is a bit more pop to be had here so Ramirez can help across the board as well.

Ryan Braun (15-day DL with thumb contusion):  

As far as Bruan is concerned, we are not here to offer any replacements since he is expected to be out only for two more weeks tops.  Braun's DL stint was backdated to June 9th.  This is an injury Braun has been dealing with for some time now so he had no choice to take a rest in order to get things right with the thumb. 

What we really have to discuss here with Braun is the undeniable fact his numbers have slid across the board the year after steroid accusations dogged his name.  First there was the positive test that he got overturned on a technicality and now the Biogenesis scandal.  Looking at the numbers, Braun is hitting only .304 with 9 home runs and 4 steals.  Sure Braun apologists will say it was the thumb that has his home runs down sharply along with the average but I am not buying it.  The heat is so extreme on Braun now that surely he has to be off the juice.  Thus the numbers are down.  It is not rocket science.  With a suspension looming, my predictions of Braun being a terrible investment this season have been borne out.  He deserves everything he gets as far as I am concerned.  Anyways from a fantasy baseball angle Braun should be back soon enough and even if he does get suspended, the appeals process will likely now keep him safe until 2014.  However the numbers being down speak volumes as to what is really going on this season with the guy.  I warned you. 


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