This is getting out of hand! If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen my share my process of how I keep track of which players are getting mentioned in injury reports. By the end of Thursday night there were 25 players listed in my Google Doc. Luckily for them (and me) some have returned to play since they were first mentioned as possibly being injured.
Normally I am not someone who would recommend changing your league’s rules mid-season, but due to this new 10-day disabled list we are seeing a lot more players being placed on the DL. You might want to talk to your league commissioner and other owners about having an emergency vote about adding 1 more DL-spot to your rosters if at all possible.
As always, if you’ve got any questions regarding injuries that are specific to your league — please drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours!
Michael Brantley, OF, Ankle sprain
CAN LEBRON PLAY OUTFIELD?! Honestly, probably. How awesome would it be if LeBron was a 3 sport start for the Cavs, Browns and Indians? If Tebow Almighty can try it — why not a good athlete? Terry Francona is going to keep Brantley out of games until Friday, May 12th, but he should avoid a DL stint. Stash or Trash: Stash – he’ll be back soon.
Brett Anderson, SP, Lower Back Strain
You trusted Brett Anderson to stay healthy? I don’t know if Anderson’s house is built on an ancient indian burial ground, if every city he plays in is overrun with black cats and he crosses each and every single one of them every day on the way to the ball park or if he is following the Yoan Moncada diet and David Wells workout plan. There’s injury prone and then there’s injury probable and Anderson falls in the latter camp. Stash or Trash: Trash. I would’ve said the same on draft day too. Fill In: I’m going to be non-committal and recommend two guys who might end up being Anderson’s replacement in Chicago and I’ll try to make the case for each: Mike Montgomery (4.8% owned in ESPN standard leagues) and Eddie Butler (0.5% owned.) After Anderson’s pre-DL start Maddon said mentioned both guys as possible fill ins for Anderson. I think Montgomery was everyone’s wish to take the 5th starter job out of spring training, but Joe Maddon gave the gig to Anderson. Montgomery so far has been thriving in a lefty/long-relief role for the Cubs this season putting up a 1.17 ERA in 23 IP. The Cubs have another lefty option out of the pen in Brian Duensing, but Duensing is no Monty. Butler is much less known than Montgomery, but has been equally impressive for the Cubs AAA-affiliate. Strangely enough, Butler also has a 1.17 ERA over 30.2 IP, but has been starting games out in Iowa. Butler has a pretty ugly MLB history so far with a 6.50 ERA over 159.1 IP, but that was in Colorado when he was a younger player. Now, the Cubs acquired Butler in hopes of turning him into another reclamation project in the same vein as Jake Arrietta. (Butler has been getting some comparisons to Jake Arrietta this season as well.) The Cubs third option is to stick to a four-man rotation since they have off days on May 11th and 15th. My prediction? Butler gets the call to start on May 12th. Butler has been performing well and if he can be the Cubs next Jake Arrietta–they (and you) can reap the benefits.
Zach Britton, RP, Forearm & Elbow Strain
Britton doesn’t have UCL damage which is good, but is still expected to miss 45 to 60 days with this injury. 2016’s best closer has only appeared in 8 games this season and won’t be seen until after the All-Star Break (July 14th.) Stash or Trash: Stash. Even with these injuries he still only has a 1.00 ERA this season which is actually up half a run from last year’s historic run. Fill In: If you’re in a very active league and you’re reading this, it’s too late. He’s already gone, but Justin Wilson (21.6%) just took the Tigers closier job from K-Rod, as predicted in week three’s issue of Ambulance Chasers.) Wilson has a 14.49 K/9 and a 0.59 WHIP. He’ll be their closer for the rest of the season — stick a fork in K-Rod, he’s done.
Wei-Yin Chen, SP, Throwing Arm Fatigue
Chen went on the DL on May 5th and initially reports were coming out that he’d be coming off the DL when eligible on the 15th to make his next start. However, now that is not looking like the case. After Chen’s shameful 2016 (4.96 ERA/123 IP) he was going widely undrafted. Much like 2016, this season has been up and down for Chen. He has 3 quality starts, but in his other two starts he has allowed 10 ER in 8 IP. Stash or Trash: Trash. He’s too inconsistent and no one else in your league is going to trust him. Fill In: Andrew Cashner (3.8%.) Yes, THAT Andrew Cashner. The right-hander hasn’t been relevant since 2013-2014, but has put together a few nice starts in 2017. He’s got a hideous strikeout to walk ratio that is under 1.00 (not good — more BBs than Ks) but his next start comes against an Oakland team that is only collectively hitting .234 for the season and .225 away from the Oakland Coliseum and .229 against righties. Need any more evidence? Too bad — I’ve got a lot more guys to cover.
