Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 23 with a strained right shoulder. Gonzalez has missed the past three games and was lifted in his most recent appearance for a pinch hitter after three at-bats.
“Oftentimes, Gonzalez’s injury requires an MRI and sometimes an addition steroid injection to calm the strain down,” Dr. Selene Parekh, an orthopedic surgeon at Duke University, said. “Therapy and anti-inflammatories will be used to allow Gonzalez to return in two to four weeks.”
Believe it or not, Gonzalez’s injury may actually be coming at the right time for the Rockies, who are in the midst of a three way battle for first place in the National League West division with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Gonzalez has had an atypically horrid season at the plate, batting only .221 at the plate with six home runs and 20 runs batted in despite playing every day. Gonzalez had hit at least 20 dingers in five of his last six seasons—the other one was cut short due to injury—and 2017 stands as a clear outlier, especially when considering he plays half his contests at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
The Rockies did not opt to call up a position player, leaving 23-year old Ramiel Tapia in charge of maning Gonzalez’s duties in the meantime. Tapia may be an interesting fantasy play as the season progresses, especially if he can get comfortable handling major league pitching. So far, in just 55 at-bats, Tapia is slashing .273 with four runs batted in. Tapia also has the potential to make an impact on the basepaths, registering 13 stolen bases across two levels this season.
Although Tapia will not hit for much power—the most homers he has registed is just 12, in high Single-A—he uses his speed and timely contact to get on base. The Dominican Republic native has hit a whopping .359 at Triple-A this season and has the potential to steal some playing time from a reeling Gonzalez, especially if he can impress manager Bud Black during Gonzalez’s absence. To top it off, Tapia is owned in just 1.6 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues at the moment and is certainly worth an extra look as a potential steal on the waiver wire.