Featured Image by: USATSI
Written be Sam Gubner
Clayton Kershaw is by far the most devastating injury from a fantasy baseball perspective this season. He is the best pitcher in fantasy baseball, has the most fantasy points overall, and sadly for some people who have him is out for at least a month with a herniated disk. What people do to replace him could make or break their season, so here is some advice as to who you should pick up while Kershaw is on the shelf.
SP – Brandon McCarthy – Los Angeles Dodgers (7.9%)
Coming off the disabled list July 3rd, McCarthy is one of the main beneficiaries of Kershaw’s absence because there is now room for him in the rotation. And thats not all, when he returned he went 5 shutout innings against the hard-hitting Rockies on the way to a 4-1 win. McCarthy hasn’t had a stellar career, owning a 4.11 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. But even with these below-average numbers, McCarthy looks like he is in for a bounce back year with a Dodgers lineup that features Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez, and Justin Turner.
SP – Jon Gray – Colorado Rockies (31.5%)
Jon Gray is a rare talent that is still available in most fantasy leagues. If he was playing in a more pitcher-friendly park instead of Coors Field, then he should be owned in all formats but that isn’t the case. He also is very inconsistent, shutting out a team one game then getting blown out in the other. Even with these major issues, Gray still can rack up strikeouts, 87 through 82.1 innings, and dominate opposing teams. The major problems when it comes to Gray is his inconsistency and ballpark, which I believe his talent will overcome. He is risky, but it could pay major dividends at least until Kershaw returns.
SP – Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh Pirates (37.9%)
I think Taillon has the most talent out of all the pitchers in this list. He could easily become an elite starting pitcher in fantasy baseball, so the fact that he is owned in 37.9% of leagues is shocking. The Pirates hurler did great his first two starts, both against the Mets, but got blown up in his next two starts against the Dodgers and Cubs. To me these two starts just seemed like a young pitcher going up against two powerhouses. And after these he bounced back giving up 1 run in 6 innings on the way to a Pirates win. This youngster is going to do big things so the least he can do is replace Clayton Kershaw.
SP – James Shields – Chicago White Sox (20%)
Just hear me out. I know Shields was the worst pitcher in the league by a wide margin. He was so bad that he came from being owned in 80% of leagues to a mere 20% and for a month gave up at least 6 runs every start. But it seems those days are behind Shields as he has pitched three consecutive quality starts. The White Sox are also one of the more potent offenses in the league having stars such as Todd Frazier, Jose Abreu, and Melky Cabrera. While I don’t think he will be a star or what he once was on Kansas City and Tampa Bay, but I do think he will be a serviceable replacement for “Kersh”.
SP – Sean Manaea – Oakland Athletics (5.2%)
The Hawaiian prospect has had an awful year for the Athletics owning a 5.40 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. This is mostly due to the fact that Sean Manaea seems to always have one big inning that ruins him and his teams day. But on the brightside, Manaea pitched a 5.2 inning inning shutout of the San Francisco Giants en route to a 7-1 win. In addition, due to the lack of competition, Manaea is a mainstay in the Athletics rotation and has time to improve. I believe he will breakout this year, and it seems like that breakout may be occurring at this very moment.