Just like the real teams, fantasy baseball players are scrambling to fill their lineups after a string of high-profile injuries this week. A couple guys to target who should be available in your leagues are New York Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano and Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
The big baseball news last night was that Mariano Rivera has a torn ACL and is done for the season, maybe done for his career. The Yankees have not made an official decision on who his replacement will be, but I’m going to speculate that the team will turn to Soriano.
Previous closing experience seems to always sway managers and front offices. It’s as if being a closer in the past means you’ve been on some mystic vision quest. David Robertson is the better pitcher by a clear margin, but he has yet to earn the closer vision quest patch for his Closer Cub Scouts vest. My gut says the Yanks turn to Soriano, who led the league with 45 saves for the Tampa Bay Rays back in 2010.
One position that was hit particularly hard by injuries is third base. Evan Longoria is out 4-8 weeks, Pablo Sandoval is out 4-6 weeks, Kevin Youkilis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a bad back and Mat Gamel, who was still third base eligible in most formats, is out for the year.
That means there is going to be a lot of competition for free agent third basemen.
Pedro Alvarez is owned in just 46.5 percent of ESPN leagues and 33 percent on Yahoo. Over his last six games, he’s 11-for-23, raising his batting average from .176 to .257. He also has three home runs, eight RBI, eight runs and has struck out just twice over that span.
Alvarez was the Pirates No. 2 overall pick back in 2008 and looked to be a future slugger after an impressive debut in 2010 in which he hit 16 homers in 95 games. He was a popular sleeper pick last year, but completely fell apart, finishing the season with just four home runs and a .191 average.