Eloy Jimenez injury shakes up fantasy baseball drafts



The best part of any fantasy season is the draft, just ask Fantasy Madman Drew Loftis.

The season is fun, but nothing beats the draft.

Months of study and debate lead up to the ultimate moment of camaraderie, with everyone in your league sitting around a table (well, more likely a Zoom call) to hear the ticking of the draft clock. There are moments of frustration, like when you curse out a friend for taking a player you had in your queue, and moments of joy, like when your friend curses you out for taking a player they wanted. Ultimately, it’s a sports fans dream.

Most leagues (should) aim to draft as close to the start of the season as possible. Though it’s fun to draft early and often to help determine your strategy, drafting too early can cause more harm than good. Just because you can draft your team in January doesn’t mean you should, as you run the risk of ruining your season before it even starts.

That may have happened this week.

In last year’s abbreviated season, the White Sox’s Eloy Jimenez hit .296 with 14 homers, 41 RBIs and a .891 OPS. That was how he followed a rookie season in which he hit .267 with 31 homers, 79 RBIs, 69 runs, .828 OPS and finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.

Jimenez, originally ranked as Roto Rage’s sixth-best outfielder, will be out for 5-6 months with a torn pectoral muscle. The White Sox originally described his injury as shoulder discomfort on Wednesday, but this is obviously much, much worse than that. There’s a chance the 24-year-old slugger will return in September, but that’s nothing fantasy owners should depend on.

Eloy Jimenez
Eloy Jimenez
Getty Images

So, what now?

If you’ve already drafted, you’re trying to replace a top-40 pick, a cornerstone to your offense (a player projected to easily best his rookie campaign numbers).

Waiver wire pickings are slim, but options worthy of being rostered (all available in 70 percent or more of ESPN leagues) include Victor Reyes, Bryan Reynolds, Nick Senzel, Cristian Pache, Myles Straw, Alex Dickerson, Kiké Hernández, Justin Upton, Manuel Margot or Sam Hilliard.

If you haven’t drafted, you can adjust your strategy. Jimenez should immediately be removed from your draft lists, outside of dynasty leagues.

Before his injury, Jimenez carried a 36.5 average draft position, according to Fantasy Alarm. So, what should you do with that ever-important pick? You could pivot to a top-15 starting pitcher, like the Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff (39.7), or fill other position needs with the White Sox’s Jose Abreu (36.6), the Dodgers’ Corey Seager (37.4), the Astros’ Alex Bregman (39.4) or the Red Sox’s Rafael Devers (41.9).

Still want an outfielder? The next five available, in terms of ADP, are Jimenez’s teammate, Luis Robert (37.3), the Astros’ Kyle Tucker (38.9), Royals utilityman Whit Merrifield (40.4), the Braves’ Marcell Ozuna (42.6) or the Blue Jays’ George Springer (47.6).

If those names don’t do it for you, there’s plenty of talent to target a few rounds later, like the Mets’ Michael Conforto (73.5) or Roto Rage favorite Nick Castellanos of the Reds (85.0). The Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski (119.4) is even cheaper. He may not be a Hall of Famer like his grandfather, but he has 30-homer potential, the ability to get on base (top 20 OBP in 2020), and drive in and score runs while hitting for a solid average.

In later rounds, there are solid options like Cleveland’s Eddie Rosario (123.1), Houston’s ever-steady Michael Brantley (152.3), the Athletics’ Ramon Laureano (154.3) or the Twins’ Max Kepler (191.1) — who is only one season removed from reaching career-high marks in homers (36), RBIs (90), runs (98), batting average (.252) and OPS (.855).

You can stash the Mariners’ stud prospect (sorry, Mets fans), Jarred Kelenic (208.8), or take shots on Rangers speedster Leody Taveras (221.3) or steady Diamondbacks veteran David Peralta (264.8) even later.

