If you gambled on drafting Elly De La Cruz this offseason despite his inflated ADP, your faith has been handsomely rewarded. The 22-year-old switch-hitting sensation has not only showcased impressive batting skills in his second season as a pro but has also surged to fantasy stardom through his exceptional base running. In his latest standout performance, De La Cruz went 4-for-4 with an astonishing 4 steals, adding to his season total of 30, a figure surpassing the combined steals of 18 MLB teams.

However, Week 7 brought some setbacks. Though his MRI ruled out an oblique strain, Braves 3B Austin Riley has been sidelined since Sunday due to inflammation in his left side even though there is the possibility of a swift return. Chicago Cubs 2B Nico Hoerner has missed three consecutive games due to tightness in his left hamstring and could be out an extended period if he isn’t a DH by Saturday.

Adding to the injury woes, the Brewers placed 1B Rhys Hoskins on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain, denting his promising bounce-back season. Meanwhile, despite being off to a solid start, pitcher Nick Lodolo of the Reds landed on the 15-day IL with a left groin strain. 

With that in mind, let’s explore potential replacements for these sidelined stalwarts.

Remember, hitters mentioned here are typically less than—or hover around—50% ownership in Yahoo! Leagues, with repeat appearances indicating consistent performance.


Jo Adell OF, Los Angeles Angels (55% Owned) 

I’m going to continue writing about Angels OF Jo Adell until his roster percentage climbs up a bit more. Even though he's currently in a bit of a slump and has just three hits over the last seven days, two of them were home runs. Statcast still has him pegged as someone with an xBA of .293, and his BABIP continues to be roughly 30 points off forecasted projection systems.

Adell is just one HR away from tying his career-high of eight, a feat he accomplished in just 88 games back in 2022. Jo has played in just 36 games thus far, and I expect his batting average to rise as more of his hits begin to fall. The long-awaited breakout seems to finally be coming to fruition.


Jeimer Candelario 1B/3B, Cincinnati Reds (44% Owned)
After a poor start to the season, Reds IF Jeimer Candelario has been seeing the ball well over the past two weeks. He’s 14-for-46 in that span (.304) while racking up four doubles over his last five appearances. The Reds have, in turn, recently moved him up a bit in the order – if only a slot or two. I expect that if he continues his hot stretch, he’ll begin hitting near the top of the lineup and could be a nice replacement for Austin Riley assuming the latter is out for an extended period. I’d like to see him strike out less, but over that same two-week span has done a much better job cutting down on those Ks.


Brenton Doyle OF, Colorado Rockies (53% Owned)
Rockies OF Brenton Doyle has been on my radar for a few weeks now, and he’s finally made the list as someone we should consider slotting onto our rosters. Doyle has done it all recently, hitting for average, swiping some bags, and bolstering his plate discipline. He had a steal in four straight games over the past week – half of his eight on the season – and five of his 12 walks have come in that span, striking out just five times. It also doesn’t hurt that he plays half of his games at Coors Field. If Doyle’s plate discipline has turned a corner, as the season wears on he should continue to be an intriguing source of steals and OBP.


Andrew Vaughn 1B, Chicago White Sox (23% Owned)
The former third overall pick of the 2019 MLB Draft has started this season off a bit slow. However, his recent performances are promising signs of a potential turnaround. While it might be premature to declare a full breakout, Vaughn has shown improvement over the past week. All three of his home runs this season have been hit in the last seven days.

Vaughn's overall plate discipline appears to be on the upswing, evidenced by his reduced strikeout rate of just eight times in his last 47 plate appearances, amounting to a respectable 17%. Although his poor hitting performance over a large sample size might skew some Statcast numbers, his expected batting average (xBA) of .238 is more than 30 points higher than his current season average of .205.

JJ Bleday OF, Oakland Athletics (12% Owned)
One selection after Andrew Vaughn in the 2019 MLB Draft, A's OF JJ Bleday came off the board. Bleday has cut his strikeout rate for the third straight season while keeping his BB% up in double digits. Perhaps even more impressive, seven of his 18 walks this year have come in the last two weeks – roughly in a third of his total plate appearances. During that span, Bleday has steadily hit either second or third in the lineup, and should that continue, I like him as a speculative bench add in case this is the beginning of a breakout – albeit a minor one.



Deep League Options

Luke Raley OF, Seattle Mariners (15% Owned)
Seattle OF Luke Raley has been on fire over the last week, going 7-for-17 (.411) with two homers and two steals. The hot stretch has raised Raley’s average to a solid .276, and the Mariners have subsequently moved him up to the middle of the order. He’s barely walking – a mere 3% of the time – and still striking out a ton (29.3%), but if that isn’t going to hurt you, he’s worth an add as a speed/power threat. It’s at least feasible to assume that the steals should stick around, even if the power does not.



Joey Ortiz 2B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers (9% Owned)
I wrote about Brewers IF Joey Ortiz last week, and if he continues at this pace will graduate from the ‘Deep League’ portion of this list. With two more walks and a homerun on Wednesday, Ortiz is up to a solid .277/.384/.511 triple slash in 112 plate appearances. The stellar OBP numbers are the real draw here, but Ortiz has been a phenomenal contributor, and Statcast tends to agree.


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Pitching/Streaming Options

Andrew Abbott, Cincinnati Reds (43/50% Yahoo/CBS)
Perhaps the riskiest proposition you’ll find in this article – Cincinnati Reds pitcher Andrew Abbott has pitched very well this season, sporting a 3.06 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. While the strikeouts aren’t there, Abbott's talents are real. He does, however, find himself toeing the rubber this week against two tough opponents with home starts against the Padres and Dodgers. I don’t blame you if the opponents scare you off, but he’s at least worth a mention, as strong starts this week might mark the last time you can find him on waivers relatively cheaply.


Cal Quantrill, Colorado Rockies (8/14% Yahoo/CBS)
Aside from his start against the Houston Astros on April 27th, Colorado SP Cal Quantrill has been nothing short of spectacular. Take out that one matchup and Quantrill has allowed one earned run or less in his last five outings, and hasn’t pitched less than six innings in any of them. He’s not going to wow you with gaudy strikeout totals (6.27 K/9), but he’s done well in limiting the long ball, lowering the average launch angle against him to a mere 8.9 degrees.

His first start of the week comes in Oakland against the lowly A’s, and he should smash in this spot. His second outing is a bit riskier – at home in Coors Field against the Phillies. Fire him up with ease the first time he takes the mound, but streamers beware as his second start projects as much more volatile.


Fantasy Baseball Week 8 presents a compelling array of players worth considering for your rosters. From the emergence of Elly De La Cruz as a fantasy standout with his remarkable base-stealing prowess to the encouraging signs of Andrew Vaughn's resurgence at the plate, this week offers promising opportunities for roster enhancement. Despite some setbacks with injuries to key players like Austin Riley and Rhys Hoskins, there are viable replacement options like Jeimer Candelario and Brenton Doyle, whose recent performances demonstrate their potential value. Additionally, deep league options such as JJ Bleday and Luke Raley, along with intriguing pitching/streaming options like Andrew Abbott and Cal Quantrill, provide further avenues for fantasy success. As always, staying informed and proactive in your roster decisions can make all the difference in maximizing your team's performance. Good Luck!