Manny Ramirez was suspended this morning by Major League Baseball for usage of performance-enhancing drugs. Manny's suspension has already had a profound impact on Dodger fans, personnel, and the entire league, as he is one of the biggest stars to be caught using these substances.
Manny's suspension also has a profound impact on fantasy baseball owners everywhere. The suspension affects not only his fantasy value, but also the fantasy value of many of the players around him.
For the purpose of this article, we will examine what Manny's positive test means to fantasy baseball owners, and what actions you should take if you have him on your roster.
In terms of strict statistical output, a 50-game suspension will result in plenty of missed at-bats, negatively impacting his counting statistics (runs, RBI).
In addition, one has to consider that some of his power was derived from using performance-enhancing drugs, but to what extent, we do not know. Expect a minor power drop-off, but be prepared for the worst.
Any owner of Los Angeles hitters has to be somewhat concerned with his suspension. Though the Dodgers have a fairly strong lineup top to bottom, Manny was the key asset in the middle of the lineup.
Expect fewer at-bats for the entire lineup as batters get stranded on base, but the impact shouldn't be too overwhelming.
It is noted that Manny's exit opens up a hole in the outfield. Juan Pierre will step in and gather at-bats from his absence. Pierre still has the ability to bat .290-.300 and steal bases fairly frequently.
Depending on where he hits in the lineup, he could be a real short-term force for any fantasy owner looking to make up ground in the steals category. Keep an eye on him.
For owners of Manny in mixed leagues, the question as to whether you should keep him around is debatable. The first thing to consider is how many bench spots you have on your roster and how deep your league is.
For owners in shallow mixed leagues (with few bench spots), you could realistically cut Manny and end up profiting from another option on the waiver wire.
If you have enough bench spots to warrant keeping Manny around, it may be worth benching him for the duration of his suspension. Since Manny is not technically injured, you probably won't be able to utilize your disabled list spot to place Manny. Make a note of this, and decide for yourself if the potential reward outweighs the risk of lost home runs and RBI.
Owners in National League-only leagues also have been affected by Manny's loss—probably to a much greater extent than owners in mixed leagues. While owners should not panic, NL-only owners must act quickly to solidify the power and the RBI lost by Manny in the duration of his suspension.
Look for sleeper power options on your waiver wire. If there aren't many options available, look into a minor trade with another owner to cover your short-term power needs (it may be at the expense of your pitching staff or closers).
No matter what, act diligently to solidify the temporary hole in your lineup. Just a few missed RBI or home runs could mean the difference in your league.
Head-to-head owners obviously need to plan for Manny's absence as well. These owners can take a different approach and look to solidify different parts in the lineup to make up for the missed power and RBI.
For instance, picking up a speed-based player to bolster the batting average and steals category could make for a good strategy. Obviously, looking for a power-based player like Manny on the waiver wire is also a viable solution.
All in all, Manny Ramirez's absence has thrown a lot of fantasy baseball owners for a loop. Realize that just because this took place does not mean your fantasy baseball season is sunk. Plan carefully, and take a route of action that you feel would best benefit your team in the short term.
Check out my fantasy baseball blog at Fantasy Baseball Flash for all the latest and greatest in fantasy sports information and analysis. Also, please feel free to find me on Twitter @forrestfanatic.
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