StrategyJune 10, 2011


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Roto Medic: Hampered Hanley

By Kim Bhasin

Exactly how healthy is Jason Heyward?  The Braves outfielder has been on the DL since May 22 with a shoulder injury, and has stated explicitly that he won’t return until he is at 100%.  The latest arbitrary percentage he threw out there was 80%, but Heyward still isn’t even hitting off of a tee, and MLB.com’s Mark Bowman is reporting that Heyward will require a few rehab games in the minors and won’t be coming back for at least another week.  Bad news for a Braves offense that is struggling to put runs up on the board.

The eternal leader of the Braves chimed in on the situation.  Here’s what he told ESPN on Wednesday:

“What Jason needs to realize is that Jason at 80 percent is a force, and Jason at 80 percent is better than a lot of people in this league,” Chipper Jones said.  ”And that there are a bunch of his teammates that are out there playing with discomfort and not healthy, and still going at it.”

And let’s face it, if anyone knows about suffering from injuries, it’s Chipper.

Now on to the good stuff.  Baseball’s premier shortstop that isn’t so premier anymore:

Hanley Ramirez – (15 day DL – lower back strain)

Hanley has been the biggest disappointment of the year thus far.  He’s hitting a horrendous .201/.306/.309 with just 4 HRs and 17 RBIs, to the distress of the many, many fantasy owners out there that drafted him #2 in April (or, Pujols forbid, #1).  Tulowitzki owners, wipe that smirk off your face. Hanley is, of course, still a top tier shortstop, but he can’t be trusted to stay healthy anymore.

Injuries have sidelined Hanley twice already this year, though this the first time the Marlins had to place him on the DL.  The latest knock to sideline him was a lower back strain he suffered a week and a half ago.

So here’s the situation with Hanley: he’s back to hitting off a tee and playing catch, but hasn’t seen any live action yet. The best-case scenario is that he’s back with the Fish when he’s eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday.  If Hanley’s recent luck is the slightest indicator of the future, don’t count on it.

Two big impact sleepers have emerged so far this year at shortstop: Starlin Castro (89% owned) and Darwin Barney (55% owned), though Castro is much more likely to keep it up for the rest of the campaign.  Will there be a third?

  • Dee Gordon (14% owned) – He made his first start in the majors on Tuesday for the Dodgers and is already well on his way to Sam Fuld-dom on Twitter.  Gordon’s value is in the R and SB cats, and he (hopefully) will keep his average up.  If you need a speed boost in Hanley’s stead, he’s your man.
  • Juan Uribe (26 % owned) – Uribe’s season hasn’t gone as planned, and he’s ended up in the same boat as Orlando Cabrera — aging veteran that’s regressing out of reliability.  There’s always potential for a second-half turnaround for these guys, but don’t expect much.  Uribe comes with the added benefit of multiple position eligibility at 2B, 3B, and SS.
  • JJ Hardy (20% owned) – This is the closest we’ve seen Hardy to the form we saw from him in 2007 and 2008.  He’s batting .276/.346/.457 and recently was bumped up to the leadoff spot.  His power seems to be there too, and he’s belted 5 HRs and 18 RBIs in his 116 ABs this year.

Other mixed league options: Jason Bartlett (12% owned), Angel Sanchez (11% owned), Orlando Cabrera (30% owned)

Deep league potshot: Yuniesky Betancourt (3% owned)

 
Kim writes for Business Insider's sports page and runs a sports business blog at Spizness.com 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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