There’s clearly no replacing Mike Trout, but the Los Angeles Angels and his fantasy baseball owners will be without him for 6-8 weeks after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Trout’s fantasy owners have to find someone to fill a lineup spot right now. Here are five outfielders that can be added off the waiver wire to at least fit that bill as a stop-gap.
5. David Dahl, Colorado Rockies
Dahl is out himself right now, and he has been out all season, but he seems to be nearing a return from a rib injury. A rehab assignment seems to be near, with a return to a productive Rockies’ lineup probably not far behind.
In 63 games for Colorado last year (222 at-bats), after earning a promotion by hitting .484 during a 16-game Triple-A stint, Dahl slash-lined .315/.359/.500 with seven home runs, 24 RBI, 42 runs scored and five stolen bases.
Dahl is a preemptive add and stash right now, but as his return gets closer his ownership rate will rise. Those without Trout should consider adding him, even if it means using up a bench spot right now.
ESPN Ownership: 31.7%
4. Melky Cabrera, Chicago White Sox
Overall this season, Cabrera is hitting .259 with 30 RBI and 27 runs scored over 185 at-bats. But after going 2-for-4 with a home run in Monday, he is hitting .316 (18-for-57) with four home runs and 14 RBI over his last 14 games with a .407 mark (11-for-27), four home runs and 11 RBI over his last seven games.
In the midst of a hot streak is the best time to add any fringe fantasy option, and Cabrera is one of those guys right now. That might help out over the next couple weeks, and be all Trout’s fantasy owners need with an extra, plug-and-play outfielder.
Cabrera can at least help sustain fantasy owners in two categories (runs scored and RBI), and he is not benefitting from excessive luck over the past week (.333 BABIP). A correction could get a little ugly, but Cabrera is worth adding in mixed leagues.
ESPN Ownership: 46.4%
3. Howie Kendrick, Philadelphia Phillies
Kendrick returned on Monday after missing six weeks with an oblique strain, and he went 1-for-4 with a stolen base while batting second and playing left field. In 11 games (43 at-bats) this season, he is hitting .326 with five RBI, five runs scored and two steals. Aaron Altherr has seized the job in left field, but Kendrick should find his way into the lineup regularly.
Kendrick is for sure eligible in the outfield (94 games in 2016) and at second base (32 games) in ESPN fantasy leagues, and possibly at third base (17 games) and first base (11 games) too depending on eligibility requirements in your league and your league host.
Before a 2016 hiccup with the Dodgers (.255), Kendrick hit at least .280 in all but one season of his big league career and the one exception was .279 in 2010 with the Angels. So he’s a batting average asset for fantasy owners, with solid runs scored and stolen base totals as a residual.
Now that he’s back in the lineup, Kendrick’s flexibility makes him at least worth carrying on a fantasy bench. As a helper in three categories, there’s some value here.
ESPN Ownership: 6.6%
2. Josh Reddick, Houston Astros
Entering Monday, Reddick has a .277/.330/.458 slash-line with six home runs, 22 RBI and 29 runs scored this season. That’s fairly vanilla across the board, but he has ramped things up in May with 14 RBI, 10 extra base hits (five home runs) and 18 runs scored.
Reddick has mostly hit second in Houston’s lineup so far this season, which puts him in good position to produce counting stats and a fully healthy 20-homer season for Oakland in 2015 points to some power upside.
Reddick has been below the radar of fantasy owners all season, but his solid across the board production is worth a roster spot in mixed leagues.
ESPN Ownership: 28.7%
1. Cameron Maybin, Los Angeles Angels
Maybin will shift over to center field for the Angels, but otherwise Trout’s absence will not affect him. As May winds down, he is hitting .270 with 10 stolen bases and 20 runs scored with a particular uptick over his last 12 games (.391-18-for-46 and 10 runs scored.
Health is always a lingering concern for Maybin, but he is going well right now and assured a regular spot in the lineup. His recent run has coincided with hitting leadoff, which isn’t as great a proposition with Trout out but is still good news fantasy-wise.
Ben Revere is in line for a regular lineup spot while Trout is out, but even in AL-only leagues he’s not worth adding yet.
Cameron Maybin ESPN Ownership: 32.1%