Sheets Out 4-6 Weeks; Young Options Available

by Mike Barner on July 17, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT


The Milwaukee Brewers placed starting pitcher Ben Sheets (finger) on the 15-day disabled list Monday, July 16, with what has been diagnosed as a distal sprain of the right middle finger. Sheets left early during his start against the Colorado Rockies Saturday, July 14, because of the finger injury. He was initially supposed to miss a couple of weeks. However, an ultrasound revealed a partial tear of tissue surrounding the tendon in his middle finger.

Sheets was having a very good season for the Brewers before suffering this injury. In 119 1/3 innings, he was 10-4 with a 3.39 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 90 strikeouts. He was also named to the National League All-Star team.

Losing Sheets is obviously not good news for the Brewers, but they do have an insurance policy. Highly touted pitching prospect Yovani Gallardo, who was moved into the bullpen when starting pitcher Chris Capuano returned from injury, will likely be placed back in the starting rotation to replace Sheets. Gallardo has pitched in six games so far this season, three of which were starts. In 28 2/3 innings pitched, Gallardo is 1-1 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and has 27 strikeouts.

Although losing Sheets hurts fantasy owners, they should have realized getting a healthy season from Sheets is no lock. Over the last two seasons, Sheets has only pitched 262 2/3 innings. Owners looking for a replacement should try to pick up Gallardo immediately, if he's on the wire. His low WHIP and high strikeout totals should help ease the pain of losing Sheets. Gallardo is available in about 83 percent of fantasy leagues polled.

Another option could be Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Andrew Miller. Miller has now solidified a spot in the starting rotation and is performing well. So far this season, Miller is 4-3 with a 3.35 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings. Although his WHIP isn't nearly as good as Sheets', he should help make up for the loss of strikeouts while providing a good ERA for fantasy owners. He should also provide wins because he's on the Tigers. Miller is available in approximately 94 percent of leagues polled.

The loss of Sheets greatly impacts the first-place Brewers, but Gallardo owners love the news. Gallardo was stellar as a starter and has dynamite stuff. He should now get at least five starts before Sheets returns.

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About Mike Barner

Mike Barner has been a KFFL Hot Off The Wire Analyst and KFFL contributing writer since 2007.

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