The Colorado Rockies will be without their starting second baseman for the third stretch this season. Manager Bud Black told reporters after Friday night’s win in Arizona that DJ LeMahieu would be headed to the disabled list again, this time with an oblique injury.
Naturally the team has expressed optimism that this will be a short stint on the DL and that LeMahieu will return sooner than later. Without playing doctor, we can start to see some red flags that might not be true this time around.
The injuries seemed to have lingered for LeMahieu, for one, and we all know how those mysterious oblique injuries can turn into multi-month absences. LeMahieu is slashing .278/.324/.430 this season, somewhat down from his past few seasons with a 90 OPS+ and 1.3 bWAR.
Hopefully LeMahieu can return soon and hopefully he can do so at full strength. In the meantime, the Rockies will turn to a familiar cast of characters to fill in at second base. Ryan McMahon will be the preferred option for most people. Oftentimes top prospects start to cut their teeth because of attrition, and that would be the case for McMahon if he got more playing time at second again because of an injury. He was just starting to look more comfortable before his most recent demotion. He is currently slashing .211/.285/.337 with a couple home runs in 2018.
Daniel Castro and Pat Valaika are the other options. No disrespect to those guys, but they are far less interesting than McMahon. Barring a Castro promotion because of this injury, a reasonable guess is that we’ll see a lot of McMahon with some Valaika sprinkled in against left-handed pitching.
As the Rockies continue their surge up the standings, they will have to keep winning without LeMahieu for at least a little while and maybe longer. Hopefully the team’s assessment holds up and this is a short absence.