I’m guessing a lot of fantasy owners have been asking themselves this week. Is there a way to replace Jose Fernandez?
Had he stayed healthy and maintained his pre-injury pace for the remainder of the 2014 season, this is what ESPN Projects his numbers would have looked like at season’s end.
[table id=719 /]
While I don’t believe Fernandez was going to strike out 298 hitters on the season, the rest of the numbers don’t seem that outlandish. So, if he was on your team, how should you go about replacing Jose Fernandez?
Unfortunately, I don’t have one guy on the waiver wire that can match Fernandez’s stats. I guess you should double-check to be that Clayton Kershaw or Yu Darvish are indeed signed but short of a miracle, no one pitcher on the waiver wire will get you anything near Fernandez’s numbers.
But there are some things you can do — or not do.
- Step 1: Don’t Make a Trade
Here’s the problem.
Everyone in your league knows that you just lost a top-flight starting pitcher. This isn’t exactly the time to get good market value for one of these guys, because everyone knows you’re in a tight spot.
You may need to ride things out for a bit. Fortunately, it’s still early enough in the year that you can do that. Wait a little while until someone who has a top starter has a need that you need to fill. Then, if you still have a need, it’s time to look for a trade.
- Step 2: Sign a Strikeout Guy
Right now, four proven vets should be on people’s radar.
Likely in that order. Beckett and Kennedy (despite a rough outing Thursday) have both been pretty consistently strong all year, while Lincecum and Jimenez appear to be coming into shape. I’m not predicting that any of these guys will end up having season’s reminding us of their prime years, but you know that they’ll strike hitters out. Even at their worst, all of those guys have consistently made guys whiff to the tune of (roughly) one per inning.
Beckett, Kennedy, and Lincecum are all in the National League, specifically in NL West, which is hitter-friendly. Jimenez’s place as an American League pitcher puts him at the bottom of the list but as we saw at the end of 2013, he’s capable of an extended hot streak.
- Step 3: Sign a Low Walk Guy
Low walk guys will tend to generate low WHIP’s, and above all else, that’s what we’re going for here. Unfortunately, this is where you have to get a little lucky. Fortunately, we have multiple options to draw from.
The MRI idea may come in handy here. Clave showed us how to spend $3 in a draft to get a top pitcher. In this case, Julio Teheran. He also gave us a few specific MRI guys to look at. The drawback here is that we’re already looking at multiple guys to replace one. Using MRI, you really need 2-3 more guys. So it becomes 3-4 guys to replace one. Still, it’s something to consider, especially if you have a hitter or two sitting on your bench.
For starters, you’re probably looking at guys like Jason Vargas, Collin McHugh, Mike Leake, Tom Koehler, Jason Vargas, or when he returns, Michael Pineda. They’re all off to good starts this season. Hopefully, at least one of them can continue their strong pitching through the rest of the year. Or, at least, they’ll stay strong while on your roster.
- Step 4: Ride those Hot Streaks
We’ve been over this before, and it especially holds true when you’re trying to replace a star.
One waiver wire guy will not get you Fernandez’s production. But if you find available pitchers who are going strong, ride them until they cool off. At that point, look for another one.
Streaming is not a great way to make up for the loss of Fernandez, but this is modified streaming. That is something you should do.
Replacing Jose Fernandez will not be an easy task. But if you make some smart moves and yes, get lucky, your fantasy team can overcome the absence.