Hello and Welcome Back to the SCFE’s Weekly Injury Report.
Wow! Fantasy owners were dealt big body blows this past week. The loss of starters Clayton Kershaw (again?), Alex Reyes (again?) and stud reliever Andrew Miller (again this season) have given Fantasy owners more agonizing news for this season. With the hope and promise of both Kershaw and Reyes returning to their elite levels, owners felt that they just acquired the jackpot to help them push into the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Fantasy mighty have fallen.
Of course, the news didn’t end there. We had elite Fantasy hitters that were lost as well. Mookie Betts was having an MVP-type season. Ronald Acuna is the premier prospect in baseball. Those two stud hitters along with the others mentioned are making Fantasy owners scramble as the major injuries continue to increase.
What other injured players should Fantasy owners be concerned about? When are the injured players coming back? Answers to those questions and more can be found in the Week 10 Injury Report.
Week 10 Injury Report
Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves
Injury News: Acuna is baseball’s top prospect per MLB Pipeline, and he placed a major scare to the Braves organization and Fantasy owners everywhere. His left leg buckled and turned awkwardly after he sprinted through first base with an infield single this past Sunday. The immediate concerns were that he suffered a possible season-ending injury. However, an MRI exam revealed he had a mild ACL sprain in his left knee, a bruised left knee and a bruised lower back. Ronald Acuna (knee) was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 28.
There is no definitive timetable for his return but the original prognosis was that Acuna would be out a minimum of two weeks. Acuna has shown that he is able to walk without a limp. The Braves and Fantasy owners have to be cautiously optimistic.
Fantasy Implications: Ronald Acuna finally got the call to the majors on April 25 and the near-consensus top prospect in baseball did not disappoint early on. He hit .382 in his first eight games. However, he has cooled off considerably. Over the last 15 games, he hit .237 with two homers, seven RBI, and a 23:6 K:BB ratio.
He has hit mostly in the #2 hole between Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman. Look for Acuna to come back strong as he was just getting back into a groove when he got hurt. Of course, now with the terrific news that Acuna will be back shortly, every effort should be made to get him back in your lineup once he comes back.
Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants
Injury News: Brandon Belt had his appendix removed Friday night and the Giants placed him on the 10-day disabled list Saturday. It is estimated that Belt will miss three to four weeks.
Fantasy Implications: Belt was in the midst of a career season. He was slashing .307/.403/.547, leading the Giants in home runs with 11 and was tied with Evan Longoria for the team lead in RBI with 31. He was fifth in the NL in on-base percentage (.403) and sixth in the league in slugging percentage (.547).
Bochy said Pablo Sandoval will get the bulk of the playing time at first base when the Giants face a right-hander and Buster Posey probably play first against lefty starters.
Mookie Betts, OF, Red Sox
Injury News: The Red Sox were hoping that Mookie Betts (abdominal strain) would only need a few days off, but unfortunately, he already missed five games before being placed on the 10-day disabled list on June 1. All indications are that Betts will return when he is first eligible on June 8.
Fantasy Implications: Mookie Betts is having an MVP-level season in the first two months of the season. He is slashing .359/.437/.750 with 17 homers, 13 stolen bases, 37 RBI, and 52 runs in 48 games this season. He has been especially lethal at Fenway Park, where he owns a .405/.478/.835 triple stash in 92 plate appearances. Fantasy owners of Betts can hopefully breathe a sigh of relief with the news that he will back once eligible.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays
Injury News: Josh Donaldson, who has played in only 36 of the team’s 57 games, is back on the disabled list with left calf tightness. He previously spent 18 games on the DL with shoulder inflammation. Last year, he missed approximately six weeks with a strained calf. That injury impacted his right leg, and the current issue he’s dealing with in his left leg sounds far less severe, but it’s yet another frustrating break for the pending free agent. However, he intends to return when he is first eligible on June 8.
Fantasy Implications: In his first three previous years with the Blue Jays, he slashed .285/.387/.559 and has averaged 35 home runs. Unfortunately, we have not seen the same Josh Donaldson yet this season. He is slashing only .234/.333/.423 with five homers, and 16 RBI in 36 games played. The Blue Jays will shuffle their lineup around and put mega-utility player Yangervis Solarte at third. With Donaldson scheduled to return by this weekend, it looks like owners have to keep the faith that we still see the Donaldson of old before the end of this season.
Rhys Hoskins, OF, Phillies
Injury News: Rhys Hoskins was hit in the mouth by his own foul tip on Monday. He has a hairline fracture on the underside of his jaw. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a fractured jaw, this is his first visit on the disabled list in his career. All indications are that Hoskins will only require the minimum 10 days to recover, making him eligible to return on June 9.
Fantasy Implications: Hoskins was a target for many Fantasy owners in drafts this season. The young power hitter showed a lot of potential by hitting .259/.396/.618 with 18 homers and seven doubles in just 212 trips to the plate last season. He has not the same success so far this season. He is currently slashing .233/.363/.415 with six homers on the season. Additionally, he was slumping in the month of May by hitting only .161 with a .253 on-base percentage. Overall, there are concerns that his strikeout rate has increased from 21.7 percent in 2017 to 28.2 percent so far this season. Look for Hoskins to return to the Phillies lineup at the end of this week. Hoskins should also return to your Fantasy lineups as well.
