With the news that A.J. Pollock will miss most of the 2016 season with an elbow fracture, many fantasy owners have been dealt the first significant blow to their roster. Here are four replacement options who are owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
STEVEN SOUZA (48 PERCENT OWNED)
Souza is a fairly substantial liability in batting average – he hit only .225 a season ago thanks to a gargantuan whiff rate. However, he is also likely the only player available on the wire in your league who is a good bet to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases. If you play in a league that uses on-base percentage instead of batting average, Souza is a much more valuable asset.
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MARCELL OZUNA (41 PERCENT)
Ozuna was a popular sleeper in drafts last season after totaling 23 homers and 85 RBI in 2014. Unfortunately for those who targeted him, Ozuna stumbled out of the gate and earned a demotion to the minors, ultimately resulting in a lost season. He hit much better in the second half, however, and the Marlins resisted the urge to sell low on him this winter. Now he appears to be Don Mattingly’s choice to hit second in the order.
DOMINGO SANTANA (39 PERCENT)
Santana’s major league career didn’t get off to the most auspicious start. In a blink-and-you-missed-it cup of coffee in 2014, he struck out in 14 of 18 trips to the plate. Last season, though, he managed eight homers and four steals in only 160 at-bats. The bulk of that production came after he was traded from Houston to Milwaukee as part of the package for Carlos Gomez. Santana not only has a clear path to playing time with the non-contending Brewers, he’s currently got a grip of the leadoff spot. If he can stick there all season, 30 homers isn’t a crazy thought, along with plenty of runs and double-digit stolen bases.
SOCRATES BRITO (9 PERCENT)
We conclude with the man who will replace Pollock himself in the Arizona outfield. Brito had already been drawing some attention in deep and NL-only leagues before the injury; he averaged 10 homers and 30 steals in the minors the past two seasons. Of course, that was at High-A and Double-A, but Brito has the tools to succeed at the big-league level. With Pollock out for potentially all of 2016, Brito will be given the opportunity to run with the center field job. He hit second in the lineup on Tuesday, ahead of Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta. If he can hit well enough to stick there, runs should come in bunches.
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles and Fantasy Baseball Rankings are your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.