Jason Heyward's Appendectomy and Possible Fantasy Replacements

By Nick Tom
Daniel Shirey-USA Today Sports

I’m not speaking first-hand because I’ve never had one, but it seems that appendectomies aren’t so bad. Remember Matt Cassel’s appendectomy? Well, he returned to play an NFL game 11 days after his surgery. And though prior recoveries aren’t necessarily precedents, this type of thing hasn’t kept players out long in the past.

In 2006, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger missed one game because of an emergency appendectomy, in 2002, Chicago Bears Olin Kreutz missed one game and in 2006, New York Jets S Erik Coleman missed one week.

And now to why you’re here. On Monday night, Atlanta Braves OF Jason Heyward had an emergency appendectomy. He had been feeling unwell the couple days prior — fantasy owners might think even longer than that — and was finally diagnosed and treated after Monday night’s game vs. the Colorado Rockies was cancelled. Which brings us to fantasy contingency plans.

Depending on your respective situation, you might benefit from Heyward’s placement on the 15-Day DL, which ESPN is reporting is likely, or better off with Heyward riding the pine for a week and returning at the turn of the month. If he hits the DL, he’ll be eligible to return May 5. Regardless, you’ll be required to make some roster adjustments.

(The Braves are currently in Colorado and heavy wintry weather is in the forecast, so hope for postponements.)

The guy I’ve replaced Heyward with is Arizona Diamondbacks OF A.J. Pollock (owned in 5.2 percent of ESPN leagues). Though he sat yesterday, Pollock has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, is hitting for decent power and is producing decent speed numbers. He is basically a poor man’s Jason Heyward when he gets the playing time — he will continue to get it until Adam Eaton‘s return, which will come much later than Heyward’s. In a potent D’backs lineup, Pollock is especially valuable when he bats toward the top of the order, though, will produce RBI when he bats behind Paul Goldschmidt and Cody Ross. Also, if you’re into that whole half-glass-full-silver-lining stuff, Pollock is simply better than Heyward has been all season. While you get Pollock’s production, perhaps recuperation and downtime will help to reignite and jump start lowly Heyward.

If you drafted Heyward for the power and not necessarily the speed, Carlos Quentin (1.2%) is back Tuesday after his eight-game suspension for hulking the crap out of Zack Greinke (I love MLB.com’s replay vault). In the same vein that we hope Heyward’s break might get him started, Quentin returned from injury shortly before the Greinke incident, and perhaps the suspension gave him even more time to heal, freshen up and shape up. The San Diego Padres aren’t as anemic as we thought, so Quentin might stream you a few homers while Heyward waits in abeyance — maybe he can hulk the crap out of some baseballs rather than hundred-million-dollar hurlers.

Lastly, with the slight injuries of Shane Victorino and Jonny GomesBoston Red Sox OF Daniel Nava (61.2%) is a lock for playing-time and when he plays, is consistently batting between lead-off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury and three-four hitters Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz — as good a batting-order position you can hope for–especially in a replacement. Nava’s power, which has yielded four homers thus far won’t last, but he loves the Green Monster and is producing across the board except in speed.

If you have a choice of any of these three, get the guy that most represents the reason you drafted the JHey kid and keep your team as normal as possible. Continuing en passant with plan through injuries (and reading my writing) is what differs the smart owner from the guy competing for last.

Either way, you should be able to ford the JHey pain river.

For continued fantasy advice, follow Nick Tom on Twitter @NickTomFB, or +1 him on Google. Check out the rest of his fantasy contingencies and prospect profiles here.

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