How to deal with injuries to Molina, Phillips 

July, 11, 2014
Earlier this week, the popular injury for preseason top-five first basemen Edwin Encarnacion and Joey Votto was the quad. On Thursday fantasy owners got a few more jolts of bad news with thumb ligament injuries to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. Neither was having a season commensurate with last year’s production or this spring’s average draft position, but still, they were worth owning, and it’s not like there’s much out there to replace them, even in the shallow leagues, at catcher or middle infield. Happy weekend! Please try to stay healthy, quads, thumbs and everything!

When it comes to catchers, here’s my current top 10 for the rest of the season, and unfortunately for Molina owners, these guys are owned in all leagues, or darn close to it. In order, I’d go Jonathan Lucroy, Buster Posey, Salvador Perez, Carlos Santana (yes, still), Devin Mesoraco (yes, top five now, by default), Wilin Rosario, Yan Gomes, Evan Gattis (but be careful here), Miguel Montero and Brian McCann. Molina is surely off the list. Just drop him when you can. Joe Mauer is on the DL, with no timetable for return. Derek Norris is my No. 11 catcher, then Mauer, and available options I’d recommend include the platooning Norris, brittle Wilson Ramos, batting-average killer (with pop) Mike Zunino, intriguing yet brittle youngster Travis d’Arnaud and versatile Stephen Vogt. I’m sure Adam Wainwright will love throwing to A.J. Pierzynski. Perhaps John Buck instead.

With Phillips, who has hit seven home runs just like Molina, it’s a similar situation. Move on. Phillips isn’t expected to miss quite as much time, though, so it’s understandable if you decide to wait, but make sure you’re aware of his numbers. They’re not special. Plus, neither Molina nor Phillips was hitting for much power prior and each has stolen only one base. At least Molina was among my top-five catchers still. Phillips has been out of my top-10 second basemen all year. The list, to be thorough, would be: Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Anthony Rendon, Jose Altuve, Brian Dozier, Jason Kipnis, Dustin Pedroia, Dee Gordon, Daniel Murphy and Matt Carpenter. Phillips wasn’t 11th, either. He had a long run of success but, the massive and misleading RBI total last year notwithstanding, regression hit him hard.