Many fantasy baseball owners took a hit this weekend when Phillies’ catcher Carlos Ruiz was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. “Chooch” will likely miss 4-to-6 weeks, or, the remainder of the head-to-head season. Here are a few backstops you can plug into your lineup to make up for his loss:
Ryan Doumit | C | Minnesota Twins (48 percent owned in Y!) The Twins’ backstop should provide your fantasy team with steady – not overwhelming – production in four of the traditional five head-to-head categories the rest of the way. Doumit’s current .288 batting average may dip a bit – based on his current .322 average on balls in play, versus a career mark of .302 – but ZiPS projects him to finish the year with a more-than-serviceable .282 mark in addition to 15 homers and 70 runs batted in.
Salvador Perez | C | Kansas City Roylas (33 percent owned in Y!) This is the second time Sal Perez has been mentioned in the waiver wire here at the Fix, and I still don’t believe the young righty is garnering the attention that he deserves. Perez is triple slashing .322/.347/.504 with five long balls and 12 RBIs in 32 games for the Royals since returning from the disabled list. While Perez may not get your team a ton of RBIs hitting from the lower half of the Royals’ order, he makes great contact (91.2%) and creates an excellent amount of runs when given the opportunity, evidenced by his 126 wRC+.
Michael McKenry | C | Pittsburgh Pirates (11 percent owned in Y!) McKenry has logged 11 homers and 28 runs batted in through 47 games for the Pirates this season. His high K% (28.2%) is worrisome, but when McKenry isn’t striking out, he’s getting on base (.393 wOBA) and creating enough runs (149 wRC+) to be considered in fourteen-team leagues.
Additionally, Emilio Bonifacio landed on the disabled list with a sprained thumb, but if all goes well, could return at the end of August. Here are a two middle infield guys that should be on your radar:
Josh Rutledge | SS | Colorado Rockies (44 percent owned in Y!) Rutledge has done more than just fill in for Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado; he’s given the Rockies’ front office reason to believe he should be a mainstay in their lineup come 2013. Rutledge is the second ranked short stop over the last month according to Yahoo!, batting .329 with six homers, 15 rib-eyes and has swiped three bases. While this is clearly a case of small sample size, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Rutledge has created 62 percent more runs than average (162 wRC+), and with just a few weeks until head-to-head playoffs, one should ride the hot bat.
Jean Segura | SS | Milwaukee Brewers (1 percent owned in Y!) Segura, one of the prospects the Angels recently sent to the Brewers in exchange for starting pitcher Zack Greinke, was promoted today and is expected to make his debut for Milwaukee this evening. Marc Hulet of FanGraphs considered Seugra an “offensive minded” infielder who can hit for a solid average and steal some bases. While there are likely to be some growing pains for the former Angels’ top prospect, Segura’s recent eight game stint with Double-A Huntsville (.433 BA and four stolen bases) give us some insight into Segura’s potential. Those who lost Emilio Bonifacio to the disabled list may want to take a chance on the young Dominican, who could potentially assist your team in similar categories.
Lastly, here are two of the bigger names that arrived in the Majors this past week and should be given your immediate consideration:
Mike Olt | 3B | Texas Rangers (8 percent owned in Y!) Late last week, the Texas Rangers purchased the contract of Mike Olt from the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders of the Texas League, and in some fantasy leagues he may have just cleared waivers. Olt crushed Double-A in 95 games this year; triple slashing .288/.398/.579 with 28 home runs and 82 RBIs. Despite a strikeout rate of 24%, Olt still managed to generate an amazing .427 wOBA and 169 wRC+ prior to his call up. For those in need of a power spike, Olt deserves a look in twelve-team leagues, especially those of the keeper variety.
Daniel Straily | SP | Oakland Athletics (2 percent owned in Y!) Straily, a former 24th round pick of the Athletics in 2009, is an impressive right-hander with a five-pitch repertoire. In two Minor League stops at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento this year, Straily posted a dominant – and almost identical -- 11.39 K/9 and 11.38 K/9 respectively. The strikeout potential parlayed with the fact he plays in a very pitcher-friendly park, should have those in need of some pitching racing to the wire.
Written (by Alan Harrison for TheFantasyFix.com. Follow Alan's rants on Twitter @TheFantasyFix and @MinorLeagueBuzz.