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Filling the Void: Michael Wacha’s Injury

How to fill the void in your lineup with the Michael Wacha injury that caused him to land on the DL.

No one wants to see anyone on their team go down due to injury.  But inevitably throughout the course of a season – it happens.  The key is to be able to strike quickly, and identify and acquire replacements that can help fill the void until your injured player can come off the DL, swoop in and save the day.  Today, I will identify a couple of options that you can look at to replace Michael Wacha on your staff.

Before going down with a shoulder injury, Wacha was playing at a top 100 level.  So who should you turn to in order to attempt to help fill the void his injury has left in your pitching staff?

The Safe Option: Drew Smyly, Detroit

Smyly has successfully made the transition from reliever to starter this season.  His innings remain low due to being skipped a few times early in the year, and as such – he has only thrown 67.1 IP so far in 2014.  Despite posting a good k/9 of 7.65, and respectable ratios of 3.48 and 1.29 while playing on a pretty strong contender in Detroit, he sits at 26% ownership in Yahoo! leagues. The main concerns on Smyly coming into the year were:

  • How would he transition into the rotation?  His numbers have been solid so far, and he has had a few very good starts as of late.  He looks primed to continue to post solid numbers the rest of the way.
  • Possible innings limit.  With his innings being severely limited early in the year, he should be able to stick in the rotation, throwing every 5th day the rest of the way for the Tigers.

I prefer him to Chris Tillman, Travis Wood and Marco Estradaall of which have higher ownership rates.

The Riskier But Higher-Upside Option: Jake Odorizzi

Many were quick to abandon ship on Odorizzi in deep leagues after what can only be described as a putrid start.  But I want to highlight a few numbers for you:

  • 10.55: his current k/9 rate
  • 3.41, 0.90: his current ERA and WHIP in the last month
  • 3.15 & 3.43 vs. 4.29: his FIP, xFIP and ERA, respectively

There are lots of reasons to like what Odorizzi is bringing to the table.  Even if you are still skeptical of his overall ratios and low win total, the numbers above should make you think more and more about adding him to your staff – even in shallow leagues.  His current strikeout rate is fourth in all of baseball out of SP’s – trailing only Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and Stephen Strasburg for all SP’s with at least 60 IP.  If you are chasing down some teams in the K’s category, especially those of you in leagues with innings caps, he should be added to your team regardless of if you lost Wacha or not.  He is missing bats at an elite rate, and as you can see by looking at his FIP and xFIP, it looks as if he should likely see that ERA continue to creep down in the near future as well.

I prefer him to just about any healthy pitcher in the 10-35% owned range, including the above mentioned trio of Tillman, Wood and Estrada.

No one out there on the wire is going to be a lock to replace the stats that Wacha was providing you.  However, both of the players mentioned here have a chance to help bridge the gap and help out your fantasy squad until Wacha returns.  Shoulder injuries can always see significant volatility with respect to the time table for return.  While we hope for a quick and speedy recover for Wacha, and owners of Wacha around the fantasy baseball world – picking up one of the options above should help lessen the blow until he comes back.

We want to hear from you.  Who are you planning to replace Wacha with on your team?

    About Brads.Got.Moxy

    Brad is the co-founder of moxyball.com and is an avid fantasy sports enthusiast and blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @bradsgotmoxy for additional fantasy sports insights.

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