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Fantasy Baseball Advice- Albert Pujols and Carl Crawford Injured

by Photo of Andrew Lontos

With Pujols and Crawford out, fantasy owners need help.

Fantasy Baseball Advice- Albert Pujols and Carl Crawford Injured

It's been a tough year for a lot of fantasy baseball players out there; Evan Longoria, David Wright, Matt Holliday, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Jason Heyward, and Joe Mauer are just some of the big name players who have struggled with injury problems in 2011.

You can now add Albert Pujols and Carl Crawford to that list. Both players' contracts were in the news in the offseason (Pujols wanted a gigantic new deal, Crawford got one), both struggled mightily to begin the year, and both got hurt over the weekend. Crawford has already been put on the 15 day disabled list; but his left hamstring strain is not believed to be a big deal and he is expected to return with no problems in two weeks. The future for Pujols, the Cardinals, and fantasy owners everywhere is much scarier. The St. Louis slugger injured his wrist colliding with Royals' third baseman WIlson Betemit, and left the game immediately. Although he appeared to be in great pain, initial reports indicate that the wrist is not broken; we'll be able to get a better idea of the severity after further tests are performed later today. After the game, Pujols had this to say, Via ESPN.com

To be honest, I can't give you guys too much until the X-rays and an MRI tomorrow," said Pujols, whose left wrist was tightly wrapped. "I know I'm pretty sore. Am I worried? Of course. Hopefully, everything will come out negative tomorrow. When I come out of a game, believe me, something is really wrong.

This injury is even more devastating for fantasy owners because of the year Pujols has had thus far. In April and May, he had an OPS of .758 and .752- hardly the production one would expect from a consensus top 3 pick. The three-time MVP was just turning it on when he got hurt; his June OPS is 1.197 and he has slugged 8 home runs in the month alone. In addition, with 7 games played at third base, Albert was getting very close to picking up eligibility at the extremely thin hot corner position. If you thought his career 162 game averages of .329/42/127 warranted the top pick at first base, his value increases dramatically at third. Unfortunately, you should now be worrying that Pujols will be on the field again period, not about what position he plays. Let's take a look at some possible replacements if your star first baseman was injured over the weekend.

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Struggling Big Names

Justin Morneau, Adam Dunn

Morneau is living solely off his name at this point. The 2006 MVP missed the last three months of 2010 with a concussion and has yet to regain his form. Neck and wrist injuries have also plagued him this year (he's coming off the 15 day DL in a few days) and is only hitting .225 with 4 home runs. Personally, I wouldn't touch him, but he's available in 20% of Yahoo Leagues and his trade value will probably never be lower. Dunn is having an awful year, and would be a big risk/reward buy-low trade option, just like Morneau. Hitting .182 with 7 home runs, you'd be hard pressed to find an owner who wouldn't want to get rid of Dunn.

Young Players Available in Many Leagues

Eric Hosmer, Justin Smoak, Mark Trumbo, Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rizzo

Hosmer has played well in the 40 games since he's been called up, hitting .283 with 5 home runs and 22 runs batted in. The Royals love him, and job security is not an issue at all. Justin Smoak (traded to the Mariners in the Cliff Lee deal last year) and Mark Trumbo both have 12 home runs, and are each owned in less than half of Yahoo leagues. Freddie Freeman, the Braves' rookie first baseman, is hitting .271, with 7 home runs and 27 runs batted in. Anthony Rizzo is a highly touted Padres' prospect who was traded in the Adrian Gonzalez deal. He's hitting .148 in 10 career games, but keep an eye on the very talented first baseman.

UPDATE Via Ken Rosenthal:

Cardinals' Pujols out 4 to 6 weeks with small fracture in wrist.

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