Fantasy Baseball 2019: Hidden Gems to Stream for Injured MLB Players for Week 21

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 23, 2019

Philadelphia Phillies' Vince Velasquez in action during a baseball game against the San Diego Padres Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

It could be hard for any fantasy baseball owner to replace Chris Sale's production with playoff rounds on the horizon.

The Boston Red Sox left-hander was placed on the injured list Saturday, and given the severity of his left elbow inflammation, he is not expected to make a fantasy impact for the rest of 2019.

Prior to shutting down for at least six weeks, Sale produced 218 strikeouts in 25 appearances and threw an eight-inning gem against the Los Angeles Angels on August 8.

Now, fantasy players have to scour the waiver wire in search of players who can replace the 30-year-old, and in some cases, multiple hurlers may end up filling the void.

There is also some concern regarding production at shortstop on some rosters after the Houston Astos' Carlos Correa went on the 10-day injured list with lower-back stiffness.

The 24-year-old suffered through a cold spell before the injury, but he had a six-game hitting streak to start August and five multi-hit games over the last 20 days.

Since the margins are getting slimmer by the week in fantasy baseball, one or two injury replacements could raise or drop your playoff seeding.


Streaming Options for Injured MLB Players

Logan Webb, SP, San Francisco 

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

One of the avenues to explore for a Sale replacement is younger pitchers receiving looks from teams out of playoff contention.

The San Francisco Giants' Logan Webb fits that category after he made his MLB debut Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In his first five innings with the Giants, the 22-year-old struck out seven batters and conceded a single earned run on five hits.

Webb's initial outing was convincing enough to generate some interest, as he is owned in 24 percent in Yahoo leagues, per Fantasy Pros.

However, the right-handed pitcher carries plenty of availability on ESPN, with just 3 percent of players relying on his services.

Webb impressed the San Francisco staff enough to earn a second start Sunday versus the Oakland Athletics, per KNBR's Mark W. Sanchez.

Putting trust in an inexperienced pitcher comes with a bit of risk given the small sample size, but if you believe he can replicate Saturday's trip to the mound, he's worth a chance for at least one start.


Vince Velasquez, SP, Philadelphia

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Vince Velasquez's overall numbers are far from intriguing to fantasy owners, but his recent performances suggest he could carry value down the stretch.

The Philadelphia hurler owned in 27 percent of Yahoo and ESPN leagues possesses a 5-7 record and 4.35 ERA and conceded 10 earned runs over his past five appearances.

Velasquez's consistency of giving up a minimal amount of earned runs could interest owners unwilling to go after players straight up from the minors.

During that five-game span, the 27-year-old has thrown at least five innings in each start and struck out five or more batters on three occasions, including nine punchouts versus the Detroit Tigers.

Velazquez's next start comes Friday against the Miami Marlins, who were just swept by the Atlanta Braves.

The California native also faces a favorable matchup in the projected appearance after Friday, with the Pittsburgh Pirates coming to Citizens Bank Park.

A possible matchup with the Cincinnati Reds to start September is another reason to go after Velasquez to boost pitching totals with the fantasy postseason on the horizon.


Nick Ahmed, SS, Arizona 

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Nick Ahmed has been trending upward for a bit, but he hasn't caught on in all fantasy leagues since he is owned in less than 40 percent on both Yahoo and ESPN.

The Diamondbacks shortstop scattered a quintet of multi-hit performances across August, as well as seven home runs.

Since his three-hit showing August 16, Ahmed is 3-for-15, a run that may have turned off some prospective owners.

Despite the struggles over the past week, the 29-year-old is worth a look as a potential Correa replacement because he reached base in 13 August games.

A five-game road swing that begins Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco could be beneficial for Ahmed, as most of his totals are better on the road than at home.

The infielder has a .298 batting average, .337 on-base percentage, .515 slugging percentage and .852 on the road compared to a .240/.328/.407/.735 split at Chase Field.

But the dip in form at home should not be a huge concern, as Ahmed picked up a hit in nine of past 13 home games entering Thursday.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from Baseball ReferenceInjury information from MLB.com.