Staying on top of injuries daily is essential to sustaining an edge in Fantasy sports. Injuries happen every day in baseball, and my goal is to help you to stay on top of all of the important injuries.
This weekly series called the Injury Report is here to help all Fantasy Baseball owners to understand how injuries can greatly impact the Fantasy potential and production of all players. I will review and analyze the most impactful injuries to the most significant players. In addition, I will provide the fantasy implications of these injuries and how to proceed with the players and your rosters.
Did one of your top picks get injured and is going to miss time? What is his current status? When is he coming back? Who can I get to replace him? The answers to these questions and more will be answered in the Week 2 Injury Report: Rough Start.
Week 2 Injury Report
Salvador Perez, C, KC
Injury News: Salvador Perez began the 2018 season on the disabled list after tearing his MCL in his left knee while carrying a suitcase up some stairs in his home. Talk about freakish accidents, oh my! Royals manager Ned Yost explained that the All-Star catcher will not require surgery but is expected to be out four-to-six weeks with the Grade-2 tear.
Fantasy Implications: Perez was having a strong spring training, hitting .350 with six homers, 11 RBI, and a .864 slugging percentage. This was a tremendous blow for Fantasy owners who drafted before he sustained the injury. Perez is a Top 5 catcher at a very weak position after setting career highs with 27 home runs, 80 RBI and .495 slugging percentage last season. Hopefully, your league utilizes DL spots so you could stash Perez there until he gets back. While you are waiting for his return, hopefully, you were able to stopgap the loss with either Chris Iannetta, Jorge Alfaro or Austin Hedges.
Daniel Murphy, 2B, WAS
Injury News: Daniel Murphy underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee last October and has been rehabbing ever since. He was unable to run the field or take any at-bats in spring training. He was placed on the 10-day DL before the start of the 2018 season. Murphy is making progress as he is now taking grounders at second base. He looks to return by the end of this month.
Fantasy Implications: Murphy was a vital part of a potent Nationals’ lineup the last two seasons. He finished second in batting average and first in doubles in the league each of the past two seasons. In 2017, he hit .322/.384/.543 with 43 doubles, 23 homers, 93 RBI and 94 runs scored. Hopefully, owners were able to draft and stash Daniel Murphy. IF healthy, he was one of the elite second basemen which are in very short supply.
Justin Turner, 3B, LAD
Injury News: The Los Angeles Dodgers began the 2018 regular season without All-Star third baseman Justin Turner, who suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left wrist when he was hit by a pitch from A’s pitcher Kendall Graveman on March 19. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list before the start of the regular season.
There is no definitive timetable for Turner’s return. The initial prognosis was anywhere from 5-to-10 weeks. There will be a more concrete timetable once he resumes baseball activities.
Fantasy Implications: The good news is that his progression appears to be going smoothly. He is close to swinging a bat for the first time since suffering the injury. Turner was another player that Fantasy owners had to draft and stash for the 2018 season. Turner is an important run producer for the Dodgers and a first-time All-Star last season. He hit .322/.415/.530 with 32 doubles, 21 homers, 71 RBI and 72 runs scored in 2017. While wrist injuries are tricky to come back from, Fantasy owners will be glad they drafted Turner at the end of the season.
Wil Myers, 1B/OF, SD
Injury News: The Padres placed Wil Myers on the 10-day disabled list with right arm irritation. The expectation is that a minimum stay on the shelf will allow both that injury and the back tightness that’s bothered Myers in recent weeks to calm down enough to allow him a healthy finish to the season. Unfortunately, nerve problems have a tendency to pop back up. Myers could improve in short-term but this could be a lingering issue throughout the season.
Fantasy Implications: In three games and 12 at-bats so far this season, Myers has hit .250 with three hits, including one homer and two strikeouts. Myers is a valuable Fantasy commodity as he was a 20/20 player in the last two seasons. Fantasy owners need to keep a close eye on him and his expected recovery.
