Corey Seager is finally having the season so many of us thought he could, but unfortunately, it's been stalled again, this time by a sprained thumb.
The good news is it's not expected to cost him much time. He's on the IL, yes, but with a chance of returning in two weeks. So while you will need a replacement shortstop, it's likely just for the short-term.
You could take it week by week, if you so choose, C.J. Abrams, who's also featured in this article. But if he's unavailable or not your cup of tea, here are three other options.Sleeper Hitters for someone to stream at the position. Spoiler alert: my top choice for this week is
Kim is 84 percent rostered in CBS Sports leagues, which disqualifies him from official Waiver Wire consideration. But I happened to notice he was available in a couple of my leagues, and well, not every platform is as deep as CBS. The defensive standout, who primarily plays second base but remains eligible at shortstop and third, is on a near 20-homer, 30-steal pace after batting .331 (39 for 118) with seven homers, seven steals and a .963 OPS in his past 32 games.
Arcia, the NL starter in the All-Star game, continues to deliver for the Braves, homering three times in his past six games. His contributions remain more solid than spectacular, though, especially while batting eighth in the lineup.
After a dreadful start to his rookie season, Tovar has made himself into a serviceable Fantasy option since about the middle of May, batting .285 (57 for 200) with seven homers, three steals and a .786 OPS in his past 53 games. It helps that the Rockies have the best hitter matchups this week, visiting the Nationals' crummy pitching staff for three games before hosting the Athletics' patchwork pitching staff for three.
Of those three choices, the only one who I'd prefer to Abrams is, naturally, Kim. In fact, he might be worth holding onto even after Seager returns.
Henry Davis RF
PIT Pittsburgh • #32 • Age: 24
Fair to say the Davis-to-the-outfield experiment is working out A-OK, at least for Fantasy Baseball purposes. Not only has he started every game but one since joining the Pirates on June 19 -- a huge advantage for a catcher-eligible player -- but he's also producing like an outfielder, becoming the first hitter of any sort to have a two-homer game against Shohei Ohtani on Friday. Statcast buys his .284 batting average and .451 slugging percentage almost to the number, pinning him with a .285 xBA and .451 xSLG, and he's beginning to demonstrate the same sort of on-base skills he showed in the minors, actually walking more (10) than he's struck out (9) in July. He's already widely rostered, but it needs to be universal. I can't think of even seven catcher-eligible players that I'd rather have.
C.J. Abrams SS
WAS Washington • #5 • Age: 23
Here he is, the ultimate shortstop replacement if you lost Corey Seager or someone else. It's taken over a calendar year of major-league action, but Abrams has finally begun to live up to his prospect billing here in July, batting .353 (24 for 68) with three homers and 10 steals. A big part of his turnaround is simply making better use of his wheels, which was always thought to be his best tool, but his two home runs over the weekend serve as a reminder he's not a one-trick pony. His on-base skills are still sorely lacking, but they haven't stopped him from batting leadoff over the past two weeks. And lest you mistake him for a Roto-only play, Abrams is now averaging more Head-to-Head points per game on the season (2.72) than Dansby Swanson (2.66).
BAL Baltimore • #30 • Age: 24
The Orioles called Rodriguez back up to the majors and then basically threw him to the wolves, having him face the Dodgers and Rays in his first week back. The first outing could have gone better, but he basically held the Rays in check over 5 2/3 innings Saturday. He showed improved velocity in both starts and did a better job of mixing in his breaking balls in this one, which helped account for 17 whiffs on 93 pitches. Widely considered to be the best pitching prospect in baseball the past two years, he's looking the part again after a rough first couple months in the majors. His next start is against a Yankees lineup that's suffered greatly without Aaron Judge.
Seth Lugo SP
SD San Diego • #67 • Age: 34
If you're dead set on upside, then Lugo isn't a priority pickup for you. He doesn't have enough swing-and-miss potential for that. But what he does offer is another steady arm to round out your pitching staff -- one who's been a bit overlooked because he missed a month with a calf injury. He turned in a quality start against the Tigers over the weekend, allowing two earned runs with seven strikeouts in six innings. It was his third such outing in four. Meanwhile, his 3.72 ERA is in line with his 3.68 FIP and 3.65 xFIP. His heavy curveball use promotes ground balls, and he hardly walks anyone, averaging 1.9 BB/9. His next start is against the Pirates, which helps, but you might want to keep Lugo around as a matchups play even after that.
BOS Boston • #36 • Age: 23
I could reduce my enthusiasm for Casas to just his past 11 games, during which he's batting .441 (15 for 34) with five homers, but really, he's been hitting well for much longer than that. Since a dreadful April in which he batted .133, he's batting .290 (58 for 200) with 11 homers and a .908 OPS. If he had done that from the beginning, he'd be a Fantasy mainstay by now. Or would he? See, during that time, for as good as the numbers look, he's only the 18th-best first baseman in points leagues. The reason? He hardly plays against left-handed pitchers. It's why this recommendation is mostly limited to leagues with a corner infield spot to fill, but everyone should be keeping an eye on Casas in case his playing time improves.
Sal Frelick RF
MIL Milwaukee • #10 • Age: 23
Frelick was my No. 1 prospect to stash coming into the season, and here he is getting the call in late July finally. So why am I not rushing to the waiver wire eager to throw fists of FAB bucks at him? The reason he was delayed for so long is because he had surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament, and he hasn't looked quite right since returning, batting .255 at the same level (Triple-A) where he hit .365 last year. Still, the Brewers thought the time was right, and he's 4 for 8 in the majors so far. All of the hits are singles, but that's his MO. It's a profile not unlike Steven Kwan's, which means a lot is riding on Frelick batting .300 and stealing bases at a good clip. Go ahead and take the plunge in five-outfielder leagues, but in three-outfielder leagues, wait and see.
Tanner Scott RP
MIA Miami • #66 • Age: 29
Are the reeling Marlins preparing to make a change at closer? Manager Skip Schmaker did give the incumbent A.J. Puk a vote of confidence over the weekend, but then the left-hander blew another save Sunday, raising his ERA to 4.45. It was at 2.88 to begin July. Meanwhile, fellow left-hander Tanner Scott, who has some closer experience himself, is plugging away in setup duty. In 30 appearances dating back to mid-May, he has a 1.47 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 14.4 K/9. A change is hardly a foregone conclusion, but it wouldn't be surprising given Scott's success and Puk's struggles. In leagues where saves are scarce, you'll want to stash Scott away before his cost skyrockets.
Ryan O'Hearn 1B
BAL Baltimore • #32 • Age: 30
O'Hearn has long tantalized Fantasy Baseballers with his power potential, but he flopped so many times for Kansas City that it was all too easy to ignore his production with the Orioles, especially since he started out as just an injury sub. But he's been so good that he's basically reduced Ryan Mountcastle to the lesser half of a platoon. O'Hearn doesn't appear to be slowing down either. His 2-for-4 performance Sunday, which included a home run and a double, raised his batting average to .367 (18 for 49) in his past 16 games. His average exit velocity is a career-high 93.1 mph and his strikeout rate a career-low 22.3 percent. He remains in a platoon himself, which limits his utility to deeper leagues, but first base and outfield have both been so difficult to fill in those formats.