It’s going to be an uphill climb for the Yankees to catch the Red Sox in the AL East. New York is 4.5 games behind, and just lost its best offensive player indefinitely.
Aaron Judge was plunked on the right wrist in the first inning of Thursday’s win over Kansas City, and it’s expected that he’ll miss at least three weeks. According to Mandy Bell of MLB.com, Judge sustained a chip fracture on his wrist (ulnar styloid bone) and will not need surgery.
Although Judge has taken a mild step back in his second year, he’ll still been one of the best offensive forces in baseball. A .283/.396/.547 slash is enormous, along with 26 homers in 99 games. He had a 171 OPS+ last year; this year, he’s at a still-outstanding 152. Judge currently is the No. 13 offensive player in fantasy baseball, grading off 5×5 value.
Fantasy owners won’t be able to get a full, adequate replacement for Judge, but you have to try something. Here are some outfielders who might help keep you afloat until No. 99 can return:
Shallow Leagues: Avisail Garcia (50 percent ownership) has a see-the-ball, hit-the-ball approach, but it led to a surprising breakout year in 2017, and he’s back in play this season. He’s on a .316 binge over the last month, with 10 homers . . . The A’s are storming into the Wild Card hunt, with Stephen Piscotty (48 percent) a big part of the story. He’s been a .306/.367/.594 force over his last 44 starts, with 11 homers. Oakland plays at Colorado this weekend.
Medium Leagues: The Cubs elevated Jason Heyward (29 percent) to the No. 2 slot in June, and lately he’s seeing time as the No. 3 batter. He’s justified the promotion, with a .857 OPS, 34 runs, and 25 RBIs in his last 48 games. Heyward’s strikeout/walk ratio is almost an even one, which is usually an indicator of a plus hitter . . . Kole Calhoun (17 percent) was a punchline entering July, but he’s flipped the story, hitting .300 with eight homers in the month. He had a tater and a stolen base in Thursday’s 12-8 romp over Chicago, and he’s batted leadoff in five of his last six starts.
Deeper Leagues: We rang you about Cameron Maybin (five percent) a week ago, but he’s still widely available in Yahoo leagues. He’s swiped five bags and hit three homers over his last 68 at-bats, with a .324 average . . . You need a scorecard to know the Tampa Bay Rays these days, but Joey Wendle (six percent) is usually in the staring lineup, somewhere. For a while he was the leadoff man, but lately he’s been the middle of the order. A .285 average, five homers and seven steals is reasonable production for half a season, and he also carries second-base eligibility. He’s generally shielded from left-handed pitching, but eight of Tampa Bay’s next 11 opponents are righties.