In Fantasy Baseball, it is always tough when drafting injured players. Injuries can either be something that kills a player’s entire career, but it also can be an opportunity to draft a stud player at a discounted price.
There are plenty of examples of players who’s injuries derailed both their careers and Fantasy values. Take David Wright for example. Wright was once considered one of the best third basemen in the league. However, once he was hit with the injury bug in 2015, he hasn’t been the same since.
He has suffered a few separate injuries that together have kept him under 200 plate appearances in the last two years. Even during last year’s draft, Wright was considered a sleeper, one of the players that could be had at a discounted price, but it obviously didn’t work out that way
There are also plenty of success stories of players returning from injury to impact both their real life and Fantasy teams in positive ways, and those are the types of players we try to find.
Now, let’s take a look at some players that are returning from injury this season and decide if they will be the next David Wright or someone that can contribute to your Fantasy team.
Players Returning From Injury
Greg Bird, 1B, New York Yankees
Greg Bird looked like a very promising player going into last season. However, he underwent surgery after suffering a torn labrum in February, forcing him to miss the entire 2016 season. Now, with Mark Teixiera gone, the every day first base job for the Yankees is all Bird’s. He projects to be a middle-of-the-order run producer for the Yankees in the future, and should even be able to contribute this year. He is a great sleeper as a late-round first baseman.
Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians
Brantley is one of those players who was an injury sleeper last year only to disappoint and miss most of the season again. While that may scream “David Wright,” you shouldn’t give up yet. He is one of the best outfielders in the league when fully healthy and that upside can’t be ignored. He still carries great risk, so you should wait. But if he is available with one of your later picks, feel free to gamble on a player who could truly be a league winner if he stays healthy.
Matt Harvey, SP, New York Mets
Matt Harvey has a crazy injury history. He was an all star in 2013, missed 2014 with Tommy John surgery and had a great 2015. Then he struggled in 2016 before getting Thoracic Outlet Syndrome which forced him to miss the rest of the season. Do you know what Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is? If you said no, neither do I, and having a season ending injury that is that uncommon is never a good thing. I am personally going to avoid Harvey for the most part, but he does have upside if he is still around late enough in your drafts.
Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals
In May of last season, Mike Moustakas suffered a torn ACL after colliding with Alex Gordon. Don’t let the numbers in his limited season fool you either. While his average was down, the home runs were on pace to be well above his 2015 total, as was his slugging percentage. His average hasn’t been particularly great throughout his career, so you probably shouldn’t expect the .284 average that he posted in 2015, but the injury part doesn’t worry me. He could be a solid sleeper in the later rounds.
A.J. Pollock, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
After a huge 2015 season where he was one of the best players in the entire sport, Pollock only played in 12 games in the 2016 season due to a combination of injuries. None of the injuries were related to each other or were anything that could be chronic, so I am not worried about the injuries. The only thing I am worried about is if he will be able to repeat his amazing 2015 season.
He is 29 years old and only has one year of elite production on his resume. He is someone with elite upside and could win leagues with first round production at a discounted ADP. However, the risk causes me to shy away from him. Unless, of course, if he was still available in the late third or early fourth rouond. That would be the time to pull the trigger on Pollock.
I hope you enjoyed this article! Be sure to check out other great articles from the So-Called Fantasy Experts 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit.
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