I’ll give it to Scott Boras: he’s a bold mf’er. Perhaps his boldness has resulted in some hubris in the case of Blake Snell. Snell, who notably did not attend spring training while holding out for a bigger contract, has had a rough season so far. In 11.2 IP, Snell has an 11.57 ERA with a 4.60 FIP. While he is (was?) projected to improve, his season is put on ice as he hit the IL with a moderate left adductor strain.

Readers, I know it may surprise many of you that I am not actually a medical doctor (the white coat is just for fun!). It may also surprise many of you that I am not a professional sports business person (the MBA on the wall behind me is fake!). However, I am very good at taking one example, creating a narrative around the example, and running with it.

That narrative? I did not actually really decide on a narrative, but you choose the one that feels most comfortable to you:

  • Money can’t buy happiness!
  • Spring training isn’t that important, but it also is kind of important.
  • The cautious seldom err (that one is from Confucius).
  • Other: [fill in your own answer].

Snell is certainly in a goofy spot, but there are other players who did the whole spring training thing and still got hurt. Let’s discuss them.

Notable Injuries

AL East

Brayan Bello (SP, BOS), back: Bello joins Garrett Whitlock and Nick Pivetta on the IL as he experienced right lat tightness. He is eligible to return May 6. Reliever Zack Kelly was recalled from the minors to replace Bello’s spot on the roster.  

In 9 IP in the minors, Kelly has a 0.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 10 SO. So, if you’re looking for a reliever, he could be a good option to keep your eye on. 

If you need a new starter, there is a lot of Erick Fedde Fever right now. In the past 7 days, Fedde has 16 K in 11.7 IP. For the season he is carrying a 4.48 ERA. Maybe this is a turning point? As a White Sox fan, I am unable to see it and the projections don’t show it, but his current run could be your gain.

Triston Casas (1B, BOS), rib: Casas is on the IL with torn cartilage of the rib. While the injury was originally thought to be a rib fracture, he is still facing an uphill battle. He is eligible to return May 6, but the timeline that has been shared for his return is between 3-9 weeks. So, you’re going to need a back-up plan. Boston will rely on Bobby Dalbec in Casas’ absence, but you will probably need someone else (unless you just need a lukewarm body).

Some folks may talk you into Connor Joe, which is an option. It may not be a sustainable option through Casas’ absence. San Francisco’s LaMonte Wade Jr. has been pretty consistent this season so far. He is currently hitting .368/.471/.491 with 1 HR, 7 RBIs, and 11 BB through 57 AB. His BABIP and projections show that conditions may be currently working in his favor, but those conditions seem a bit more sustainable than with Joe’s performance. 

Pete Fairbanks (RP, TBR), neck/shoulder: Pete Fairbanks is having nerve-related issues in his neck and shoulder, which is also affecting his fingers. Fairbanks notably has Raynaud’s syndrome which has shut him down in the past (especially in cold conditions). It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Fairbanks as he was also dealing with a stomach bug. He is eligible to return May 4.

The Rays recalled Kevin Kelly who, at the time of publication, had 5.40 ERA with 5 SO in 6.2 IP. However, in 2023, he did pretty well (3.09 ERA, 56 SO in 67 IP) and was crushing it in the minors this year before he was called up. He is also projected to improve this season. Kelly is most likely available in your league. We will talk more about RP replacements in the next entry.

AL West

J.P. Crawford (SS, SEA), oblique: Crawford joins the growing Oblique Injury Squad (they really need a snappier name for that group) with a grade 1 oblique strain. He is eligible to return May 4. He’s had a rough season so far, hitting .198/.296/.302.

Dylan Moore has been playing in Crawford’s place. His season as a whole hasn’t been notable, but in his last 12 AB, Moore has 4 H, 2 SB, and 3 BB. Cleveland’s Tyler Freeman and Arizona’s Blaze Alexander are some non-Seattle options that are looking pretty good and available. 

Zack Gelof (2B, OAK), oblique: This injury sounds familiar. Gelof has joined the IL with a left oblique strain, and maybe this will be good for him as he’s hit .158/.200/.316 this season. Woof! Gelof is eligible to return May 4.

Amed Rosario and Washington’s Luis Garcia, who I’ve been mentioning for the past couple of entries, are out there and probably available in your league.

Cristian Javier (SP, HOU), neck: Javier is out with neck discomfort and is eligible to return May 3. Joe Espada confirmed in an interview that he expects Javier to return to the line-up next week.

You could take a look at Keaton Winn, who I share more about in the Blake Snell entry below. Another option is Washington’s Mitchell Parker. He’s only pitched 12 IP so far, but he has 12 K and 0 BB.

Anthony Rendon (3B, LAA), leg: This is a formal notice that Anthony Rendon is out with a hamstring injury. He is eligible to return May 1….he will not return on May 1. End transmission.

NL Central

Cody Bellinger (OF, CHC), rib: Another Boras Boy, Bellinger fractured his rib by running into the outfield wall while attempting to make a catch. He is eligible to return May 4, but an official timeline has not been shared.

Pete Crow-Armstrong was recalled to replace Bellinger. In his 4 AB, he 1-for-4, but it was a homer. If PCA is too experimental for you, Wilyer Abreu might be an option here. He’s had a pretty consistent .300 AVG with 10 RBIs in 72 PA.

