Replacing Ian Desmond a tough task
The unfortunate oblique injury suffered by Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond is a significant one for fantasy owners. Desmond is likely to miss at least a month of action and, well, good luck finding a replacement at middle infield. The Nationals will simply move their left fielder to second base (Stephen Lombardozzi), their second baseman (Danny Espinosa) to shortstop and find a left fielder, but fantasy owners will have a tougher time filling the hole, even in shallow leagues. In fact, one could argue it hasn't been this tough to find a middle infielder in many years.
Sure, we know runs, home runs and even stolen bases are down from previous seasons and especially from the fun, high-offense days from a decade ago, but fantasy owners really take the hit when it comes to middle infielders. Entering Sunday's action a mere five second basemen/shortstops made up the top 50 on ESPN's Player Rater, and Desmond was No. 2 of that group. The others are, in order, Robinson Cano, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler and Aaron Hill at No. 50. You might notice a trend with that group, as none are shortstops. After Desmond the No. 2 shortstop on the Rater is Starlin Castro, at No. 67 overall. It's possible Desmond misses a month but doesn't drop from being the top shortstop in that time, which is telling.
For more of Eric's thoughts on middle infielders in fantasy, you must be an ESPN Insider!