If only Adam Jones had gotten injured that headline would’ve been perfect. Well, it looks like we are in the thick of baseball injury season! When I went to put this week’s article together, I had 20 players listed that I needed to check out. Luckily, some guys like Brian Dozier, Logan Forsythe and Gregory Polanco were back in their team’s line-ups by the time came for me to check out their current status. Other guys like Jarrett Parker, Mallex Smith and James Kaprielan aren’t really fantasy relevant enough to worry about. But if you are in a deep or AL/NL-only league, feel free to ask me about anyone you want in the comments. Also, many of my fill in recommendations are for deeper leagues, so if you want to know who to pick up in shallower leagues, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments as well!
Zach Britton, BAL, Throwing Arm Strain.
Buck Showalter seems to believe Zach Attack will only need the minimum 10 day stint which puts him on track for an April 25th return. I seem to believe that an injury to the arm you pitch with might need a bit more time to heal. I also seem to believe that this injury has me a bit ‘shook’ as the kids say. I think he maybe spends 15-20 days on the DL at least. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’s a top 3 closer when healthy. Fill In: If Britton’s should-be replacement, Brad Brach (26.1% owned, ESPN), has already been swiped in your league than you might want to get your paws on Tigers set-up man Justin Wilson (8%.) The Tigers’ current closer K-Rod has given up runs in 3 of his 6 appearances so far and hits in 5 of his 6 appearances. The current difference in speed from his fastball and his out-pitch change-up is 4 mph. Good hitters are going to pick up on that. It seems like the end is nigh for the K-guy.
Carlos Correa, HOU, Bruised Hand.
Correa got hit by a pitch in his right hand on April 15th and hasn’t played since. For now, it seems like there isn’t any structural damage and he is just day-to-day. Correa, my AL MVP pick, hasn’t been hitting like the A-Rod-lite we’ve all been expecting just yet, but hopefully this time off has given him time to think about what he’s doing to me.
Josh Donaldson, TOR, Strained Calf.
Last week I wrote “I could see Donaldson eventually needing a DL-stint like his hot corner brother from another mother, Adrian Beltre, who is going through a similar injury.” And here we are with Donaldson on the 10-day DL. On April 18th, Ken Rosenthal from Fox News predicted that Donaldson would be out for 2 to 4 weeks, I say they give him closer to 4 weeks to make sure this injury doesn’t linger any more than it already has. Stash or Trash: Stash. He was your late-first, early-second round pick. Fill In: Chase Headley (37%) is hitting right now like it’s the second half of 2012 (the last time he mattered.) Headley has a sky-high .469 BABIP which is .139 over his career number. He’s obviously going to come back to earth HARD, but you only need to hope he stays hot for another month.
Sam Dyson, TEX, Bruised Ego.
The real injury is a throwing hand contusion, but we all see through that, right? It’s never good when your ERA is almost the same as your age (27.00.) This blurb is less about Dyson than it is the Rangers bullpen situation. Stash or Trash: Trash. Fill In: Matt Bush (19.7%) is being given first dibs on the 9th inning in Texas. His K/9 and pitching arsenal are exactly what you’re looking for in a good shut-down closer. However, don’t count out Jeremy Jeffress and Tony Barnette lurking right behind Bush. Bush himself has dealt with a shoulder injury already this season and no doctor in their right mind would prescribe high-90’s fastballs as a cure for shoulder injuries.
Brandon Finnegan, CIN, Strained Trapezius Muscle in Throwing Arm.
Don’t look now (because it probably has already changed,) but the Reds are 8th in all of baseball in team ERA. This is on the back of the 2.35 ERA from starters Finnegan, Amir Garrett and Scott Feldman. These three have combined to allow less earned runs (10) in 37.2 IP than the summer 2017 coach of the Hernando High School baseball team (go Leopards!), Bronson Arroyo, who has allowed (11) in 10 IP. Finnegan has been forbidden from even looking at a baseball for 3 weeks so we might not see him until mid-May if we’re lucky. Stash or Trash: Trash. His ownership is plummeting. Fill In: Jimmy Nelson (20.2%) I’m not proud of recommending Jimmy Nelson, but there was a time there when he was a highly thought of prospect in the Brewers system. So far he has held the Cubs to 1 ER over 6 IP and Finnegan’s Reds to 0 ER over 7 IP. Maybe Nelson just needed a bit more time to develop.
Kendall Graveman, OAK, Throwing Shoulder Strain.
One week after I recommend Graveman as a fill in option for Garrett Richards he finds himself on this same list. Call it the Kurse of the Klug. The Athletics are only going to be skipping one of his starts so he is a safe stash. Ain’t this 10 day DL grand? Stash or Trash: Don’t skip my blurbs! I just told you what to do above. Fill In: Why not let this injury cycle continue? I’ll recommend Brandon McCarthy (36.9%) this time. Like Graveman, McCarthy can be frustrating to own, doesn’t net a lot of K’s, has been performing pretty well so far (2.12 ERA/1.18 WHIP) and will probably be in next week’s issue of Ambulance Chasers.
Jon Gray, COL, Stress Fracture Left Foot.
