A mediocre season in Queens just took the Long Island Expressway to Lost-ville as the New York Mets placed slugger Pete Alonso on the 15-day injured list Friday (retroactive to Thursday, June 8). Alonso was injured in the June 7 game when he took a mid-90s fastball from Atlanta Braves starter Charlie Morton on the wrist. Ouch. Not only must that have really hurt at the time, but it’s also an “ouch” to a Mets team struggling for identity, a groove and wins. The Mets have lost eight of their last 10 games, a stretch that includes a seven-game skid. It’s not like the Metropolitans were lighting the world on fire prior to Alonso’s injury. At the time of the injury, the National League New Yorkers were already in the midst of that seven-game skid and wrestling the Phillies for third place in the NL East while trying to tread .500 water.
It may be all doom and gloom at Citi Field, but the loss of Pete Alonso doesn’t have to mean doomsday for your fantasy baseball team.
Now you’re not going to find someone with a league-leading 22 home runs on the waiver wire, but there are options to fill the gaps and stem the tide during Alonso’s potential month-long absence. Let’s dive in.
Gary Sanchez, San Diego Padres
If you’re looking to snatch up some quick homers look no further than recently released Met turned Padres star-of-the-moment Gary Sanchez. Since joining San Diego May 30, Sanchez has hit five home runs with 12 RBI. The former Yankee two-time All-Star catcher’s career seemed pretty much over Memorial Day weekend, but has found new baseball life under the southern California sun. Sure, the surge in home runs, including three in the past week, is a pleasant surprise for the Padres, but not completely out of nowhere given Sanchez’ earlier career. Sanchez showed some good pop in his early years in the Bronx with seasons of 33 (2017) and 34 (2019) homers. Even in his final season with the Yankees, Sanchez managed to hit 23 home runs against a dicey .204 batting average.
Sanchez has been welcomed with open arms in the Padres clubhouse, so much so that Manager Bob Melvin has showed faith with him both at and behind the plate. Melvin had Sanchez catch ace Yu Darvish Friday and it looks like he’s gained the confidence of the team for more starts at catcher to come. Grab Sanchez now while he’s hot. He’s off to a great start on his fourth team in three seasons, but honeymoons don’t last long and multiple homers every week is very unrealistic to expect.
San Diego plays Cleveland and Tampa Bay at Petco this week then travels upstate to San Francisco before returning home to face the Nationals. Of those teams, only Washington is towards the bottom of home runs allowed.
Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves
Keeping with the trend of older players attempting to reclaim the glory of yesteryear, Braves designated hitter Marcell Ozuna is doing just that. The 32-year-old spent most of April with a batting average below .100, a number that would have sent most players to the bench, the minors or worse. Braves brass, however, showed faith in Ozuna and kept sending him out there, convinced the veteran player would turn things around and their patience has paid off. Since the beginning of May, Ozuna has raised his batting average 157 points. His average is still a fairly unimpressive .242, but that’s quite the turnaround for anyone. On the power side of things, after just two home runs through the first month of the season, Ozuna hit nine dingers in May and shows no sign of cooling off. The Braves DH has two homers in June, both in the past week.
As a team, the Braves still sit atop the NL East with the upstart Marlins three games back in the rearview mirror and are winners of eight of their last 10 games. Atlanta has scored the third-most runs in the National League, fifth-most in the entire league, and really show no signs of slowing down. Three out of the four upcoming series for Atlanta are on the road. Ozuna’s power numbers are pretty even in his home/road splits, but he’s only hitting .219 on the road compared to .257 at home. Atlanta’s road foes over the next two weeks are the Tigers, Phillies and Reds … not exactly the cream of the crop when it comes to pitching, but surely something to note if you roll with Ozuna.
With Sanchez just starting his season and Ozuna only batting .242 these options may seem less than ideal, but it’s important to remember that Pete Alonso was just hitting .231 with a near 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Go out and make those moves. Good luck out there!