Christian Yelich, OF, MIL
Injury News: The Brewers will be without Christian Yelich for at least another week, as the team placed him on the 10-day disabled list after his injured right oblique didn’t recover as quickly as anticipated. He will eligible to return on April 15 and might be ready at that time. Yelich was trying to push himself to get on the field but the decision was made to have Yelich to take the extra time.
Fantasy Implications: Christian Yelich was the Brewers’ biggest offseason addition. He was off to a hot start for the 2018 season, hitting .385/.407/.577 with five RBI through six games. This can be a tricky injury to navigate and something that the Brewers and Fantasy owners hope that Yelich is fully recovered once he returns and suffers no setbacks. Yelich is a Top-12 OF and will be a significant blow to owners if he misses any more games.
Nelson Cruz, DH, SEA
Injury News: The Seattle Mariners have placed designated hitter Nelson Cruz on the 10-day disabled list after he suffered a sprained right ankle in the season-opening series against Cleveland. Cruz started the season with two homers in his first six at-bats but slipped on the dugout steps following a two-run homer. The move is retroactive to Sunday, so Cruz will be eligible to return on April 11 in Kansas City, which would be the last game on the current eight-game road trip.
Fantasy Implications: Losing Cruz is a huge blow for Fantasy owners. The 37-year-old has hit more home runs than any player in the Major Leagues since the start of the 2014 season. He led the American League in RBI last season. It looks like disaster was avoided and he should be back in the Mariners’ lineup this week.
Jake Lamb, 3B, ARI
Injury News: Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb was placed on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a sprained left AC joint. He was hurt making a diving catch of a foul ball in the ninth innings but stayed in the game in a 15th inning affair. Lamb will begin rehabbing at the Diamondbacks’ facility this week, but there is no definite timetable for his return. It seems very likely that Lamb will be out longer than the minimum 10 days.
Fantasy Implications: Even after a breakout 2016 season, Lamb still cannot hit lefties. He was horrible in the second half last season, batting .144 with a .557 OPS against southpaws. He finished 2017 with a .248/.357/.487 slash line with 30 homers and 105 RBI. Lamb produced a strong spring and was hitting .278 with one double and five RBI in the first four games this season. Lamb was drafted as an MI on teams looking for power and forsaking average.
Depending upon the structure of your roster, if you are looking for similar stats, take a look at the A’s Matt Chapman or if you just need a replacement, see if the Marlins’ Brian Anderson or the Padres’ Charles Villanueva.
Madison Bumgarner, SP, SF
Injury News: For the second year in a row, the Giants and Fantasy owners will be without their ace for an extended period of time. Last year Bumgarner missed three months following a dirt bike accident that caused a grade 3 AC sprain in his left shoulder and bruised ribs.
Now, Bumgarner is expected to miss at least the first two months after undergoing surgery to have three pins inserted into the broken pinkie on his pitching hand. The injury occurred when he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City’s Whit Merrifield in a spring training game. The outing was supposed to be the final tuneup for Bumgarner before he started on Opening Day.
The latest news is that Bumgarner is expected back sometime in June after the pins have been removed and then the hand needs time to heal.
Fantasy Implications: Before the injury, Bumgarner was no worse than the No.10 starting pitcher, now he is definitely outside the Top 25. Most Fantasy owners drafted and stashed Bumgarner, which makes sense but I am not sure what type of production he will be able to provide when he finally comes back.
He really didn’t pitch well in his return last season, finishing with a 4-9 record. Opponents had a Statcast-projected expected weighted on-base average of .304 against him after he returned last season. A lot of hype around Bumgarner is exactly that, hype. Fantasy owners need to be concerned how soon his command and how effective he will be upon his return. For those of Bumgarner owners expecting the pre-2017, my apologies.
Corey Knebel, RP, MIL
Injury News: Corey Knebel was getting some work in during a blowout loss on Thursday when he went down. The Brewers determined he needed the work after not throwing for five days. Then the unthinkable happened. Knebel collapsed to the ground after throwing a pitch and immediately began holding his left hamstring. He was in considerable pain and couldn’t put any weight on his leg while being helped off the field.
On Friday, Knebel had an MRI scan and was diagnosed with a strained left hamstring. He was subsequently placed on the disabled list. The prognosis of his recovery is a minimum of four weeks but perhaps more like six-to-eight weeks.
