Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
As a not-so-proud owner of Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton I am still cringing over the play that may have cost me a fantasy championship.
I could understand if it was the final game of the regular season and the playoffs were on the line, or if it was a World Series game, but seriously Josh, what were you thinking in the first inning of game No.11 of 162?
For those of you who missed it, the always fragile Hamilton tried to score from third on an Adrian Beltre pop up to the foul ground between third base and home plate. Both Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge and catcher Victor Martinez went for the ball and home plate was left unprotected. Hamilton made a mad dash for home plate but Martinez beat him there and Hamilton was injured during his head-first slide.
Hamilton is expected to be out for six-to-eight weeks. But it's not just Hamilton owners who are affected by the injury. Owners of players at the top of the Rangers order; shortstop Elvis Andrus and DH Michael Young, may suffer because they won't get knocked in by the reigning AL MVP.
And owners of the cleanup and No.5 hitters, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz, may have fewer RBI opportunities without Hamilton getting on in front of them.
In addition, the Texas pitching staff, which has been excellent to date led by Alexi Ogando (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.538 WHIP) and Matt Harrison (2-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.714 WHIP) will have to pitch that much better to make up for the likely drop in run production.
Though the sample size is small, the Rangers were averaging 6.03 runs per game before Hamilton's injury and 2.64 in the 17 innings since he made the crazy attempt to score.
Even star closer Neftali Felix could feel the repercussions of the play if the Rangers struggle to win games in Hamilton's absence.
The defending American League champions have by my count 15 "fantasy-worthy" players on their roster and all 15 will feel the effect of Hamilton's questionable play for the next two months.
The only fantasy owners who may have benefited from the injury (beside those who were scheduled to play against Hamilton over the next eight weeks) are those who owned or quickly picked up outfielder David Murphy. Murphy will likely garner most of the playing time available because of the injury. He's not Hamilton, but if you don't have much of an outfield bench on your roster, you could do a lot worse.
Murphy batted .291 last season with an OPS of .806, 12 HRs and 65 RBIs in 419 at-bats. He's owned in less than 40% of all leagues.