Brian McCann, C, Astros
Injury News: Astros catcher Brian McCann was placed on the 10-day disabled list this week because of right knee soreness. McCann, 34, dealt with knee issues in spring training and required a stay on the disabled list last season for a similar injury. He received a cortisone shot and had fluid drained from the knee Thursday. There is no clear timetable set for his return.
Fantasy Implications: McCann was in the midst of a 1-for-26 slide that dropped his batting line to .219/.313/.351 with four home runs this season. Once healthy, look for McCann to get days off to help him last through the season. In the interim, Max Stassi will take over the majority of the catching duties. Stassi has been a surprise so far this season. He is hitting .281/.349/.521 with five homers and 17 RBI this season. If Stassi is available in your league, Fantasy owners should pick him and ride the hot hand.
Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
Injury News: The three-time NL Cy Young award winner went back on the 10-day disabled list on Friday with a lower back strain, the third season that the southpaw has been sidelined by a back injury. It is the identical diagnosis that shelved Kershaw for five weeks last season and manager Dave Roberts said it was “fair” to expect Kershaw to miss “over a month” this time.
He experienced tightness in his back during his five-inning outing against the Phillies on Thursday. During those five innings of action, Kershaw never topped 90 mph with his fastball, which is not a very promising sign. With this last stint, this is Kershaw’s fifth visit to the DL in the past five seasons.
Fantasy Implications: Clayton Kershaw has made eight starts this season, going 1-4 with a 2.76 ERA, while limiting opposing hitters to a .233 batting average. He has struck out 53 and walked 11 in his combined 49.0 innings pitching thus far this season.
The Dodgers are currently 29-30 in the NL West and 2.5 games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks. Of course, that’s not an insurmountable lead to makeup but the Dodgers are missing 80 percent of their starting rotation. There is still a lot of season left but the Dodgers are overwhelmed with injuries with an uphill battle to make up ground with a skeleton team. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do not see Clayton Kershaw again this season!
Andrew Miller, RP, Indians
Injury News: Cleveland Indians reliever Andrew Miller is back on the 10-disabled list, this time with inflammation in his right knee. Currently, there is no timetable for his return. This an injury to the same knee that required a DL stint last August. According to Indians manager Terry Francona, it’s possible that the knee never completely healed, and Miller was just trying to pitch through it.
This is the second trip to the DL for Miller. He was on the DL from April 26-May 11 with a strained left hamstring. He was activated on May 11 but hasn’t been the same dominant pitcher. The Indians made the wise decision to shut Miller down rather than have him pitch through the injury.
Fantasy implications: Miller began the season with 10 consecutive scoreless innings, but was 0-3 with a 14.55 ERA in six games after being activated on May 11. His struggles ballooned Miller’s ERA to 4.40, the highest it has been in five years.
Because of a weak American League Central, the Indians still lead the division but possess the worst bullpen in baseball. Since April 23, their bullpen has posted an 8.92 ERA! While the Indians definitely need Miller to help their pen, they need a healthy Andrew Miller to make noise in the playoffs. The All-Star reliever has been cleared to start throwing, but the Indians will be very cautious with their standout lefty reliever. Fantasy owners will have to wait to possibly after the All-Star Break to see Miller back on the mound.
Alex Reyes, SP, Cardinals
Injury News: Sad news coming out of St. Louis regarding young right-hander Alex Reyes. He was placed on the 10-day DL with a right lat strain after making his first major league appearance since September 29, 2016. He pitched four scoreless innings but then fatigue was noticeable for Reyes including a significant drop in velocity. Cardinals GM Michael Girsch termed it a “significant lat strain”. The team expects Reyes to miss more than a few starts, emphasizing this is “not a minor injury.”
Fantasy Implications: His recovery and rehab stint this season was admirable especially with the kind of talent he possesses. He was 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 2016, striking out 52 in 46 innings. Unfortunately, it looks like we might have seen the last of Reyes for an extended period of time. Hopefully, you have an available DL spot. If not, dropping Reyes in a seasonal league sounds horrible but his return is unknown and sketchy for this season.
Jeff Samardzija, SP, Giants
Injury News: Samardzija was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with right shoulder inflammation. The good news is that he is only expected to miss one turn in the rotation.
Fantasy Implications: Th right-hander had the look of a sleeper coming into this season. He has been quite a disappointment. He has posted a 1-4 record with an ugly 6.56 ERA and a similarly ugly 26/23 K/BB ratio. Regardless of injury situation, I am staying away from Jeff Samardzija.
Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets
Injury News: The Mets placed SP Noah Syndergaard on the 10-day disabled list on May 26 with a strained ligament in his right index finger. He is eligible to return on June 5 and looks to return to start this weekend when the Mets take on the New York Yankees.
Fantasy Implications: Syndergaard is 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 64.2 innings this season. It looks like a catastrophe has been avoided regarding Thor. Start him with confidence this weekend against the Yankees.