Fantasy Implications: Obviously, this is a gigantic blow for the Brewers and Fantasy owners. Knebel is coming off a dominating season. He logged 76 innings with 39 saves in 45 chances last season. He finished with a 1.78 ERA, and a strikeout rate of 40.8 percent. Knebel struck out 126 batters, which tied Boston’s Craig Kimbrel for the most among major league relievers. In addition, he set a big league record by opening the season with at least one strikeout in 45 consecutive games.
Manager Craig Counsell said the team will use a variety of relievers to close out games in Knebel’s absence. If someone emerges, then that person could get the majority of opportunities. Lefty Josh Hader is the most widely known but he should stick to his multi-inning role. This look to be a closer-by-committee. If I had to pick up a Brewers’ reliever to get the majority of the saves, I would look for Jacob Barnes to be the guy.
Dinelson Lamet, SP, SD
Injury News: Dinelson Lamet went on the disabled list after his final spring start because of a strained right forearm. There was no structural damage detected and the hope is that the young right-hander will be able to rejoin the Padres’ rotation sometime in May. While the Padres seem to be mysterious about the severity of the injury, Lamet is starting to throw.
Lamet has progressed to throwing from 90 feet, which obviously is a very good sign. There is no certain timetable for Lamet’s return but there is a possibility that Lamet returns from the disabled list before the initial prognosis of May.
Fantasy Limitations: Lamet went 7-8 in 21 starts with a 4.57 ERA last season. He possesses a big arm and managed a 10.9 K/9 ratio last season. Hopefully, Lamet can show the same stuff from last season and throw even more strikes. He recorded 11.1% BB in 2017. He pitches in one of the best pitcher’s ballparks in the league. It’s highly doubtful that owners can find someone who is a strikeout machine like Lamet still available. Please check and see if Lamet is still available in your league.
Mark Melancon, RP, SF
Injury News: Last offseason, the Giants took a step out of their comfort zone and spent big in free agency. They went and got Mark Melancon for $62 million to bolster one of the weakest areas on their team for years. Unfortunately, he dealt with injuries through most of last season and posted a 4.50 ERA. He then had surgery last September to repair a right pronator strain.
Throughout this Spring, Melancon kept mentioning that something was wrong in his surgically-repaired right arm. The Giants announced that Mark Melancon will start 2018 on the disabled list due to a right elbow flexor strain. He has yet to throw but is tentatively scheduled to throw in a “couple of weeks.”
Fantasy Implications: The Giants may feel somewhat obligated to give Melancon another shot if and when he comes back. However, Hunter Strickland has taken over the closer’s role and has saved both opportunities this season while not giving up a run. I don’t see Melancon getting his job back anytime soon.
Jeff Samardzija, SP, SF
Injury News: Jeff Samardzija is working his way back from a strained pectoral suffered in late March. He started the season on the disabled list and was targeted to return in 3-4 weeks. Samardzija had a 10.64 ERA in four Cactus League starts, while his fastball velocity has been around 89-90 rather than his normal 93-94.
He has been able to throw in a few bullpen sessions lately without any pain. He will throw in an extended spring game this week followed by a minor-league game before returning from the disabled list. If all goes well, Samardzija could get the green light to return at the end of next week, which follows the originally expected timeline.
Fantasy Implications: The Giants have really been hit hard already this season, losing two of their starting pitchers to start the season. Samardzija was expected to be the Giants No. 3 starter behind Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. The right-hander has pitched at least 200 innings in five straight seasons and has never been placed on the disabled list until this season.
If he is somehow available in your league, due to the uncertainty of his status during most drafts, I would grab him. He finished last season with his best walk rate (3.8%) and his second-best WHIP (1.14) and strikeout rate (24.2%). He posted just a 4.42 ERA despite a shiny 205-32 K-BB ratio in 207.2 innings. The concern with Samardzija has always been home runs. His 1.30 HR/9 rate was one of the worst in the league. Jeff Samardzija is a Top 30 starting pitcher and should be owned in all leagues.