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Replacing Stephen Drew

Posted By Mike Axisa On July 21, 2011 @ 12:15 pm In Shortstops | 13 Comments

By now you’ve probably heard. Diamondbacks’ shortstop Stephen Drew will miss the rest of the season after fracturing his ankle sliding into home last night, an injury that was Jason Kendall-esque. I was actually watching the game live and it was pretty gruesome, and since I’m a bit of a softie I won’t link to the video here. I’m sure the FanGraphs’ faithful can find if it you’re so inclined.

Anyway, Drew was one of fantasy baseball’s better shortstops, a position lacking depth. His .252/.317/.396 batting line is unspectacular, but he had the fourth most RBI (45) among players at the position. It’s safe to drop him off your roster entirely given the nature of his injury and expected timetable, so let’s try to dig up some replacements…

Jamey Carroll | 2B, 3B, SS, OF | Dodgers | Ownership: 18% Yahoo!, 8.0% ESPN

Carroll’s playing time has taken a bit of a hit recently now that Rafael Furcal is off the disabled list and Aaron Miles has that shiny .311 AVG, but he’s a prime candidate to be traded within the next few days. He’s most useful in an OBP league because of his walk rate (9.8% this year, 10.0% career), but Carroll won’t kill your AVG and will chip in the occasional stolen base. He’s worth monitoring over the next week or so; if he’s dealt to a club willing to play him everyday, his value as a replacement shortstop is obvious. Plus it’s not like Furcal is Mr. Durable either.

Jeff Keppinger | 2B, SS | Giants | Ownership: 9% Yahoo!, 4.9% ESPN

Giants GM Brian Sabean indicated that Keppinger will get the majority of the playing time at second base, somewhat solving the hole left by Freddy Sanchez‘s shoulder injury. His value is all batting average, because he doesn’t walk (4.1%), doesn’t hit for power (.128 ISO), and doesn’t steal bases (0-for-1 in attempts this year). Keppinger is a one category kind of guy, but Drew owners really aren’t in a position to be picky at the moment. He’ll play every day, and that’s more than you can say for most of the guys in the free agent pool.

Eduardo Nunez | SS, 3B | Yankees | Ownership: 7% Yahoo!, 13.9% ESPN

Nunez is another guy guaranteed playing time, at least temporarily. He’s manning the hot corner while Alex Rodriguez recovers from his knee surgery, which gives him the job for another three or four weeks, maybe five if the Yankees are unlucky. Zach Sanders looked at Nunez recently, noting that his contact skills (just 5.6% strikeouts with a similar rate in the minors) and speed makes him a decent bet for a .275-ish average with a handful of steals. He also has a better chance to chip in some runs scored and RBI than either Carroll or Keppinger just given the lineup around him and his home ballpark.


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