Another doozy of a week. I don’t know what it is about this year, but hamstrings and shoulders are DOOMED. Feels like 90% of the injuries I keep getting updates about are “hamstring tightness” or “pulled up lame” or “sore shoulder” or “shoulder inflammation.” Ugh.
If by some stroke of insane luck you’ve managed to avoid injury to this point, no doubt this week the fantasy baseball gods deemed you unworthy after all. I told you in the title that I had bad news. Well, let’s get to it:
Fernando Tatis Jr.: Ugh. Just what fantasy baseball and real baseball needed: the face of the game going down in a heap of pain after a mere swing. You hate to see any kind of injury, but non-contact injuries just hit different. This kind of seems like it was a matter of time, though, given the issues Tatis has already had this season. We had that scare back in Spring Training, and lately we’ve seen bad defense coupled with poor batting. I mean, just one homer so far? Obviously something was wrong! But in all seriousness, you could kind of see the writing on the wall if you were willing to open your eyeballs and look that direction. The official play now is rest and rehab — FTJ is on the 10-day IL. My personal, fully non-medical opinion is this dude needs surgery, and it’s kind of stupid to delay it. See: Michael Conforto. You’ve surely seen the clips of Conforto’s injury after swinging being compared to FTJ’s. Eerily similar. I’m holding onto my one Tatis share in case of a miracle between now and an official decision, but I’m 99.9999% mentally ready and expecting to drop him.
Ketel Marte: Ugh again. Just what the Arizona Diamondbacks and fantasy baseball needed: a superstar in the making going down after a mere run to first base. I wasn’t alone in being super high on Marte going into this year after his skunker of a 2020 campaign. I’ve said it before: I fully believe in his 2019 success. And wouldn’t you just know, he was on his way to doing it again this year, and then all of a sudden SNAPSNAPSNAP goes the hammy. As of writing, they’re saying it could just be a bad cramp…I, um, ain’t buying that one. You don’t fall to the ground, slap the ground repeatedly in anger/frustration, then need to be helped off the field by two other grown men if you’re just a-crampin’. Just like with Tatis, I’m holding my one share (tried to get more, dangit!) in case of a miracle between now and an official update, but I’m 99.9999% mentally ready and expecting to drop him. EDIT: News came in already, but I’m keeping my previous assessment to show all of you how smart I am (read: I can recognize the glaringly obvious, just like anyone else). It’s indeed a hamstring strain, and he’s been put on the 10-day IL. I’m still not holding my breath it’s not a lengthier absence than that.
Mike Soroka: Gee, look, another shoulder issue for a name-brand pitcher. Soroka has been completely shut down for at least two weeks with shoulder issues. Dude was already at the alternate site trying to get into game shape after recovering from Achilles surgery, and now he’s behind even further. No bueno. I wasn’t very high on him in the first place, but he’s a solid guy if all you want out of your fantasy SPs are run support and ratios.
George Springer: Springer suffered a quad injury and is day-to-day. He was just about to get back into action after his oblique gave him fits during ST, but now we’ll have to wait a little longer for his Blue Jays debut.
Tim Anderson: Timmy A remains on the IL with — you guessed it! — a hamstring injury. He left Sunday night’s game early, with initial reports saying it may not be too bad, but he’s since had to hop on the ol’ IL. Hopefully he’s back toward the end of next week.
Cody Bellinger: Yeah, Beli is hurt too. He hasn’t played since he got spiked by a cleat in the calf trying to beat a throw to first. It didn’t sound all the bad at first, but now it’s resulted in a trip to the IL. Which is okay, really, cuz at least now we can stash him on the IL and find a short-term replacement. Short-term, right?!
Mookie Betts: Oh, cool, he’s out too! Betts sat Friday, but he’s still just day-to-day for now. Stay tuned.
Matt Olson: Olson has missed some time this week after banging up his knee, but it’s nothing that should keep him out much longer. Been a slow start for Ol’ Son (lol get it?), so really his absence has been about as fruitful as having him in games anyway.
Ke’Bryan Hayes: Hayes has been on the IL for close to a week now with a wrist injury. Reports indicate it’s a little worse than initially thought. Cool. KBH was looking like a shoo-in for NL ROY after a torrid spring. Already had a ding dong in his first two regular season games, too. Pirates can’t catch a break.
