Fantasy Baseball 2020: Hidden Gems to Stream for Injured MLB Players for Week 8

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2020

Houston Astros' Jose Urquidy pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The MLB's blink-and-you-missed-it 2020 season is closing in on the checkered flag.

For fantasy baseball managers, this stretch sprint is where you will win or lose fantasy titles.

The easiest way to position yourself for glory is covering up the absences created by the injury bug. Notable names keep getting added to the inactive list, most recently including Sonny Gray (back), Rhys Hoskins (elbow) and Ken Giles (forearm).

Let's hit the waiver wire and identify the top replacements rostered in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues, per FantasyPros.


Sonny Gray Replacement: Jose Urquidy, SP/RP, Houston Astros (54 Percent Rostered)

Urquidy first had the fantasy world's attention when he caught fire down the stretch of his rookie season in 2019.

Houston had him in a swing role between the rotation and the bullpen, and he showed flashes of brilliance when he got a chance to start. Between September and October, he had two scoreless starts of at least five innings and another in which he fanned 10 over five innings of one-run ball.

He had his start to this season delayed by a positive COVID-19 test, so he's only been back in the rotation for the past two weeks. If his last two outings are any indication, though, he's determined to make up for lost time. His first was a quality start with two hits and two earned runs allowed over six innings. His next was a seven-inning gem in which he surrendered just three hits and an earned run while recording seven strikeouts with nary a walk.

That could just be the appetizer for what might be a brilliant final week. He's set up to face the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, who both rank among the 10 worst teams in runs scored.


Rhys Hoskins Replacement: Jared Walsh, 1B, Los Angeles Angels (31 Percent Rostered)

In a season as compacted as this, the impact of a hot streak is magnified.

Fewer hitters are hotter than Walsh. But he opened this streak so far off the fantasy radar—he went hitless in 13 at-bats between July and August—that managers still haven't caught wind of what he's doing. He's suddenly Mr. Automatic for the Angels, with a hit in all but one outing this month.

He has 12 extra-base hits in this stretch, seven of which have gone over the fence. For someone who hit 36 homers over 98 games in AAA last season—while posting a ridiculous .325/.423/.686 slash line—there are reasons to believe this power surge is sustainable. Thursday marked his ninth consecutive game with at least one run scored and one RBI.

"He has really good hands," Angels manager Joe Maddon told reporters. "The way he works the end of the bat, honestly, is an elite method. ... It's no secret as to why he's been doing what he's been doing. With good health, and if he can just maintain some real simple mechanical issues, he could do this for a while."


Ken Giles' Replacement: Rafael Dolis, RP, Toronto Blue Jays (41 Percent Rostered)

When in doubt, just follow the lead of the big league club, right?

The Jays have spent much of this season searching for Giles' replacement, and Dolis appears to have locked down the role. He has three saves and a win to show for his last five trips to the bump, and he hasn't surrendered a run since Aug. 12. With Giles going back on the IL, this could be Dolis' gig to lose the rest of the way.

Considering how he's pitching—1.61 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP and 10.88 K/9—it doesn't look like Dolis is going anywhere.

"Though the 32-year-old has been around a while, the splitter is a pitch we haven't seen from him before, and he seems to be taking off with it, having yet to allow a hit while striking out 10 in six September appearances," CBS Sports' Scott White wrote.


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