Fantasy Baseball: Little recourse for Corey Kluber injury in pitching-starved environment

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It's not good.

A fractured right ulna — that's one of the bones in the forearm and, in Corey Kluber's case, the pitching arm. It's a non-displaced fracture, which means surgery probably isn't on the table, but the Indians haven't yet offered a timetable. For such a big bone in such an important body part, you have to assume it'll be closer to 6-8 weeks than 4-6.

And that's just for the fracture to heal. Not like Kluber can do any throwing in the meantime — again, it's his pitching arm. Suffice to say, then, he'll probably need another month just to get back in pitching condition.

Which means we're not seeing him until after the All-Star break.

Still, it's not a season-ender, and I wouldn't give much thought to dropping him given the lack of high-end pitching in an increasingly offensive-laden environment. But it's that environment that makes this injury such a heavy blow.

Obviously, you're not going to find Kluber-like production on the waiver wire. Your best chance would have been Matthew Boyd or Joe Musgrove, but both were gobbled up weeks ago. If pitching is your biggest need, you could try your hand at buying low on any number of the high-end pitchers off to bumpy starts, but of course, that number has been reduced by one with the loss of Kluber.

Corey Kluber SP •
2019 season
ERA5.80
WHIP1.68
IP35.2
BB15
K38

Wasn't exactly living up to the billing, was he?

And you can take an odd sort of solace in that. He hadn't contributed yet to whatever success your team has had, so if you've been succeeding in spite of him, you might be OK without him. But if you've been pinning all your hopes and dreams on his turnaround, you'll need to get to work.

Noah Syndergaard is of course an excellent candidate for a turnaround. Blake Snell, broken toe and all, probably added himself to that list with Wednesday's outing. Aaron Nola is worth buying at a discount, and Walker Buehler's performance so far hasn't been indicative of his stuff. Jack Flaherty, Zack Wheeler and Mike Foltynewicz may not have Kluber's ceiling but will resemble aces from time to time. I like the way Yu Darvish's stuff has been trending. There's also a chance that the Jameson Taillon and Shane Bieber owners may not recognize the extent of those pitchers' potential. Or hey, you might be able to convince the Boyd and Musgrove owners they're selling high. There are always angles you can work.

I have to believe, though, that trading for pitching of any kind is especially difficult in an environment where basically nobody feels like they have five arms they can trust. Maybe you've acquired excess elsewhere (a much more plausible scenario) and can pinpoint that one owner with a clear hole to address, but even then, you have to agree to terms. It's a needle-in-a-haystack scenario.

So then ... the waiver wire, which has always been picked over at starting pitcher. Among those owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues, here are my favorites:

Possible Corey Kluber replacements
Player


Ownership percentage



76



56



66
Pablo Lopez MIA SP



35



43



67



41



no, seriously!



52



66



49



59
Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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