Shortstop Hanley Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers suffered a torn ligament in his thumb and will miss the next two months of action. His blow not only impacts the Dodgers, but fantasy owners as well at a position that is often times hard to find top tier talent at. For his fantasy baseball ranking, I knocked him down from the second ranked shortstop to number 11 and he now has an $11 value in a 15 team mixed league format.
While the Dodgers say they will turn to Luis Cruz at shortstop and some combination of Nick Punto and Juan Uribe at third base, that does little for fantasy owners except in deep NL-only leagues. The player to watch from Ramirez’s injury is shortstop Dee Gordon. Gordon struggled as a rookie last season, but his stolen base potential offers more fantasy upside than any of the other options the Dodgers have and he should get a shot at some point if the other alternatives struggle out of the gate.
The injury to Ramirez places further stress on fantasy owners picking at the top half of the draft in mixed league formats. Say you are in a 15 team mixed league picking in spots 1-5. Unless you reach for Troy Tulowitzki early, by the time your pick comes up in the second round, Tulo, Jose Reyes and Starlin Castro will likely be off of the draft board.
Then you are faced with the dilemma of reaching for Ben Zobrist, Jimmy Rollins or Ian Desmond in the third round because they will all be likely gone by your pick in round four. In addition to Hanley being out, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees could also miss some time at the beginning of the season with inflammation in the ankle he had surgery on last year. Given Jeter’s age (38) and the way the New York Yankees players have been dropping due to injury this season, I would have Jeter off my draft board as well.