NL East

Francisco Álvarez (C, NYM), thumb: Álvarez had a torn ligament in his thumb that required surgical repair. Subsequently, he will be out for at least 8 weeks.

Travis d’Arnaud may be available in your league (80% rostered), and he’s back in action and thriving (as of now). In his last 13 AB, he has hit 5 HR and had 3 BB (this isn’t a typo!).

Jesús Luzardo (SP, MIA), elbow: My grandma once told me that “Jesus will always knock on your door.” Well grandma, I’m not sure how he’s going to do that while he’s dealing with left elbow tightness. Currently, Luzardo, himself, said he thinks he will only miss one or two starts.

Out of an abundance of caution, let’s say Luzardo doesn’t return. You could take a look at Javier Assad. Assad has a 2.00 ERA in 27 IP so far this season. He has 8.67 K/9 and 3.00 BB/9. He currently has a 0.5 WAR, but he is projected to have 1.0 WAR for the season. 

Lane Thomas (OF, WSH), knee: MCL sounds like it should stand for something way cooler (alternative hip hop group? explosives?) then what’s going to keep Lane Thomas out of your lineup for over a month. Thomas is on the IL with a grade 2 MCL strain acquired when sliding into second base. While Washington hasn’t shared a timeline for Thomas, Dr. Google tells me it will be a while (closer to months) as Thomas heals up.

Trey Lipscomb was recalled from the minors to add depth to the roster with Joey Gallo, Jesse Winker, and Eddie Rosario playing in the outfield. 

Jurickson Profar is demanding that you look at him. So far this season, he is slashing .295/.406/.466 with 3 HR, 18 RBIs, and 16 BB. He has a wRC+ of 151. He is only 34% rostered.

NL West

Merrill Kelly (SP, ARI), shoulder: Kelly hit the IL with a shoulder strain. He is eligible to return May 5, but Manager Torey Lovullo shared that Kelly will be out for more than a month. 

Slade Cecconi and Tommy Henry are currently getting in some IPs with all of the pitching injuries in Arizona. Cecconi, in 6 IP, has a 3.00 ERA and 0.33 WHIP. Tommy Henry has 24 IP for the season with a 5.55 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. They have similar FIP, but Tommy Henry has done well in his last 6 IP with 6 K and improved control.  

Blake Snell (SP, SFG), groin: If you have Snell on your roster, I’m sure you’re having sympathy pains in the form of a swift kick to the crotch. Snell hit the IL with a strained groin (left adductor) and is expected to be out until May 17. So, now it is important to consider, from both an injury and performance standpoint, what to do with Snell.

You won’t have to look too far to find a replacement as the Giants’ Keaton Winn is only 53% rostered. In his last 12 IP, Winn has 10 K and 1.5 BB/9. For the season so far, Winn has a 3.54 ERA and 3.97 FIP. He is projected to regress somewhat, but even with that, he is an improvement over Snell for now.

Injury Updates

Now it’s time for some lightning round injury updates. If I miss anyone, feel free to hit the comments section. I always appreciate the conversation.

  • Ozzie Albies (2B, ATL), toe: he’s back!
  • Jake Burger (3B/1B, MIA), oblique: timeline for return is mid-May.
  • Alex Cobb (SP, SDP), hip: rehab still on hold because of mild shoulder inflammation.
  • Carlos Correa (SS, MIN), oblique: could be back in the next few days.
  • Yu Darvish (SP, SDP), neck: throwing again.
  • Jhoan Duran (RP, MIN), oblique: began rehab assignment.
  • Brandon Drury (1B/2B, LAA), hamstring: back in line-up.
  • Braxton Garrett (SP, MIA), shoulder: expected to return in a couple of weeks.
  • Vaughn Grissom (SS, BOS), hamstring: decision made on return or IL by next Wednesday.
  • DJ LeMahieu (1B/3B, NYY), foot: shut down due to foot swelling.
  • Josh Lowe (OF, TBR), oblique: supposedly returning this evening.
  • John Means (SP, BAL), forearm: may return Sunday. Kyle Bradish also returning soon.
  • Trevor Megill (RP, MIL), concussion: he’s back!
  • Nick Pivetta (SP, BOS), elbow: throwing live BP.
  • Luis Robert (OF, CWS), hip flexor: mid-May return.
  • Keiber Ruiz (C, WSH), influenza: he’s back! 
  • Max Scherzer (SP, TEX), back: rehab assignment; Cole Tucker homered off of Scherzer.
  • Justin Steele (SP, CHC), hamstring: threw in a sim game to determine if he is ready for the next step.
  • Seiya Suzuki (OF, CHC), oblique: still a few weeks out from rehab.
  • Alek Thomas (OF, ARI), hamstring: no target date for rehab assignment but progressing.
  • Framber Valdez (SP, HOU), elbow: back on Sunday per Joe Espada.
  • Gavin Williams (SP, CLE), elbow: setback in rehab (elbow soreness).
  • Christian Yelich (OF, MIL), back: running but no swinging or catching yet.

Will we have more oblique injuries? Will we have more elbow injuries? That’s show business, baby! See you next week.

What players have you added to the IL recently? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on  Twitter or BlueSky.