Hello Fantasy Baseball Fans! Welcome Back to the SCFE’s Injury Report!
How many DL spots do you have in your league? With what seems like the endless amount of injuries so far this season, Fantasy owners are probably going to vote for more DL spots in their leagues next season. I think two or three DL spots are fairly commonplace across the Fantasy baseball landscape.
If you are unfortunate like me and have multiple players on your roster go down with an injury, you have to be a very active manager and make sound strategic decisions. Fantasy owners need to ask themselves:
How long is the player going to be out?
Who is his replacement? Is he worth a pickup?
Is this player worth stashing on one of my valuable DL spots?
How you manage the inevitable injuries can be the difference between first place and fifth, or worse. To hopefully help you with those injuries, let’s take a view of the current injuries and Fantasy implications in the Week 8 Injury Report.
Week 8 Injury Report
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers
Injury News: Adrian Beltre’s return from the disabled list lasted just five games. The Texas Rangers put the third baseman on the DL after he aggravated his left hamstring injury. The diagnosis was a Grade 1 strain, which is considered on the mild side. He is expected to miss two-three weeks. This is the fourth time Beltre has been on the disabled list over the past two seasons.
Fantasy Implications: Adrian Beltre is hitting .314 with one homer and 12 RBI in 29 games, including going 5-for-15 with four RBI in five games since being activated off the disabled list. Look for Beltre to spend more time at DH when he comes back from his current DL stint. Beltre is hard to trust for Fantasy owners because of the rash of injuries he has suffered in the last few seasons. If you had a DL spot, stash him there. If you don’t have any open DL spots, dropping Beltre to fill a necessary hole makes sense and is recommended.
Adam Eaton, OF, Nationals
Injury News: Adam Eaton has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list, a day after he had surgery on his left ankle. The move was made retroactive to April 9. He has been on the disabled list since April 11 and will be out until at least early June. Eaton faces missing extended game action for the second straight season after being out all but 23 games with a torn knee ligament and high ankle sprain in 2017.
Eaton revealed when he tore his ACL last April that he also dislocated the ankle and shattered the bone. In addition to his knee, he spent nearly a year rehabbing the ankle, but even when the knee was good enough to start playing. During a game on April 5, he broke up some scar tissue in his ankle, causing the new issue. During the surgery last week, a bone flap was removed from his ankle, and he believes this will fix the problem.
Fantasy Implications: Eaton opened the season on time and got off to good start at the plate, going 10-for-22 with three doubles, two homers, five RBI and 10 runs scored in his first six games. This is a tough one for Fantasy owners. Although he is a productive outfielder when he plays, Eaton is often injured. If you have a DL spot, stash him and hope he comes back and produces like he did at the onset of the season. If you have dead weight at the end of your roster, grabbing Eaton might be worth the gamble.
A.J. Pollock, OF, Diamondbacks
Injury News: The Diamondbacks received horrible news when it was revealed that center fielder A.J. Pollock is expected to miss four to eight weeks with a broken left thumb.
Fantasy Implications: The 30-year-old Pollock was hitting .293/.349/.620 and he led the team in doubles (10), homers (11) and RBIs (33) while topping the National League in slugging percentage (.620). He was an All-Star in 2015, but he has not played more than 112 games in a season since because of injuries. The Diamondbacks plan on platooning the left-handed hitting Jarrod Dyson and right-handed hitting Chris Owings in center field. Neither of those players are worth consideration for Fantasy owners.
DJ Lemathieu, 2B, Rockies
Injury News: Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu has a sprained left thumb and also a small broken bone in it. LeMahieu said he will not have to undergo surgery on his thumb, but he will be sidelined for longer than the normal 10 days on the disabled list. He is likely to miss at least three weeks or so with the injury, though the infielder explained that an exact timetable will be difficult to pin down before the swelling in his thumb subsides.
Fantasy Implications: LeMahieu is having a solid season for the Rockies so far, slashing .279/.350/.457 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 32 games. Daniel Castro and Pat Valaika are expected to fill in while LeMahieu recovers. Nothing to see here Fantasy-wise.
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Mets
Injury News: The Mets placed Cespedes on the 10-day disabled list last week with a strained right hip flexor, retroactive to Monday. It will be Cespedes’ fourth DL stint for a leg injury in the past three seasons, including being limited to 81 games last season due to leg injuries.
