Baseball has a history of strange injuries. Sammy Sosa hurt his back while sneezing. John Smoltz was injured while ironing a shirt…that he was wearing. In the past calendar year Giants’ reliever Jeremy Affeldt has been injured while trying to separate frozen hamburger patties with a knife and sprained his knee while hugging his 4’6(!) 4-year-old son. The latest strange injury comes courtesy of Brewers’ catcher Jonathan Lucroy. The third year veteran will miss 4-6 weeks after breaking his hand in an accident involving his wife, a hotel bed, a sock, and a suitcase. Lucroy was having a huge season, hitting .345/.387/.583 in 43 games and ranking fourth among all catchers according to Yahoo!. Luckily for the fantasy owner, i.e. you, there are suitable replacements to fill the void.
Another catcher having a career season is Boston’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia, owned in just 36 percent of Yahoo! leagues. In 38 games this season he’s already amassed 1 WAR, which is just .7 off his 2011 103 game total. The biggest difference has been his amount of power. He’s still striking out a ton (27.9%), though less than last season but is making his hits count. Of his 33 hits 19 have gone for extra bases. That’s good for a .306 ISO, which is tops among catchers with 120+ plate appearances. He’s going to continue to get the majority of starts behind the plate, occasionally splitting time with Kelly Shoppach. The walks are never going to come so if you’re in a league that counts on base percentage you might be weary of him as a long term replacement, but the power is real. If you can take the hit in OBP he’s a nice alternative.
Somehow A.J. Ellis remains owned in only 38 percent of leagues despite the fact that the staff here at Rotographs has written three articles involving him this month. The number was 14 percent on May 15th, so I guess we’re making progress. As our man Dan Wade told us in that 5/15 piece, Ellis isn’t going to hit for the power of other catchers but has shown some of the best plate discipline in baseball this season, allowing him to get on base and hit for a high average (.315). He’s swinging at just 18.3 percent of pitches outside the zone, the third lowest mark in the league. In fact, he’s swinging at the lowest rate in baseball (32.8%). However, when he does swing he’s making solid contact (86.6%) and some shown some pop with 13 of his 39 hits being of the extra base variety. What more does Ellis have to do to make you love him?
With Ramon Hernandez on the disabled list Wilin Rosario is the number one backstop in Colorado. He’s not going to give you the plate discipline numbers as Ellis but has the same power potential as Saltalamacchia in the short term. He’s hitting just .229 and has a .267 OBP in 90 plate appearances but has 13 extra base hits compared to six singles. Catcher isn’t as deep as it seemed at the start of the season, and at just four percent owned Rosario makes for a good short term replacement in most types of leagues.
Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.