- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Baseball’s home run leader underwent surgery for a broken hamate bone in his left wrist on Sunday, the day after hurting it on a swing, and while this will prevent Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton from reaching his current pace for 58 blasts and likely cost him another shot at the NL MVP award, he remains one of the most valuable assets in fantasy baseball even in 2015. This certainly isn’t the first time a slugger has dealt with this injury (see: Troy Tulowitzki, Pablo Sandoval, Evan Longoria), and while it’s true many hand and wrist injuries can sap future power, I don’t view Stanton as a major risk for the final two months and neither does ESPN’s Stephania Bell. Basically, Stanton’s out four to six weeks and it’s a fantasy owner’s job to find a replacement, hopefully one superior to what Miami is using in Ichiro Suzuki.
I’ve got Stanton on a key deep-league team and while it wasn’t particularly fun sifting through the flotsam available, let’s try this positive perspective: Stanton has already provided 27 home runs in fewer than three months. That’s ridiculous for this era. But he can still come back strong in early August and reach 40, so if I get offers to move Stanton, they’d need to be significant. I’m not selling low. After all, Stanton could still hit more home runs in 120 games than anyone else does in six months' worth of action. Some are concerned about Stanton’s long-term outlook, since this will be the third season out of the past four that he doesn’t even make it to 145 games, but I say he’s still a first-rounder in 2016 drafts. The missed games are not positive, but on the bright side we get a free 40 to find a replacement! It really could be worse.
So who is going to hit home runs for your team in July? Well, since Stanton had hit so many, and was leading MLB in RBIs at the time of his mishap -- Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado passed him on Sunday -- take a closer look at your squad. You might find you’re relatively strong in power and more desperate for stolen bases or batting average. Stanton was hitting only .265. There are some readily available outfielders who can steal bases and others who can hit .300. Stanton wasn’t doing that. In fairness to Ichiro, who is basically all that floundering Miami has available to play right field, he can hit for average and run a bit. But let’s discuss power, because available options do exist in standard 10- and 12-team formats.