Hello again, Razzgals/bois.
Welp, odds are you done got rekt this week with some injury news one way or the other, especially if you’ve invested heavily in Blue Jays players and a certain MVP candidate on the White Sox. The latter is true for me. Good news is I have my Hardwood Hogs playing for an Elite 8 berth to look forward to tonight. And honestly, if Oral Roberts shocks the world once again, the March Madness fan in me isn’t gonna 100% hate it. I might cry, but some of those tears will be of joy for ORU. Maybe.
Enough about me. Let’s get to those injuries:
Eloy Jimenez did something I bet no one will ever try to do again: in attempting to rob a meaningless Spring Training homer that he really had no chance at anyway, Jimenez ruptured a pectoral tendon and will miss 5-6 months of action. The fact that he hurt himself over a truly meaningless play makes it so much worse. Rudy’s War Room loves Jimenez this year, so I reached for him a couple times in the second round (on the turn, since I was picking late in the round and would have likely missed out otherwise). It just felt like he was gonna have a monster, MVP-caliber season. Sighhhhhhhhh. So what does this mean now? Andrew Vaughn is reportedly being given a look as a replacement even though he has zero experience there. Guess that points to how highly the organization already thinks of him, which is obviously a good sign for Vaughn owners. Yasiel Puig is still homeless out there…Mike Tauchman is being floated around in trade talks…so we’ll just have to see how it shakes out, I reckon.
The Blue Jays got a trifecta of bad news all at once. Firstly, Robbie Ray had another Out of the Park Baseball injury after bruising his elbow when he fell down some stairs while carrying his child. Secondly, George Springer all of a sudden has Grade 2 oblique strain. And thirdly, Kirby Yates had Tommy John. Ray could still be fine for Opening Day. Both myself and War Room like him this year, and he’s looked strong so far this spring. Springer will likely be out for a while. I’ve read about optimism that he’ll be ready for OD, but that’s a load of malarkey, in my opinion. Obliques are nasty business, and Grade 2 means it’s pretty serious. Get your Randal Grichuk shares. As for Yates, he’s straight up done. Duh. Jordan Romano szn. Oh yeah, Cavan Biggio also is banged up: he was scratched Wednesday with a sore pinky finger. Imaging revealed nothing serious, though, so hopefully he’s back in action real quick like.
Another closer who is all but “straight up done” is Jose Leclerc. I’ve got a couple shares of this dude, since I felt he was an under-the-radar type who could return near elite dividends. Sadly, this will not be the case. His elbow is also jacked up, and I’m willing to bet Tommy John is in his future as well. Based on what I’ve read, it doesn’t exactly sound that serious yet, but it sure sounds like it’s almost to that point. With Jonathan Hernandez also sidelined, I guess it’s Matt Bush szn? Maybe Ian Kennedy, who was actually a solid closer in his Royals days? Maybe they split the gig until one of ’em pulls ahead? Guess I’d put my money on Kennedy if I had to pick — he did have 30 saves in 2019.
Have you managed to avoid injury thus far with the names above? How about if I add Zac Gallen? Yeah, he’s hurt too. Still dodging injuries like my cat when my kid runs at her screaming? Don’t worry, plenty more to come. Back to Gallen: hairline fracture in his throwing arm, which apparently happened while batting, cuz there ain’t no NL DH this season. So this of course falls entirely on Manfart’s shoulders. There’s no timeline right now, but he can at least take part in “low-stress” activities, so maybe his absence won’t be too much of an extended one. I’d wager he’s for sure out for his first few regular season starts, at any rate.
Stephen Strasburg ruptured a tendon in his calf, but apparently it’s not one you need??? I don’t understand that, but that’s the report, and he was still able to pitch Wednesday. Good news is he pitched. Bad news is it was a terrible outing. In four-ish innings, he allowed four runs, walked five, and only struck out one. So, you’ve got two ways of looking at this: either 1). you’re happy he pitched and don’t care about a crappy ST outing, or 2). you’re worried that ruptured tendon is affecting him after all. Take your pick! He’s my SP1 in TGFBI, so I’m forced to have some optimism for now. I will be avoiding in all remaining drafts this season, however.
Khris Davis is destined for some IL time to start the season. He strained his quad trying to beat out an infield single. It’s a Grade 2, so he’ll be out for 3-4 weeks. His fantasy stock was already pretty low, but now that he’s in Texas, the ballpark isn’t doing him any favors either. Still, there’s of course some pretty serious power upside here, and given his cheap af price tag, I grabbed him at the tail end of my RazzSlam draft.
Trent Grisham played in a simulated game earlier in the week. Grish has been out for two weeks now and still isn’t running at full speed. I would straight up avoid him if you’ve yet to draft. His price was already too high, anyway. I would definitely be looking at Jurickson Profar, who is dirt cheap these days.
The Rays bullpen is not ideal for fantasy except in SV/HD leagues, but Nick Anderson stands out for his elite ratios and strikeouts. News dropped late Thursday evening that he partially tore an elbow ligament and will be out probably past the All-Star break. For fantasy purposes, I’m going to treat this as season-ending, honestly. This news bumps the likes of Diego Castillo and Pete Fairbanks, obviously.
