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Fantasy Baseball 2019: Waiver-Wire Advice for Injured MLB Players for Week 19

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 9, 2019

Toronto Blue Jays' Bo Bichette during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

With the fantasy baseball playoffs bearing down on some and lurking just over the horizon for the rest, the importance of deft injury management has never been higher.

Ideally, you've bankrolled enough random acts of kindness over the past 12 months to build up the karma necessary to catch a break from the injury bug. But if you're among the unfortunate many to be dealt a debilitating injury blow, don't panic. The sky isn't necessarily falling on your season.

It will if you don't respond correctly, but that's why we're here. We've selected the top waiver-wire replacements for the biggest fantasy stars struck down by injuries of late.

                       

Waiver-Wire Targets

Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays

Losing Edwin Encarnacion to a fractured wrist surely felt like a gut punch to New York Yankees fans and his fantasy owners alike. What separates the latter from the former, though, is their option to view this as an opportunity to add value.

Since Encarnacion may have been slotted into your utility spot, players from any position might work as his replacement. If that's the case, pounce on  electric Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette if one of your leaguemates hasn't done so already. He's owned in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues and 47 percent of ESPN's, so it depends on your league size and activity.

Bichette, son of four-time MLB All-Star Dante Bichette, entered this season and last as a top-10 prospect in the eyes of Baseball America. That feels like it undersells his talent based on the roaring start to his big league career.

He's played 11 games and has at least one hit in all of them. Eight have been multi-hit efforts, and four of which have featured a home run. The last nine have all included a double, an MLB record. He has 20 hits, and 13 have been of the extra-base variety.

"Growing up, my dad always told me to swing hard, to run hard, to throw hard," Bichette told reporters. "Every time you take BP, hit the ball as far as you can. Whenever we throw, throw as hard as you can. It just goes on and on. For me, it's just kind of second nature."

The 21-year-old's aggressive approach is paying off, both for the Blue Jays and his fortunate fantasy owners.

                     

Aristides Aquino, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Seeing David Dahl's recent ankle injury elicited a range of reactions. The first was probably "not again" since the first-time All-Star was finally showing what he could do with a clean bill of health. The second was likely along the lines of "Well, it could have been worse" given an MRI revealed only a high-ankle sprain and not a more severe ailment.

At the time, there's zero chance the third was, "Hey, I should go grab Aristides Aquino to cover for Dahl." But a week removed from Dahl's injury, that's looking like the best possible response.

Aquino was only called up on August 1, and he's already causing a fantasy splash—well, more like a fantasy cannonball. The 6'4", 220-pounder has three homers in his past five games, the most recent of which was a 118.3 miles-per-hour rocket, a harder home run than any player not named Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez or Pete Alonso has hit since the Statcast was introduced, per MLB.com's David Adler.

While you might be understandably wary of tying your late-season hopes to a prospect only seven games into his big league season, Aquino's breakout could have staying power.

He opened his batting stance before the campaign and changed his statistical output almost immediately. After hitting just .240 with 20 homers in 114 games at AA last season, he was raking with a .299 average and 28 long balls in 78 games at AAA before his promotion.

"At the beginning, I started opening up and then I began to start seeing the results," Aquino told reporters. "I just kept going and going."

Aquino looks like a power hitter, and now he's playing like one, too. If you're willing to think outside the box with Dahl's replacement, this is the most exciting option you'll find, and he's readily available in more than 80 percent of Yahoo leagues and more than 95 percent of ESPN leagues.

                   

Scott Oberg, RP, Colorado Rockies

If you bought a season ticket for the Craig Kimbrel experience, you're probably trying to get someone to process your refund. He didn't debut for the Chicago Cubs until late June, gave up three earned runs his second time out and owns a bloated 5.68 ERA through 14 appearances.

Now he's sidelined by knee inflammation, freeing his fantasy owners to try something different.

We can't recommend turning to Scott Oberg enough, especially now that the Colorado Rockies have finally veered away from Wade Davis and his ghastly 6.61 ERA. Oberg, meanwhile, sports a tidy 1.53 ERA to go along with a quality 1.03 WHIP and a career-best 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

Oberg is still available in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues and more than 80 percent of ESPN leagues. Those numbers will shrink sooner rather than later.