James Paxton: Speaking of not catching breaks, Paxton is up there with the best of ’em. This guy is a fantasy ace when he’s on — too bad he puts the “on” in “on the IL” way too often. Pax looked sensational in Spring Training, striking out 17 batters in just 8.1 IP and allowing just a single earned run. Alas, dude couldn’t even make it through two innings in his first start. Got yanked after throwing an ugly pitch and feeling elbow discomfort. He’s since been put on the IL (see, what I tell ya) and has been recommended for Tommy John.
Trevor Rosenthal: You can pretty much chalk this season up as a lost cause for the Renaissance Man: T-Rose has gone under the knife to fix his shoulder. We’re looking at months of recovery/rehab time here. You should go get Jake Diekman and/or Sergio Romo and/or Lou Trivino now.
A.J. Puk: In addition to Ol’ Son and T-Rose, the A’s are also gonna be without Puk for a little while at least, who has a bicep strain. Puk looked both good and bad in his 3.1 IP outing the other day, compiling 4 K and 3 BB. Can’t help but get Mark Prior vibes with this guy. In redraft, I’m not paying him any more attention; in dynasty, just…keep your hopes up?
Shohei Ohtani: A pesky blister is bothering Sho Time, so he won’t make his next scheduled pitching start (which would be tomorrow). He could pitch again later in the week. Doesn’t seem to be affecting his bat, at least! Man, I can’t get enough of this guy. I’m so in love.
Joakim Soria/Chris Devenski: Double-doozy for Diamondbacks RP. Soria is on the 10-day IL with a strained calf. Looked pretty yucky in his lone 0.2 IP outing anyway. Another guy in line for saves would be Devenski, who already has one this year, but he’s on some kind of restricted list right now. Details aren’t known at the time of writing this — we just know it’s for personal reasons. It’s also worth noting that he’s coming off a blown save and has given up a HR in each outing. Waters are murky in the pen now, but you could look at Stefan Crichton for the time being.
Kole Calhoun: Calhoun is getting very near to a return after having knee surgery. Dude swatted 16 bombs last year, tied for seventh in all of baseball. Dating back to June 1, 2019, Calhoun’s last 634 PAs have resulted in 92 R, 38 HR, and 83 RBI. His batting average is crap, but he walks enough to keep the OBP respectable. Don’t sleep on Swole Calhoun if you’re in need of power. He definitely won’t hurt you in points or OBP leagues.
Tommy La Stella: The Star is still out of action with back issues. Can’t be much longer now, right? I know he’s not sexy, but he’s nice and safe. Nice and safe are good attributes in fantasy.
Austin Hays: Another hamstring boo boo. Hays has been out the entire week, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be back all that soon, either. If you had made me pick an Orioles outfielder to do things this year, I would have picked Hays over current starlet Cedric Mullins. I’ve been wrong about a few things so far this season…
— JKJ ? ? (@jkj0787) April 8, 2021
Elieser Hernandez: Those Marlins have sneaky good pitching, but sadly they’ll be without EH for a while. He’s on the 10-day IL with bicep issues. He was clearly not himself in his last outing, but reports are indicating he may not be too far from a return. Obviously he’ll have to ramp back up and whatnot, but this isn’t a season-killing type deal.
Chaz Roe/Peter Fairbanks: Roe and Fairbanks both landed on the IL, which just serves to clear up more save opportunities for Diego Castillo. Castillo seems to have the early leg up in the regard anyway, but now it’s much more certain he’ll get the lion’s share. Wouldn’t put it past the Rays to do some silly stuff, but surely Castillo is as much “the guy” as can be now. Roe is in fact on the 60-day IL, so you can cut all ties you might have had. Fairbanks is of the 10-day variety for now, but it’s a rotator cuff strain, so that could turn into a lengthy absence in a heartbeat. I’d just go ahead and find a replacement if I were you. I’m gonna have to :(
Tony Gonsolin: Gonso is on the IL with shoulder inflammation. In most leagues, he’s not a viable option, but deep leaguers out there could use a multi-inning guy with potentially elite ratios on offer. Remains to be seen when we’ll get to see him pitch again, though.
Josh Donaldson: Donaldson got hurt after his first at-bat of the year. Hamstring. Recovery has gone pretty well, and he could start taking simulated at-bats this weekend. So depending how that goes, they’ll ramp up the intensity. Sounds like a return isn’t too far away, but it’s not exactly clear when it’ll be yet.