Dexter Fowler, OF, Shoulder Strain
On Thursday, May 4th Fowler injured his shoulder attempting a diving catch. Since then Fowler and the disabled list have had a bit of a Jack and Diane thing going on. Will he? Won’t he? As of press time (Tuesday, May 9th) Fowler has still not appeared in a game. Don’t the Cardinals realize that they can just mess with this new 10-day DL system? Oh…I bet that isn’t the “Cardinal Way.” Stash or Trash: Stash. I still feel like he’s going to end up on the DL. I read a report after the injury that his shoulder was actually a lot worse than they were leading on. What article? I don’t know — can’t find it now. I’m a professional! Fill In: Aaron Alther has no business being unowned in 83.6% of leagues. His 16/4/14/3/.338 line is one of the most impressive so far in the young season. It is damn near Haniger-ian. His .439 BABIP should make his average tumble significantly, but could he still threaten 75 runs, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 15 SB? Definitely.
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Right Elbow Soreness
Adrian picked an ultra trendy time to have his first trip to the disabled list. Being on the disabled list is so hot right now. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is putting him on a “slow program” with all of the other special boys and girls so he could miss more than the 10 day minimum. Adrian needed this DL stint — he was on pace to put up his lowest batting average (.255) since 2005! Stash or Trash: Stash. It really seems like this injury is the reason for his poor play so far. Gonzalez can hit .270 in his sleep. If you’re in an 8 team league though? Trash. Fill In: Since I already astutely told you to add Yonder Alonso in last week’s article I can’t recommend him twice in a row, right? In really deep leagues you can give Danny Valencia (6.4%) a chance. Valencia hit a low point on April 22nd when his batting average dropped to .145. The Mariners called up prospect Dan Vogelbach to give him a shot to run with the Mariners 1B job, but unfortunately he didn’t prove anything either. Since April 22nd, Valencia has gone 13 for 35 with 8 runs, 3 HR, 9 RBI and 1 SB to see his average climb to .227. Valencia is capable of providing great production and now has eligibility at 1B, 3B and OF.
Jason Heyward, OF, Sprained Finger
Writing Heyward off after what was the most disappointing season of 2016 might’ve been premature. While he has been struggling over the since April 22nd, anything provided above 2016’s .230 batting average is an improvement. Stash or Trash: Deeper/NL-only leagues you can continue to stash Heyward. There are guaranteed ups and downs expected with Heyward, but if something clicks he has a lot of RBI potential batting 6th for the Cubs. Fill In: Keon Broxton (23.4%.) 2017 sleeper darling Keon Broxton struggled out of the gate hitting .146 up until April 22nd (there’s that date again…) since then he’s hit .341 with 1 HR and 5 SB. If he was dropped in your league, now is your chance to grab him. April 22nd might just be the date to wait to see if your players are just slumping or if you can cut ties.
Shawn Kelley, RP, Lower Back Strain
I honestly can’t keep up with who Dusty finishes his games with. Treinen was the closer, than Kelley, now it might be LaTroy Hawkins for all I know. He’s probably still pitching, right? Kelley seems on track to return Friday, May 12th so just be patient. Stash or Trash: Stash. Fill In: This is going to seem lazy on my part — but just wait the three days. I’ll give you more relief pitcher fill in options for Mark Melancon below.
Ian Kennedy, SP, Hamstring Strain
Is there a more boring, league-average starting pitcher than Mr. Kennedy? He does have a cute little 3.03 ERA and 1.07 WHIP this season, but is 0-3 because the Royals boast the league’s worst offense. There is no timetable for his return, but it doesn’t seem like he should miss more than two starts. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’s doing so well so far, but expect that ERA to regress back to Kennedy’s 3.75-3.99 range. Fill In: JC Ramirez (16.1%.) Since stepping into a starter role on April 14th, Ramirez has a 3.45 ERA and a 30 K’s over 28.2 IP.
Russell Martin, C, Shoulder Irritation
Apparently this is an injury that has been lingering since spring training. Russell Martin is only batting .197 so most of you have probably already dropped Martin but you smart OBP leaguers know that his .365 OBP is money in this catcher climate. Stash or Trash: Stash in OBP leagues — those 19 walks are making him ownable, trash in any other leagues. Fill In: Do I have to? Does your league constitution say that you NEED to have a full line up? Cameron Rupp (5.9%) I guess? He’s batting .385 with 2 HR over his last 7 games. Rupp has a little pop in his bat, he hit .252 last season so he won’t destroy your team there.
Mark Melancon, RP, Mild Throwing Elbow Strain
San Francisco Giant brass are saying that Melancon should be ready to go when he’s eligible on May 16th. However, Melancon has his highest ERA and WHIP since he became a full-time closer in 2013. But, his 2.62 FIP is actually pretty on par with his career numbers though. Stash or Trash: Stash. The Giants are surprisingly the worst team in baseball right now, so saves might be tough to come by, but I’m expecting the Giants to improve a bit — they’re too talented not to. Fill In: Derek Law (1.1% as of Tuesday night.) Giants manager Bruce Bochy has named Law as the Giants closer until Melancon comes back and Law has pitched pretty well so far with a 2.40 ERA. Law does have some closing experience from the minors so he might be a good source of a few saves if the Giants get hot and start winning games.
