Thanks for tuning in for my next weekly project: tracking all them ding dang injuries. I’m transitioning from transactions to trauma. From moves to maladies. From signings to sickness. From business to band-aids. From…that’s all I got.
Don’t we all love injuries? What would fantasy sports be without all those cute lil’ red “DTD”s and “IL”s and “O”s and “Q”s sprinkled all over our lineup pages?
I jest, of course. F*** injuries. Nothing sours your fantasy GM mojo like freakin’ injuries. Last year was banonkers (bananas + bonkers = banonkers) with COVID, and we’re already getting some of that fun as Spring Training kicks off. I keep seeing stuff about this wild California strain, and if there’s any proof in that pudding, then we could very well be in for a lot more COVID fun in 2021. I mean, we will be anyway, but this could compound it further. Joy.
Let’s go ahead and get this one outta the way. Here are the folks currently dealing with COVID-19 fallout, in some sort or fashion:
Jose Abreu — no real timetable on him at the moment, but despite a positive Covid test, it sounds like he could join the team in just a matter of days. Teammate Yoan Moncada felt the effects of the virus all season long, and it clearly showed. Dude is gonna bounce back in a big way in that lineup. I swear, he’s gonna be what all you folks hope for when you’re drafting Alex Bregman in the top 50. Gimme Moncada every time.
J.A. Happ — the new member of the Twins also tested positive. Luckily, he is asymptomatic and could be ready to go by Opening Day. I don’t hate Happ, somehow. He just manages to get it done the older he gets. Twins are good. Take a shot!
Franchy Cordero — another new face in town, Cordero could be activated as soon as Monday. We’re pretty high on the dude around here, so hopefully he’s ready to rock!
Shane Bieber and Frankie Montas were recently on COVID lists, but they’re good to go now. Yippee! Bieber gonna Bieber probably, even with a worse lineup behind him, but I’m expecting a decent little bounce-back from Montas this year. He still generated a lot of whiffs, but walks and homers got a little out of hand. I’m not terribly worried; short season and all that.
All these folk below are various degrees of DTD:
Mike Soroka was having a fine 2020 until Lord Achilles struck him down. Good news, however; he’s on track to pitch normally in ST and should be ready to rock n roll for Opening Day. Can’t not love any Braves SP right now, amirite?
Trey Mancini should be ready for Opening Day after missing last year due to complications with colon cancer. All reports are positive! It’s hard to expect the old Trey, at least early on, but he says he feels fantastic, so hopefully he can pick up where he left off.
Eduardo Rodriguez battled a different disease last year: myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle. Pretty scary stuff, as severe cases can lead to sudden death. But like with Mancini, all reports are positive for E-Rod, and he should be back at the top of the rotation for Boston in 2021.
Strained oblique for Rowan Wick, but sounds like he’ll be on track for Opening Day. The Cubs aren’t gonna be good, but he could be solid option in SV/HD leagues. And who isn’t expecting Craig Kimbrel to just outright lose his job at this point? Gotta think it’s Wick’s if (read: when) that happens.
Nick Madrigal — who’s recovering from shoulder surgery, and that’s always a bigger red flag in my book — looks to be playing again early next month. I picked Madrigal to win AL ROY last year…big swing and a miss, but honestly a healthy Madrigal with a full-time gig should give you sparkly BA/OBP and good-to-great SB.
Lucas Sims had an MRI on his elbow, and apparently it wasn’t too bad. I’m still very wary about any and all elbow question marks, but a healthy Sims should be a stud in SV/HD leagues, and he could even just straight up jack the closing job from Sean Doolittle and/or Amir Garrett, the former of whom will probably just live up to his name and do little.
Franmil Reyes tweaked his ankle while practicing outfield reads a few weeks ago. It’s not anything serious, but it’s worth mentioning that he said live ABs cause it to hurt more than batting practice does.
Ian Desmond is opting out of the 2021 season. “For now.” As far as I’m concerned, Desmond himself is not fantasy relevant, but his not being around means other players will get opportunities that they should have in the first place. I just want Garrett Hampson and Sam Hilliard to be the fantasy badasses I know the can be, okay??
Them ol’ Tigers got a few ailing athletes right now. Spencer Torkelson doesn’t mean much to me in terms of redraft leagues, but I know he’s a sexy dynasty piece. He hurt his finger using a can opener. An injury straight outta Out of the Park Baseball games. Won’t keep him out long. Victor Reyes is DTD for now but it ain’t no thang. Visa nonsense. Really wish he’d get to start in CF and lead off, but the signings of Robbie Grossman and Nomar Mazara crowded that outfield right on up. Speaking of Mazara, he’s also dealing with visa nonsense. And so is Jonathan Schoop! Madness. So the only real injury here is Torks, who needed, like, a single stitch for his cut. He’ll be right as rain before long.
If you haven’t figured out by now, I’m going in order of team, alphabetically (if said team has anyone worth bringing up). We’re at the Houston Astros now. I’ll get to JV below in the long-term injuries portion, but you’re really here for updates on Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman, no? Alvarez has bad knees, and he missed all of 2020 cuz of ’em. Bad knees scare me, but at least he’s a DH, so the impact is as minimal as possible. I’m scared to draft him where he’s going (79.27 since the start of Feb.), but you do you. Bregman has hammy issues. Those are also very scary, cuz they linger and nag and pop up randomly. Bregs just feels overrated to me, but I know his plate discipline is sexy even if trash cans helped him. Both are probable for Opening Day, at any rate. I’m good on Bregs, tho — hammy issue plus the barrel rate and sprint speed are trending in the wrong direction.
