Now that we’re in the regular season I get to actually discuss injuries that will have immediate impact on fantasy owners. For each player I will discuss whether you should stash the player in your DL spot or if you should trash them back to the waiver wire. This decision is going to be based on the talent of the player and the length of their DL stay. If I recommend that you stash a player in your DL spot, I will offer a few players who I think are good fill in options at that position. I will be determining these fill-ins based on their percentage ownership in ESPN leagues and a similar skill set…
Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE, Right Shoulder Inflammation.
This injury might’ve slipped through the cracks a few weeks ago, but that’s because only Indians fans should care about Chisenhall so I’m not going to make this about him. He doesn’t meet the “fantasy relevant” requirement to make it in this article. However, this shoulder injury should speed up the arrival time for one of the Indians best prospects, especially with the Indians in “win-yesterday” mode: Bradley Zimmer. But don’t take my word for it — Razzball has a much smarter guy who covers MLB prospects. Check out Ralph’s thoughts on Zimmer.
Stash or Trash: Trash.
Junior Guerra, MIL, Right Calf Strain.
Milwaukee’s “ace” unfortunately lasted only 46 pitches before limping off the field after attempting a bunt. The injury is serious enough for Brewers manager Craig Counsell to say that it would be longer than a 10-day DL stint (still weird to say.) The 31-year-old rookie had a 2.81 ERA in 20 starts for the Brewers last season. Much of that fueled by a lucky .257 BABIP. His FIP was almost a full run higher than his actual ERA last season.
Stash or Trash: Trash. Unless you’re in a deep or NL-only league. There has to be better options available to you.
Devin Mesoraco, CIN, Hip Surgery Recovery.
Mesoraco’s 25 HR/80 RBI 2014 had fantasy owners licking their lips at the potential of the then-26-year-old All-Star’s potential. His 2015 and 2016, however, had Italian grandmothers everywhere spitting on the ground when they heard his name. In standard 12-team one-catcher leagues Mesoraco is nothing but a replacement player when your catcher goes on his catched-required DL stint. But the hope and potential still might be in there for his power.
Stash or Trash: Trash. There are better catcher options available in one-catcher leagues.
Steven Matz, NYM, Throwing Arm Flexor Strain.
This is an update from last week’s article when this injury was just inflammation. Matz got himself a platelet-rich injection in hopes of speeding up his recovery, but is still not going to touch a baseball for three weeks. Matz haz the zkillz to pay the billz as the kidz zay. His minor league numbers tell the tale: 69 starts, 2.25 ERA, 1.145 WHIP, 9.3 K/9.
Stash or Trash: Stash. Matz is a #4 starter for the Mets who would be a #2 on any other team (even a #1 in some cases.) And he’s probably better than the waiver options available to you.
Fill In: Jharel Cotton, OAK, 36.8% owned. Cotton’s high K/9 rate didn’t show itself in his 5 start debut last year, but like Matz is only 25 years old and has a pretty good minor league pedigree.
Wade Miley, BAL, Flu .
Miley just saw you step on and break his favorite toy train. Wily Miley put up a 3.44 ERA in 62 starts in 2012 & 2013 even finishing 2nd in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Since then? 4.68 ERA in 95 starts with each year being worse than the previous. You’d like to believe that those skills are still present, but you’d be wrong. The league has figured him out and he hasn’t adjusted. Until he does, he’ll just keeping being Miley.
Stash or Trash: Trash. Unless he hot tub time machines it to 5 years ago.
Roberto Osuna, TOR, Neck Stiffness.
Osuna struggled with back and neck issues in Spring Training caused by a crappy mattress but he pitched as recently as March 31st. This 10-day DL stint just gives Osuna a bit more time to rest and recover. 40-year old veteran Jason Grilli was tabbed as his fill-in aaaannnndddd he blew a save already.
Stash or Trash: Stash, stash, stash. Grilli just showed you that there is no one close to taking this job from Osuna.
