You knew it was going to happen.
You didn’t know when or how, but you knew. It was only a matter of time but Jed Lowrie found himself on the disabled list again over the weekend. The injury occurred when Gregor Blanco slid hard into his leg trying to break up a double play. He suffered a sprained ankle and may have damaged a nerve in his leg. Tough break for the Astros but not something unexpected to fantasy owners.
Lowrie was easily having the best season of his career. The move to the National League, and specifically the central division, has played a part in that. He’s hit 14 homers and has a .799 OPS, both of which are second to Ian Desmond among shortstops. He also has the highest walk rate (12%) at his position. We’ve been waiting for a season like this from Lowrie. He teased us in 2010 with a .907 OPS and nine homers in 55 games, but lost a big chunk of his season due to mononucleosis. Finally healthy he was showing us what he could do if given the chance. Sadly, that’s going to be put on the back burner for a few weeks.
I’ve always been, and will continue to be, a Lowrie fan. Until he’s back the Astros will need to play someone at shortstop, though. That job is going to 2012 Rule IV pickup Marwin Gonzale, according to Zach Levine. General Manager Jeff Lunhow had this to say of the 23-year-old rookie:
“Depending upon the severity of Jed’s injury and how long he’s going to be out, we’ll obviously look at other alternatives as well. But for right now we feel very good about – if it’s a short-term injury – Marwin playing every day.”
That doesn’t mean you should go out and pick him up as an injury replacement, though. He’s hitting .286/.321/.377 in 81 plate appearances this season. He has very little power and might steal you a base or two. The only real minor league success he’s had came at Double-A last season where he had a .780 OPS in in 239 PA. If you’re in super deep mixed leagues or NL only leagues Gonzalez is worth a pickup, but if your standard mixed leagues there are better alternatives on the waiver wire.
We took a look free agent shortstops last week after the Andrelton Simmons injury was announced and the pickings were slim. It doesn’t get much better this time around.
Alcides Escobar: 51%
The fact he isn’t already owned in more leagues is almost laughable. He’s hitting .311 with 13 steals. Those are hard numbers to find and especially so from your shortstop. He won’t provide you much power (four HR) but he’s a more than capable injury replacement. Do Matt Klaassen a favor and add this man.
Erick Aybar: 41%
Over the last two weeks Aybar has hit .306 with three homers, six runs, five runs knocked in and two steals. He has a 1.036 OPS in July, which just below his combined OPS from April and May. Those two months were so bad you may have missed him hitting .315/.354/.457 in June. He’s been on a nice little run and is available in over half of standard leagues.
Ruben Tejada: 15%
If you’re looking for someone owned in under 20 percent of leagues then Tejada is your man. On the season he’s hitting .328/.379/.407 in 196 PA and .390/.444/.439 in July. He has no homers and only one steal but the average and OBP are enough to warrant a closer look.
Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.