Fantasy Help Now That Kevin Youkilis Is Done for the Season
Youkilis had a second-opinion MRI on Thursday in Cleveland and the results revealed a tear in the muscle in his right thumb. He is scheduled to have surgery on Friday in Cleveland.
The Red Sox first baseman will be immobilized for six weeks as the thumb heals. He will not be back to play this season but should be back well before spring training begins.
Youkilis was having another incredibly valuable season. Not only was he hitting .307/.411/.564, but he had 19 home runs and 62 RBI. His .972 OPS was the seventh highest in Major League Baseball and fourth among first basemen.
The Red Sox say that Mike Lowell will replace Youkilis at first base for the rest of the year. But the team is also currently looking for a left-handed hitting first baseman to platoon with Lowell.
The Red Sox have a game plan in action to replace Youkilis. What should you do with your fantasy baseball team?
Youkilis had eligibility in most leagues at both first base and third base. If you were using him at first, guys like Adam LaRoche, Gaby Sanchez or Luke Scott may be able to fill in.
Remember that LaRoche typically gets hot in the second half and he's only owned in 54 percent of fantasy leagues. His slash stats aren't going to come close to resembling Youk's -- no one's will, really -- but he does have 17 home runs and 71 RBI.
Sanchez has hit 12 home runs this year and has 50 RBI. But, his batting average is at .295 which is close to the level of Youkilis if you really need someone to step in and not kill your team batting average. Scott has been tearing it up as of late with eight home runs and 17 RBI since the All-Star break -- remember, those numbers are in just 16 games. Sanchez is owned in 32 percent of fantasy leagues while Scott is taken in 47 percent.
If you were using Youkilis at third base, or have the flexibility to move someone into your first base slot and need to fill third, Chris Johnson, Chase Headley or Kevin Kouzmanoff could help.
Since the All-Star break, Johnson is batting .431 with a 1.235 OPS. He also has five home runs and 20 RBI. He can't possibly keep these numbers up, but it could be a fun ride for the time being while he's lighting up pitching around the league. He's owned in just 26 percent of fantasy leagues.
Headley is more of a versatile hitter than Youkilis since he has both power and speed. He's got eight home runs and 13 stolen bases with a .278 batting average this year. Over the last month he's batting .318 which is much more to the liking of a Youkilis owner who is used to a high batting average. Headley is owned in 51 percent of fantasy leagues.
Kouzmanoff -- owned in just 18 percent of fantasy leagues -- could also help out a little at third base. He has 10 home runs this season and is batting .272 but he's had success since the All-Star Break, hitting .300 with 10 doubles and 14 RBI.
Now that the world knows that Youkilis is on the shelf for the remainder of the season, it's time to replace him. The Red Sox are looking and you should be doing the same.