So in that great chatroom of life that we call Twotter (maybe you call it something else), we learn from the greats. I mean, Grey’s there. Rudy’s there. I’m there. Sometimes other people say things too, but I have all of them on mute so I don’t really see anything other than videos of anime Grey talking to shirtless dudes all the time. Every once in a while Donkey Teeth shows up and makes us work. I do the research, I do the discoveries, I make the findings. Or, I steal other people’s findings because they’re shocking and really illustrate better than I could ever do with my droning. Don’t believe me? Check out this awesome graph from Derek Rhoads of Baseball Prospectus that tells us the severity of the injured list we’re dealing with right now:
I think there is at least a chance that we have seen the peak number of concurrently injured players in 2021.
2018 peak – 5/30, 178 players
2019 peak – 8/23, 233 players
2020 peak – 8/24, 240 players
2021 peak – 7/22, 295 players (so far)
(~288 players on IL as of yesterday) pic.twitter.com/2Dukk8qlSM
— Derek Rhoads (@drhoa3) August 16, 2021
What does it mean? Jack Skellington shouts. It means that the fantasy sports community is battling more injuries in the game than ever before. Me? I’ve been out in almost all my leagues since earlier in the year. You ever try to win when Mike Trout, Eloy Jimenez, and Jack Flaherty are all gonezo? Sure, maybe you’re better than me. So, if you’re the kind of person who is still charging towards the playoffs (you sexy beast, you), let’s run down the injury report to see if we can help you.
Freddy Peralta: I got more coming on him next week (or maybe not now that OnlyFans is shutting down), but FP hit the IL for the 10 after getting the inflammation. Tried to find an abbv for inflammation but that’s a no-go. Peralta might have hurt himself swinging a bat, which could lead to Jack Flaherty-lengths of absence. ENYWHEY. Peralta was already going to be pitch limited and this just hastens the limitations, kind of like when you go running and people in cars make fun of your Razzball shirt.
Chris Bassitt: I’m totally stealing my Monday article, FWIW. Bassitt got hit in the face with a line drive and broke several bones. His vision is OK, but there’s a fair chance he misses the rest of the year. Two aces down. You’d like that to happen in poker, right?
Huascar Ynoa: OK, well you lost those aces, but now you’ve got this guy coming back. Fastball was down a tick from pre-MMA battling so he’s not full strength, but you-know-a you don’t have a lot of healthy options right now, and Ynoa could be a top 30 option ROS.
Adalberto Mondesi: Still out, but the Kansas City Royals stirred the pot this week by saying that Mondesi couldn’t be trusted as an everyday player. What leverage do the Royals really have at this point — are they going to trade him away to a more successful team that will actually pay him? Does that sound threatening? ENYWHEY. Royals are tanking and it makes no sense for them to bring back Mondesi except to stretch him out in the last week of the season. I’m not going to tell you what to do with your fantasy team, but Mondesi isn’t useful on the bench.
Patrick Sandoval: Lower back tightness, will likely miss the rest of the season. Drop him in redraft.
Shane Bieber: I talked about him last week, and he’s not progressing too much. He’s up to 25 fastballs with a bullpen session due on Friday (article written before bullpen reports). But if he’s only at 25 fastballs right now, it kind of validates my take that Bieber will only be up for 2-3 starts at the end of a lost year for the Guardians.
Mike Trout: Back to on-field drills, but far away from a rehab assignment. We’ll probably see him at the end of the year if anything.
Kohei Arihara: Up to 40 pitches in simulated games. Rangers front office talking about how Arihara looks better now than he did in May when he injured his finger. Arihara might be that kind of low ERA/low WHIP (and no Ks) guy that helps you in September.
Rhys Hoskins: “Shooting for next week,” he says after being day-to-day and on fantasy benches for the past month.
Mookie Betts: Pain-free for the first time in a long time, he says. Just wait until the Dodgers make him play second base again. He should be nearing another return, and you’re somewhat obligated to hold onto him because what if this time he truly is pain-free and gives you a helluva September run? The other option is he stays on your IL where he’s been all year and you send him Get Well cards.
Fernando Tatis Jr.: Here’s how a team should probably heal a player: take them from a stressful position and move them into right field. I mean, we’ve all done that since Little League, right? Tatis’ shoulder is a mess and is basically held on with tape and his $330 million dollar contract. So the Padres moved him from shortstop to right field, where he’ll get a bit less action and allow his shoulder to recover.
OK friends! JKJ should be back in the saddle next week to get y’all chasing ambulances again. In the meantime, remember that we’re dealing with more injuries now than at any time in recent memory. Rudy has an algorithm on the player pages (scroll up, use search bar, click result, read) that will predict when the players will return.
We’re at the point in the fantasy year that it’s OK to dump elite players if it’s clear that they’re not going to help your team. That said, beware dropping elite players that might show up just in time to help your opposition in the fantasy championships. Players like Shane Bieber will likely get a couple starts in the fantasy playoffs, and 5IP may not seem like much, but when there’s so many injured players, it could be the difference between first and second place. Good luck all!