Talk about your run of bad luck…
Wilson Ramos signs with the Twins, forever to be blocked from a starting gig with Joe Mauer already in-house. He gets traded to the Nationals who then decide that they’d rather have a marquee name like Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate. So Ramos bides his time, earns more and more PT as the season progresses, and heads into the offseason, knowing that he will be the full-time catcher in 2012.
Over the winter, while playing ball in his native Venezuela, Ramos is abducted at gunpoint and ends up surviving a 48-hour ordeal where he is ultimately found and rescued by authorities. He finishes out the winter season, comes to spring training and continues his MLB career as the starting catcher for the Nationals.
Sounds harrowing, right? But he made it through…
As dumb luck would have it, while chasing down a passed ball/wild pitch, depending on who you want to blame, Ramos tears his ACL and is now out for the season. You thought he had suffered enough prior to the start of this season and with that, plus his talent level, you decided that he would be a solid choice for your fantasy catcher this season. Whoops!
So now you’re left to pick up the pieces and find yourself a new catcher off a waiver wire. The good news is that replacement value at catcher for a guy like Ramos isn’t all that tough to find and there’s really only bad news if you play in a deep, two-catcher league.
In shallow, single catcher leagues, you probably have names like Russell Martin, Ryan Doumit and even J.P. Arencibia sitting on your waiver wire. Any one of them will serve you well as a viable replacement. Obviously, the deeper your league, the fewer options you have, so if you’re looking at names like Jason Castro or John Jaso, then why not just go for Jesus Flores who is now the primary backstop in Washington?
The tough part about judging Flores is that injuries have hampered his career so much that you don’t really have much data to go on. He got waxed by Chase Utley during a collision at the plate in late 2008 and in 2009 he suffered a stress fracture in his shoulder that would later require surgery and knock him out for all of 2010. The sample size we have to look at is fairly minimal, relatively speaking, so erring on the side of caution with respect to his potential ROS totals is probably best.
He’s shown some pop in his bat in the past so figuring for another 300-350 at-bats, 10 home runs probably isn’t so far-fetched. The 25.0% strikeout rate will undoubtedly keep the average somewhere near the .250 range, but just those estimations, coupled with any remote potential to surpass expectations, and you’ve got a much better option than Castro or Jaso. Again, you’re probably not going to pick up someone who will knock you 15 home runs with a .265-.270 average, so is Flores’ potential that far off from what any other Plan B catcher is going to give you? Probably not.
It’s definitely a lousy situation to be in, to lose a player to a season-ending injury, but it’s not like you just lost Evan Longoria or even Victor Martinez. It might take a little maneuvering of players in and out of your lineup until you find the right fit, but this is, by no means, an insurmountable loss.
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