Better now than in September! Just keep telling yourself that. We’ve already got a healthy dose of injured players — but you, an intellectual, aren’t going to panic. Right?! Nothing too season ending so far (maybe a few April-ending injuries) so you will all be fine.
As always if you’ve got a league specific question leave it below in the comments and I’ll get back to you ASA-quick!
Greg Bird, 1B, Bone Spur Removed from Ankle
Bird had surgery on Tuesday and boy is Yankee Nation overreacting as if Greg Bird is having coin sized calcium deposits surgically removed from his body on purpose. *He isn’t.* Stash or Trash: This isn’t a broken bone or ligament injury — really he’s just recovering from the open wound the doctors just carved into him. The early time table is saying 6-8 weeks and I’m thinking he’ll be back on the early side of that estimation meaning a return around the second week of May unless the wound starts to smell like almonds. Stash him until then. He’ll be slotted into a great line-up and has significant upside. Fill In: Ryan McMahon (13.2%.) That ownership percentage is about to skyrocket as McMahon was just named to the Rockiest opening day roster. McMahon has 20 HR power with respectable averages in the minors so in Coors Field he could have 25-30 HR power with regular at bats. Get him while he’s hot.
Madison Bumgarner, SP, Fractured Pinkie on Throwing Hand
At least it wasn’t a dirt bike this time. Bumgarner was struck by a comebacker on his pitching hand and is scheduled to miss 6-8 weeks. Everybody chill — remember: better now than in September. I’m still high on Bumgarner this season and if you can trade to acquire him at a discount — I recommend you do so. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’ll be back before June 1 and will help you make your playoffs in the second half. Fill In: Sean Manaea (25.3%.) Someone I keep ending up with on my teams regardless of how many times he burns me is Manaea. It’s hard to recommend pitchers at this point because they’re so unpredictable, but Manaea has only allowed 3 ER in 10.1 IP this spring and has the stuff to be a solid pitcher.
Dinelson Lamet, SP, Sore Elbow
Lamet left his start early on March 25th but we’re being told that there is no structural damage…yet. The red warning bell is going off in my head big time about this one. Or maybe that’s from that lego piece I stuck way too far up my nose when I was a kid… Stash or Trash: Stash. Lamet was a popular sleeper pick going into 2018 and was even some stunades Most Valuable Fantasy Pitcher selection in the Razzball award picks article! Be ready for them to find something on an MRI that shows one of his elbow ligaments was completely vaporized — but for now stay optimistic. Fill In: Mike Foltynewicz (13.3%.) Another guy, like Manaea, who has the potential to be great — but just hasn’t put it all together yet. Folty has a 5 pitch arsenal headlined by a high-90s fastball, but you can give a guy all the weapons in the world but if he wields them like John Mellencamp instead of John Rambo — he’s worthless to you.
Mark Melancon, RP, “Feeling Something” in Throwing Arm
Melancon is still recovering from off-season surgery and when reports came out Tuesday afternoon that he might be placed on the disabled list to start the season fantasy owners everywhere groaned “do I REALLY have to go add Sam Dyson now?” No. Don’t you do it. Stash or Trash: Stash. It’s not even opening day yet folks. Fill In: Brad Boxberger (7.0%.) Another percentage that is sure to sky-rocket, Boxberger was just named the Diamondbacks closer. In 2015, Boxberger lead the American League with 41 saves so he’s got a lot of great potential as the DBacks closer, but he’s struggled with injuries in the past two seasons. For now, he’s healthy, he’s headlining that bullpen and you gotta spring to your waivers now before it’s too late.
Daniel Mrphy, 2B, Knee Surgery Recovery
Another guy recovering from off-season surgery Murphy is a few weeks away from returning. I’m seeing April 20th as a solid return date. The Nationals AAA affiliate have an off day on the 19th as do the Nationals themselves. The stars are perfectly aligned for an April 20th debut for Murphy. Stash or Trash: Stash. You just drafted him. Fill In: Cesar Hernandez (26.9%.) Hernandez gets no respect, no respect at all I tell ya. I think he could lead the NL in runs this year and there is an upcoming Razzball bold predictions article coming out that will show you just how highly I view Cesar. I’ll deserve to be on a first name basis with him after he sees my bold prediction.
JT Realmuto, C, Bone Bruise in Back
The last man standing in Miami is going to come up with any excuse to not play for the Marlins. Today it’s a bruised back, tomorrow it’s turf toe, Thursday it’ll be a hangnail. We’re with you JT. Stash or Trash: Stash. Do you get it yet?! Fill In: Chris Iannetta (5.0%.) I have Iannetta in a bunch of leagues already, but I seem to be in the minority here. Iannetta had 17 HR in 89 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year and is now headed into a full healthy season back in Colorado. Only three catchers hit over 25 home runs in 2017 and I think Iannetta can easily hit that many in 2018.
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, Knee Surgery Recovery
Another surgery recovery. Rodriguez is already throwing off a mound he just needs to get more innings under his wing to be ready for his debut which should be mid-April. Stash or Trash: Come on. Fill In: If you’re looking for a guy who is owned less than Rodriguez and has a pair of easy match-ups before ERod is healthy again — take a look at Reynaldo Lopez (9.3%.) He gets two of the worst AL teams in his first two games: the KC Royals and the Detroit Tigers. Reynaldo has more K potential than his 5.7 K/9 showed last season and he could display that as early as these first two starts.
Jeff Samardzija, SP, Strained Pectoral
“It could have been worse John. A lot worse.” 10 Razzball points if you can name that movie! They’re about as valuable as 100,000 Schrute bucks. What could’ve been a season ending shoulder injury turned out to be an April ending breast injury. Samardzija has been the healthiest starting pitcher in recent years making over 28 starts every year since 2012. I think that trend will continue this year. He’ll miss 4-5 starts in April, but will be fine when he comes back. Stash or Trash: Enough. Fill In: Brandon McCarthy (1.9%.) “So let me get this straight Klug…you want me to replace one of the healthiest starting pitchers in the past 6 years…with the least healthy starting pitcher in the past 6 years?” Hell yea, we’re living on a prayer! Here’s the thing — when McCarthy hasn’t been on the disabled list he’s been a pretty reliable starting pitcher. Well guess what? He’s healthy and throwing now and gets the Phillies in his first match-up of the year. His next game is in Colorado so keep him so far away from your starting line-up you’d wonder if he’s even still on your team.
Steven Souza, OF, Strained Pectoral
The Arizona humidor has claimed its first victim! All hail the humidor! Souza injured himself on March 22nd after going a bit too hard in the paint diving for a fly ball. Early estimates are for a mid-May return. Stash or Trash: That’s it! I’ve had it! Fill In: Lewis Brinson (18.6%.) Another guy whose ownership is going to rise so you need to run now to your waivers! Brinson provides the same great power/speed combo as Souza and the same questionable batting average as well! It’s like he never left!