Fantasy Baseball 2021: Waiver-Wire Advice for Injured MLB Players for Week 16

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 9, 2021

Fantasy Baseball 2021: Waiver-Wire Advice for Injured MLB Players for Week 16

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    The upcoming MLB All-Star break should finally provide some overdue relief from the injury bug.

    But it continues rearing its head before the midseason classic.

    Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw just hit the injured list with left forearm inflammation. A rib cage strain put Cincinnati Reds hurler Sonny Gray on the shelf. The Los Angeles Angels lost third baseman Anthony Rendon to a left hamstring strain.

    Whether fantasy managers are scrambling to replace these players or others missing in action, chances are most will be searching for some kind of reinforcements over the coming days. The following three playersβ€”all available in 40-plus percent of Yahoo leagues, per FantasyProsβ€”are worth a look heading into the shortened Week 16.

Logan Gilbert, SP, Seattle Mariners (40 Percent Rostered)

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Like most prospects this season, Logan Gilbert's MLB career got off to a sluggish start.

    He lasted just 6.2 innings across his first two starts combined, recording as many strikeouts as earned runs (seven) in those outings. He looked better his next two times out but still left the month of May with a 5.94 ERA.

    However, he has been slicing it down ever since. He had one rocky outing in four tries during June and posted an impressive 2.79 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 19.1 innings for the month. He has kept trending up in July, culminating in a brilliant effort against the New York Yankees on Thursday. He threw seven shutout innings, recording eight strikeouts while allowing a single hit and zero walks.

    He should be in line for one of Seattle's first starts after the break.

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds (34 Percent Rostered)

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Once the model of consistency at the plate, Joey Votto's season could not have started much worse.

    It took him 13 games to record his first extra-base hit and to produce a multi-hit effort. In early May, he suffered a broken thumb, and for fantasy managers still rostering him at that point, it was time to let go. He hit the injured list batting just .226 with a forgettable .305 on-base percentage.

    That slow beginning continues plaguing his season-long numbers, but that's perhaps the only reason he's eligible to be included here. Those who have kept track since his return in early June know he's been far too good to leave on the waiver wire.

    He entered Thursday batting .293 with a .381 on-base percentage, 10 extra-base hits (including six home runs) and 38 combined runs and RBI in 28 games since his return. He continued adding value Thursday by going 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

    He looks a lot like the Joey Votto of old, and that's not someone who has any business being available in this many leagues.

Jonathan India, 2B/3B, Cincinnati Reds (55 Percent Rostered)

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    At some point in the not-so-distant future, fantasy managers will wise up to the fact Jonathan India should be universally rostered.

    Consider this your sign, then, to submit your waiver claim immediately.

    The rookie has established himself atop one of the most prolific offenses in baseball. The deeper he probes into this season, the stronger his hold on the leadoff spot becomes.

    For the year, he's hitting .275 with a .392 on-base percentage. Sounds impressive, right? For the past month-plus, though, he has crushed those numbers. In June, he paired a .303 average with a .425 OBP. Through eight July games, those marks are up to .391 and .548, respectively.

    He may not be a standout in power or speed, but he provides a little of both (six homers and seven steals). He scores runs (41) and drives them in (35), too. If you add him for Week 16, you should probably plan on keeping him for the duration of this season.