Cody Bellinger is still dealing with the aftermath of that shoulder injury he sustained while celebrating. Reports say he won’t appear in ST games until the middle of March, but expects to be in the Opening Day lineup. Belli’s stock has dropped to 2nd round ADP, but can’t not love the guy in that lineup, especially with his 1B/OF eligibility. He’s not nearly as bad as 2020 was, but I don’t know if 2019’s .300+ BA is happening again. Wouldn’t be terribly surprised, but either way, you can lock in the R/HR/RBI.
If you see “DTD” next to Andrelton Simmons‘s name, it’s just more visa BS. I don’t know how much fantasy impact he’ll have, but he’s worth a late stab just being a part of that Twins lineup. Might get a good average and double-digit SB out of him. Might.
Seth Lugo is currently on the shelf with dreaded elbow issues. For now, he’s dodged a bullet by having a bone spur removed, and it could only keep him out just a little bit into the season. I’m not optimistic with elbow injury news, so I’ll be avoiding him altogether. SV/HD league value is nice, but there are plenty of those types to go around, so I’ll take someone who isn’t coming off elbow surgery.
There are a few Yankees battling some various issues. Gio Urshela has an elbow problem but is likely to be fine by Opening Day. HR Daddy Luke Voit doesn’t just hit balls hard, he also walks hard, so his foot hurts. He’s running bases now though, so he’ll be ready to keep hitting balls hard. That’s what she said. Oh, and there’s that little suspension for Aroldis Chapman; he’s out until April 3, so he’ll just miss the first game of the year.
My baby boy Sean Murphy, whom I’ve decided to stan like hell this year, is recovering from an operation after one of his lungs collapsed. He hasn’t started hitting yet, but it’s sounding like he’ll be okay in time to start the season. Still pretty questionable, though. Keep an eye on it.
J.T. Realmuto, Mr. Jank Taco himself, shouldn’t be on your team, because you shouldn’t draft a f*****g catcher in the 3rd f******g round. So this injury shouldn’t affect you, but here it is anyway: a small thumb fracture. He’s still been able to hit/catch while wearing a cast, so it’s not that much of a biggie. But you shouldn’t care, remember? Shouldn’t matter to you. Right?
Technically this is where I’d mention some Pirates players. Here’s what I have to say about that:
Tommy Pham has a wrist injury but should be ready to rock when the games matter, if not sooner. The guy we all care about here is Dinelson Lamet. I am so, so scared of his situation, but he says he’s “100%.” But who’s not gonna say that? I’m a big fan of his, but I don’t think I’ve got the stones to risk drafting him, even if you can get a potential ace in the 9th round (NFBC ADP since start of Feb.). If your metaphorical stones are bigger than mine, then go for it. Slam Diego gonna Slam Diego.
Mr. Random Veteran Breakout Brandon Belt has a heel injury and is not certain at all to be ready for the start of the season. Last year’s Statcast profile looks worthy of a 1st round pick. Metrics support it for the most part, largely due to a more-than-doubled barrel rate from 2019 to 2020. Also, don’t forget Buster Posey is back after opting out of 2020.
Brent Honeywell and Brendan McKay have been hot names in the Rays system for a few years. Both are injured, but Honeywell is progressing very well and is likely to be ready by the start of the season. McKay is probably gonna miss quite a bit of time. He’s a two-way player, a la Shohei Ohtani, but it seems his future is more on the pitching side of things. Honeywell hasn’t played since 2017 cuz injuries *eyes emoji*, but sounds like he’s finally ready. McKay missed all of 2020 and wasn’t very impressive in the majors in 2019. Still tons of upside for both, and MLB time is pretty much a lock at some point for 2021.
David Dahl is kicking off his time with Texas the same way he spent a lot of it in Colorado: not healthy. He’s healthy enough to play, but reports are saying he’ll be DHing exclusively for the first couple weeks of ST. I wrote a David Dahl 2021 outlook about why I’m down on him. More like David “Nahl thanks, I’m good,” amirite? Yes, I used that joke again.
Kirby Yates is the new closer in Toronto if he can stay healthy and…you know, pitch well. Neither are a guarantee, but I’ll take my chances on a good Yates if it’s a healthy Yates. That blasted elbow is still a concern, but he should be closing games come Opening Day. The bigger concern is how long that elbow holds up. Classic high risk high reward.
The two best Nationals pitchers we all know and love are both banged up. Max Scherzer is dealing with an ankle issue but is throwing bullpen sessions. Stephen Strasburg has been throwing off a mound after recovering from carpal tunnel surgery. Both seem to be progressing very well and figure to be dominating once the games start to count. I’m very, very, very concerned about their durability, however. Scherzer because of age and the pure raw angry energy he pitches with, and Strasburg because he’s always hurt. I’d rather own Strasburg of the two, though, if that tells you how confident I am in Scherzer. I’m sorry, but when I hear that a man needs help getting dressed like he did back in the 2019 World Series, I’m just out on him moving forward. I don’t doubt he’ll be good, assuming health, but I do doubt he’ll return the value you want at that ADP. Even if I’m wrong, I’ll happily be wrong and let someone else risk it while I still take that biscuit.
Lastly but not leastly, here are the fantasy relevant guys on or destined to be on the IL:
Chris Sale: out until mid-June.
Justin Verlander: out all year (Tommy John).
Josh James: out until May 1 at least.
Tommy Kahnle: probably out all year, but could be back in September.
Noah Syndergaard: out until early June at least.
Luis Severino: out until mid-July.
Mike Clevinger: out all year (Tommy John).
John Brebbia: out until mid-July.
Ken Giles: out all year (Tommy John).
Dakota Hudson: almost certainly out for the entire year.
Yonny Chirinos: out all year (Tommy John).
Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. You’ll get quality tweets about what music I’m listening to, and I like to do dumb polls. DMs are always open!