Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hunter Pence to the DL - Out 4-6 weeks

Bad news today for anyone who has Hunter Pence on their roster - he was just placed on the 15 day DL, and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. Technically, he has a "right wrist capsular sprain with a small chip fracture". This hurts fantasy rosters, as he's had an excellent run going in his rookie season. For the year, he was batting .330, with 12 HR, 45 RBI, 8 SB, a .919 OPS, and likely leading the NL rookie of the year race.

Who out there can supply you with solid production while Pence is out? In the one league where I have Pence, I have a rotating bench (where 2 of these players are in my lineup at any given time), which includes the likes of:

Jeremy Hermida - OF (3 HR, 8 RBI, .293 avg & .888 OPS)
Mark Teahen - 1B, 3B, OF (1 RBI in July, with a .275 avg & .691 OPS)
Alex Gordon - 1B, 3B (10 RBI in July, but with only a .213 avg & .520 OPS)
Josh Barfield - 2B (7 RBI in July, 3 SB, .230 avg & .546 OPS)
Bill Hall - 3B, SS, OF (who's still on the DL, but should be coming back soon)

In my case, I'll probably put Hall back at 3B when he returns, place Gordon on the bench, and ride it out with Hermida (the no-brainer, since he's heated up a bit recently) & Teahen (since the rest of my team is relatively strong in RBI, and Teahen's avg won't hurt me). I'll likely be keeping an eye on guys daily to see if anyone heats up...since it's never a bad idea to ride a player on a hot streak, especially when you're down some players due to injury.

I would suggest looking first to your bench for a replacement, since you have them on your roster for a reason (even if they're not as good as Pence). If you don't have any help there, you might want to check out guys that might be available on your waiver wire (based on how deep your league is), such as:

Billy Butler - OF - He's been hot this month, with a .391 avg, 2 HR, 20 RBI, and a 1.037 OPS
Matt Kemp - OF - He's also been heating up in July, with increased playing time due to injuries - .345 avg, 5 HR, 15 RBI, and a 1.109 OPS
Pat Burrell - OF - He's hitting .391, with 4 HR, 13 RBI, a 1.220 OPS, and he has more BB than K's in July, meaning even though he's had a pretty weak season overall, he's keeping his patience at the plate & not constantly swinging for the stars
Dave Roberts - OF - Many people dropped him earlier in the year after his slow start & subsequent stint on the DL, but he's hitting well this month, with a .364 avg, 5 RBI, 14 R, and 6 SB. He's a good option if you're looking for some steals, as long as you can absorb the lack of HR & RBI (anyone who's had Juan Pierre on a roster knows all about this)
Milton Bradley - OF - He's always a risk, but you might want to ride out his current hot streak. For the month of July, he's at a .356 avg, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 SB, and a 1.042 OPS. He might snap at any time, but I'd be willing to take the chance.

Of these suggestions, Milton Bradley is likely to put up the most "Hunter Pence-esque" numbers if he's running on all cylinders. Butler is going to be one dimensional, but man, can he hit. Kemp might not play every day, but he's a great talent, with power & speed. Burrell's avg might hurt, but he's likely to hit some HR & drive in some runs. And Roberts is the SB guy, who will also be solid in avg.

Any way you look at it, the loss of Pence will hurt fantasy rosters...but there are options out there, so move fast & you'll be fine.

Did you know - Hunter was originally drafted in the 40th round out of high school in 2002 by the Milwaukee Brewers before deciding to attend the University of Texas-Arlington, where he majored in finance.

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