Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Replacements for Miguel Cabrera
Heath Cummings has two replacements for Miguel Cabrera and says John Hicks is a must-start catcher now.
Injuries are a part of baseball. They're one of the worst parts, but they exist nonetheless. We got another reminder of that on Tuesday night when Miguel Cabrera was . While anyone who owns Cabrera is no stranger to piecing together first base options, now we need a full-time solution. I've got two of those below, as well as the impact this has on another Tiger, who probably isn't good enough to start for your at first base but still has Fantasy appeal.
I may have been writing about Ryon Healy today even if Cabrera wasn't down for the year. That's because he hit two home runs on Tuesday, bringing him to 12 on the year. For the most part, Healy has been the same guy he's always been through 1,084 career plate appearances. He's not walking at all, he's striking out 23 percent of the time and he's hitting the ball hard (37.8 percent hard contact).
The one thing that doesn't look normal is his .245 batting average, but that's easily explained. Healy owns a career .275 average with a .319 BABIP. This year his BABIP is just .260. This despite having a career-high hard-contact rate and a line drive rate right line with his career norm. Yes, Healy has regression coming that should push him closer to .270. With that in mind I expect him to be a solid corner infield option in any format and an excellent Cabrera replacement in the 46 percent of leagues where he's available.
In a league where Healy is already owned, Jake Bauers may be the answer for you. The 22 year-old is now eligible at first base and in the outfield and has versatility in his skillset as well as his elibility. In the minor leagues he had a walk rate above 10 percent and a strikeout rate below 20 percent at almost every level. He has pop that translated to doubles in the minors, as well as 40 steals in his last 339 minor league games.
Bauers should already be owned in most categories leagues, but his plate discipline should make him viable in points leagues as well. If those minor league doubles grow up to be major league home runs, Bauers could turn into a perennial top-12 first baseman.
John Hicks should be the Tigers' regular first baseman with Cabrera out. He doesn't have the stability of Healy or the upside of Bauers, but you could make an argument he should be higher owned than both. That's because of his catcher eligibility. Over the past two years, Hicks has a .275/.327/.438 slash line with a 150-game pace of 18 home runs, 69 runs and 66 RBI. Last year Yadier Molina hit .274 with 18 home runs, 60 runs and 82 RBI. Molina was the No. 4 catcher in Fantasy in points leagues and No. 2 in Roto (the nine steals helped). If Hicks just matches what he's done since the start of 2017, he's a lock to be a top-12 catcher.
Seth Lugo is getting at least one more start for the Mets, and it sure sounds like the general manager would like to keep him in that role. Lugo was pretty spectacular in the bullpen, and then dominated the Yankees in his last start. He's throwing harder than he ever has, and he has a double-digit swinging strike rate for the first time in his career. It's too early to be sold on this improvement or his place in the rotation, but his ownership is so low you don't have to be sure. At the very least he's an elite SPARP option as long as he's starting. He should be owned in most 12-team leagues.
For the time being, the closer competition in Chicago looks to be over, and Joakim Soria has claimed victory. Soria picked up his fifth save in the last eight days on Tuesday night. He's now gone 11 straight appearances without allowing a run. In that stretch he's allowed five baserunners and struck out 12 over 10.2 innings. It's still true that the White Sox will struggle to provide save opportunities and there's still considerable risk that Soria is dealt to a team where he isn't the closer, but he should be owned in every categories leagues at this point. He's not a bad option as a No. 2 reliever in points leagues either.
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