Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña was scratched from Tuesday's game against the Yankees after reporting wrist soreness to a trainer during batting practice. While he is considered day to day at this point, Acuña will be evaluated Wednesday to determine whether the injury is more severe than that. Fantasy players, already dealing with a ton of injuries and under-performances, certainly don't want to see another, but you might want to get ahead of the crowd and try to find a potential fill-in just in case Acuña does have to miss some time.
Hopefully, it will be just a precautionary move, but each of these outfielders has standalone value and could remain worth rostering all season long. Here are a few outfielders who are available in at least 40% of CBS Fantasy leagues to consider adding if you have Acuña, plus the rest of the top options to consider coming out of Tuesday's action.
Sometimes you've gotta fall before you can fly, and Happ is a good example of that, as he seems to have figured things out after returning to Triple-A last season. Since coming back last July, Happ is hitting .278/.358/.578 in 71 games, with 14 homers and a manageable 24.0% strikeout rate. Happ has started 11 of the Cubs first 14 games this season, so playing time isn't really even that big of a concern. Besides, how could they take his bat out of the lineup right now? He may be a must-start player if he's playing everyday.
At this point, Santander probably deserves more credit than he's gotten from the Fantasy community. He showed 30-homer potential in 2019 and is off to a strong start so far, hitting .270/.303/.524 with the batted-ball data to back it up. Santander is always going to be a free swinger, but we're seeing much plate discipline from him this season, with a 78.8% swing rate on pitches in the zone leading to a 13.1% strikeout rate. If he can keep anything close to that up, Santander is going to be a starting-caliber outfielder in five-outfielder leagues.
Santander won't give you much in the way of steals if you lose Acuña, but Solak brings a nice power-speed combo to the table. He's already swiped three bases on the season, and though he hasn't gone deep yet, his 12.7% strikeout rate helps make him a plus hitter overall. Solak is still hitting the ball pretty hard, too, so the power should come. After all, he hit 32 homers in 148 games between the majors and minors in 2019.
If this ends up being just a one- or two-day thing for Acuña, Carlson isn't going to be much help. But there's a chance Carlson is with the Cardinals when they are cleared to play after their team-wide COVID-19 outbreak, and that would make him someone you want around even if Acuña is healthy. This is still a crowded outfield, but with arbitration concerns largely out the window and the stakes higher than ever with what will likely be a condensed schedule to make up for lost time, the need to win may outweigh anything else. Carlson had 26 homers and 20 steals in a breakout season between the minors, and could be a Fantasy star.
HOU Houston • #47 • Age: 30
On a night when seemingly every bullpen in the league struggled — and in a season where the same has been the case — Montero was a rare bright spot, yet again. Making his third appearance of the season since coming off the IL, Montero retired the Mariners on nine pitches for a perfect ninth, striking out one. The former top prospect has struck out three in three innings, picking up where he left off when he emerged as a viable reliever for the Rangers last season, striking out 34 in 29 innings. It's still a small-sample size for a pitcher with a history of injuries, but Montero looks like a port in a storm at this point, and should be on rosters in all leagues.
COL Colorado • #1 • Age: 26
It was somewhat easy to dismissed Hampson starting five straight games for the Rockies, since they were facing lefties in each game. However, he started Tuesday's game against Zac Gallen, so he might be finally earning that everyday role we've been hoping for. Hampson just needs to hit enough to let his speed play up, and with a .265/350/.500 after a two-hit game Tuesday, he's doing just that. At least in a category-based league, Hampson deserves to be rostered everywhere.
HOU Houston • #64 • Age: 25
Bielak hasn't been dominant in either of his first two MLB starts, but there was plenty to like yet again Tuesday as he limited the Giants to two runs over five innings. Working around 94 mph with his fastball, Bielak featured a legitimate five-pitch mix, garnering a whiff with each except the slider and earning a 13.1% whiff rate overall. He did a good job of limiting hard contact too, and now sports a 47.7% roundball rate in his first 15.1 MLB innings. The strikeouts and walks aren't quite where you'd like them to be, however, he has been getting swinging strikes and had better than a strikeout per innings in Triple-A in 2019. In deeper leagues, Bielak is certainly worth a look based on what he's shown so far.