Hello Fantasy friends and foes! Welcome back to the SCFE’s Weekly Injury Report!
Have you ever experienced so many injuries to major players at this juncture of the season? We have yet to reach the All-Star Break and Fantasy owners have suffered significant injuries already this season. Shohei Ohtani? Oh (tani) NO! Steven Strasburg? Masahiro Tanaka? I could keep going but I want you to keep reading the article.
What is the status of rookie phenom Ronald Acuna? When is Elvis Andrus coming back? Is Rich Hill ever coming back? Should we care? Answers to those questions and a whole lot more will be answered in the Week 11 Injury Report.
Week 11 Injury Report
Impact Players that have made it back from injury
Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants
The left-hander, making his season debut, allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings, striking out three and walking zero before leaving after 82 pitches with the Giants down 2-1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park.
Bumgarner had been out since March 23, when he broke the pinkie on his pitching hand when he was hit by a line drive from Kansas City’s Whit Merrifield in the Giants’ final game of spring training. The San Francisco ace had surgery to have three pins inserted into his finger. He looked decent in his return, look for Bumgarner to continue to get better as he builds arm strength and stamina. Well, at least until the next freak injury.
Carlos Martinez, SP, Cardinals
Carlos Martinez returned from being out for three weeks due to right lat strain. Fantasy owners were excited to welcome him back to their lineups, especially since he was scheduled for a two-start week. Unfortunately, that didn’t go as planned. When he left the rotation in early May, Martinez led baseball with a 1.62 ERA. After his two starts this past week, he now owns a 2.50 ERA.
Martinez has definitely not been sharp since returning from the disabled list. In those two games, he has allowed seven runs on eight hits and a whopping 12 walks in 7.2 innings. Martinez has not mentioned any continuing issues with his injury. The Cardinals and Fantasy owners must hope that it was rust attributing to the dismal outings. Stay tuned.
Carlos Rodon, SP, White Sox
Carlos Rodon returned to the White Sox this past weekend, eight months after left shoulder surgery. He gave the White Sox a nice outing and hope in his 2018 season debut. He struck out seven, walked two and gave up six hits, including two home runs in five innings.
The southpaw threw 63 of 97 pitches for strikes, averaged 93-95 mph on his fastball while hitting 96 in his final two innings. He got 15 swings and misses. Rodon has nice upside and is definitely worth an add in all Fantasy leagues.
Adam Eaton, OF, Nationals
Adam Eaton has been sidelined since early April following surgery on his left ankle. He returned this weekend, batted leadoff, and went 1-for-4, reaching base twice and scored twice. His return creates an abundance of qualified options in the Nationals outfield. Look for the Nationals to ease Eaton back in, which will hinder his Fantasy value a bit along with other Nationals outfielders sans Bryce Harper.
Rhys Hoskins, OF, Phillies
Rhys Hoskins (fractured jaw) made a quicker return from the disabled list than expected. In his second at-bat, he smashed a three-run home run. It was his seventh home run of the season and his first since May 20. He has been a disappointment this season, he has hit only .143 with a .506 OPS in 27 games from April 29 through May 29. Maybe the time off helped?!?
Brian McCann, C, Astros
Veteran catcher Brian McCann made his return to the lineup Friday night. He has been out since May with a sore right knee. McCann acknowledged that the injury is the result of wear and tear over his 14 seasons as a catcher. He will continue to receive regular days off and share catching duties with Max Stassi. This scenario makes it hard for Fantasy owners to trust either catcher in your lineups.
Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals
Yadier Molina returned from the disabled list this week after he was on the disabled list after suffering a pelvic injury with a traumatic hematoma on May 5. He is hitting 4-for-18 (.222) since his return, but he is consistently a Top-12 catcher. He is safe and it is advised to return Molina to your starting lineup.
Are we there yet? Players still trying to make their way back!
Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
Elvis Andrus has been on the disabled list since being hit on the elbow by a pitch on April 11. That pitch resulted in a broken elbow and the first trip to the disabled list of Andrus’ major league career. The plan is for Andrus to spend this week on rehab assignments and then possibly return to the big league roster on June 18.
Before going down with the injury, Andrus was slashing .327/.426/.500 with 2 home runs, 5 RBI, and 7 runs scored in 61 plate appearances. Andrus needs to be placed back in all Fantasy lineups immediately.
Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves
Fantasy owners have been patiently waiting for the return of rookie phenom outfielder Ronald Acuna, who suffered a mild ACL sprain, a left-knee contusion and a lower back injury on May 27. He is eligible to return from the disabled list this weekend, but it’s quite obvious that he will not make that date.
Acuna just completed some running and hit off a tee for the last two days after he was finally cleared to resume baseball activities. He still needs to complete a rehab assignment which could begin early next week. The best case scenario is that Acuna makes it back for the series against the Padres beginning June 14.
