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Week 19 Fantasy Preview: No More Goldschmidt And Javier Beaz Gets The Call Up

paul goldschmidt broken hand

It has not been a good few weeks for the elite hitters of the National League. Troy Tulowitzki remains out with a hip flexer, with no news on a return date. He’s still leading the National League in WAR, and now two of the stars who are also among the top five offense players on that list — Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew McCutchen — face uncertain futures after the beanballs flew between the Pirates and the Diamondbacks over their weekend series.

Actually, if you listen to Goldschmidt’s manager Kirk Gibson,  the 26-year olds future isn’t so uncertain. He called his star first baseman’s season “realistically” over, given the expected eight week recovery period for the broken hand he sustained after being hit with a pitch from Erensto Frieri. (We pity any fantasy owner who had drafted both Goldschmidt and Frieri. First Frieri stinks it up as a closer, losing his job and his team. Then he ends Goldschmidt’s season.)

In retaliation for Goldschimdt’s injury, D-backs pitcher Randall Delgado plunked Pirates star McCutchen in the side during the ninth inning Saturday, with the Pirates up by four and runners on second and third.  Cutch was able to remain in the game and started for Pittsburgh on Sunday. However, he had to leave that game after re-injuring himself taking a swing.

It it’s the dreaded oblique, McCutchen could be on the shelf for weeks, which would be huge blow to both the Pirates and his fantasy owners; McCutchen is playing even better than he did last year, when he topped Goldschimdt for NL MVP. The Pirates are off today, so we’ll know more tomorrow if the centerfielder’s injury is something to worry about. We already know Goldschmidt needs to be replaced — at least for most of the remaining season — and here are a couple candidates for his fantasy owners to insert at first base.

Lucas Duda:
The Mets appear to have made the right choice when they traded Ike Davis, making Duda more-or-less their full time first baseman. The big left-hander has been hitting .299 with 12 home runs and 29 RBI’s since July 15. He still rests sometimes against lefty pitchers, but his production has been so good when he does play that he is worth a starting spot.  He’s still available in 34 percent of Yahoo! leagues, suggesting they’re is a lot of folks who haven’t realized this yet. As a bonus, he’s also outfield-eligible.

Adam Dunn
Sure the big donkey hurts your team batting average. But since he walks a lot, his Mendoza flirtations aren’t as painful as they could be. Dunn hits home runs, which are increasingly rare in baseball — thus increasingly  important in fantasy. He’s only owned in 28 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but is producing about the same value as guys like Mike Napoli (72 percent) and Eric Hosmer (67 percent.)

Javier Baez gets the call up
Baez, considered by most to be a top five prospect in baseball, was called up by the Cubs Monday. The 21-year old was hitting 260 with 23 homers and 16 steals in Triple-A Iowa, numbers even more impressive considering he was batting .178 on May 21. Baez is a shortstop, and, at this point, that’s what he will be eligible for in fantasy. But with Starlin Castro entrenched at shortstop for the Cubs for now, Baez will start his major league career at second, and should gain eligibility at the keystone quickly.

If you have a need at either middle infield position he’s certainly worth a shot. He may well struggle to adjust to big league pitching — just like he did when he joined Triple-A. But his speed/power combo (he slugged 37 homers in the minors in 2013) is very, very intriguing.
Javier Baez called up

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