One of Fantasy Baseball’s shallowest positions just got worse.
Troy Tulowitzki, the best shortstop in both real baseball and fantasy land, has hit the disabled list with a broken rib. He is expected to miss four-to-six weeks. It’s a huge blow to the Colorado Rockies and fantasy owners alike, as Tulo had been batting a ridiculous .347 with 16 homers and 51 RBI, resulting in the game’s number two fantasy shortstop through the first months, only behind Jean Segura. So, first Jose Reyes and now Tulowtizki. What do fantasy owners do next? Well, first, try picking up some of these guys to fill Tulowitzki’s gigantic shoes.
Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies: Well, how about his teammate? Rutledge was sent down in late May, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that he will be called back up immediately. Rutledge had been struggling a bit in his transition to second base, batting just .242 with five homers and 13 RBI. Still, during his demotion, he has an impressive slash line of .348/.438/.565 at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Rutledge was a sleeper of mine heading into the season, so it’s easy for me to hop back on the bandwagon. He is a guy who can get you anywhere between 12-16 steals and 10-13 home runs. He has solid power, so I’d expect him to be able to eclipse that mark, especially playing at Coors Field. After experiencing some issues with plate discipline over the previous years, it appears Rutledge is becoming a more patient guy at the plate, which should help his batting average woes from the start of this season. And hey, he is dual eligible at shortstop and second base, so there’s some added value for fantasy owners.
Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves: Another preseason sleeper of mine, Simmons would make for a fine fill-in for Tulowitzki. He has shown some flashes this season with a handful of multi-hit contests and some steals potential. On the year, he is batting .253 with five long balls and 22 RBI. While the numbers haven’t been as good as I might have expected, I do love the opportunity and situation for the Braves shortstop. He has been batting at the leadoff spot quite often, which makes for boatloads of run potential in that high powered offense. I love plate discipline and Simmons is pretty impressive in that regard. He has only struck out 26 times in 253 at-bats, while swinging at less than 30 percent of pitches landing outside of the strike zone. The power is a bit underrated and with only 22 runs on the season, I expect that category to start trending upward.
Yunel Escobar, Tampa Bay Rays: Escobar should be a viable option for the next few weeks. His bat is starting to get relatively hot, batting .333 with one homer, three RBI and 12 hits so far in the month of June. Through 61 games played, he is batting .249 with five home runs and 27 RBI, but he is getting on base, sporting an OBP of .313. Also, the Rays offense as a whole is starting to get it going, scoring 33 runs over the last six games. Over the last seven days, Escobar is batting .304 with with an RBI and five walks. He has 18 of those on the year, which clearly benefits his OBP. A disciplined hitter that seems to be heating up may be worth a look.
See, I told you the shortstop position was pretty weak…
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.