Through 29 games at the major-league level, Acuna is hitting .265 with 5 home runs and 13 RBI. Of course, all of us can’t wait to see Acuna back in the Braves and our Fantasy lineups.
Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants
Brandon Belt will start taking swings Monday. He has been out since June 2 after undergoing an appendectomy. If he is able to take swings without any issues, look for Belt to join the Giants shortly.
Belt is batting .307 with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs through 53 games. The All-Star also ranks 10th in MLB with a .950 OPS and ninth with a .403 on-base percentage. No one will be happier than the Giants to get Brandon Belt back.
Zach Britton, RP, Orioles
The Orioles have activated reliever Zach Britton, who has been out all season rehabbing the Achilles tendon he ruptured in December. In 2017, he battled a forearm injury that forced him to the disabled list twice and limited him to 38 games.
In five minor league appearances over the past couple weeks, the veteran lefty posted a 1.69 ERA, striking out six and walking none over 5.1 innings.
The former All-Star closer should stop the closing carousel currently being played in Baltimore. Although this might be short-lived, Britton came back just in time to audition for other teams looking for bullpen help in the pennant race and beyond. Fantasy owners should jump on the chance of getting Britton immediately.
Rich Hill, SP, Dodgers
Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill is dealing with blisters for the third straight season. The issue forced him to leave his last starts after just two pitches. He then was placed on the 10-day disabled list.
Hill threw a 60-pitch simulated game Saturday with no issues. He is scheduled to throw another simulated game at Dodger Stadium this Saturday, and barring any setbacks could then be activated, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com
I will believe it when I see it! Even if he does comes back, his stats this season are underwhelming. He is 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA, 1.74 WHIP in 24.2 innings. No Thanks!
Joey Lucchesi, SP, Padres
Joey Lucchesi has been on the DL since May 15 with a right hip strain. He could be back with the Padres after likely needing one or two more rehab starts. The projected return date is June 17.
The rookie southpaw is 3-2 with an impressive 3.23 ERA, 1.225 WHIP, and 48/15 K/BB ratio through his first 47.1 big league innings across nine starts.
If Joey Lucchesi was a victim of roster management and somehow available in your league, he is definitely worth an add in all Fantasy formats.
Andrew Miller, RP, Indians
Andrew Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 26, this time with inflammation in his right knee. There is no timetable for his return. Miller was on the DL from April 26-May 11 with a strained hamstring. He was 0-3 with a 14.55 ERA in six games since being activated on May 12.
Miller, who is 1-3 with a 4.40 ERA and one save in 17 appearances this season, is now throwing in bullpen sessions while recovering. His recovery is progressing and could face some hitters on Friday.
The Indians will be very cautious with the two-time All-Star. However, the Indians bullpen has been atrocious this season. They are last in the AL with a 6.23 ERA. Miller will have to prove that he is completely healthy again before Fantasy owners can trust him.
Eric Thames, 1B/OF, Brewers
The Brewers activated first baseman Eric Thames from the 10-day disabled list on June 11. He has been out since April 25 after tearing a ligament in his left thumb.
The slugger was hitting .250/.351/.625 and an OPS of .976 with seven homers and 13 RBIs when he got hurt. His seven home runs are still the fourth-most on the Brewers.
The issue now is where does Thames play? In his absence, Jesus Aguilar is hitting .290 with 11 homers and 37 RBI. Thames is now stuck sharing time with six players and four positions, which kills his fantasy value unless an injury occurs.
Mike Soroka, SP, Braves
Mike Soroka will be activated to start Wednesday against the Mets. The 20-year-old-rookie has been sidelined since mid-May with right shoulder inflammation located near his lat muscle.
Soroka has pitched well during his first three big league starts, posting a 3.68 ERA with 15 strikeouts across 14.2 innings.
If he still available in your league, please add him immediately.
Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets
Noah Syndergaard was scheduled to come off the disabled list on Sunday to take on the New York Yankees but suffered a setback while playing catch this week. He felt a “little bit of swelling and little bit of discomfort” in his finger following a game of catch, which prompted the Mets to scratch him from the start.
Syndergaard, who was 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 11 outings this season, has no set timetable for his return. Seth Lugo has stepped into the rotation and has been outstanding including the eight strikeouts over six shutout innings against the Yankees on Sunday. Look for Lugo to remain in the rotation even when Thor comes back.
Ouch! That hurts!
Players that sustained injuries this past week.
Andrelton Simmons, SS, Angels
Andrelton Simmons suffered a freak injury this past week when he stumbled down the dugout steps before Tuesday’s game. He possibly even aggravated the injury when he attempted to break a double play in the first inning. It was determined that he suffered a Grade 2 right ankle sprain and he was placed on the 10-day disabled list.
