Sizemore Shut Down for the Season: Fantasy Implications
Sitting 14 games behind the AL Central leading Tigers and a whopping 20 games back in the Wild Card race, the Cleveland Indians finally resolved to shut center fielder Grady Sizemore down for the year.
Much like Noel Gallagher recently quitting the band Oasis, the Tribe's decision is too late to have any real significance.
Sizemore, a universal top ten selection in fantasy baseball drafts last spring, is set to undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his ailing left elbow next week. The nagging injury has plagued Cleveland's leadoff hitter since the second month of the season.
As a result, this year Grady has posted lows across the stat board.
Soon after his elbow goes under the knife, Sizemore is to have a second operation on his lower abdomen. This surgery hopes to alleviate groin problems which kept the two time gold glove winner out of the World Baseball Classic.
Although mired in a nightmarish season which has included his first trip to the DL, Sizemore saw somewhat of a resurgence last month. In August the All-Star outfielder scored 23 times, drove in 10 runs, and compiled a .299 BA.
Therefore, the Cleveland front office had a hard time convincing a player who only missed five games in his previous three seasons to waive the white flag.
But by having these operations in September, Grady will have the opportunity to be completely rehabbed and recuperated for the start of next year.
What ramifications, then, does an early bowing out Sizemore have on the remainder of the 2009 fantasy season?
Glad you asked.
When the imminent surgeries could not be put off any longer, the Indians promoted outfielder Michael Brantley last Tuesday.
Brantley became part of the Cleveland organization as a player to be named later stipulation in the C.C. Sabathia trade with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The 22 year old southpaw is projected to be the Tribe's leadoff batter of the future.
Brantley is a contact hitter with a keen eye which is patient well beyond his age. In 1639 career minor league at-bats Michael has only whiffed 172 times (10.5 K%). For the sabermetrically challenged this means he only strikes out roughly once out of every ten times he steps up to the plate.
In fact, at the Triple-A level this year Brantley has a mere 48 strikeouts in 457 AB while garnering 59 walks.
Having accumulated only 12 home runs in five minor league seasons, Michael is not expected to launch many long balls in the Majors. However, Brantley possesses the speed to easily stretch a shot to the gaps into a triple.
Said speed has also made Brantley a terror on the basepaths. So far in 2009, he has swiped 46 bases in 51 attempts. Once he is established as an everyday player for the Indians, Brantley will be a perennial 30-40 stolen base threat.
Since being called up earlier in the week and replacing Sizemore atop Cleveland's lineup, Michael has been on fire. While there is no way he can continue to hit at a .400 clip, the Washington State native will receive the bulk of the starts at center for what is left for the Indians' season.
In other injury news...
B.J. Upton sprained his ankle in a defensive mishap Thursday night when he collided with fellow Tampa Bay Ray Carl Crawford.
Hopefully you have no problem, if the injury persists, finding another outfielder on the waiver wire batting below .240.
Oriole breakout Adam Jones will likely watch the rest of the season from the Baltimore bench due to a high ankle sprain.
The Denver Post reports though Colorado closer Huston Street has no structural damage in his injured bicep, he might return later than sooner.
In the meantime, Franklin Morales will assume game ending duties for the Rockies.
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