With Albert Pujols on the disabled list for what appears to be for four to six weeks with a fractured left wrist, it’s time to start looking for fantasy replacements at first base.
Analysis: Whether you have depth at first to fill in for Pujols or not, this injury warrants a pickup. Todd Helton is still available in a few leagues nationwide and he should maintain your batting average in roto leagues while Pujols is out. If you are looking for a bit more power you may want to consider Ty Wigginton. Wigginton hits in a hitters paradise at Coors Field and has position eligibility at second and third base as well. One of the more risky options but an option none the less appears to be Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo. Trumbo’s stock has been falling since it appears that he may split some playing time with Russell Branyan but Trumbo is the better option for the Angels. Trumbo has hit twelve home runs on the year and is hitting .254 with room for improvement due to a low BABIP. If you can deal with a few less at bats for a guy with a .211 ISO then Trumbo isn’t so bad after all. There are plenty of options out there at first base, it’s just a matter of what your team needs while Pujols is out.
Todd Helton is just two homers short of what he hit last year in 118 games and his batting average is seventy points higher. So, is Todd Helton back?
Analysis: Todd Helton is the fourteenth best fantasy first baseman thus far this year, it’s pretty impressive when considering the thirty-seven year old was left for dead coming into the 2011 season. You have to love what Helton is doing at the plate, making contact. His strikeout rate is half of what is was last year and three percent below his career average of 14 percent. His BABIP, ISO and wOBA all check out around his career levels so it appears Todd Helton is back, at least for now. You have to consider as the season wears on the veteran his performance will drop but with his contact rate (92%) you’d have to imagine his batting average will not dip below .300 and hitting in Coors Field should help hide his diminishing power. You really have two options with Helton- in deeper leagues pick him up off the wire or sell him for a team need/shallow position. He’s a perfect depth player in roto leagues with his batting average as well as his run and RBI totals.
Projection: Helton should bat around .300 with 40 runs and 40 RBI the rest of the season. Expect his play to drop a bit, so act accordingly.