Fantasy Implications: Cespedes is hitting .255 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs so far this season. The Mets were trying to help Cespedes manage the leg issues by giving him more days off during the week. The oft-injured outfielder is a frustrating player to own due to his limited playing time and streaking nature of his production. If you are out of DL spots, dropping him will not be the end of the world for your Fantasy team.
Starling Marte, OF, Pirates
Injury News: Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Starling Marte was put on the 10-day disabled list on May 18 because of a strained right oblique. The Pirates did not give a timetable for Marte’s return but manager Clint Hurdle said Friday that they do not expect it to be a prolonged absence. In fact, Marte has started running the bases already as he works his way back.
Fantasy Implications: Marte is hitting .308 with six homers, 19 RBI and 10 stolen bases for the surprising Pirates. Pittsburgh called up outfielder Austin Meadows from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Marte’s spot on the roster. This is his first trip to the majors. The 23-year-old Meadows was hitting .294 with one homer and 15 RBI in 32 games in the International League.
Meadows is hitting .381/.381/.714 with two home runs and three RBI in his first 21 MLB at-bats. The rookie has been impressive in his limited action and worth a pickup in deeper formats. Look for Meadows to remain in the lineup until Marte returns. Once he returns, the Pirates will need to find playing time for Meadows, probably thru platooning outfielders. In that case, the Fantasy value of each outfielder suffers. Definitely a situation for Fantasy owners to keep an eye on.
Paul DeJong, SS, Cardinals
Injury News: Shortstop Paul DeJong, the only player to appear in all 41 games, went on the 10-day DL with a fractured left hand after being hit by a pitch. DeJong underwent successful surgery to insert screws and metal plate on his hand to accelerate healing. There is no clear timetable on his return to the lineup.
Fantasy Implications: This is not good news for a struggling Cardinals’ offense. DeJong, who had a breakout season last year with 25 homers and a .857 OPS, is tied for the team lead with eight home runs. He has slashed .260/.351/.473 over 171 plate appearances so far this season. Jedd Gyorko is taking over for DeJong at shorstop. He is currently hitting .282/.374/.474 with four homers and 13 RBI this season and is a great fill-in for your Fantasy rosters at either shortstop or any of the infield positions.
Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Nationals
Injury News: The Washington Nationals placed Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list with a strained oblique. However, given the performance of other players, they will be able to cope without the first baseman during his absence. He is projected to return within the next few weeks.
Fantasy Implications: Zimmerman is hitting a woeful .217 with five homers and 16 RBI on the season. However, he was showing signs of life, batting .412 (7-for-17) with a homer and three RBI in five games in May. The Nationals did not miss a beat with Matt Adams, whose .273 average and sparkling .993 OPS has continued to spark the offense.
Another addition to the Nationals lineup, Mark Reynolds, who hit 30 homers last year for Colorado but did not get offered a major league deal this off-season. The Nationals signed him last month, and he is hitting .478/.520/1.043 with four homers in 23 at-bats this season. The Nationals are not missing Zimmerman and neither should Fantasy owners.
Joey Lucchesi, SP, Padres
Injury News: Rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hip on May 10. The Padres are projecting that he will miss only one start. He is eligible to return May 25.
Fantasy Implications: This was a precautionary move by the Padres, primarily in a season in which there looks to be zero chance of a postseason berth. In his nine starts, he has pitched 47.1 innings of 3.23 ERA ball with 9.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. He has a been a revelation for the Padres and Fantasy owners. Keep tabs on his return to the mound.
Carlos Martinez, SP, Cardinals
Injury News: Carlos Martinez was placed on the DL with a lat injury near his right shoulder, and recently underwent another MRI after noticing a limited improvement over the past week. The injury was originally expected him to miss only one start, but his continued lack of progress has been disappointing for Fantasy owners. He will begin a throwing program Monday and is expected to return in 10-to-14 days.
Fantasy Implications: Without any further setbacks, I guess Fantasy owners can wait for the return of Martinez. However, there has to be some concern over the lack of improvement. Martinez, 3-2 with an NL-leading 1.62 ERA, missed his second start on Saturday, where John Gant will step to the mound. This is definitely a situation to keep your eyes and ears on.
Kenyan Middleton, RP, Angels
Injury News: Middleton underwent an MRI a few weeks ago after exiting a game after only 12 pitches because of what manager Mike Scioscia described as right elbow discomfort. The right-hander came off the DL and pitched scoreless innings that day and the subsequent day before he was pulled after feeling further discomfort. He is officially slated to have Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. Middleton will miss the rest of this season, and probably most of next.
