Fantasy Baseball 2020: Streaming Options for Injured MLB Players for Week 5August 28, 2020
Taijuan Walker is on his way to bolster the Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation.
The 28-year-old right-handed pitcher could also be a major asset on fantasy baseball rosters with a handful of starters headed to the injured list.
Walker Buehler and Merrill Kelly were the latest hurlers to suffer setbacks in the last week, and Walker could be one of the players targeted as their replacement on the waiver wire.
While most of the waiver-wire focus should be on pitching help, there are a few bats to consider, including one who could take advantage of a handful of upcoming doubleheaders.
Streaming Options for Injured MLB Players
Taijuan Walker, SP, Toronto
Walker fills a void in the Toronto rotation opened by the injuries to Matt Shoemaker and Nate Pearson.
He was scheduled to start in the Seattle Mariners' Thursday doubleheader against the San Diego Padres, so he could provide an instant impact for the Blue Jays and fantasy owners looking for a boost at the end of head-to-head matchups this week.
Walker's performances in his two victories have been nothing short of impressive, as he struck out eight against the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his final start with the Mariners, Walker fanned eight Dodgers while allowing three earned runs. On July 31, he sat down eight Athletics on strikes and conceded a single hit in seven innings.
Walker's 4.00 ERA may turn away some fantasy owners, but he has a 1.07 WHIP and is averaging five punchouts per contest. He is worth a fantasy look since Toronto is set to host the Baltimore Orioles in a four-game set at Sahlen Field, where he is likely to make his team debut.
He could be a solid short- or long-term fill-in for Buehler, who was placed on the 10-day injured list with a blister on his pitching hand.
Walker could also be a replacement for another under-the-radar star in Kelly, who was 3-2 with a 0.99 WHIP and 2.59 ERA before he suffered a nerve impingement in his throwing shoulder.
Kevin Gausman, SP, San Francisco
If Walker is unavailable, Kevin Gausman may be worth targeting.
The San Francisco Giants hurler has struck out at least six batters in six of his seven starts. In his Thursday start against the Dodgers, Gausman fanned six hitters while allowing two earned runs off three hits.
Before Thursday, Gausman went into the sixth inning in four consecutive starts. His longest appearance in that span came against the Dodgers on August 9, when he conceded a single earned run in 6.1 innings.
Unlike Walker, Gausman will not be scheduled to pitch over the weekend, but he is worth stashing on your roster before his next start comes around, which is expected to occur at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies.
He is in line for a fairly easy September schedule. The Giants face Colorado, the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego and Seattle in 14 games over the first 16 games of the month. Those matchups, plus his consistent form, should make Gausman an intriguing replacement not only for Buehler or Kelly but also any pitcher who hits the injured list in the coming days and weeks.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets
Brandon Nimmo has been an on-base machine for the New York Mets.
He has drawn 22 walks, reached base on 25 hits and has been hit by a pitch on five occasions in his 99 at-bats.
In his past six games against the Miami Marlins, the outfielder recorded nine hits and scored on four occasions.
Nimmo will not hit for power on a consistent basis, but if he continues to get on at his current clip, he could be a strong pickup for the next three days and beyond.
The Mets are scheduled to play five games in three days against the New York Yankees, and they have one off day between Friday and September 9.
Nimmo's runs and hits totals could help soften the blow of losing Max Kepler to an injury. The Minnesota Twins outfielder is day-to-day with a right foot bruise, per MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. He could also be used as a short-term replacement for Aaron Judge, who may be headed back to the injured list with a right calf injury, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.
If Nimmo performs well enough against the Yankees, he could be worth keeping around for a few weeks to bolster your team's runs, hits and on-base percentage totals.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90. Statistics obtained from MLB.com.