The Oakland Athletics announced Tuesday that they are placing outfielder Josh Reddick on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive June 1. Reddick hyperextended his left knee in Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.
Both A’s fans and fantasy baseball managers rejoice!
The 27-year-old Reddick has struggled for most of the season. Though he has been in the zone a few times thus far, these stretches have unfortunately come infrequently and not lasted for very long. His season numbers include a pathetic slash line of .214/.279/.339, with 41 strikeouts in 2014. Athletics manager Bob Melvin has to cringe each time Reddick clocks in an 0-for-4 day at the plate.
As grotesque as Reddick’s statistics are for a big league manager to look at, they’re even worse, if that’s possible, coming from the point of view of a fantasy baseball manager. Reddick’s terrible plate discipline and pitch recognition result in just 14 bases on balls. His low on-base percentage means that he only has 19 runs scored this season. And he has recorded just one lonesome stolen base—the same number as his un-fleet teammates John Jaso, Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson, and one fewer than catcher Derek Norris.
Thus, Reddick’s stint on the disabled list will benefit fantasy owners who pick up Craig Gentry. The Athletics’ backup outfielder will undoubtedly receive the brunt of the playing time during Reddick’s time away: Fantasy owners should snare Gentry off the waiver wire right away.
Gentry has seen the playing field quite a bit this season as the fourth outfielder off the bench. Due to injuries to Reddick and Coco Crisp, Gentry has appeared in 41 of Oakland’s 57 games, and that’s after missing the first couple of weeks of the season nursing his own injury. Now that he is at full strength, Gentry is proving to be a major contributor to the A’s.
The 30-year-old has scored 21 runs, two more than Reddick, in just 100 at-bats. And fantasy owners will enjoy Gentry’s speed on the basepaths—nine stolen bases this season without being caught. Look for Gentry to have a bright green light anytime he has a stolen base opportunity.
One important factor for fantasy managers is Oakland’s penchant for platooning players. Oakland is expected to match up against three left-handed starters on its current nine-game road trip. On Wednesday, the A’s are scheduled to face New York Yankees lefty Vidal Nuno. Then they will see Wei-Yin Chen sometime during their visit to the Baltimore Orioles, and possibly Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs in Anaheim.
Fortunately for fantasy owners and for the right-handed hitting Gentry, he also hits righties well enough to be in the starting lineup every day. This season, Gentry is batting .260 against lefties and .280 against right-handers. In a larger sample size, over the previous three seasons, he hit .298 versus lefties and .278 versus righties.
Not bad. Melvin has slotted Gentry into Tuesday night’s lineup against Yankees righty Hiroki Kuroda.
Though he has not faced any of the Yankees starters in his career, Gentry has had decent success in limited at-bats against Baltimore’s starter and, in particular, the Angels’ starters. Expect to start Gentry throughout the Anaheim series, as Gentry is a combined 8-for-17 against Skaggs, Garrett Richards and Jered Weaver.
If you are in a pinch for an extra outfielder, especially for American League-only fantasy leagues, Gentry should be one to consider picking up. With guys like Shane Victorino and Mike Carp (Boston), Carlos Beltran (Yankees) and Wil Myers (Rays) on the DL, and day-to-day availability of Sam Fuld (Twins), James Jones (Mariners) and Michael Choice (Rangers), nabbing Gentry is an easy safety net for those who don’t have the luxury of re-activating Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton, who are both scheduled to come off the disabled list for the Angels on Tuesday.
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