StrategyJune 24, 2011

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Roto Medic: A Pujolsian Tragedy

By Kim Bhasin

Of the top 15 average picks in fantasy drafts this year, five of them have now hit the DL.  The latest superstar to go down is Carl Crawford, who suffered a left hamstring strain sprinting to first base last week.  The Red Sox placed him on the 15-day DL last Saturday, which guarantees that we won’t see Crawford until at least early July.  And he’s not the only crimson stocking to go down.

Clay Buchholz hit the 15-day DL Sunday and won’t be back until July either.  Attempts to come back from his lower back strain without a DL stint failed over the weekend when Buchholz acquiesced to accepting extended rest time.  The injury had been nagging him in his previous four starts and just wasn’t getting any better, so it’s probably the right move to shut the kid down so that it can subside.

Now, let’s talk about what you can do when your #1 fantasy pick goes down.  Hint: not much.

Albert Pujols – (15-day DL – fractured left forearm)

Despite all those big name injuries, nothing hit quite as hard as the devastating news that came out of St. Louis earlier this week.  Albertus Maximus underwent an MRI and CT scan on Monday to check out his arm, and the results weren’t good.

Pujols has a fracture just above his left wrist and will likely be out for at least six weeks.  He has stressed that he’s going to follow doctors orders, so don’t expect some dangerous, miracle return before that.

But the problems run deeper for Pujols, who’s having a very un-Pujolsian season.  He started off terribly slow and is still hitting a mediocre (for him) .279, so even when he comes back there will be concerns.

Whatever the issues are, owners have no choice but to hold onto him and see.  You’ll never get a decent package for Pujols in a trade, and dropping Pujols is out of the question when you know he’ll be back for the September stretch run.

A month-and-a-half without Pujols is no joke — you’ll be missing some serious production.  Depending on your situation, it may be best to deal for a cheap, reliable power replacement such as Carlos Pena (57% owned), Justin Smoak (49% owned), or Aubrey Huff (62% owned) to fill at least part of the HR/RBI void.  They may be available straight off the wire if you’re lucky.

We looked at 1Bs last week because of the Justin Morneau injury and not much has changed since last week, so no featured wire replacements this time around.  Instead, here’s a reminder (mostly from last week) of the guys that have something to offer your squad while Pujols recovers.  Again, there’s no miracle workers down here, so you’ll at least want to test the trade waters:

Mixed league options: Mark Trumbo (28% owned), Freddie Freeman (26% owned), Brett Wallace (18% owned), Anthony Rizzo (15% owned), Garrett Jones (10% owned).

Deep league potshot: Juan Miranda (2% owned).

Kim writes for Business Insider's sports page and runs a sports business blog at while attending NYU as a graduate student in Business and Economic Reporting. Catch up with him at the Cafe as Kim Bhasin, and follow him on Twitter (@KimBhasin).
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