We here at The Dynasty Guru are nothing if not opportunists, so instead of a look at a fairly ignored starting pitching prospect (Luke Jackson), you, our loyal reader, will be treated to the topic du jour: WHAT DO I DO I JUST LOST JASON FREAKING HEYWARD FOR THE REST OF THE FANTASY SEASON AND HE WAS JUST GETTING HOT TOO!!! ! U!GH.
Jason Heyward’s 2013 line: .254/.348/.426, 2 stolen bases, 13 home runs
I know he was playing better of late, so I’m adjusting my replacement lines up a bit from this. It’s obviously not possible to replace a talent like Heyward from the waiver wire, but we’ll do our best. I’m using my 20-team 25 man roster league as a template for the type of replacement options that are available. We use a LF/CF/RF set up, so I’ll include that breakdown for those that have a similar situation.
Chris Denorfia – San Diego Padres – LF/CF/RF Eligible
You knew this was coming. ‘Norf is my old reliable and I always mention him as a band-aid type player that I love to have on my roster for just this type of situation. He’s got a .275/.333/.395 slash line to go with 7 stolen bases and 9 home runs on the year. He is generally available in any deep league that I’m not in and is nothing less than or greater than serviceable. He and Heyward both have a 110 OPS+ on the year.
John Mayberry, Jr – Philadelphia Phillies – LF/CF/RF, 1B Eligible
I was actually a bit surprised to find Mayberry on the waiver wire, until I noticed the slump he’s been in. Even considering that though, Mayberry has produced a 714 OPS on the season behind a .243/.299/.414 slash line. If you’re trying replace Heyward’s runs, this is not the guy you want. But he’s got a pinch of power (9 home runs), a dash of speed (5 stolen bases), and won’t kill you overall. The Phillies lineup won’t do him many favors, but playing in CBP is always a bonus. If you have the luxury of platooning, his OPS against LHP is 793.
Justin Maxwell – Kansas City Royals – LF/CF/RF Eligible
I’m usually the guy throwing cold water on the Maxwell supporters, but in this case? He’s a pretty good get. The obvious ideal is to platoon him, as he hits lefties significantly better over the course of his career (not to mention the Royals are platooning him) but he’s actually been consistent this year, posting an 812 OPS vs RHP and an 801 OPS vs LHP. He’s also snagged 4 stolen bases in 5 tries and cranked 5 home runs in 2013, to go along with his .272/.340/.468 slash line. Maxwell’s strikeout rate is a concern and a reason to believe his batting average will drop a fair amount, but he’s being limited to situations where he should succeed, so perhaps you can catch lightning in a bottle here.
Jeff Baker – Texas Rangers – LF/RF/1B
Well…the guy is OPSing 957 on the year. He won’t play every day, which hurts, but he’s hitting when he plays. He’s got a career 760 OPS, so this is quite obviously a bit of a mirage. But he’s playing in a great hitters park, in a phenomenal lineup, so it can’t hurt to take a gamble. He’s got 9 HRs (1 SB) in 111 at-bats. Don’t let the limited at-bats fool you entirely, he missed a chunk of time mid-year.
Anthony Gose – Toronto Blue Jays – LF/CF/RF
If you follow me or have read me as recently as Monday over at Baseball Prospectus , you’ll know I’ve long been a fan of Gose. So yes, I’m currently recommending looking at the guy with the 575 OPS, and the .238/.289/.286 slash line as a replacement for one of the better younger players in the game. His slash stats are terrible, but Gose has been better at the plate in recent weeks (including time in the minors) and is seeing more pitchers than he has been before. The reason he lands on this list though, is not purely due to my wishcasting. He’s a great option for stolen bases as long as he gets playing time. He only has 1 on the year (he added one last night, though) but has high end speed. He’s both the worst option on this list but also the one with the highest upside in fantasy leagues if he somehow, someway got hot.
Also considered: Mike Carp, Logan Schafer, Corey Dickerson**
*All stats as of 8/20 – Denorfia stole another base last night so he’s up to 8
** Check out more on Dickerson here