Waiver Wire Fliers: Replacing Phillies' Second Baseman Chase Utley
The Phillies placed Chase Utley on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained ligament in his right thumb on Tuesday, making him the fourth player in recent weeks (Aramis Ramirez, Victor Martinez and Jason Heyward being the others) to be shelved due to a thumb injury.
It's unclear how long the Phillies (and more importantly, your fantasy squad) will be without Utley's services. Through 72 games this season, the 31-year-old was batting .277 with 49 runs, 11 homers, 37 RBI and five steals.
In his absence, Utley owners will be forced to ponder these waiver wire fliers as short-term replacements at second base:
• Jose Lopez struggled through the first two months of the season, but appears to have found his stroke in June. Through 102 at-bats this month, the 26-year-old is batting .265 with three homers and 12 RBI for a run-hungry Mariners lineup.
Lopez is Seattle’s third baseman, but remains eligible at second after starting 139 games at the position in 2009. He will carry an 11-game hitting streak with him into Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. He’s currently owned in 48 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Freddy Sanchez missed the first six weeks of the season with a shoulder injury, but has posted respectable totals since, batting .300 with 18 runs and 18 RBI in 130 at-bats. The former N.L. batting champion should get plenty of run scoring opportunities batting second for the Giants. He’s currently owned in just 21 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Like Sanchez, Carlos Guillen has missed time due to injury this season. That hasn’t stopped him, however, from being a productive fantasy contributor. In 158 at-bats this year, Guillen has five homers, 21 RBI, and a .291 batting average.
Guillen’s bat has been especially hot of late, as he’s hit .305 with three homers and 12 RBI in 23 games this month. The 34-year-old hit .296 with 21 homers and 102 RBI and had 13 steals as recently as 2007, and clearly has something left in the tank.
Batting behind Magglio Ordonez , Miguel Cabrera, and Brennan Boesch in the Tigers’ lineup, Guillen will see several RBI opportunities. Surprisingly, he remains available in 89 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Jonathan Herrera is a relatively unknown name, but the switch-hitting 25-year-old has done nothing but hit since being called up on June 1. Through 19 games this season, Herrera is batting .305 (18-for-59) and takes a 10-game hitting streak with him into Tuesday night’s game against the Padres.
The undrafted shortstop (who’s currently playing second base) has little power, as he hit just 24 homers with a .715 OPS in seven minor league seasons. However, Herrera does have some speed (131 career minor league steals), though he has yet to display it at the highest level.
His long-term outlook is bleak, but his hot streak is worth riding in deeper formats while it lasts. He’s currently owned in just one percent of Yahoo! leagues.
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