The Tulowitzki Injury

The Rockies were dealt a major blow this afternoon when they learned that homegrown star Troy Tulowitzki will miss the next six to eight weeks with a fractured wrist. Fantasy teams everywhere will feel Colorado’s pain, because few shortstops can match Tulo’s tremendous production.

There’s just no way to replace a player of this caliber, so the only thing you can do is hope to maintain the status quo. When dealing with a major injury like this, I usually just forget about the counting stats and make sure my replacement won’t kill my AVG and/or OBP. Shortstops that hit homers and drive in runs are rare anyway, so there’s no point in sacrificing rate stats while stabbing in the dark for counting ones that won’t come anyway.

Here’s three players on the waiver wire that could help you weather the storm…

Reid Brignac | Rays | 8% owned

Briggy Ball is playing regularly for Tampa with Jason Bartlett on the disabled list, and he’s quietly hit a respectable .297 with a .353 OBP going into Friday’s games. He’s enjoying some BABIP luck (.384), sure, but his minor league baseline isn’t too far off at .330 in exactly 2,700 plate appearances. There’s a regression on the horizon, but a .270 AVG with a .345 or so OBP is definitely possible for the next few weeks. (R) ZiPS isn’t as optimistic, calling for .252 AVG, .298 OBP the rest of the way. Brignac also has 2B eligibility.

Ian Desmond | Nationals | 24%

The man who displaced Cristian Guzman has been a valuable piece for the Nats based mostly on his defense (+4.6 UZR, +3 DRS), though his offense consists of an empty .268 AVG. However, he’s picked up the pace over the last few weeks, hitting .293 in his last 103 plate appearances prior to tonight’s 1-for-4. (R) ZiPS sees him maintaining that same .268 AVG the rest of the way, though he’s probably the safest bet for playing time among players mentioned in this post.

Jeff Keppinger | Astros | 16%

Seemingly the only source of offense for the punchless ‘Stros (seriously, a team .287 OBP), Keppinger has maintained his .286 AVG and .333 OBP basically all year long despite the lack of help. (R) ZiPS sees more of the same on the way, a .283 AVG and .335 OBP to be exact, which is more serviceable than greate. He also has 2B and 3B eligibility. Keppinger is playing every day for Houston, however they could go into sell mode at any moment, and he could find himself on a contender’s bench just like that.

Aside from direct replacement, you could also somewhat Tulo’s loss by improving another position. It’s easier said than done of course, but if you have some pitching depth to spare it can be done. The outfield is typically the easiest spot to accomplish this simply because there’s multiple spots.

Losing a player of Tulowitzki’s caliber is never easy, and there’s not much you can do other than tread water. Hopefully he’s back in six weeks rather than eight, and doesn’t need much time to shake off the rust.

Ownership rates are based on Yahoo! leagues.

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Mike writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues and baseball in general at CBS Sports.

13 Responses to “The Tulowitzki Injury”

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  1. nosferatu says:

    I’m fortunate to have Zobrist at 2B, and will just slide him over to SS now after picking up Aaron Hill, who was just waived earlier this week. The pickings are otherwise very slim at middle infield, so if Hill can continue his (very recent) turnaround, I’ll be very thankful.

    Now I need to start worrying about Garza…

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  2. fiji.siv says:

    Last year Reyes, this year Tulo…

    I’d avoid Brignac at this point. Bartlett is back from the DL and Brignac as already loosing time to him. Even if he was playing full time, Brignac hasn’t had an XBH in 39ABs and he’s racked up a 3:13 BB:K ratio over that same span.

    I went with Desmond myself but another option may be Oakland’s Cliff Pennington (7% owned). Over the past two weeks he’s hit .297/.350/.459.

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  3. Sam says:

    Man, I wish those guys were on the wire…

    I get to choose between Nick Punto, Tommy Manzella, Luis Valbuena, and Jason Donald.

    I almost might just pick up Chris Nelson and hope whatever little playing time he gets ends up being worth it. Maybe he’ll put up some good games and take the job and run with it.

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  4. Rob Has no Innings Limit says:

    Simple question: Will Mike Aviles be enough to guide me through my darkest, Tulo-less hour? Is .290/6/15 too much to hope for during his absence?

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  5. nolan says:

    If your league is deep enough that Brignac, Desmond, and Keppinger (Pennington?) are the only options on the wire, it might be wise to trade your depth for a replacement. I’m thinking Furcal/Andrus territory here, someone who has an SS collecting dust on their bench. Season-ruining injuries are the best time to get creative with trades.

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  6. Rummy says:

    Mike Aviles, if he’s available, won’t give you HR or SB but he won’t kill your Avg either.

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  7. Bobby says:

    My top 3 options for a Tulo replacement are Juan Uribe, Marco Scutaro, and Yunel Escobar.

    This league uses R, RBI, Net-SB, OBP, SLG.

    I’m thinking Uribe is my best option.

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    • nosferatu says:

      The only thing I’d be concerned about with Uribe might be that Bochy will start giving him some time off once Renteria’s back (should be soon), especially since he’s been playing with a somewhat-ailing hamstring. Still, until that actually becomes a concern, I’d go with him.

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  8. Jon E says:

    I was choosing between Yunel Escobar, Mike Aviles, and Reid Brignac in my main league. I went with Escobar. He’s been getting on base a bit lately and I have a hunch that he might smack a homer or two eventually. He hit 10 and 14 the last two year but has Zero this season. Ya never know….

    Aaron Hill was just released in my league as well…..I have Polanco at 2B right now. I could drop Kevin Slowey (I’m over on Innings Count) or John Lackey…would folks here do that to make a move on Hill? Thanks for any input.

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  9. PJ says:

    I’m replacing him with Yusiensky Betancourt. Ouch. needless to say there is isn’t much out there. I might have to jump on Nelson or Renteria.

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  10. Paul says:

    How does a wrist injury like this affect Tulowitzki’s long term keeper league value?

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