Holliday headed to DL; Hanley to follow? 

June, 2, 2011
I know it sounds strange, but fantasy owners should not be upset that the leading hitter in the National League is headed for the disabled list Thursday, and the No. 2 overall player from ESPN average live drafts could be following him there on Friday. Yes, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday won't be helping us statistically for a few weeks, and it's looking like Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez has the same plight. My take is a big-picture one: You want these fellows healthy and productive for the final three-plus months, not playing through injury and slumping.

Holliday is thriving this season, hitting a league-leading .342 with six home runs and 31 RBIs, and we should remember he missed a week earlier this season following an appendectomy, which likely depressed his power for some time. This current quad injury is unrelated, and I would stop short of calling Holliday a brittle player. Muscle strains are common, and there are probably many we never find out about; Holliday started a game earlier this week, which is unfortunate because his DL stint could have been backdated, but regardless the Cardinals do not expect him to miss significant time. Let the injury heal and he can resume his season. Hopefully he can even start stealing bases.

Fantasy owners shouldn't have trouble replacing an outfielder for a two-week period, but I would recommend looking no further than the Cardinals for the replacement, because they have two productive fellows, and each should continue playing. Lefty-hitting Jon Jay boasts the exact same batting average as Holliday, a sweet .342, and while it's a bit out of place with past performance, Jay doesn't look overwhelmed. He hit .300 over 323 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season, with four home runs. This isn't a player likely to hit 20 home runs or steal 20 bases, but he contributes in each category, and hitting second in the lineup is a nice treat for his value. Jay struck out three times Wednesday night against the San Francisco Giants, but a lot of hitters swing and miss against Tim Lincecum. Look for Jay to receive most of the work in left field.