Howdy do, folks.
The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI) is well underway, and all of us writer folk are eagerly drafting and impatiently waiting between picks. Spring Training games are in full force. The weather’s getting a little warmer (at least around here). It’s just a great time of year.
But with all that, there’s of course a flip side. The flip side being that human beings are fragile things, and when games start, you can just bet your little button nose that injuries will start a-pilin’ up.
We’ve already had a fair crop of ’em; some have been precautionary, some haven’t, and one of ’em is potentially devastating. Check out last week’s Ambulance Chasers: Preseason Boo Boos To Watch for a comprehensive list of current ailments in addition to what you’ll find below.
Framber Valdez done went and broke his finger in his first ding dang outing. It’s his ring finger on his pitching hand. You know, the important hand. Crazy thing is, he went back in and finished his outing before the diagnosis. I know you fantasy GMs got your knickers in all kinds of knots over this, but remember the real-life Astros are also gonna be without Justin Verlander for the entire season. So this doubly sucks for them. Another weird thing is that this injury news is in limbo right now. On one hand (lol see what I did there?), Jon Heyman has reported that surgery has been recommended, which indicates ligament damage, and which further indicates that he’ll be out the entire season. On the other hand, Grey said that Coolwhip said that Valdez doesn’t even use that finger much. And if there’s not ligament damage, then a broken finger really ain’t all that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. Especially one that’s not used often. I mean, remember J.T. Realmuto is hitting/catching with a broken thumb right now. So I dunno. The “good” news for slow drafts is at least this happened now, so you have time to mitigate the damage. If you’ve concluded a draft that has Valdez on your team, then I surely hope it’s not a Best Ball league. Pretty soon we should hear either decently good news or really bad news on this, so stay tuned.
Lil’ bit of a scare for Adalberto Mondesi owners, given it was a foot issue (hit-by-pitch) and he’s drafted for what those feet can do, but he played in yesterday’s tilt. Doubled and drove in a run. I’m so ready for him to prove every 2nd round drafter RIGHT.
Brandon Woodruff had a stiff back earlier in the week and got his ST debut pushed back. He’s set to make his debut on Monday. Nothing to worry about here.
Yasmani Grandal is dealing with some knee inflammation after twisting it running drills. La Russa has said he won’t play this weekend, but this doesn’t sound like much to worry about at all. Never encouraging to hear about someone his age at a grueling position already being banged up, though.
Xander Bogaerts is dealing with a sore shoulder. Ain’t no thang, though; don’t worry. Sounds like the root cause is because, due to lockdowns in Aruba (rough life amirite), X wasn’t able to throw as much as he normally would in the offseason. MRI revealed nothing. Your superstar SS will be just fine.
Nick Castellanos had a finger problem and was scratched earlier in the week, but he played Friday and hit second. All systems go.
Javier Baez left Friday’s game after taking a pitch to the arm. Purely precautionary, however. “Forearm contusion” always sounds really dire to me for some reason, but rest assured he’ll be back in no time. Side note: video in the dugout will be a thing again this season, and Baez has told anyone who’ll listen that the lack of said video is why he’s struggled so much lately. We might be looking at a 2021 Bounce-Back Daddy. That’s a term I just made up.
Lorenzo Cain is a pretty hot little potato these days in the fantasy circle. Lots of hype, but it’s more of the low-key variety. Well guess what, but wouldn’t you know he’s got an injury. Dude always seems to. More like Lorenzo “Always In” Pain, amirite? Cain and Abel? More like In Pain and Disabled, amirite? It’s a quad injury, but for now it doesn’t look too bad. Though, another downer for Cain owners is that the Brewers just signed Jackie Bradley Jr. Maybe that doesn’t eat too much into Cain’s playing time, but maybe it does? Maybe they rest fwagile wittle Cain a bit more than they would? We’ll see. The Brewers can kick rocks for all I care. (I have to say that as a Cards fan, but I actually really like the Brew Crew. They’re named after beer, for Pete Fairbanks’s sake! And their uniforms are dope.)
Fellow Beer Maker Luis Urias tweaked the ol’ hammy on Friday and thusly was removed from the game. I don’t care how minor a hamstring injury is said to be, I am always extra wary of any and all mentions. But let’s be real, I really don’t have this dude on my fantasy radar anyway. Not at all convinced he sees regular ABs.
Uber prospect Nate Pearson has a Grade I groin strain. I’m the same way with groins as I am with hammies (that’s sounds grosser than intended): any and all mentions are giant red flags. The Blue Jays are being overly cautious, so he’s shut down entirely for now. And remember how he hurt his elbow and missed over a month last season? Not an inspiring start to his career, I must say.
Max Fried was scratched from his scheduled start after the Braves learned of a possible COVID exposure. He’ll need to test negative (obviously) and quarantine for a little bit before he can return to the team if this exposure turns out to be true.
Everything (aside from Framber) up to this point has been pretty mild stuff. But there were a couple injuries with longer timetables for return. Firstly, Adam Haseley will miss at least a little bit of the start of the season due to a groin strain (ruh roh, another groin!). Not terribly fantasy relevant in his own right, but this does mean more paths to playing time for the likes of Scott Kingery, Mickey Moniak (former No. 1 overall pick), Odubel Herrera, and/or Roman Quinn. Secondly — and much more fantasy relevant — is Kole Calhoun, who will miss 4-6 weeks after having knee surgery. It’s not terribly serious knee surgery, but to miss all of Spring Training means he’ll need even more time to get back into game shape. Calhoun has tapped into some serious power the past two seasons, smacking 33 in 2019 and 16 (48-HR pace!) last year. He tanks the ol’ BA, but damn can he rake. Still a good stash in deep enough leagues, methinks.
Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions/comments/complaints/etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time.