Fantasy baseball outfielder rankings

  1. Juan Soto=Was
  2. Ronald Acuna=Atl
  3. Mookie Betts=LAD
  4. Mike Trout=LAA
  5. Christian Yelich=Mil
  6. Cody Bellinger=LAD
  7. Bryce Harper=Phi
  8. Marcell Ozuna=Atl
  9. Luis Robert=CWS
  10. George Springer=Tor
  11. Aaron Judge=NYY
  12. Michael Conforto=NYM
  13. Starling Marte=Mia
  14. Kyle Tucker=Hou
  15. Austin Meadows=TB
  16. Trent Grisham=SD
  17. Randy Arozarena=TB
  18. Nick Castellanos=Cin
  19. Lourdes Gurriel Jr.=Tor
  20. Brandon Lowe=TB
  21. Charlie Blackmon=Col
  22. Teoscar Hernandez=Tor
  23. Whit Merrifield=KC
  24. Cavan Biggio=Tor
  25. Victor Robles=Was
  26. Eddie Rosario=Cle
  27. Ramon Laureano=Oak
  28. Michael Brantley=Hou
  29. Wil Myers=SD
  30. Tommy Pham=SD
  31. Alex Verdugo=Bos
  32. Dylan Carlson=StL
  33. Byron Buxton=Min
  34. Anthony Santander=Bal
  35. Jeff McNeil=NYM
  36. Trey Mancini=Bal
  37. Kyle Lewis=Sea
  38. Clint Frazier=NYY
  39. Dominic Smith=NYM
  40. Jorge Soler=KC
  41. Mike Yastrzemski=SF
  42. Ian Happ=ChC
  43. Kyle Schwarber=Was
  44. Tommy Edman=StL
  45. AJ Pollock=LAD
  46. Max Kepler=Min
  47. Nick Solak=Tex
  48. Joey Gallo=Tex
  49. Austin Hays=Bal
  50. Dylan Moore=Sea
  51. Ryan Mountcastle=Bal
  52. Aaron Hicks=NYY
  53. Jesse Winker=Cin
  54. J.D. Davis=NYM
  55. Myles Straw=Hou
  56. Mark Canha=Oak
  57. David Peralta=Ari
  58. Brandon Nimmo=NYM
  59. Leody Taveras=Tex
  60. Victor Reyes=Det
  61. Andrew McCutchen=Phi
  62. Randal Grichuk=Tor
  63. Andrew Benintendi=KC
  64. Nick Senzel=Cin
  65. Jarred Kelenic=Sea
  66. Mitch Haniger=Sea
  67. Joc Pederson=ChC
  68. Chris Taylor=LAD
  69. Kole Calhoun=Ari
  70. Bryan Reynolds=Pit
  71. Lorenzo Cain=Mil
  72. Hunter Dozier=KC
  73. Manuel Margot=TB
  74. David Dahl=Tex
  75. Raimel Tapia=Col
  76. Corey Dickerson=Mia
  77. Sam Hilliard=Col
  78. Garrett Hampson=Col
  79. Willie Calhoun=Tex
  80. Alex Kirilloff=Min
  81. Gregory Polanco=Pit
  82. Avisail Garcia=Mil
  83. Josh Naylor=Cle
  84. Oscar Mercado=Cle
  85. Cristian Pache=Atl
  86. Franchy Cordero=Bos
  87. Mauricio Dubon=SF
  88. Kiké Hernandez=Bos
  89. Hunter Renfroe=Bos
  90. Adam Eaton=CWS
  91. Jurickson Profar=SD
  92. Justin Upton=LAA
  93. Shogo Akiyama=Cin
  94. Roman Quinn=Phi
  95. Stephen Piscotty=Oak
  96. Adam Duvall=Mia
  97. Alex Dickerson=SF
  98. Leury Garcia=CWS
  99. Edward Olivares=KC
  100. Tyler O’Neill=StL
  101. JaCoby Jones=Det
  102. Jackie Bradley Jr.=Mil
  103. Nomar Mazara=Det
  104. Robbie Grossman=Det
  105. Miguel Andujar=NYY
  106. Adam Frazier=Pit
  107. Ender Inciarte=Atl
  108. DJ Stewart=Bal
  109. Dexter Fowler=LAA
  110. Jason Heyward=ChC
  111. Kevin Kiermaier=TB
  112. Adam Engel=CWS
  113. Jake Bauers=Cle
  114. Cedric Mullins=Bal
  115. Jo Adell=LAA
  116. Daniel Johnson=Cle
  117. Lewis Brinson=Mia
  118. Brett Gardner=NYY
  119. Kevin Pillar=NYM
  120. Austin Slater=SF
  121. Marwin Gonzalez=Bos
  122. Yoshi Tsutsugo=TB
  123. Anthony Alford=Pit
  124. Monte Harrison=Mia
  125. Niko Goodrum=Det

Team Name of the Week

Francisco Lindor Dining

Submitted by David Satriano


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