Summer is (almost) officially upon us and if your teams are anything like mine, you are starting to feel the injuries more than the heat this June (maybe that is because the heat hasn’t come to Seattle yet, but still). Every year, at least one of my teams gets hit by an injury bug and I am left scrambling for replacement players and trying to figure out how to make room for a stop-gap at multiple positions when I really don’t have anyone I want to cut loose.
When that happens, I look for the Multiple Position Temps. These are not the guys you expect to carry you to a title, but players you can pick up, fill in as needed, maybe get some decent stats, and weather the storm until you starting infield makes its way back to full healthy. Most importantly, you can grab one of these guys, use him at 3-4 positions, and not have to scramble every time a spot in your lineup opens up.
Luis Valbuena (2B/3B/SS/OF) – Valbuena is almost universally unowned, and almost universally playable. If your 1B or C goes down…sorry. But any of the other 10 starting spots on your ottoneu roster can be occupied by the Venezuelan utility player. Valbuena hit his second home run in three days for the Cubs last night, and while I don’t anticipate he will keep up the every-other-night pace, the pop is not a total fluke, either. Valbuena has eight home runs in Triple-A this year, and his 17 (plus one more in the bigs for good measure) in 2011. And he coupled that minor league pop with a .303/.378/.507 line. And before you go telling me that his .352 BABIP in Iowa was unsustainable, check out his other seasons in the high majors – .352 is practically normal for this guy at that level.
No, he isn’t going to hit .300 or pop 15 HR the rest of the way, but as a guy you can drop into any spot in the lineup any day of the week and get some decent results, Valbuena is as good an option as any. It’s hard to say how much longer Valbuena will be in the lineup, but if he keeps hitting, he’ll keep playing, and if he keeps playing, he is worth a look.
Jerry Hairston (2B/3B/OF) – Hairston is only moderately more popular than Valbuena in ottoneu leagues, and he is moderately less useful, without SS eligibility, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help you out for a couple weeks here or there. Hairston is not going to provide much in the way of counting stats, as he has never broken 10 HR and and hasn’t reached double-digit steals in three years, but he’ll get on base at a decent clip and provide slugging that, while not anything to write home about, is passable for a MI.
At the end of the day, passable is all you are looking for from these guys. Maybe Valbuena surprises and turns in a true breakout season at 26, maybe Hairston puts up a career year at 36. But more realistically, they put up stats that won’t kill your team and help you fill your lineup.
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