Brian McTaggart, of the Houston Chronicle, reports the Houston Astros placed outfielder Carlos Lee (finger) on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left pinkie finger. He is scheduled to undergo surgery Monday, Aug. 11, and is expected to be out six to eight weeks. He will likely miss the rest of the regular season.
To take Lee's roster spot, Houston purchased the contract of outfielder Reggie Abercrombie from Triple-A Round Rock.
The Astros lose a huge bat in the middle of their order, and fantasy baseball owners now must deal with his absence. Lee, who leads the National League with 100 RBIs, is posting another elite fantasy year with a .314 batting average and 28 home runs.
His early prognosis shows little hope for him returning this year, and at best he would return for the championship of many fantasy baseball playoffs in head-to-head leagues. It would be acceptable to cut him outright in shallow leagues if you need to stash players that have a better chance at returning this season or need the roster spot for someone to replace Lee daily in your lineup.
However, those with sufficient roster space should hang on to him in hopes that he comes back for a brief period of production.
Manager Cecil Cooper said the playing time in left field could be split between veteran outfielder Darin Erstad and infielder Ty Wigginton. Erstad is hitting .279 with two homers and 19 RBIs while playing both first base and outfield this year. Wigginton has a .276-11-30 line in 75 games.
Abercrombie is hitting 3-for-16 (.188) with a solo home run in the majors this year and posted a .273-12-36 line at Round Rock.
It's safe to say that no Astros substitute can come close to matching Lee's elite numbers. Wigginton was already a solid middle infielder in deep mixed leagues, though, and Erstad remains valuable in NL-only formats, especially with his new opportunity for playing time. He could be kept on watch lists in deep mixed setups, but don't expect much offense from him.
Abercrombie should not be considered in any fantasy baseball setup because he mainly provides depth and doesn't have much offensive upside.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
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