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Injury Watch: One Power-Hitting Outfielder and Two Light-Hitting Shortstops

In this week's edition of Injury Watch, we're covering a host of tough National League injuries. Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon probably couldn't be more different in terms of hitting style and ability, but both will leave big holes in their teams, as well as in fantasy squads. And Braves breakout star Andrelton Simmons will need replacing as well. Get all the details and more quick hits in this week's edition of Injury Watch!

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

So how does one replace the massive power of Giancarlo in a fantasy context? The short answer is that you can't, simply because so few players have Stanton's massive power potential. If Tyler Colvin is still available in your league, he may be the right guy to bring in, but less than 30% of ESPN leagues still have Colvin (13 HR in 2012) available on the waiver wire. And though Brian LaHair hasn't been hitting so well recently, he might still be available for your squad, and can bring the bat.

But you know who's available in almost every league, and has been hitting for real, ultimate power? Scott Hairston of the New York Mets. The Chin has twelve homers on the season, which is remarkable for a part-time player who's only logged 196 plate appearances. But Hairston really is a platoon player and pinch-hitter, so if you add him to your squad, you may only want to use him against lefties. But Hairston is a professional hitter, and can help to make up for some of the loss of Stanton. Just don't make the mistake of cutting Giancarlo from your squad. If he comes back this season, you could benefit from him returning to the lineup.

Andrelton Simmons, Braves

The Braves haven't been too lucky on the injury front this season, what with losing Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery already this year. Now they'll be without the NL Rookie of the Month for June, Andrelton Simmons, due to a broken bone in his pinky finger. Simmons will have to wear a cast for four weeks, and will be re-evaluated after it comes off, so don't expect him back with the team until at least mid-August. In his absence, Tyler Pastornicky will get his old job back, but he's not really much of a fantasy option at this point in his career. I'd expect Simmons will have the shortstop job handed back to him with a quickness when he's ready to return.

But I know what you're really here for. You're not here to wonder on who could replace Simmons in your fantasy lineup, since you're probably not running Simmons out there on a regular basis. No, you're here for a picture of Andrelton Simmons possibly pooping his pants while fielding a groundball. Fortunately SB Nation obliged. (Sidenote: he's probably not doing that, but it's a weird picture.)

If you DO need to replace Andrelton Simmons, I recommend another NL shortstop in Ruben Tejada, who is now fully recovered from an injury of his own. Tejada has hit very well in his limited action in 2012. No, his .325 batting average isn't quite sustainable (benefiting from a BABIP of .393), but he is a very good bet to help your team in two categories: average and runs scored. With no HR power to speak of and a spot atop the Mets lineup, he's unlikely to offer up help in those categories or stolen bases, but he's still a valuable player, especially in OBP and deep leagues.

Dee Gordon, Dodgers

You know who else has a hand injury that should keep them out until August or September, plays shortstop, and is playing through his first full ML season? That's right, Dee Gordon, leadoff hitter and shortstop for the Dodgers, will miss several weeks due to a torn ligament in his right thumb. Though the surgery was successful, and Gordon can begin taking part in baseball activities shortly, the young Dodger will probably miss a substantive amount of time leading into the final months of the season.

Dee was a popular fantasy sleeper this season, due to the young shortstop's blazing speed potential. And while Gordon's 2012 hasn't been very good from a holistic perspective (-0.8 fWAR, 63 wRC+), he's been delivering the steals. With thirty on the season, Gordon has been one of the most productive sources for SB in fantasy. So if you're looking to replace Dee, you're probably looking for something different than Ruben Tejada above.

Another SS waiver option could be Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres, if Tejada doesn't float your boat. Cabrera is a slightly better bet to hit for power (two HR in 2012 to Tejada's zero), but his real value is in stolen bases. Everth already has 15 SB in just 176 plate appearances, and while his wRC+ sits above average for the league, he's unlikely to be a really productive hitter for any fantasy squad. But if you need steals, Cabrera is a very cheap source of them.

Quick Hits: Welcome back to the major leagues, Ben Sheets! Sheets, who hasn't pitched in the majors since July 2010, starts on Sunday for the Braves against the Mets. I wouldn't buy Sheets now, but I'd consider his upside and see how he does. He could be a cheap, effective pickup for a fantasy squad if he's anything like the old Ben. ... Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals is finally throwing again after an elbow injury knocked him out of commission in early June. As of now, he may return to the Cards in August. ... Dan Haren has hit the DL with lower back stiffness. Despite his down 2012, keep him and keep him playing when he comes back in late July. He's still an awfully good pitcher. ... Reliever Luis Perez of the Blue Jays can join the 2012 Tommy John club. He blew out his UCL and will miss the rest of the season. ... Both Jesus Montero and Franklin Gutierrez of the Mariners are suffering from concussions. At this time, Montero's seems a little less serious than Guti's, but these are injuries that require extra care and consideration.


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