How to replace Jose Reyes

Updated: April 13, 2013, 6:44 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

Those who have selected Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes in the past did so knowing that while injury is a risk with all players, with him it's just a bit more of a consideration. Reyes, still one of the league's preeminent base stealers and off to a fantastic start to the 2013 season, won't be helping anyone for a while after badly spraining his left ankle Friday night. It's yet another serious blow to fantasy owners in a week full of them.

While it's reasonable to point out Reyes played in 160 games for the Miami Marlins last season, from 2009 to 2011 he averaged only 98 games played, though he remained productive and one of the coveted middle infielders in fantasy. Through 10 games this season, some on artificial turf, which was a potential concern knowing his oft-injured hamstrings, Reyes is hitting .395, including Friday when he singled, knocked in two runs and stole his fifth base in as many attempts. That's not something easily replaceable in free agency, even in shallow leagues. Reyes, 11th on the Player Rater entering Saturday's games, is No. 25 in ESPN average live drafts.

As of this writing, the range of absence for Reyes stands at one to three months, a pretty big disparity, but even if he returns on the short end of the estimate, there's risk that he will not be able to do the things expected from him -- using his legs to great success. I think that's a bit overrated; Reyes overcame his brittle tag in 2012 and the chronic hamstring woes that plagued him. This is a fluke injury. Sprains to ligaments and tendons can be more serious and take longer to heal than broken bones, so we await word on MRI results. Regardless, you can't cut Reyes in a fantasy league.