Fill In Option: Greg Holland. Most closers should be off your waivers, but Holland is still only 37% owned in ESPN leagues. He already locked down the first save for the Rockies. In the past 3 years Holland had 47, 46 and 32 saves for the Kansas City Royals and could reach 35+ saves for Colorado.
Drew Pomeranz, BOS, Throwing Arm Flexor Strain.
That low rumble you hear at night is the collective sound of thousands of Red Sox fans grinding their teeth while they sleep. Pomeranz should be able to make his April 9th start, but the arm injury is worrying. What is also worrying is that after his trade from one of the best pitcher’s parks (San Diego’s Petco Park) to Fenway his ERA jumped almost 2 full runs (2.47 to 4.59.) Pomeranz might end up with a starting role for Boston — but that might not be what is best for him (or more importantly: you.)
Stash or Trash: Stash. Look, he isn’t the 2.47 ERA starting pitcher you thought he was in San Diego. He might not be the 4.59 ERA starting pitcher you thought he was in Fenway either. But even worse, he might not even be the starting pitcher you expect he’ll be the entire year. But he isn’t expected to miss much time so you can sit on him and wait to see how he performs. Fenway is notoriously unkind to lefty starting pitchers so if things don’t improve for Pomeranz — don’t be afraid to cut bait.
Drew Smyly, SEA, Throwing Arm Flexor Strain.
Gut punch of the week. Smyly is set to miss 6-8 weeks. Everyone who drafted before March 28th was grabbing Guy Smyly late as an obvious bounceback candidate. From his 2012 debut to 2015 he posted a 3.24 ERA/1.17 WHIP in 126 games/55 starts. Last year his ERA exploded to 4.88. Unfortunately, despite a fresh start in Seattle we’re going to have to wait around 2 months to see if those bounceback claims are for real.
Stash or Trash: Stash. Just like with Matz, the alternatives that will be around are probably not better than what you might get out of Smyly.
Fill In: Daniel Norris, DET, 11.3% owned. Norris is way too under-owned in my opinion for a guy who had a 3.38 ERA in 13 starts in 2016. If you’re in a 10 or 12 team standard ESPN and owned Smyly — pick up Norris and hope he himself can stay healthy.
Noah Syndergaard, NYM, Throwing Hand Blister.
Sounds to me like Thor needs to learn a lesson from Moises Alou and Jorge Posada. He made it into the sixth inning without allowing a run, but got pulled with a blister on his thumb. He only got his next start pushed back by one day so he’s fine.
Stash or Trash: Obvious stash.
Top 10 DL Stashes. If you’ve got a struggling player on your roster, but don’t have a viable replacement on the waivers — sometimes the best option is to add/stash a guy on your DL spot and wait for your reinforcement to get healthy. It’s like finding a $20 in that jacket you haven’t worn since last winter. You won’t find guys who are over 75% owned on this list like Ian Desmond or David Price because they’re probably already stashed in someone’s DL slot. This list is for guys who might help you later in the season. They’re ranked based on how much they’re able to help you after their return and how soon they will return.
- David Dahl, OF, COL.
- Carlos Rodon, SP, CWS. a little over a month away from returning but the 24-year old lefty has a lot of potential with his high strikeout rate. If he continues to bring down his walk rate we could be looking at a top-15 starter by the end of this season.
- Jorge Soler, OF, KC.
- Tom Murphy, C, COL.
- Huston Street, RP, LAA. Angels manager Mike Scioscia has gone with no one’s favorite fantasy baseball cliche: the closer-by-committee, until Street comes back. So he’ll quickly step right back into the closer role.
- Tyson Ross, SP, TEX.
- Collin McHugh, SP, HOU.
- Anthony DeSclafani, SP, CIN.
- Carter Capps, RP, SD. Capps is the man who should be closer in San Diego once he’s healthy (he’s not that far away.) Sure, the Padres aren’t going to win a lot of games, but the ones they do one are sure to be close games opening up a lot of save opportunities for Capps. Along with his wild K-rate.
- Didi Gregorius, SS, NYY.