Fantasy Baseball 2019: Top Replacements for Injured MLB Players for Week 20

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 16, 2019

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 13:  Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a solo home run in the sixth inning during a MLB game against the Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre on August 13, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Two of the most reliable hitters in fantasy baseball have been sidelined recently, causing some owners to scour the waiver wire for replacements. 

Less than a week after Nelson Cruz was sent to the injured list, Jeff McNeil was removed from the New York Mets' active roster to heal a mild left hamstring strain

Losing Cruz's power and/or McNeil's ability to get on base is tough at this point of the fantasy season with only a few weeks before playoffs kick off. 

The good news in this situation is outfield has a wider pool of players to choose from, which could lead to you taking advantage of a sleeper, or finding a player on the waiver wire you did not expect to be there because of the depth at the position. 


Top Fantasy Baseball Injury Replacements

Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Teoscar Hernandez's performance has gotten lost in the shuffle with Toronto calling up prospects with MLB pedigree. 

Since the start of August, the 26-year-old has a trio of multi-hit games and reached base on 16 occasions in the month going into Thursday. 

Hernandez is widely available in ESPN and Yahoo leagues, as 16 percent of players in both competitions have him on their roster, per Fantasy Pros

With the prognosis on McNeil's hamstring positive, the Dominican could be a short-term player in the outfield spots while the Mets outfielder rests up.

McNeil, who is hitting .332 with a .929 OPS, confirmed to reporters the MRI on his hamstring revealed there was no major damage and he is hopeful to be back on the diamond soon, per Mike Puma of the New York Post. 

"It's kind of what we thought it would be—we didn't think it was that bad or anything," he said. "The MRI kind of confirmed that and hopefully we'll be back out there soon."

The Blue Jays have six games with the Seattle Mariners scheduled over the next nine days with a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers sandwiched in between. 

Since Toronto is not facing stiff competition in six of the next nine games, Hernandez fits as a logical replacement for McNeil.

If McNeil is out longer than expected, you might be forced to turn away from Hernandez, as Toronto faces Atlanta and Houston at the turn of the month. 


Ian Happ, 2B/3B/OF, Chicago Cubs 

Aaron Doster/Associated Press

If you are looking for a power boost while Cruz works his way back from a ruptured tendon in his left wrist, Ian Happ is worth a look. 

Before Cruz went on the injured list, he produced five home runs and 14 RBI in August, while Happ has four home runs since August 5 and put together a quartet of multi-hit games since hitting his first dinger of the 2019 campaign. 

The 25-year-old carries some lineup flexibility since he is eligible at second base, third base and outfield in Yahoo leagues, where he is owned by 27 percent of teams

Happ is only available at third and outfield in ESPN leagues, which may play a part in him being on 13 percent of rosters there. 

Just like Hernandez, the Pittsburgh native carries more short-term value while the more important parts of your roster get healthy for the stretch run. 

With Ben Zobrist on a rehab assignment in Triple-A, Happ's playing time could be cut in the next week or two, but if you are using him as a Cruz replacement, you should not need him for more than 10 days. 

According to MLB.com's Russell Dorsey, Cruz's wrist does not need to be operated on and he was already back with the Twins on Tuesday. 

Since Cruz was placed on the 10-day injured list last Friday, he is not eligible to return until Monday, and if you want to give him a day or two to get back into a rhythm, you are looking at the middle of next week for him to make a significant impact again in the best-case scenario.


Dinelson Lamet, SP, San Diego Padres

Orlando Ramirez/Associated Press

Dinelson Lamet is a player to keep an eye on to replace any injured starters for the rest of the season. 

In his last two starts against Seattle and Colorado, the 27-year-old struck out 19 batters while giving up two earned runs on five hits in 12 innings. 

Lamet's August lines are upgrades from the numbers he produced in July, with his highest single-game strikeout total being seven on two occasions. 

The right-handed pitcher, who next starts Saturday versus Philadelphia, could be an option for owners dealing with the injury concerns surrounding Gerrit Cole. 

Right hamstring discomfort forced the Houston pitcher out of his most recent start Tuesday, and according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, he will miss his next turn in the rotation. 

Since you will not be able to benefit from Cole this week, and possibly next, Lamet could be called on to fill the void since he has a 31/12 ownership split on Yahoo and ESPN. 

The Dominican could also be viewed as a replacement for David Price, who has been sidelined by a cyst in his left wrist.

Price has played catch since hitting the 10-day injured list, but no update has been given on a concrete return date. 

After Saturday, Lamet is likely to start at home versus Boston and at San Francisco, two favorable matchups based off his opponents' places in the standings.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.

Injury information from MLB.com.