Simmons was off to a great start this season. He was hitting .330/.390/.460 with four homers, 34 RBI and an outstanding 10:24 K: BB ratio.
He is expected to miss the minimum 10 days required. Simmons has done some throwing and hitting but has yet to participate in any running. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 16. Get him back in your lineups once activated.
Chris Archer, SP, Rays
Chris Archer was placed on the disabled list with a left abdominal strain on June 5. Originally, this was diagnosed as a minor injury and he would only have to be on the DL for the minimum.
Archer threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Saturday and was feeling soreness the last days, so now his comeback has been pushed back at least another week.
Archer is 3-4 with a 4.24 ERA on the season, last pitched on June 2. While he does not possess overwhelming stats, his biggest highlight is his trade value. He was almost certain to be traded by the trade deadline to a contender, which will obviously raise his fantasy value. Hopefully, he returns soon so he can showcase his skills in the pennant chase and your fantasy playoffs.
Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Nationals
A former Rookie of the Year winner with Tampa Bay, Hellickson signed a one-year deal with the Nationals two weeks before the start of the 2018 season. Hellickson sustained the injury while covering first base in the first inning of his outing last Sunday.
In five starts in May, he gave up four earned runs in 27.2 innings, 1.30 ERA, with two walks, 25 strikeouts and .200/.232/.316 line against. He has helped stabilize the Nats’ rotation as their fifth starter. Overall, he is 2-0 with a 2.28 ERA with 34 strikeouts and just six walks in nine starts.
Luckily, the Nationals don’t need a fifth starter for a while due to the schedule so they will use a four-man rotation temporarily. The Nationals will take their time on Hellickson and confirm that he is completely ready before putting him back on the mound. Don’t be surprised if we don’t see Hellickson until after the All-Star Break.
Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH Angels
The Los Angeles Angels place Shohei Ohtani on the disabled list last Friday because of a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. In addition, the Angels will reevaluate his situation in three weeks. There are various unsubstantial reports that Ohtani’s sprain has progressed to Grade 3, a full tear that would require Tommy John surgery and a lengthy rehab process.
Ohtani, 24, is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA. He has 61 strikeouts in 49.1 innings. Angels opponents are batting just .202 against him. Additionally, he is batting .289 with six home runs, 20 RBI and a .907 on-base-plus-slugging percentage as baseball’s most successful two-way player in decades. He has cooled off slightly after a hot start at the plate, hitting .257 with two homers since April.
Days after he signed as a free agent in December, Yahoo Sports reported that Ohtani had a Grade 1 UCL tear, but Angels general manager Billy Eppler said at the time that there were “no signs of acute trauma” in the ligament.
Ohtani underwent injections of platelet-rich plasma and stem cells Thursday as part of a course of recovery and strengthening for the next three weeks. If it is determined that Ohtani needs to undergo surgery, he likely wouldn’t be back until 2020. I will be shocked if we see Shohei Ohtani again this season. What a shame!
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals
Stephen Strasburg was placed on the disabled list after an MRI exam revealed inflammation in his throwing shoulder but no structural damage. Perhaps he just needs a rest, he will get it now. How long is the question?
He has a long history of injury trouble. He has been on the disabled list eight times in his career entering this season, one of which was when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, which required Tommy John surgery.
The Nationals will turn to right-hander Erick Fedde, who has four major league starts in his career to take Strasburg’s turn in the rotation. Hopefully, this is only a short-term stay and the rest will take care of his shoulder. The Nationals and Strasburg owners can only hope.
Masahiro Tanaka, SP, Yankees
The Yankees placed Masahiro Tanaka on the 10-day disabled list after the pitcher strained both hamstrings running the bases during the Subway Series opener against the Mets. He injured himself while tagging up and scoring on a sacrifice fly. The team called it a “mild strain” of both hamstrings.
The 29-year-old right-hander is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA in 13 starts this season. There is no timetable for his return. Although manager Aaron Boone thinks it’s possible that Tanaka will be back before the All-Star Break, which starts July 16. This is a huge loss for the Yankees and cripples their rotation. The Yankees will start bringing up youngsters to help fill the void until Tanaka returns.
Jeurys Familia, RP, Mets
Familia came off a 2017 season in which he posted his worst ERA (4.38) since he was a rookie. He has produced a 2.48 ERA this season while recording 14 saves in 18 opportunities. The Mets’ closer was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder after reporting discomfort from his appearance Wednesday.
Last season, he was out for more than three months because of a blood clot in his throwing shoulder, which required surgery. He also experienced some shoulder discomfort this spring training but only missed a few days.
He went in for an MRI and his shoulder looked clean, so his DL stay should be short. The Mets will likely turn to Robert Gsellman and/or Anthony Swarzak in a closing role. Fantasy owners should stay from those two pitchers and keep tabs on Familia’s return.