James Paxton, SP, Throwing Forearm Strain
Paxton was on a Cy Young pace to begin 2017 allowing only six ER in his six starts and those six ER only came in two of those six starts. His ERA is 1.43 and his FIP is 1.49 so this start is believable. Paxton’s biggest weakness has always been his fondness for the disabled list and he finds himself there again. Paxton is eligible to return May 13th, but depending on the results of his upcoming pitching side-sessions he may or may not need more time. Stash or Trash: Stash, stash, stash. This is what we’ve all been hoping for from Paxton for years now. Fill In: Chris Tillman (35.8%.) Tillman, himself recently coming off the disabled list, is set to face the offensively offensive Kansas City Royals in his next start on Friday, May 12th.
Stephen Piscotty, OF, Hamstring Strain
This is seeming to be a minor strain so you should get Piscotty back in your lineups on Monday, May 15th. Piscotty’s average is holding at .241 right now, but his 16.3% walk rate is making up for that. Upon Piscotty’s return you can expect him to get back on pace to match his 86/22/85/7/.273 line from last year. Stash or Trash: Stash. Piscotty makes a great OF3 batting clean-up in the Cardinals lineup. Fill In: Scott Schebler (43.8%.) From Piscotty to Scott. Schebler doesn’t have the contact skills of Piscotty, but he has considerably more power. In the minors in 2013 he hit 27 HR in 125 games and in 2014 he hit 28 HR in 135 games. If he can tap into that power source he could be a nice OF fill in option on your roster while not being a complete sub .200 AVG drain.
Martin Prado, 3B, Hamstring Strain
Prado only made it through 17 games before finding himself on the DL again. Prado missed the opening of the season with a strain to the same hamstring. Stash or Trash: Trash. This seems like it is going to be a lingering injury. Fill In: If you had Prado that means you’re either in a 20 team league or an NL-only league so I’d recommend you grab Ryan Schimpf (8.1%) who is one of the few viable NL-only options who is less owned than Prado. Schimpf is crushing the ball (9 HR) and being selective (21 BB) which makes him more valuable in OBP leagues, but he does have a .294 AVG over his last 11 games so maybe he is starting to make more contact for batting average leagues.
Jameson Taillon, SP, Possible Testicular Cancer
Man, this sucks. Cancer is a punk. You can be a perfectly healthy athlete and that still won’t stop it. Hopefully Taillon comes out of this stronger than ever and kicks cancer’s ass. Stash or Trash: I haven’t found many fantasy experts willing to tackle this and rightfully so. No one wants to be selfish enough to ask “Yea, but how does this affect me?” when cancer is involved. I’ll try to tackle it with all respect to the Taillon family. Right now, not a lot of information is out there on his diagnosis and there isn’t a precedent really sent for this type of “injury.” What we do know is that Taillon has already had a testicle removed. Full recovery from this surgery is 2-4 weeks. If chemotherapy is required you can count Taillon out for the rest of the season. For now, you should stash Taillon and wait for more updates. If chemotherapy is necessary, give your thoughts and prayers and positive thoughts to the Taillon family and donate to a cancer charity of your choice. Fill In: Jordan Montgomery (10.9%.) Montgomery is learning on the job. He only made six starts above AA before the Yankees handed him a spot in their starting rotation and for the most part, Montgomery has responded well with a 1.38 WHIP and 3.81 ERA. In his most recent start he held the Chicago Cub All Stars to 3 ER over 6.2 IP. He does have four BB in his last two starts so he’ll need to work on his control to maintain his effectiveness.
Mike Trout, OF, Hamstring Strain
This injury first popped up on May 4th and since then there have been 10 updates on Rotoworld and 0 games played for Trout. Trout took batting practice on Tuesday and declared that his hamstring has improved, but he still isn’t 100%. At this point, a DL-stint could be backdated to May 4th which would allow Trout to return on the 14th. Rather than risk further injury, the Angels should think long and hard about placing him on the DL for the next 5 days. Stash or Trash: *Judgmental Emoji*. Fill In: There just isn’t a fill in option for the modern day Willie Mays. Part of me doesn’t even want to try as to not disrespect Trout. Honestly, adding Altherr still applies very well here. He is providing the five-category threat that Trout is known for. But for another option you could look into Jayson Werth (21.1%.) Werth has a very impressive line on the young season: 19/5/10/3/.300. He’ll probably be listed on Week 7’s issue of Ambulance Chasers — but he’s not a bad fill in option for now.