This injury has been lingering since spring training so Jon Gray is one tough/dumb SOB. Gray is expected to miss a month to a month and a half at least. Gray is not a small boy (6’ 4”, 235 lbs) and if you follow basketball at all you know that broken bones in the feet of tall, heavy athletes have a habit of lingering longer than that. Stash or Trash: Stash. If you’ve got the DL spot open stash him for now. He was tabbed as a sleeper SP this year due to his strikeouts and if he is only out for a month he will still provide value after June 1st. Fill In: Let’s stay in Colorado. Antonio Senzatela (26.6%) may sound like a delicious brand of high-end pasta sauce, but the dude is legit. In 87 minor league starts he had a 2.45 ERA. He isn’t known for big strikeout totals, but limits damage with a low walk rate and an extremely low HR rate. Sounds like he could be a success even in a high-altitude place where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano.
J.A. Happ, TOR, Throwing Elbow Inflammation.
His MRI came back clean, but who are you going to trust: an MRI or some random guy’s article you’re reading on the internet? I think there’s something worse going on here! Even after last season’s 3.18 ERA I was not a big believer in Happ, but in his first 3 starts he has been pretty impressive. 20 K’s with 0 BB’s is a recipe for success. Stash or Trash: As much as I want to trash, I say stash. He might only miss 1 start. Fill In: God help me I almost listed James Shields here. Since you only need a pitcher for one start, I’d recommend Adam Conley (5.4%.) He is set up for a nice San Diego Padres match-up in PetCo Park. Guaranteed quality start with 6 or 7 strikeouts for Conley.
Rich Hill, LAD, Blister Again.
Same injury as last week when I wrote this: “Hill should be fine-ish. This is his first DL-stint in a 4 part series this year. He’s 37 and has thrown over 120 innings just once in his career and that was when a Bush was still in office.” So here is part 2! Hill has recurring issues with blisters. This DL stint is expected to be longer than his previous due to his delicate lady hands.
Stash or Trash: Stash. Blisters aren’t a season ending injury and hell, this might actually turn out to make Hill last a bit longer into the season!
Fill In: Alex Wood (2.3%) Why not pick the guy who is going to replace him? You can make the case that Wood should’ve begun the season in the starting rotation, but the Dodgers have a lot of options for those spots. Wood rebounded from a five walk appearance against the Cubs to completely shut down the Diamondbacks over three and a third innings in his most recent appearance. Not time for a James Shields panic just yet.
Starling Marte, PIT, PED Suspension.
Obviously not technically an injury, but still going to miss a bunch of time as if he was injured. Marte is unable to appear in a game until July 18th. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’s too good of a player for you to throw to the wolves. Fill In: Let me get this out of the way: I don’t think Austin Meadows will get called up. Adam Frazier has been hitting the ball exactly as well as he has in his minor league career but his lack of power and speed makes him not anything close to a Marte replacement. But you aren’t going to find a 5-category Marte replacement on the waivers.Steven Souza Jr., (38.7%) however, has been hitting pretty well so far and does have a history of power and speed in his career. He only has 2 HR and 0 SB so far this year, but has a .320 AVG and could finally be living up to the potential people saw in him the past 2 years.
Jake Odorizzi, TBR, Strained Left Hamstring.
The 27-year-old right hander felt his left hamstring tighten in his April 15th start against Boston. Odorizzi has been the definition of a league average starting pitcher since joining the Rays rotation in 2014. Since then he has made 95 starts and has a record of 31-29 with a 3.73 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Stash or Trash: Stash. League average isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He’ll have a few up and down starts, but he’s better than the options out there. He might miss 3 weeks with this injury. Fill In: Charlie Morton (10.8%) I’m going to fully own that I might be one of the only people who believes in Charlie Morton. This season he’s gotten his fastball up to as high as 97 mph so far and is averaging around 95. Morton’s starts might not look like much so far, but just wait until he gets hits 1.79 GB/FB ratio down to around his 3.00 average. Yes, I see that 81.8% strand rate. Deep, deep hibernation-level sleeper potential here.
Aaron Sanchez, TOR, Blister.
They removed a portion of Sanchez’s fingernail in hopes of alleviating his blister issue. Can’t they just get this guy a good mani/pedi? This blister epidemic has gotten out of control and Rob Manfred needs to step in and do something about it. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’ll be back in 3 to 4 weeks. Fill In: Please! No more pitcher injuries! I might just have to suggest James Shields! Matthew Boyd (7.1%.) Thank god for Matthew Boyd. Prevented me from making a fool of myself and suggesting Shields. Don’t let Boyd’s first disastrous start scare you away. In his last 2 starts he’s let up only one earned run over 12 innings. His next start is Saturday against the Twins who he shut out over 6 innings on April 11th.
Marcus Semien, OAK, Fractured Right Wrist.
Kurse of the Klug strikes again! Last week I suggested Semien as a fill in for Trea Turner. Semien isn’t even going to re-evaluated for a month a half so a good time table for his return could be July 1. And that isn’t even factoring in how he’ll perform once he returns since wrist injuries can sap the power from even the most powerful slugger. Stash or Trash: Trash. He is already only 31% owned. You can safely drop Semien in shallower leagues. Fill In: Didi Gregorius (22.9%.) Replacing one injured player with another? Blasphemy. Didi is expected to begin playing in rehab games later this week so by next week he could be fully back. To fill the gap you could grab Minnesota’s Jorge Polanco (6.6%.) He has a .289 AVG and while he won’t provide any power and only moderate speed, he’s just a deep/AL-only fill in until you get Didi.
Noah Syndergaard, NYM, Torn Fingernail
Gross. But miraculously he’s expected to make his next start. All this injury has me thinking about is those terrifying toenail fungus commercials. Sorry that I made you just curl your toes. If he can’t make his start…then fine…you can add James Shields for his Saturday start against Cleveland.