The 2011 spring training season continues to add injury victims to its growing list, with Philadelphia Phillie second baseman Chase Utley being the latest addition.
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According to Todd Zolecki on MLB.com Chase Utley has been listed as “indefinitely” out with mild patellar tendinitis and chrondomalacia.
Fantasy baseball owners have already exceeded the desired limit for injuries.
The Cardinals lost SP Adam Wainwright (TJ surgery) , the Brewers have removed SP Zach Greinke from his opening day assignment (fractured rib), and a host of bumps and bruises from around the league has everyone on their last nerve.
And we’re only half way through spring training.
For Utley owners, though, news of his injury comes with a heightened level of angst as the second base slot in fantasy baseball is as thin as a puddle of water; so the likelihood of the majority preparing for such an unforeseen event isn’t very high.
There are players at the 2B slot on the waiver wire, but many of them are nowhere near Utley’s skill set.
Still, you’re gonna have to do something.
Let’s take a look at a couple of options you could consider, but remember you’re gonna feel like a Benz owner shopping for a Hyundai in the process.
2B/SS Wilson Valdez, Philadelphia: Valdez filled in admirably last year for both Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley as he saw more playing time. He began to develop some nice consistency finishing the year with a .258/.306/.360 batting line, 7 SB, 4 HR, and 35 RBI in 333 AB.
Valdez doesn’t offer a ton of power, but does offer—like most of the remnants on the WW—dual eligibility at both 2B and SS.
2B/OF/ U, Bill Hall, Astros: Bill Hall is an interesting candidate for Utley’s replacement for several reasons, especially for those of you in 10 man and 12 man leagues where your waiver wire is likely to be wiped clean.
Historically, the 31 year old has always been a sort of utility player. But Bill Hall has the inside track for the job at second base, and the consensus is he will win the job.
Bill Hall should be a nice surprise for fantasy baseball owners willing to take a chance on him, as he will offer good power and steals.
He could, however, be a slight liability in batting average.
The underrated and overlooked Hall hit 18 taters, 46 RBI and scored 44 runs while stealing 9 bags in a limited roll last year (344 AB) so he is probably in line for 20 homers, 60 RBI, 55 R, and 14 SB in 2011.
1B/ 2B/ 3B/ U, Ty Wigginton, Rockies: Another guy you’re likely to find on your waiver wire—albeit not for long once owners wise up—is journeyman Ty Wigginton.
‘Wiggy’ was a nice late waiver wire addition in most formats finishing the year with 22 homeruns and 76 RBI in 2010 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.
Well goodbye Camden Yards, and hello Coors Field.
Wigginton is schedule to be shuffled around all year long at various positions, and will probably get close to his 581 AB from a year ago (I predict 512).
The deal is, this is a guy who qualifies at both corners, second, and utility just like last year.
But now that half of his games are played in the hitter friendly Coors Field, one has to imagine his power numbers are likely to increase ever so slightly.
This is a great option for Utley in my opinion, especially in mixed leagues.
I would like to conclude by suggesting you DO NOT drop Chase Utley, as he could return if surgery is not needed—something we won’t know for a couple of days.
Also, I would recommend you check out our fantasy baseball draft package if you are a Yahoo! Leaguer, as I have a comprehensive list of player eligibility inside of the package—which is free by the way. The positions listed here are eligibility for CBS, ESPN and MLB.com.
Also, you can view the Philadelphia Phillies Team Analysis page for more information on internal options and our sleeper section for even moreoptions.
If you have a specific question below please do not hesitate to ask guys, and as always, good luck.