Fantasy baseball players suffered another major injury to a top-tier pitcher this week, as Max Scherzer of the New York Mets is expected to miss six to eight weeks with an oblique strain. This is a brutal blow. My guess is Scherzer is sidelined closer to the eight weeks than the six, as oblique injuries take time to heal. The grind never stops, and this is just another example of a bump in the road of a long season that we have to overcome.

Waiver-Wire Targets:

St. Louis Cardinals Infielder Nolan Gorman — A top hitting prospect has been promoted to the big leagues, but not the one many expected. Baltimore Orioles prospect Adley Rutschman is still wasting away in the minors, but the Cardinals promoted one of their top prospects in Gorman and he will get a chance to prove he belongs. The 22-year-old is a consensus top-35 prospect in all of baseball and has been featured in the Futures Game a couple of times.

Gorman was having a strong season in Triple-A, as he was batting .308 with 15 home runs, 23 RBIs and 31 runs scored while also chipping in with three stolen bases. The power is legit, and when a hitter has that kind of power, the swing and miss will be there as well. Gorman had 50 strikeouts in 34 games and had 115 in 119 games last year. We’ll have to monitor that, but this is a young hitter who will slot into a strong Cardinals lineup, hopefully giving his team and fantasy owners a boost along the way.

St. Louis Cardinals Starting Pitcher Matthew Liberatore — Another top prospect for the Cardinals will also make his debut, as the 22-year-old is scheduled to start on May 21. The left-hander is a consensus top 40 prospect in baseball and has pitched well in Triple-A with a 3.83 ERA and 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Liberatore has great command, which should bode well. The biggest concern is whether Liberatore will be up for one start or be on the big league roster for a few weeks to see if he can stick. We may need to take a wait-and-see approach with the youngster and react to what he does in his debut. If Liberatore pitches well then there’s a stronger chance he hangs around.

Kansas City Royals Catcher MJ Melendez — Finding an offensive catcher on the waiver wire is like finding gold, as it’s nearly impossible. Melendez will have a chance to play every day after teammate Salavador Perez landed on the injured list. Melendez hit home runs in consecutive games this week and is batting .263 with two home runs and four RBIs. To acquire a catcher who helps offensively in any capacity immediately makes them attractive and Melendez should be able to provide that.

Los Angeles Angels Starting Pitcher Chase Silseth — Silseth is another pitcher to target, especially if you lost Scherzer. The right-hander made his debut on May 13 and pitched six innings while striking out four and not allowing a run. The 22-year-old skipped Triple-A, so it will be interesting to see if there are any struggles. Silseth has strikeout potential for fantasy owners, so he’s firmly on the waiver-wire radar.

Phil Backert

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