Well, Biogenesis Day has arrived, and with it, the suspensions of more than a dozen major-leaguers. Although Alex Rodriguez is going to play on through the rest of the 2013 season—making him an interesting waiver wire addition, as Jack mentioned last week—three other all-stars—Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera—are now done for the season. That’s bad news for their teammates and fans, but for us scavengers, that opens up some interesting possibilities as we head toward the fantasy season’s finish.
I’ll skip past San Diego’s replacement for the moment—Logan Forsythe probably has the edge there, but Ronny Cedeno was just inked to a minor league deal ahead of MLB’s announcement—and focus on the two players who likely have a grip out of the gate on everyday roles.
Craig Gentry | Texas Rangers | OF | 1 percent Yahoo ownership; 0 percent ESPN; 2 percent CBS
YTD: 158 PA /.241 /.331 /.350 with 1 HR and 10 SB
ZiPS updated: 249 PA /.246 /.328 /.350 with 2 HR and 15 SB
Our first customer is Cruz’s immediate replacement in the outfield, as Gentry will take over center field duties while Leonys Martin moves to right field. Although he’s basically been a forgotten man in fantasy—thanks in no small part to a fractured hand suffered in June—Gentry certainly offers help in the speed department, evidenced by 42 stolen bases over his 278 career games. Even though the 29-year-old offers little in the way of pop (.084 lifetime ISO), his .331 OBP this season isn’t awful, and he’s managed to keep a .270 average in his career.
That makes him a pretty straightforward candidate in fantasy, a rotisserie speedster whose best-case scenario is perhaps along the lines of Eric Young Jr. But although the Rangers don’t have a plethora of attractive options standing by to replace him, Engel Beltre, 23, was just called up from Triple-A, where he was hitting .302/.360 /.405 with 14 steals in 74 games. Gentry will get first crack at a starting role, but don’t be surprised if Ron Washington slots in the rookie to keep the Rangers’ playoff hopes alive.
Recommendation: Gentry offers one-category value, but keep an eye on Beltre.
Jose Iglesias | Detroit Tigers | SS / 3B | 26 percent Yahoo ownership; 48 percent ESPN; 51 percent CBS
YTD: 249 PA /.322 /.365 /.409 with 2 HR and 3 SB
ZiPS updated: 396 PA /.300 /.344 /.374 with 3 HR and 6 SB
The Tigers didn’t waste any time wondering if Peralta would go down, as they acquired Iglesias as part of the three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Red Sox. With both shortstop and third base eligibility, Iglesias certainly carries value, though he offers no help in the power or speed departments. A .300 batting average, of course, can find a place on most fantasy teams, though Iglesias’ value doesn’t change much now that he’s hitting at the bottom of Detroit’s lineup, since the Tigers’ offense is only marginally better than the Red Sox.
When I last wrote about Iglesias at the end of June, he was sporting a .419 average supported by an insane .475 BABIP. It was only a matter of time until the average came (sort of) back down to earth for a guy with a mediocre (.257 /.307 /.314) minor league line. But even the .300 average is too high for a guy who doesn’t hit enough line drives, and the putrid 4.4 percent walk rate spells doom for his current .365 OBP.
So the same reasons for owning (or not owning) Iglesias earlier in the year still exist, and he remains a deeper mixed league player whose versatility and decent average make him worth owning in plenty of leagues.
Recommendation: 14-team mixed leagues and beyond.