Fantasy Baseball: Helmuth’s Half Dozen – Week 2

For the sake of saving embarrassment to all parties, I'll go ahead and change all the names in this piece, just in case identities want to be kept concealed. 

It was fall of my Sophomore year of high school. Considering I had already gone stag to my Freshman Homecoming dance, I wasn't about to show up to the most important underclassman social function of the year by myself yet again. I had to find a date.

My first candidate, let's call her … Katy, was the obvious choice. After all, we had a little summer fling consisting of dates at the fair and a small chain of love letters (yes, we actually wrote real letters by hand back then, kids) that were delivered over a week long period while she was on vacation in the south. Fast forward a couple months, and I asked her, over AOL instant messenger, if she would be my date.

She said no.

That's okay. I had a backup quickly come to mind. My next potential date would definitely be Lauren. We had a little 'thing' brew up at the beginning of the semester and it was obvious we liked each other. I asked her, over MSN instant messenger, if she would be my date.

She said no.

Now, to my defense, Lauren already had a date. (I'm still telling myself that more than a decade later) But I could see I was running out of options, fast.

After a long brainstorming session, it finally popped into my head. I was definitely going to ask Morgan.

Morgan was a cute, naturally-pretty, girl next door type with dirty blonde hair and green eyes … and she was way out of my league.

The only problem was that my best friend, Nick, liked her. In fact, I only knew her because he introduced us. It was my job to help him work up enough guts to ask her out. However, it was obvious Morgan liked talking to me and was into me at least just enough to might want to go to the Homecoming dance with me.

I asked her over the phone if she would be my date. She said yes.

There are three lessons you can take from here that you can use in your fantasy baseball league:

  1. Always have a backup ready in mind.
  2. Stealing someone away might be worth the temporary rift.
  3. Don't ask important questions over instant messenger.

The injury bug has no doubt bitten the fantasy baseball world hard within the first two weeks of the season, therefore this edition of HHD is focused primarily on the best backup options available. Take risks and don't be afraid to go after someone who might be out of your league. 

DL Victim I: Adrian Beltre 3B – Texas

(15-day DL – Hamstring)

Beltre was put on the DL against his will, but it might be a smart move considering we all know those hammy injuries can linger. The Texas third baseman could be a future Hall-of-Famer, but he's no young pup. Taking an extra week to heal is probably a good idea. That being said, this is frustrating for Beltre owners — I'm one of them.

You most likely took Beltre in the first round of your draft and now you're without your best player for two weeks. And third base is not deep … at all. So what are you supposed to do? Ride a hot streak or two.

One of the few players that intrigues me is Marcus Semien (6% owned) of the Chicago White Sox. He's young (23) and still developing but the White Sox like him a lot.

Chicago White Sox v Colorado RockiesBased on his minor league numbers he could have a 20/20 season in store very soon. Right now he's striking out a lot but is already showing flashes of that 20/20 potential, going .348 with 1 HR and 2 SB last week.

He won't hit close to .300 right now, but a hot streak in a hitter-friendly park from this youngster wouldn't be surprising. 

DL Victim II: Ryan Zimmerman 3B – Washington

(Out 4-6 weeks – broken thumb)

Zimmerman is another star currently missing from the hot corner, thus making the position even more shallow. And just like I stated in the last paragraph, there isn't a whole lot out there I like. You basically just have to pick a player who's hot and ride the streak as long as possible — as is probably the case with the Yankees' Kelly Johnson (56% owned).

Johnson is a career .253 hitter who will probably get you 15 home runs; definitely serviceable in the Majors, but probably not in your 10-team mixed league. That being said, Johnson hit 3 HR, knocked in 5 RBI and hit .300 last week.

If Semien is still available I would take him, but Johnson will get hot a few times this season.

DL Victim III: Josh Hamilton OF – Los Angeles Angels

(Out 6-8 weeks – torn ligament in thumb)

Leave it to J-Ham to ruin his thumb sliding into a bag. Ugh, and just when he was off to a terrific start. There was really only one player who stood out tremendously from the rest as a solid replacement: Colby Rasmus (28% owned).

I was shocked to learn Rasmus is currently owned in less than one-third of leagues; maybe everyone knows his history? Underperforming … injuries … drama queen … but the potential to put up a 30 homer season is still there. And this year he's off to a terrific start. Rasmus hit 3 bombs with 5 RBI at a .348 clip last week. 

DL Victim IV: Matt Moore SP – Tampa

(Out for the season – Tommy John surgery)

Moore is young enough that he'll rebound just fine. Just not this year.

My favorite replacement for this youngster is another young arm, Tyler Skaggs (33% owned).

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Houston AstrosSkaggs has been hyped up for years, coming over from the Arizona farm system. He had some struggles in the minors last year and his first game this season was against Houston, but the 22-year-old has limitless potential, and high ceilings is what we love buying into in fantasy.

Right now Skaggs has won two games and owns a 2.40 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. He'll be a spot starter until he proves himself, but against the right matchups could put up decent numbers. 

DL Victim V: Mat Latos SP – Cincinnati 

(Out until Late May according to many reports – Flexor strain)

Not exactly sure what a flexor strain is; honestly it sounds like something I would use in my kitchen. Whatever it is it's keeping Latos out much longer than all of us expected when we drafted him a couple weeks ago. 

The bad news is that the season is too young to pick up any pitchers above what Matthew Berry calls the 'Wandy Line.' Essentially, anyone available is probably just a streaming option. But you should consider Mark Buehrle (62% owned) first when doing so. 

Buehrle won't get you many strikeouts, but he'll get you innings, possibly some Ws and a low ERA with the right matchups. So far he already has three wins with a 0.86 ERA and 0.90 WHIP — he's ranked #13 on the player rater right now. 

Guy You Want To Trade For!

Jose Abreu 1B – Chicago

Cleveland Indians v Chicago White SoxI know, I couldn't come up with a more clever name for my last tip of the week. All that DL talk wore me out. But remember when Abreu was ranked anywhere from #120-180 pre-draft? Ya, that ain't happening again. 

Just as I predicted, the former Cuban MVP has already started to deliver for the White Sox, slugging not one, but two two-home run games. He has 4 HR on the year with 8 RBI. He's also batting .250, which isn't far off in my opinion.

It's likely this is a guy who hits around .265 … but with 35 home runs. I wouldn't be shocked if Abreu finishes as a top 30 player at the end of the season and therefore most any trade you make for him will have a great return, even if you have to pay 50 cents more on the dollar. 

Hitter of the Week:

Justin Upton OF – Atlanta: .591/4/8, 8 R

Hurler of the Week:

Michael Wacha SP – St. Louis: 2 W, 12.2 IP, 11 K, 2.92 ERA, 1.14 WHIP

Josh Helmuth is the editor for CraveOnline Sports. @JHelmuthFacebook. 

Photo Credit: Getty