Injuries at this time of year, especially to your star players, can be absolutely brutal. Head to head league owners are playing in championship games and every little bit of production helps as your roto season winds down. With the likelihood that your waiver wire has been picked cleaner than a Thanksgiving turkey at Fatty McButterpants’ house, grabbing a last minute injury replacement just might be enough to carry you to the end. For you NL-only leaguers and deep mixed league owners, here are two you might consider.
Juan Rivera |OF| Ownership: ESPN – 4.6% Yahoo – 4.0%
So you’ve been dealing with the struggles of Andre Ethier all season long and have finally been given the official word that he’s done for the season, huh? Never what you want to hear with roughly two weeks to go in the year. But those are the cards you’ve been dealt here and you need to roll with the punches. Enter Rivera who, to finish off the 2011 season, has been handed the right field job in Los Angeles. While he may not be the ideal choice for your fantasy roster, Rivera can do enough over the next two weeks to keep your production levels up at a respectable level.
There’s nothing about Rivera’s numbers that stand out and scream fantasy stud, but if you take a look at his splits, you’ll see that he’s atleast finishing off the season strong. His BABIP finished just over .300 for August and is now at .429 for September thanks to the help of a reduced GB% and a LD% that was at 22.7% in August and has risen to 35.7% here in the final month. Considering the fact that he isn’t prone to striking out too often and is an above-average contact hitter, you’re giving yourself more than a fighting chance by using him. He’s put up decent ISO numbers in the past and has breached the 20 HR barrier twice in a career filled with part-time seasons. If this strong finish continues, you won’t skip a beat here at the end.
Juan Francisco |3B| Ownership: ESPN – 0.1% Yahoo – 0%
No one elicits the question, “who?” like Francisco does when you’re talking about waiver wire pick-ups. But considering the fact that the chances of Scott Rolen returning this season are dwindling more and more by the day, it would seem that the youngster is going to get the lion’s share of work at the hot corner in Cincinnati now. Similarly to Rivera, there’s nothing dazzling in the numbers that leads you to Francisco’s name, but if you’re looking for a body that can provide you with some reasonable production without putting up doughnut after doughnut in the boxscores, then he’s definitel yworth a look at a position that’s been super thin all year.
The numbers thus far in September are definitely worth a look as he’s hit .281 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI over nine games and has actually knocked two of those dingers out in his last two starts. He’s also got two doubles in there as well, so while the ISO may not stay at the current .213 mark, he has proven, atleast down in the minors, that he’s capable of hitting for decent power. With the Reds playing their next nine games at home, Francisco stands a good chance of putting up solid power totals in the hitters’ haven known as Great American Ballpark and maybe, just maybe, he carries that momentum into the final week of the season.