Ryan Zimmerman Heads to DL: Fantasy Implications and More

Fantasy KnuckleheadsCorrespondent IApril 12, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals bats against the New York Mets during the Mets' Home Opener at Citi Field on April 8, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens in New York City. The Nationals won 6-2.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Big Ryan Zimmerman is headed to the DL with an abdominal strain, the same strain he suffered in spring training.

This comes as a huge blow to an already struggling Nationals team, which is hitting a dismal .217/.321/.328 with a .649 OPS over the first nine games of the season.

This also comes as a huge blow to many fantasy owners hoping for another big year from Zimmerman, but don’t worry—there are quite a number of stopgap gloves worth taking a look at for the next week.

Let’s weed out who could be the best options.


Jhonny Peralta, 3B-SS, Tigers

Peralta started the season hot, hitting .379/.375/.586 with four RBI and four runs scored. A lifetime .264 hitter, he has been a wonderful source of power in the early going, and you can expect that trend to continue for the interim.

After Texas today, Peralta and company travel to face the Oakland Athletics, which should favor Peralta just a bit. His multi-qualifier status is also very enticing.


Jack Hannahan, 3B, Indians

Mentioning an Indians player off the waiver wire sounds a bit odd, but Hannahan is now the NEW third baseman in Cleveland—in case you didn’t know, of course.

The move was really due to his defensive prowess, but it’s his bat that has caught some fantasy owners’ eyes, as he’s hitting .286 with six RBI.

Hannahan has a five percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues and a 3.7 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, both with an average 1.7 percent increase, which means most people haven’t heard about him yet.

Hannahan has a nice matchup coming up against a Baltimore Orioles team that ranks 10th in home runs allowed.


Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B-SS-OF

Don’t like leaving your own backyard for replacements? Then take a chance on Jerry Hairston Jr.

The idea—at the moment— is Hairston will split time with the aging Alex Cora, but let’s be honest—that won’t last. Manager Jim Riggleman already said in March he wanted to try to get Hairston 300 to 400 AB, and this is a perfect chance for him to get Hairston into the mix.

The Nationals will face Philadelphia and Milwaukee at home over the next six days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean double trouble for the Nationals, as we’ll see in a moment.

Hairston Jr. has a very low two percent average ownership and should wind up being a nice fill-in player for the interim.


National Shakeup in Washington!

The Nats could be on the rise down in DC.

Here’s the deal kiddies.

As I mentioned before, the team that was supposed to be the surprise of the National League—with all of those pretty offseason moves, that is—is floundering as a  .217/.321/.328 hitting team with a .649 OPS.

The Nationals rank 27th in BA, 18th in home runs, 21st in runs scored...just horrible.

But a team on the decline often experiences a huge upswing when major player changes occur, and for Washington, that upswing could be fast approaching.


What’s really interesting is how the Zimmerman injury could actually have a positive effect on the Nationals and possibly provide them the confidence boost they so desperately need.

In addition to that, Jayson Werth could wind up exploding over the next 15 days with the injury to Zimm.

Any Philadelphia Phillie fan will tell you that when Werth has to shoulder an additional load because of a teammate's injury, he usually excels; being the only true power bat on stage doesn’t hurt either.

The moral of the story here is this: The Nationals could hit that needed upswing this week despite the injuries sustained to Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche, and fantasy owners could be in for a nice boost themselves.