Fantasy baseball options to replace injured, struggling stars

Replacing a player such as two-time MVP Bryce Harper on your fantasy roster, for any amount of time, is no easy task.

It’s also no easy feat to find suitable replacements for ailing players such as Jazz Chisholm Jr., Ozzie Albies, Michael Brantley, Harrison Bader or Salvador Perez, even if that player is having a down year.

However, that is the hand fantasy managers have been dealt with recently. Though it appears daunting, there are plenty of viable options (owned in 50 percent or fewer of ESPN leagues) available to give your team a boost in, at the very least, one offensive category — though most will make sure you’re not suffering elsewhere.

Here are some options:

Average

All Nico Hoerner (17.8 percent owned) knows how to do is hit. The versatile Cub entered Friday batting .310, including .322 with three homers, 16 RBIs, 18 runs and .802 OPS in 41 games since May 1. His four stolen bases in that span don’t hurt either.

Nico Hörner
AP

Former Met Andres Gimenez (42.4 percent owned) hit .308 over his first 63 games this season for the Guardians and was 28-for-86 (.326) with four homers, 13 RBIs, 11 runs, two stolen bases and a .914 PAHO in June.

Home Runs

The Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker entered Friday tied for the eighth-most home runs (19) in the majors, yet remained 50 percent available. His .200 batting average may have something to do with that — though his 15.3 barrel percentage is elite, and his 10.3 percent barrels per plate appearance ranks 12th in the majors. His expected stats from him are all higher than his actual numbers, especially in the power department, and his .269 expected batting average and .180 BABIP indicate his average from him should rise. Can you imagine this power surge mixed with an average closer to his career .241 mark?

Nathaniel Lowe of the Rangers (45.7 percent owned) is hitting a career-best .278 with 10 homers and 32 RBIs — including .307 with seven big flies, 16 RBIs and .910 OPS in June. His maximum exit velocity from him ranks in the top 10 percent of the league, consistent with every season since he entered the league in 2019, and his strikeout rate is at a career low 24.5.

Nathaniel Lowe
Nathaniel Lowe
USA TODAY Sports

runs

Cesar Hernandez (11.6 percent owned) is like Rodney Dangerfield: He gets no respect. Not only did he play in 77 of the Nationals’ first 78 games, but he also hit first or second in 72 of those games and entered Friday tied for the league lead in plate appearances (343). More to the point, he has hit .264 with 19 RBIs, three stolen bases and 41 runs (25th-best mark in the NL).

RBI’s

After hitting .172 with 12 strikeouts over his first 10 games, the Twins’ Alex Kirilloff (28.6 percent owned) was sent to Triple-A St. Paul, where he hit .359 with 10 homers, 32 RBIs, 33 runs and 1.106 OPS in 35 games. In his first 13 games since returning to the majors, he hit .296 with 12 RBIs and .790 OPS.

alex kirilloff
alex kirilloff
AP

Though he hit just .248 over 39 games from May 1 through Thursday, Josh Naylor (42.7 percent owned) drove in 34 runs in that span. It doesn’t hurt that he has been the Guardians’ No. 5 hitter, and batting .277 with four homers, 23 RBIs and a .863 OPS out of that slot.

Stolen Bases

Jon Berti (18 of his league-leading 22 stolen bases came in June) remains available in more than 60 percent of ESPN leagues, but Miguel Rojas is another Marlin to consider. Though he is hitting .243, in 16 games before Friday he hit .333 with two homers, seven RBIs, three stolen bases and .825 OPS.

Despite having an unsustainable .402 BABIP and hitting out of the No. 9 spot in the Braves’ order, Michael Harris II had four stolen bases while hitting .347 with four homers, 16 RBIs, 18 runs and .946 OPS in 27 June games . His speed is legit, as he stole 46 bases over 197 games in the minors.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa (11.9 percent) has stolen 11 bases this season for the Yankees, six of which came in June. He also has scored 36 runs, good for 31st-most in the AL while hitting .260.

big hits

Javier Baez 2B/SS, Tigers

Entered Friday with at least one hit in 11 of his previous 12 games — hitting .354 with four homers, nine RBIs, nine runs, two stolen bases and 1,130 OPS.

Nick Pivetta SP, Red Sox

Allowed more than three earned runs once over his past 13 starts — going 8-2 with a 2.28 ERA, 81 strikeouts and .193 opponents’ average.

Nick Pivetta
Nick Pivetta
Getty Images

Josh Bell 1B, Nationals

Entered the weekend with an eight-game hit streak, and was 34-for-95 (.358) with seven homers, 18 RBIs, 15 runs and 1,142 OPS in June.

Jon Gray SP, Rangers

Has not lost since June 7, going 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA, 29-6 strikeout-walk rate and .189 opponents’ average over his past four starts.

Big Whiffs

Carlos Carrasco SP, Mets

Lost three of his past four starts, allowing 19 earned runs over 17 ²/₃ innings (9.68 ERA). Opponents hit .351 with seven homers and a 1.133 OPS in that span.

Mike Yastrzemski OF, Giants

Struck out in 34 percent of his at-bats while walking just 8.5 percent of the time in June while hitting .168 with a .603 OPS.

Mike Yastrzemski
Mike Yastrzemski
Getty Images

Tarik Skubal SP, Tigers

After going 5-2 with a 2.33 ERA and .217 opponents average in his first 11 starts, he is 0-4 with a 8.84 ERA and .325 opponents average in his past four.

Myles Straw OF, Guardians

Has not stolen a base since stealing two on June 7 — going 10-for-77 (.130) with 20 strikeouts, .212 OBP and a .381 OPS in his past 22 games.

Check Swings

  • Aaron Nola is 4-1 with a 2.28 ERA, 53-4 strikeout-walk rate and .207 opponents’ average over his past seven starts for the Phillies. He has a 3.57 ERA in his five wins, 4.33 ERA in his five losses and a 1.96 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, .162 opponents average and 10.2 strikeouts per nine in six no-decisions.
  • Alejandro Kirk of the Blue Jays crushed it in June, going 29-for-85 (.341) with seven homers, 18 RBIs, 22 runs, 13-11 walk-strikeout rate and 1.086 OPS. For the month, his .635 slugging percentage was the seventh-best in the majors while he ranked 11th in average, seventh in runs, third in OPS and second in OBP (.451).
  • The Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber hit 12 homers (the most in the majors) with 27 RBIs, 27 runs and a 1,065 OPS in 27 games last month. He also stole two bases and walked in 15.6 percent of his plate appearances.
  • The Rockies’ Brendan Rodgers was hitting .165 on May 8, but went 56-for-180 (.311) with six homers, 28 RBIs, 29 runs and .872 OPS over his past 44 games to raise his average to .266. He had at least one hit in nine of his past 10 games before Friday, hitting .381 with a 1,091 OPS.
  • Though he struck out 21 times in his previous 21 games before Friday, Padres catcher Jorge Alfaro had at least one hit in 16 of those games while hitting .321 with four homers, 14 RBIs and .931 OPS.
  • Not only did former Met Amed Rosario hit .360 with two homers, 12 RBIs, 21 runs and .887 OPS last month for the Guardians, he swiped six bases. He has nine stolen bases on the season and is available in about 35 percent of ESPN leagues.

Team Name of the Week

Men Drinking Adley

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