First base is one of, if not the, deepest positions for fantasy owners. Still, with Justin Morneau hitting the DL, let’s take a look at some potential replacements for those in deeper formats:
Ike Davis—New York Mets
Owned: ESPN - 22%; CBS - 54%; Yahoo - 19%
Davis has had a solid start to his career hitting .254 and showing more power then many expected, with 11 HR in 279 AB. He hits in the middle of the Mets lineup (moving to fifth with the return of Carlos Beltran), giving him an opportunity for both RBIs and runs scored. If he can continue to settle in to the major league game and limit the strikeouts (25.8%), he should increase the average (his BABIP is .305) and continue to produce in the second half.
Matt LaPorta—Cleveland Indians
Owned: ESPN - 18%; CBS - 54%; Yahoo - 17%
We all know how bad he was early on, but since Russell Branyan was sent packing, LaPorta is finally producing as hoped. In July he’s hit .379 (11-29) with two HR, nine RBI and five R. Don’t forget he was the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia trade a few years back, so there is no questioning the potential and the talent. He’s certainly the hot hand and should continue to get ample opportunities to perform in the middle of the lineup.
Justin Smoak—Seattle Mariners
Owned: ESPN - 8%; CBS - 39%; Yahoo - 9%
He hasn’t quite produced as hoped, but now gets fresh start after being sent to Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade. The potential is still there, however, and he has found a much better opportunity to play everyday as he no longer is looking over his shoulder as he struggled in a pennant race. The Mariners are already 16.0 games back, so they have time to allow him to take his lumps and learn on the job. While he’s hitting .202, he’s had no luck (BABIP is .236). When things start to fall better in his favor (and with a 23.1% line drive rate, 13th best in the league, you know it will), the numbers will improve across the board. He’s certainly worth the flyer if he’s available.
What are your thoughts? Which of these three would you prefer? Where have you gone to replace Morneau?
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