Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
One of the thinnest fantasy positions just lost some more weight.
The Biogenesis suspensions finally dropped Monday, and fantasy owners lost two top-five fantasy shortstops in San Diego's Everth Cabrera and Detroit's Jhonny Peralta for 50 games apiece.
Cabrera was hitting .283 with 54 runs and 37 steals and Peralta was hitting .305 with 50 runs, 11 homers, 54 RBI and an .822 OPS at the time of their suspensions.
The replacement options for fantasy owners are predictably slim. Even Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins, who is hitting .255 with 43 runs, five homers, 32 RBI, 14 steals and a .660 OPS, is owned in 87 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Here are some strategies fantasy owners can consider to get them through the final two months.
Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers - Andrus hasn't done much different from last season -- his walk rate is the same, his strikeout rate is 0.6 percentage points higher and his batted ball distribution is nearly identical save for an increase in infield flyballs -- but his batting average is down 33 points due to a 34-point decrease in batting average on balls in play (BABIP). The shortstop has produced a .336 BABIP and a .287 batting average to go with 22 runs, nine steals and a .359 OBP over his last 37 games, so he appears to be coming around as his luck improves.
Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs - Since his average dropped to .228 and his OPS to .582 on June 23, Castro has gone 42-for-150 (.280) with 15 runs, eight doubles, a triple and four homers over his last 36 games. Castro's strikeout rate is a career worst 18.6 percent and he's still hitting just .245 with a .635 OPS in 484 plate appearances, but the 23-year-old is worth buying on the chance that he can recapture his past success.
Martin Prado, Arizona Diamondbacks - Prado dealt with some sour luck over the first three months of the season -- he hit .238 with a .623 OPS and a .250 BABIP through June 22 -- but he has batted .333 with a .903 OPS, a .328 BABIP and just seven strikeouts over his last 143 plate appearances.
Eric Sogard, Oakland Athletics - It was Sogard's bunting that enraged Matt Garza Saturday, causing Garza to go on a Twitter tirade against Sogard and his wife, but the A's bespectacled infielder has had no trouble frustrating pitchers with his swing recently -- he's hitting .366 (15-for-41) with a .918 OPS over his last 12 games. Sogard doesn't play every day and isn't likely to maintain a .300 average, but beggars can't be choosers.
Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners - Franklin is in the midst of a massive slump, going 0-for-21 with nine strikeouts over his last four games, so fantasy owners who add him might want to park the rookie on the bench for a few days. Before this stretch, though, he showed potential by hitting .276 with 10 home runs, 32 RBI and an .830 OPS in his first 219 plate appearances in the big leagues.
Stephen Drew, Boston Red Sox - Boston didn't lose patience with Drew even though he hit .223 with a .696 OPS over his first 280 plate appearances, and he has responded recently with a .389/.465/.694 line, two doubles, three homers and nine RBI over his last 10 games.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox - Adding Bogaerts, who is still playing for Triple-A Pawtucket, might be fantasy owners' best bet to grab an impact bat for the shortstop position. Bogaerts, who is ranked No. 6 on the most recent list of MLB.com's top-100 prospects, is batting .295 with 14 home runs, 60 RBI and an .879 OPS across two minor league levels this season. After trading Jose Iglesias, the Red Sox have a massive hole at third base and could choose to fill it with their top prospect.