In a typical fantasy baseball season, the end of May is considered a major checkpoint. The sample size for statistics is large enough for those numbers to normalize, and there is a clearer understanding as to where both surplus and shortcomings sit.
Unfortunately, this season seems far from typical, as injuries have piled up at an exponential rate and fantasy owners find themselves scrambling to fill holes before they can fully evaluate their squad.
The outfield took its lumps with players such as George Springer and Christian Yelich losing significant time. Now it’s the infield’s turn. Cavan Biggio is out, Manny Machado hasn’t played in over a week and players such as Miguel Rojas and Nico Hoerner, usually only relevant in deeper leagues, are now being missed by everyone. Finding proper replacements is tough, but with injuries hitting every MLB team this hard, we are being introduced to some new names who can provide temporary relief.
Shortstop Paul DeJong is out, so the Cardinals have turned to utility man Edmundo Sosa. His numbers coming up through the ranks were good, but he was still developing, both physically and as a player. His on-base skills were improving and even flashed some power, but the Cardinals could not afford to wait any further. His glove will keep him in the lineup, and so far he is batting .341 with a .473 OBP. Fantasy owners may not see the power, but based on his improvements, he can definitely hit and provide you with a boost in the rate statistics.
If you do need power, keep tabs on Arizona infielders Josh Rojas and Pavin Smith. In addition to being listed as an outfielder, Rojas also qualifies at second base. Smith has been a bit of a revelation at first base. You might recognize Rojas’ name as he was being touted late in the spring, but a cold start to the season had fantasy owners dropping him quickly.
Both hit for strong averages and they each have some pop in their swing. If you need a splash of speed, Rojas even has a pair of stolen bases.
There are a lot of unrecognizable names in baseball right now, and you need to start learning them fast. You need to patch up your roster, and still allow yourself time to take stock in your team and figure out which categories require your attention. We always say the season is a marathon and not a sprint, but the race is already a third over. It is time to run.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.