Many fantasy baseball owners who drafted the injury-prone Colorado Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki went in with some sort of backup plan just in case the inevitable happened, but those whose backup plans have fallen through are going to have to act with Tulo out four-to-six weeks with a broken rib.
Whether your backup shortstop just hasn’t panned out or you took the risk and grabbed Tulo without insurance, you have a few options in order to replace him. There is one simple option, and that’s grabbing Josh Rutledge, who was recalled Friday when Tulo was placed on the disabled list.
Rutledge proved last year he’s got a solid bat for a middle infielder, hitting .274 with eight home runs, 37 RBI and 20 doubles in 73 games. He also showed off his speed with seven steals. This season, he showed some pop early and hit five home runs but struggled overall with a .242 average.
He was sent down a few weeks ago, mainly to work on his defense at second base so they could use him even with a healthy Tulowitzki, but with the Rockies’ star hurt yet again Rutledge will return to short. While in Triple-A, Rutledge crushed the ball to the tune of a .348 average and .565 slugging with two home runs and 10 RBI in only 10 games. He’s done it before at the major league level and is an easy fill-in for Tulo owners.
If Rutledge isn’t an option in your league, there are a few other alleys to turn down. Zack Cozart, available in over 60 percent of ESPN leagues as of this writing, is 7-for-19 with a home run, four RBI and six runs scored in his last four games. Sitting near the top of a heavy-hitting Cincinnati Reds lineup, he will score plenty of runs and already has 11 this month. Red-hot Jose Iglesias is also out there in 45 percent of leagues, and while he isn’t playing every day he is now hitting .449 on the season and has hit in every game this month. He’s been taking starts away from the slumping Stephen Drew and is certainly worth adding.
If you’re concerned about Tulo long-term, you could try to buy low on struggling stars such as Elvis Andrus and Starlin Castro. They are both slumping right now but could pay off shortly.