Players who will benefit from Biogenesis suspensions
With the ESPN.com report from T.J. Quinn and Mike Fish, it looks like MLB will be suspending Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez. Whether those suspensions hold up on appeal is a different story. Along with the two superstars on the list, as many as 20 other players have been implicated in the Biogenesis scandal and could face suspensions. Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera have all been linked to Biogenesis according to reports. Robinson Cano and Gio Gonzalez have also been mentioned in reports, but it seems like they will not be suspended by Major League Baseball.
Whether you think this is a witch hunt perpetrated by MLB to make an example of ARod and Braun or not (I definitely do), these possible suspensions will have a major impact on your fantasy league. Now is the time to start planning for lost time for your star player or a potential pick up to fill a hole that you currently have. I’ll look at the players listed above and the player who stands to take the majority of the at bats from the suspended player.
Ryan Braun – LF (MIL)
Logan Schafer has taken over for Braun in left as he’s been recovering from a hand injury. Since Schafer took over for Braun at the beginning of June, Schafer has a .555 OPS. Not really anything you would want to roster. Josh Prince and Caleb Gindl are also options in left. Gindl is the only one who has the potential to hit double digit homers, and that’s putting a lot of expectation on a 5’9″ outfielder. Best to look elsewhere for a Braun replacement.
Then the question is, what do you do with Braun? If he is suspended, he will not be eligible for your league’s DL slot, so he’ll have to be carried on your bench. Obviously Braun is an immense talent, but if you’re in the thick of a championship race and you can sell Braun for $0.50 on the $1, go for it. I think even in a keeper league, if you can turn Braun into a valuable asset that can help you win your league do it. Who knows how this whole situation will play out.
Alex Rodriguez – 3B (NYY)
I don’t think that anyone was really pinning their championship hopes on ARod this season, but even if the lineup isn’t what you imagine when you think of the Yankees offense, starting third baseman for the New York Yankees is still a really good gig. Right now Luiz Cruz is holding down the hot corner in the Bronx. He was woeful to start the season for the Dodgers (.344 OPS in 118 at bats for the Dodgers), but since he moved East, he’s been a serviceable player with a .591 OPS in a very small sample size (22 at bats). If you’re desperate for 3B at bats, Cruz isn’t a terrible pick up but I would think there are some better options on the wire.
Melky Cabrera – LF (TOR)
If Melky does get suspended, it will be for the 2nd time and will be for 100 games. Rajai Davis is still only owned in only 81.6 of ESPN leagues. He has 22 stolen bases in 152 at bats. That puts him on pace to steal over 60 bases this season. Melky has already missed some time with a knee injury and Davis has been killing it in his stead. As I’ve said before, he is a must add in all formats. A longer term guy to keep your eye on is Anthony Gose. In very limited playing time in the majors, he has a .641 OPS but he has 15 steals to go with that. He’s only 22 so I wouldn’t expect him to be raking at the major league level. But he has some skills and a ton of speed.
Nelson Cruz – RF (TEX)
If Cruz gets suspended, there will undoubtedly be demands by Rangers fans far and wide to call up recently signed Manny Ramirez to plug him in as the Rangers DH. Personally I think that would be hilarious, but I don’t think Manny is going to Manny (on the field at least). He’s 41 years old and while Raul Ibanez is making it look easy for an old guy rake, Manny has been out of MLB since 2011 and he only managed 5 games for the Rays that year.
A more plausible replacement plan would be to utilize the top young talent that the Rangers have. Jurickson Profar has been relegated to a utility role due to the logjam of quality players ahead of him on the depth chart. Profar has logged on game in left field for the Rangers this season, so with some shifting around, he could fit into their outfield plans, or they could just send him to the plate when his number is up and keep him at DH. That seems like a damn waste though.
Bartolo Colon – SP (OAK)
If Colon gets suspended, just like Melky Cabrera, it will be for the second time and be a 100 game suspension. That will likely end his career. I’m not going to get sentimental here, but it would put an abrupt end to one of the great stories of 2013. Colon is 12-3 with a 2.69 ERA through 18 starts. Very impressive for someone in the prime of their career, let alone a 40 year old.
Dan Straily’s spot in the rotation will be solidified if Colon misses time. There are some options down on the farm for the A’s. Lefty Andrew Werner is on the 40 man roster and has some major league experience with the Padres in 2012, where he made 4 starts and had a 5.58 ERA. Not exactly Colon-esque, but he could fill in at the back end of the rotation. Right handed prospect Sonny Gray could be someone else that Oakland’s front office turns to if Colon gets suspended. He has a 2.81 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and a 9.4 K/9 rate at AAA Sacramento.
Jhonny Peralta – SS (DET)
The Tigers would be looking to Ramon Santiago to fill in for Peralta, should he be suspended. Santiago has only had one season with an OPS+ over 100 (2008). He’s not an offensive threat at all. The Tigers don’t have much down on the farm in the middle infield. I would imagine that if Peralta gets suspended and they have time prior to the trade deadline, they’ll try and get something done to gain some depth at short.
Everth Cabrera – SS (SD)
Cabrera is just coming of the DL with a hamstring injury. While the speedy shortstop was out, Pedro Ciriacao filled in at short and posted a .242/.288/.339 slash line. His career slash line looks a little better at .280/.311/.389. In limited playing time in 2012 (259 at bats) he managed a .293/.315/.390 slash line along with 16 stolen bases. While he can’t match Cabrera’s speed (and few can), he can still provide you with some speed without killing your average. He’s not going to get you much in the way of power numbers though.