If you are an Edwin Encarnacion owner, you are going to miss both him and his parrot over the next few weeks.
With news that Edwin Encarnacion will miss the next 2-6 weeks with a grade two quad strain, Encarnacion owners across the fantasy baseball industry are scrambling to find a suitable replacement. Let's take a look at some of the options available….
The Safest Option: Lucas Duda, New York Mets
Duda is a pretty unremarkable option at 1B – which isn't necessarily the first thing that you want to hear. But given that you were counting on Edwin to provide you with power, I feel it is important to recommend an option that should at least clear the 20HR mark, and Duda should do just that on the year. He is currently sitting with a line of: .252/33/13/44/2, and is only 18% owned in Yahoo formats. Duda isn't going to light the world on fire, but he is hitting the ball out of the park so far this year, and hitting in the middle fo the Mets lineup, he should provide some decent counting stats as well.
The Riskier But Higher-Upside Option: C.J. Cron, LAA
Cron has gotten himself off to a very good start as a major leaguer, hitting .288/20/9/27/0 in his first 153 AB's. Originally it was thought that Cron would be mainly playing against LHP, but as he continued to hit, the Angels have slowly expanded his role. The book on Cron has always been that he possesses immense power, but his ability to hit consistently was something that many critics, myself included, questioned. At this point, if you are looking for lightening in a bottle to try and replace Encarnacion until he returns – you could very well catch that with Cron. Owned in only 23% of Yahoo leagues, Cron is someone that is out there in the majority of formats.
James Loney, TB (19% owned): While Loney isn't going to provide you with power, he won't hurt you anywhere and will chip in from time to time with the odd dinger. He may even help out your BA if that is something you need.
Garrett Jones, MIA (21% owned): Jones has had a very productive year by his standards so far in 2014 (.253/37/10/36/0). He has been quite streaky this season, but if you happen to catch him at the right time, he could do a great job of minimizing the loss of E5. However, catch him at the wrong time and you could be running zeros.
Chris Carter, HOU (19% owned): With 15 HR this season, no one has ever questioned Carter's power. I recommend him only if you can stomach his .189 BA. That won't be changing significantly anytime soon.
Nick Swisher, CLE (27% owned): Swisher has been very consistent over the past couple of seasons but has really struggled in 2014. Odds are there is a shot he has been dropped in your league, and if you believe in regression to the mean – odds are that his #'s should improve the rest of the way (.197/21/5/29/0).
And for the really deep leagues…..Daniel Nava (3% owned): Nava had a very solid 2013 season, but 2014 has not been kind to the Red Sox 1B/OF as he has hit only .227 with 2 HR in 154 AB's. He is getting a decent amount of playing time right now, and has hit in 5 of his last 6 games. If he can return to the form that saw him hit .303 with 12 HR last year, he could chip in with some nice stats for your deep league fantasy team until Edwin returns.
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