SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 28, 2011

Fantasy Forecast: Catch this: Posey's injury tough to stomach

Fantasy Forecast
Andy Silva

If you happened to catch SportsCenter Wednesday night or Thursday morning, or even were just surfing the web looking at baseball blogs, you more than likely saw the video of the injury sustained by Giants catch Buster Posey.

Seeing his leg get bent back during a collision at home plate was not only gruesome, but also left little doubt that Posey would miss significant time. (The Giants announced two days ago that Posey had suffered a fractured bone in his lower left leg and it was reported he would miss 6-8 weeks, although there was speculation he could be out the remainder of the season).

Obviously, losing Posey is a huge blow to fantasy owners. He was drafted at an average draft position of 36.1 in Yahoo! leagues, second behind the also-injured Joe Mauer. Posey had been hitting .284 with four home runs and 21 RBI after a stellar rookie campaign last season which saw him hit .305 with 18 homers and 67 RBI in 108 games.

Unfortunately, if you drafted Posey this high you likely missed out on other elite offensive talent, making it all the more important to do as best you can to replace his production. But considering the position is already pretty shallow, the pickings might be slim.

One name to target right off the bat is Toronto's J.P. Arencibia. The 25-year-old former first-round pick is hitting just .250, but has bashed eight home runs and notched 24 RBI. Arencibia, owned in 49 percent of Yahoo! leagues, has picked up the production of late, hitting .306 with three home runs and 12 RBI in the last two weeks. He may never hit for the same average as Posey, but at least he'll give you a boost in the power categories.

Another player to consider is Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy (not to be confused with former Twin and National Matthew LeCroy). Lucroy, a 2007 third-round pick, has been a pleasant surprise so far, hitting .321 with five home runs and 22 RBI. He's done a lot of that damage in the last two weeks, hitting .317 with four home runs and 12 RBI. Lucroy has displayed OK power numbers in the minors (9 HR and 66 RBI in 2009; 20 HR and 77 RBI between two levels in '08), and hit for average for the most part (a career .298 hitter in the minors). So there is some reason to believe he can continue to put up decent, albeit not spectacular, numbers moving forward. And he is widely available, owned in just 34 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Finally, there is Ramon Hernandez of the Reds. On the downside, he is still splitting time with Ryan Hanigan (of Andover). But when in the lineup he's produced decent numbers (.327, 12 runs, 6 HR, 15 RBI). That's just one home run shy of his entire output last season, and perhaps the time share could help his durability (he hasn't played in more than 100 games since 2008). He's also widely available, owned in just 31 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

You could also go the trade route. But again, pickings might be slim there as well.

Carlos Santana has struggled for the surprising Indians. Coming off a serious leg injury himself, Santana is hitting just .203, but does have solid power numbers (6 HR, 21 RBI). He might be a buy-low candidate, although I'm not sure how depressed his value really might be since he was a highly-regarded and much-hyped prospect when he was called up last season and had been hitting up until the time of his injury.

Another name to consider is Baltimore's Matt Wieters. After a solid rookie campaign in 2009, he struggled in 2010 (.249, 11 HR, 55 RBI). He's picked it up a little bit thus far in 2011 (.267, 4 HR), striking out slightly less (5.2 at-bats between strikeouts vs. 4.7 last season) and showing slightly better power (36.5 ABs between home runs vs. 40.5 last season).

None of these options will provide you with the same level of production as Posey, but you have to resign yourself to the fact that while you may have left your draft thinking that catcher would be a position you woudln't have to worry about that position all season, things can change quickly. You need to be able to adjust and attempt to reconfigure on the fly. The ability to do so may be the difference between staying afloat or treading water.

• • •

Andy Silva writes the Fantasy Forecast column for The Salem News. You can read his blog at blogs.salemnews.com/fantasyforecast, and he can be reached at asilva@salemnews.com. You can follow Fantasy Forecast on Twitter at twitter.com/sn_fantasysport.