The All-Star Game is now in the rearview mirror and the unofficial second half of the baseball season officially begins.  The MLB trade deadline is just a couple weeks away so be sure to pay close attention to the rumor mill because trades could have a significant impact on your fantasy roster in terms of effecting players’ values and roles.  Now is also a good time for fantasy GMs to make an aggressive push for some trades to address roster needs because there is not a lot of time left to make up ground in the standings. Having depth and roster flexibility is paramount to contending for a playoff berth and league championship.  So without further ado, here is the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.

Alex Bregman (3B-HOU)

Fantasy GMs held their collective breaths after Alex Bregman was hit in the face by a ground ball on Thursday.  Bregman was playing shortstop when he attempted to field a ground ball hit by Shin-Soo Choo that took a bad hop and hit him in the jaw.  He was bleeding from his chin and was taken out of the game. The good news is that he did not require any concussion tests and merely required some stitches for the laceration.  He is considered day-to-day right now as he may need to sit for a game or two to ensure that he is fully recovered and has no lingering effects. Bregman is an elite fantasy player batting .267 with 23 home runs, 56 RBI, 61 runs scored and four stolen bases.

A.J. Pollock (OF-LAD)

The Dodgers are expected to activate A.J. Pollock from the injured list before Friday’s game in Boston.  Pollock concluded his minor league rehab assignment by hitting a home run in his final at bat earlier this week.  This would be a pleasant omen for fantasy GMs who have not gotten anything out of Pollock who is batting .223 with two home runs, 14 RBI and 15 runs scored in 103 at bats over just 28 games.  He has missed the past couple months with an infection in his elbow. Now that he is healthy, it is reasonable for GMs to hope that he can salvage his season with a solid second half.

Brandon Lowe (2B-TB)

The Rays’ second baseman made the All-Star team as a rookie but had to miss the festivities due to a shin contusion he suffered in early July.  He is eligible to be activated from the injured list this weekend but Tampa Bay has already indicated that will not happen until early next week.  Lowe is a solid middle infield option in any fantasy league format with a batting average of .276 along with 16 home runs, 49 RBI, 40 runs scored and five stolen bases.

Jake Arrieta (SP-PHI)

Phillies starting pitcher Jake Arrieta revealed last week that he has a bone spur in his right elbow that would help explain why he got torched by the Mets in his last start.  Now there is a very real possibility that he will need season-ending surgery to address the problem. The Phillies still expect Arrieta to pitch this weekend against Washington, but that could change at any moment.  Even if Arrieta and the Phillies decide to hold off on surgery, he is clearly less than 100% which does not bode well for his statistical results going forward. Arrieta is in the second year of a three-year/$75,000,000 contract and has put up a pedestrian 8-7 record along with a 4.67 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and 85 strikeouts in 108 innings over 18 starts.  His fantasy value continues to plummet so consider setting him loose if you can find a better option.

Yadier Molina (C-STL)

St. Louis has placed veteran catcher Yadier Molina on the 10-day injured list with a strained thumb.  The injury is expected to sideline the future Hall of Famer for up to three weeks. Molina’s absence presents an opportunity for Matt Wieters to get some regular playing time and he could be a viable fantasy option given his past offensive credentials.  Despite Molina’s consistency over the course of his career, he is not worth stashing as he is batting.261 with four home runs, 36 RBI, 24 runs scored and four stolen bases.

Jonathan Lucroy (C-LAA)

One of the hot topic items of discussion during the All-Star break was the violent collision at home plate between Jake Marisnick of the Astros and Jonathan Lucroy of the Angels.  Marisnick crashed into Lucroy who suffered a concussion and a fractured nose. Marisnick was suspended for a couple of games for his actions and Lucroy will be on the shelf for several weeks as he recuperates from his injuries.  There are not a lot of great fantasy choices for catchers so Lucroy was considered a viable option despite just a .237 batting average with seven home runs, 30 RBI and 28 runs scored. The Angels will likely turn to Dustin Garneau to take over behind the plate but he is not worth adding except in AL-only leagues.

Brad Peacock (SP-HOU)

The Astros are expecting to get Brad Peacock  back from the injured list at the beginning of next week.  He has been out the past couple weeks with a shoulder injury that could explain why he struggled so badly in June.  Peacock looked dominant in his last rehab appearance earlier this week and simply has to get through his next bullpen session before being cleared to return.  Despite his recent struggles, Peacock is still a viable fantasy option at the back end of a rotation with his 6-6 record along with a 4.13 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 89 strikeouts in 85 innings over 15 starts.