— Steve Berthiaume (@SBerthiaumeESPN) May 1, 2012
So, the obvious question from a fantasy angle becomes, how do you replace a man who hit .329 with four homers, 19 RBI, 15 runs, in the first month of the season, while still finding time to steal two bases?
The easy answer is that you can’t replace him. No single third baseman on the waiver wire will give you Longoria’s production from now through September. Fortunately, creative options exist.
I would also like to direct your attention to Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. As of right now, he’s hitting over .300 with four homers and 12 batted in. Best of all, he’s available in nearly 60 percent of ESPN leagues.
But if Davis isn’t available to you, or he becomes cold, there are other plays, just not with a specific name.
In my first Dixon’s Picks, I laid out some good names to pick up this week, with an emphasis on pitching. But in a case like this, a lot of the same ideas apply.
Ride a hot hand. This happens all throughout the baseball season, where you’ll see some no-name playing out of his mind. Grab that person until that hot streak is over. When it ends, look for another person riding a hot streak. Combined, players on hot streaks can get you pretty close to what you would expect from someone like Longoria.
Fill specific needs. By now, you probably have a pretty good idea of what kind of team you have. If you’re lacking in power but can afford a drop in your average, go after a guy like Pedro Alvarez from the Pirates. If average is what you need, take a look at someone like Ty Wigginton or Robert Andino, who are both currently above .300.
Heck, if you need steals, take a look at a guy like Maicer Izturis, although the rest of your offense had better be good if you’re going down that road, because Izturis will be a liability in pretty much all other areas.
The point is that there are ways around this. Of the “available” options, the best right now is Davis. But even if he’s not available to you, there are other ways to fill this vacancy.
Losing a guy like Longoria (who was probably a first or second round pick to you) will hurt your team, but it doesn’t need to be a long term detriment. Your team can stay afloat even without Longoria in the lineup.