If you missed part 1 of the Hail Mary Team that explained what it is and outlined the catchers and first basemen, feel free to check it out here. Continuing the team today, here are the shortstops and third basemen.
Hanley Ramirez (FLO) – Going obvious again, but of course that doesn’t mean it is the wrong choice or that he won’t be discounted. We are now halfway through the season and Ramirez is toting a .325 SLG after never dipping .475 in his five years and three of which were .540 or better; if his fantasy manager isn’t offering any sort of discount at this point then he is delusional and you are better off looking elsewhere. That doesn’t mean you are going to get him for some shlub off the wire, but no way should you send back first round talent, either, not at this point. Why should you want him? Track record. It is extensive as he was no worse than the third pick overall on everybody’s board this spring. You are simply betting on a rebound, hoping that the time off (he isn’t headed to his third straight All-Star Game, that’s for sure) clears his head and recharges the battery.
Rafael Furcal (LAD) – Another option is Furcal who is currently out on a rehab assignment returning from an oblique injury (isn’t that what everyone is returning from these days?). The presence of prospect Dee Gordon isn’t expected to block Furcal as the Dodgers have discussed moving him to second base and leaving Gordon at short. Furcal is obviously a risk as he played 97 games last year and just 17 (bad ones) this year. He’s getting up there in age for a middle infielder at 33, but he was sharp in his limited sample last year hitting .300 with eight home runs and 22 stolen bases. He could give the Dodgers lineup and your lineup a spark if he is back at 100%.
Also keep in mind: Jimmy Rollins. The pickins are slim at short if Ramirez isn’t available at a discount so we turn to former stars who have turned from Google into penny stocks.
Martin Prado (ATL) – He would be one of the more costly team members on this list as he hasn’t been a complete abomination this year, rather he has only slightly underperforming expectations until going out with an injury (a staph infection… gross). He is set to start his rehab assignment next week so time is probably running out for any sort of discount on him. If you have a solid asset to trade, maybe the Prado manager also has another Hail Mary Teamer and you can package those two for your more worthy asset in turn plugging two holes for yourself.
Adrian Beltre (TEX) – Let me be clear here, Beltre isn’t quite in the class of the rest of this team. He is on pace for 27 home runs and 111 RBIs, but his .259 AVG and .751 OPS might have a Beltre lamenting a bit after his .321 and .919 performances in Boston last year. They would be foolish to have any issues with his performance, but it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me either. If his team’s manager in your league has Beltre and another player from the list, you could flip one of what is likely just a few prized assets for Beltre and someone else. Again since you are deep in the standings, you likely have several holes on your team so essentially you would be spreading the talent and creating a net gain by moving your best or second best player for Beltre and someone else to remove that zero from your lineup.
Also keep in mind: Mark Reynolds. He’s actually on track to essentially match his 2010 season, but the team he is on in your league can’t afford the batting average hit, he would be a nice fit for a Hail Mary squad. He should be a huge power source over the course of the second half and could reasonably hit 20 home runs, but should be good for no fewer than 15.
Next: Outfielders (OF & SP will be split into separate pieces as there will be several for each)