Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie lasted one whole at bat before leaving his first game back on Tuesday with a different injury. Lawrie had been out with a broken finger since June 22nd. Hey, at least he got a hit in his one at bat before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury.
Today, the Jays discovered that Lawrie has an oblique strain, and will be headed back to the disabled list. There is no timetable for his return, but oblique injuries usually require at least a month to heal. For those of us that hung on to Lawrie hoping for help during the stretch run, we are once again scrambling for a replacement. I would have much rather he not come back at all than to have to drop a player to activate him for one at bat!
Lawrie was still owned in 70 percent of leagues before his recent injury, so there were a large number of people wanting something from him. Now there is a good chance that he will be out until at least mid-September. So where does that leave us 70 percent? Looking for a replacement, that’s where.
I am here to help. Since Lawrie was not a standard league staple, I will only give advice for moderate and deep leagues, and only at third base, since that is where he is eligible in most leagues. The moderate league players will be available in 40-90 percent of leagues. The deep league players will be available in 90 percent or more of leagues.
I will try and stick to players that have stats comparable to Lawrie’s .247 average, 12 homers, and 38 RBI.
Juan Francisco, Blue Jays: Francisco is the obvious choice, since he will be replacing Lawrie in the Blue Jay lineup. His stats are strikingly similar (.237, 16HR, 42RBI) to Lawrie’s. He is a suitable replacement for fantasy owners as well.
Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: His numbers are a bit below Lawrie’s. Bogaerts is only hitting .238 with eight homers and 23 RBI, but now he will get every day at bats with Stephen Drew in New York. Judging by the way he played down the stretch and in the playoffs last year, he has the talent to be here. He should show it with regular playing time.
Luis Valbuena, Cubs: Yes, he is likely just keeping the seat warm for Kris Bryant, but it Theo Epstein’s comments are any indicator, it is unlikely that Bryant will even be up by September 1st. And even if he is, Lawrie will likely be nearing a return. Valbuena is hitting a respectable .249 with 10 homers and 38 RBI this year.
Mike Moustakas, Royals: Moose is finally starting to turn it around. His overall numbers, especially his batting average, remain ugly (.195), but he does have 14 homers and 46 RBI. By the way, 10 of those homers have come since June 10th. He is worth taking a flier on.
Matt Dominguez, Astros: His average has steadily climbed up to it’s .230 mark over the past couple of months. He also has 13 homers and 47 RBI, so that is very close to Lawrie’s production, and it is available in 95 percent of leagues.
Cody Asche, Phillies: His power numbers aren’t quite where Lawrie’s were (seven home runs, 35 RBI), but he is hitting .260. So in deep leagues you can either take a chance on a guy with some upside like Asche, or go for a power hitter with a bad average. Me? I would rather go with a guy like Asche.