Reds arms update time. It’s not clear whether Michael Lorenzen will be good to go once the season starts. Lorenzen has a bum shoulder, so I’d be erring on the he-won’t-be-playing side. Amir Garrett looked great Tuesday against San Diego, striking out the side. Lucas Sims also pitched, albeit with less success. Looking like both are gonna be fine to start the season. Sonny Gray threw a sim game yesterday and felt fine afterward. He’ll still miss some time, but it’s not sounding like it’ll be very long at all. Tejay Antone is officially slated to start the season in the pen. If all them arms stay healthy, that is a truly nasty pen. Garrett is still the frontrunner for saves at the moment, but this could feasibly turn into a Rays-esque situation. The firepower was equal even factoring in Anderson, but now it’s definitely got a leg up.
Unless you’re in a very deep league, you’re not rostering Harrison Bader, but he’s gonna miss the start of the season with a forearm injury. This should lead to Tyler O’Neill getting everyday reps, and that’s something worth paying attention to. I’ve been high on O’Neill for what feels like a decade, so I understand any and all grains of salt associated with him. Although, it’s hard to ignore his raw power and torrid spring thus far. Captain Canada is slashing .400/.432/.657 with 2 HR, 8 RBI, and 2 SB in 13 games. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how, er, not good his 2020 was, but at least he cut his K-rate down under 28% when it was much higher in previous years.
Spencer Turnbull will start the season on the COVID injured list. Boo. Subsequently, Tarik Skubal and Julio Teheran have both made the Opening Day roster. Hard to get excited about Detroit arms, but Skubal and Turnbull still offer some upside. And I’m still not entirely out on Matthew Boyd. Teheran I don’t give two poopy diapers about.
As a several-times-over Ryan Mountcastle owner, I was worried to see he was scratched Wednesday. Alas, Mount got back into the lineup Thursday, batting third. He’s another War Room darling who will hit in the heart of the lineup in a hitter’s park. I’m in. He kicks off the year at #88 overall (ESPN standard leagues) on our Preseason Player Rater.
Christian Vazquez can honestly give you about the same raw totals (minus steals) that J.T. Realmuto can, yet somehow people are still drafting Jank Taco like he’s a league-winner. Sure, fine, he hit a homer in his first spring AB, but come on people. Stop drafting him. Ugh sorry, this paragraph isn’t even about JTR; I just can’t help myself. Right, so Vazquez. Just want to mention that he took a ball to the face, specifically his eye, during BP on Thursday, yet should be totally fine for Opening Day. I guess I really didn’t have to mention this at all, but it allowed for another JTR mini-rant, and that’s a hill I’ll die on, baybeeee!
Juan Soto scared the world after he left after just one AB on Thursday. Turns out it was just calf tightness and he’s totally fine. Probably needs to hydrate a little better or somethin’.
Speaking of scaring the world, Fernando Tatis Jr. actually did it first. He made a throw Tuesday that left him a-hurtin’, causing him to leave the game. I immediately had *ambulance siren emojis + OBLIQUE!!! NOOOO!!!!* running around in my head. Turns out it was just a lil’ tweak. He returned to the lineup on Thursday. Hit a homer. He fine.
Kyle Freeland will miss a month or more with a shoulder injury. Rockies starters aren’t sexy, but in the right league, a guy like Freeland is useful. He’s still in his prime years and had a dandy of a 2018 season: 17-7, 2.85 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and over 200 innings pitched. To be fair, dude hasn’t come very close to those numbers since, but at least he did it once? That’s gotta count for something? No? Not doing it for you? Don’t blame you. But let me just point out his 70+ innings last year were 16th in the league. His 26.1 CSW% (called strikes + whiffs) was 33rd among all qualified pitchers, as well. Better than Hyun-Jin Ryu. Better than Patrick Corbin. Better than Zack Wheeler. Only a tad worse than Lance Lynn. Guys you are definitely looking at rounds and rounds and rounds ahead of Freeland. So, yeah, I took a late stab at him in RazzSlam. Lot of us writer folks around here did, in fact. Hoping he can come back and do some thangs.
The Pirates sure don’t have much going for them IRL or fantasy-wise, but Steven Brault was supposed to be kind of a bright spot. He put up very respectable ratios last year (3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP), but now he’s shut down til mid-June or so with a lat strain. If you like per-nine stats (I do), then you’d love his 6.12 H/9 last year. That’s straight up elite. What made that WHIP not so elite was the 4.64 BB/9. His 8.02 K/9 is respectable. In short, Brault showed a lot of promise last year. He was never gonna chug innings or light up the W column, but he has the goods to help a fantasy squad out.
Eduardo Rodriguez has “dead arm” and will thusly miss his Opening Day start. He’s scheduled to throw a pen session today, then they’ll go from there. No timetable yet, so stay tuned.
Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time.