Aaron Judge: It’s a risk as old as time: draft Judge at all, knowing he’s likely to miss some/a lot of games? I’ve never done it before, but I actually did it this year. I read how he’s focusing on yoga and taking better care of his body, so I took a leap of faith in TGFBI. Early on, it’s paid off! Judge is raking (.364/.391/.636 slash with 2 HR and only a 17.4% K-rate). But Judge is now day-to-day with “side soreness.” I’m not worried…yet. He sat again for Friday’s game but this just sounds like general soreness and not an actual injury. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.
Gio Urshela: Gio is experiencing some rough side effects from his COVID vaccine, so he’s been put on the COVID-related IL. He’ll be right as rain before any time at all. PSA: side effects are normal! It means it’s working. End PSA.
Evan White: Dealing with a lil’ bit of a quad issue but sounds like he’ll avoid the IL. Been a less than ideal start for White, but at least his outlandishly awful 41.6% K-rate from last year is down to 29.2% for now.
Billy Hamilton: Did you have a resurgent Billy Hamilton on your “Bold Taeks for 2021 SZN!” list? I don’t know if anyone was that bold. All the attention was on how Andrew Vaughn was supposed to the savior in left field after Eloy Jimenez went down, but it’s been speedy ol’ Bill who’s seen the most time out there. Okay, “resurgent” is too generous, but the mere fact that he’s even playing is surprising enough. He only has three hits on the year, but with only one strikeout, two drawn walks, and two stolen bases, he hasn’t been totally worthless either. Anyway, all that’s moot right now cuz he’s out with a hammy injury.
Kwang Hyun Kim: The award for Least Sexy But Most Effective Cardinals SP goes to Kim, who somehow dazzled last year with a 1.62 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. He almost never strikes anyone out, but the groundballs just pile up. I’m sure he was less than thrilled when Kolten Wong was allowed to leave (side note: heartwarming moment in Wong’s first AB back at Busch, where he was battling through tears. I’m crying, too, Kolten; I’m crying, too.).
Once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal. Kolten Wong gets a standing O before his first-at-bat as a visitor at Busch.
— Bally Sports Midwest (@BallySportsMW) April 8, 2021
Oh yeah, this is about Kim…he’s been out with back issues, but he’s set to be activated this coming week. That’ll force either Daniel Ponce de Leon or John Gant out of the rotation. If your fantasy staff could use an SP, Kim’s largely been forgotten about. Only 34% rostered on Y! and only 11% on ESPN.
Paul Goldschmidt: Goldy was held out of action Thursday with back spasms/tightness. He’s being monitored and there’s no real update yet. This could be a thing where he returns within a couple days or a couple weeks. Backs is tricky bizness. Keep a close eye on updates if you’re rostering Goldy.
Chris Owings: Owings is having himself a nice year, even if it only serves to piss off Garrett Hampson owners. For now, though, Owings is out with a hamstring injury. Both Hampson and Owings are producing, and it doesn’t sound like Owings will be out much longer, so it remains to be seen how all that shakes out when everyone’s healthy again.
Chris Martin: Could return to action today. SAGNOF!!
Matt Bush: Experiencing elbow inflammation, so he’s now on the 10-day IL. You absolutely never want to hear the words “elbow inflammation” with pitchers. Ian Kennedy has been real solid so far, so look for him to be the straight up man now in Texas with Bush firmly out of the picture.
David Dahl: Sat Friday with some kind of illness. Day-to-day for now.
Chris Sale/Framber Valdez/Dinelson Lamet/Zac Gallen: Here’s a mass update on some injured fantasy aces. Sale has progressed to throwing from 120 feet, but he’s still not throwing off a mound yet. We’re still looking at a July-ish return. Valdez has resumed throwing some, but it’s not to a point where he’ll be ready all that soon — he’s basically gotta do a Spring Training’s worth of prep to get into game shape. Lamet is still about a month away from MLB action, but he recently threw 36 pitches in a sim game with no issues afterward. Gallen chucked 67 pitches in an intrasquad game on Wednesday, feeling no discomfort at all. Sounds like he’ll be back pretty ding dang soon!
Patrick Corbin: And finally, after all this mostly bad news, let’s end on a positive note (and that’s not of the COVID test variety, either!): Corbin has been activated off the COVID injured list and could even make his debut today! But even if he doesn’t, he’ll slingin’ baseballs again real, real soon.
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.