Fantasy Implications: Kenyan Middleton was the Angels’ closer and had six saves in 16 appearances with a 2.04 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 17.2 innings. Good Luck trying to figure out what manager Mike Scioscia will do with the closer’s role. While he has many options in the bullpen, including Cam Bedrosian, Jim Johnson, or even Blake Parker. None of these options stand out. You could throw each of their names in a hat, and draw one and have better results than how Scioscia will handle the situation. I would stay far, far away!
Jordan Montgomery, SP, Yankees
Injury News: Yankees southpaw pitcher Jordan Montgomery is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a strained flexor tendon in his left arm, Manager Aaron Boone said Wednesday. Montgomery left after one inning with tightness in his foreman. He was given an MRI and examined by the team doctor and confirmed the diagnosis. He will not throw for three weeks, after which he will begin to play catch. A flexor strain can be a forerunner to Tommy John Surgery.
Fantasy Implications: The young lefty was 2-0 with a 3.62 ERA in six starts. He was replaced in the rotation by Domingo German. German was fantastic in his first start, throwing six no-hit scoreless innings against the Indians. He came back to earth in his start, surrendering six runs on six hits in five innings. The Yankees have the luxury of not requiring a fifth starter in the short-term due to their schedule, so German will be moved to the bullpen. The Yankees will go with a four-man rotation until otherwise needed.
Alex Reyes, SP, Cardinals
Injury News: Alex Reyes has been sidelined since spring training 2017 by an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Because the Cardinals placed Reyes on the 60-day disabled list, the earliest he can return to the active roster is May 28. This would leave him over 15 months removed from the surgery.
Fantasy Implications: The Cardinals’ No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Reyes threw a bullpen session on Thursday in preparation for his third rehab start. He struck out 12 in a second consecutive dominant start on Monday. He is slated for two more rehab starts before he can come off the 60-day DL on May 28. The team’s need will dictate whether Reyes is used initially as a starter or as a reliever. The target will be for Reyes to pitch around 100 innings or so and be available in September and October. Please check your waiver wire and see if anyone jumped on Reyes early. If not, grab and stash Reyes, he can help your Fantasy roster and the Cardinals down the stretch.
Mike Soroka, SP, Braves
Injury News: The Atlanta Braves placed promising rookie Mike Soroka on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder, retroactive to May 14. Soroka, the youngest pitcher in the major leagues, had two consecutive starts in which he didn’t make to the fifth inning. In his last start on May 12, his shoulder didn’t feel right the morning afterward. He informed the Braves staff and they decided to send him to the DL. The Braves and Soroka seemed certain that his issue wasn’t serious and an MRI and other tests came back negative.
Fantasy Implications: Prior to his call-up, Soroka made four starts for the Stripers posting a 1.99 ERA and 0.971 WHIP over 22 2/3 innings. The Braves called on him to start against the Mets on May Day. He threw 80 pitches (58 strikes), striking out five Mets. He allowed one run and six hits without a walk. Soroka, 20, is now 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in three starts. There is no timetable for his return, but it looks like he could be back within two weeks. Hopefully, you had open DL spots to stash Soroka. If he is available in your league, he is definitely worth a roster spot. Soroka can be started in NL-Only leagues and streamed in all other Fantasy formats.
Adam Wainwright, SP, Cardinals
Injury News: The Cardinals just transferred veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL. Wainwright was removed from his last start after feeling unusual discomfort in his right elbow. Doctors issued an MRI as well as a bone exam, suspicious that a chronic bone bruise in Wainwright’s elbow may be the root of the pain. Doctors portrayed both as inconclusive. This his third trip to the DL already this season, his second because of the right elbow he thought was fixed with offseason surgery.
Fantasy Implications: Wainwright had been a workhorse in his career, averaging 206 innings and 16 wins over a 13-year career. Unfortunately, the end looks to be here. He has made four starts this season, just once lasting more than five innings. In his last start, he threw 79 pitches in 2.1 innings, walking six and allowing three hits. I think we have seen the last of Wainwright pitching for the Cardinals. Time to drop him, if you have yet to do so. The Cardinals have plenty of young arms ready to jump into the rotation, including the aforementioned Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty.