The injury bug bit HARD this week. Every player on this list is a player whose absence will have huge fantasy implications. The playoffs are right around the corner and the smartest owners will be able to manage their injuries and still come out on top. Use my advice to help take you there. With another six outfielders on the disabled list I’m going to make my outfield recommendations at the bottom of this article.
As always, leave a comment below if you have any league-specific injury questions…
Zack Cozart, SS, Strained Quad
I think everyone would admit that nothing was expected of the career .246/.289/.385 slashing Cozart. A scorching 1.053 OPS in the season’s opening month lead to Cozart batting out of the 2-hole and continuing his hot-hitting. The Reds have been out of it since April 1st so they’re in no rush to get Cozart back. Stash or Trash: He’s having an impressive season so far and you probably got him for $1 so stash him. Fill In: Amed Rosario is the easy answer, but he will probably already be taken by that one smart owner in your league. Instead I’d say you should grab Marcus Semien (20.2%.) Semien seems to be always under-appreciated in fantasy baseball. Over his last 12 games he has 3 HR, 11 runs, 10 RBI, 2 SB and a .360 average. Grab him while he’s hot.
Johnny Cueto, SP, Mild Flexor Strain
Cueto was originally on the disabled list for blisters and now, in a rehab start, he left with forearm tightness. Stash or Trash: Continue to stash because he’s a top starter when healthy (even with his current 4.59 ERA.) Fill In: Is Kevin Gausman (53.1%) back? Maybe. I don’t have to tell you how bad Gausman’s season has been so far. His ERA (5.37) and WHIP (1.68) can do that for me. But over his last 3 starts he’s pitched 20.2 innings, allowed only 1 ER and has 8 strikeouts in each of those starts. He’ll get the Tigers and Angels in his next two starts so this trend can continue in those match-ups.
Ian Desmond, 1B/OF, Strained Calf
Glassmond is injured again. This injury has been lingering for a while now so the Rockies are going to roll with Gerardo Parra as they fight for an NL Wild Card berth. Stash or Trash: Stash. It doesn’t sound like a season ending injury and he could be back by August 15-ish. Fill In: I’m going to treat Desmond like a first basemen since there are six outfielders already injured on this list. Go grab Lucas Duda (14.7%) now. Don’t even finish reading this blurb. Okay, hopefully you’re back here and not too late. Duda has taken to the AL like a Ray to water. He was heard saying “Finally. Enough of this playing defense BS.” as he boarded his plane at La Guardia. He’s got 3 HR in 4 games with the Rays and he’s got the strength to keep that up.
Avisail Garcia, OF, Strained Thumb Ligament
Like Cozart, Garcia is having a breakout season after years of mediocrity. He’s already matched his career high in HRs with 13 and is only 6 RBI from matching his career high of 59. Stash or Trash: On July 26th when he was placed on the disabled list the estimation was Avisail would miss two weeks. That puts him on track for an August 9th return — stash and pray. Fill In: I’ll be making all of my outfielder fill in recommendations at the bottom of this article.
Mitch Haniger, OF, Facial Laceration
Haniger’s 20/4/16/2/.342 April positioned him as a potential rival to Aaron Judge’s AL Rookie of the Year crown. Then, he was struck with an oblique injury that saw him miss from April 26th to June 11th. In the 37 games since his return he has a .203 average with only 3 HR. Stash or Trash: If you haven’t already done so this is verging into trash territory. Don’t get hung up his April like I just did in one of my leagues. So weird how I can’t take my own advice. Fill In: I’ll be making all of my outfielder fill in recommendations at the bottom of this article.
Matt Kemp, OF, Strained Hamstring
Kemp had some hamstring issues in his other leg earlier in the season and now this one lands him on the disabled list. Kemp is able to return on August 8th when the Phillies come to Atlanta. If he’s not ready for that game he could meet me in St. Louis for their 7 game road trip that starts on August 11th. Stash or Trash: MVP candidate Kemp is dead, but he is still putting up productive numbers hitting behind Freddie Freeman. Stash. Fill In: I’ll be making all of my outfielder fill in recommendations at the bottom of this article.
Chris Owings, SS/2B/OF, Fractured Finger
This is the week of breakout players getting injured I guess. Owings never hit over 6 HR in any season in the bigs but he has 12 this season to go along with 25 doubles (27 is his career high.) The scrappy 185 pounder did steal 20 bases last season with a .277 average which could’ve lead him to being a solid deep-league, late-round middle infield option. Stash or Trash: Owings was placed on the big deal, no BS 60-day DL so you can trash him. The first game he’s eligible to return is September 30th and your fantasy season will hopefully be over by then. Fill In: I’m going to treat Owings like a second baseman since I already made my SS recommendation above. Cesar Hernandez (24.8%) is healthy and hitting again with the Phillies. Before his injury he was hitting .277 with 40 runs in 58 games. Since his return he’s hitting .333 with 11 runs in 13 games. He’ll provide below-average stats in the other categories, but he’s not going to sink your team.
David Price, SP, Elbow Discomfort
What a weird friggen year for Price. He was one of the biggest names in the earliest issues of Ambulance Chasers with a potentially season-ending arm injury, then he comes back and insults one of baseball’s greatest gifts to the world Dennis Eckersley now he finds himself back on the DL with another elbow injury. Stash or Trash: Stash. All signs are that Price will only miss about 2-3 starts. Fill In: Jhoulys Chacin (32.9%) is taking advantage of the chances he’s being given. He hasn’t allowed more than 3 ERs in his last 11 starts. He has a clean 3.00 ERA with 58 K’s in those starts. He’s starting against the Twins tonight (don’t make me look like an idiot Chacin) and then he’ll face the Reds on August 7th — both are winnable starts.
Robbie Ray, SP, Concussion
Gruesome. Ray got hit by a comebacker off the bat of Luke Voit that was apparently travelling 108 miles per hour. Ray is in the concussion protocol now, but luckily doesn’t have any broken bones. Stash or Trash: Ray is performing at ace level this year with his K’s and great ratios. According to all reports he is doing well and might not miss too many starts. Stash. Fill In: You can’t tell me Zach Davies (40.9%) isn’t just Henry Rowengartner all grown up. His 4.42 ERA on the season isn’t great, but he’s thrown at least 7 innings over his last 3 starts and only allowed 3 ER. The 6.23 strikeout rate just sucks, but in the right match-ups he can reward his owners.
Scott Schebler, OF, Left Shoulder Strain
Schebler seemed to be on pace for a solid season. From the start of season until July 7th Schebler’s batting average hovered around .250 and he had 22 HR with 40 runs and 43 RBI. In his 19 games since July 7th he has 5 hits. 5. Total. In 60 at bats. That is a .083 batting average. Stash or Trash: Never has the phrase “lost at the plate” been more appropriate. I think this DL stint is more of a “get your mind right with Jesus” DL stint than anything. If you’re in a deep league you can stash him, but that 5 for 60 stretch makes him unownable for me. Take a look at your options and make a choice. Fill In: I’ll be making all of my outfielder fill in recommendations at the bottom of this article.
George Springer, OF, Strained Quad
Springer was on pace for an MVP season before this injury. The power potential was always there for Springer (he’s 3 HR away from a career high) but his career .258 average was always the question. The .310 he’s hitting now is obviously a career high, but the 4 SB are continuing the downward trend in his speed. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’s eligible to return Friday, but it could be a game or two longer. Fill In: I’ll be making all of my outfielder fill in recommendations at the bottom of this article.
Josh Tomlin, SP, Strained Hamstring
What the hell is Josh Tomlin’s deal? I’ve never seen someone with such a low WHIP (1.30) and walk rate (.98 BB/9) with such a high ERA. However, his FIP (4.31) is more than a run lower than his actual ERA (5.38) and he’s struggling through a .332 BABIP so it seems like a lot of hits are just falling in against Tomlin. Tomlin’s month by month ERA splits are also interesting to observe: April: 8.87; May: 3.58; June: 6.75; July: 3.41. Stash or Trash: Stash. Tomlin is going to an MRI as I’m writing this article (Tuesday night) but it is seeming like a short DL stay. Fill In: Adam Conley (6.8%) has a 5.11 ERA on the season, but let’s take a closer look at that. In his April 28th start against the Pirates he threw 1.2 innings and allowed 9 ER and on May 8th he allowed 7 ER in 3.2 innings against the Cardinals.That’s a 27.00 ERA. In his other 7 starts? He’s only allowed 11 ER in 43 innings for a 2.30 ERA. So yes, he can be blow-up prone, but it has only happened twice in his nine starts this season.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Sprained Ankle
If Brandon McCarthy is the mayor of the disabled list Tulowitzki has to be his chief of staff. Tulo hasn’t played over 140 games since 2011 and now with the report that there is the potential for season-ending ligament damage in his ankle this might be another year without breaking that threshold. Stash or Trash: Stash for now, but get ready to trash fast, quick and in a hurry if this is season-ending. Hell, trash him anyway, it’s not like he was hitting like past-Tulowitzki. I’d expect him to go undrafted next season. Fill In: Over his last 13 games, Freddy Galvis (22.1%) has been starting to heat up. He’s got a .809 OPS in that time with 3 stolen bases, 9 runs, 7 RBI and 1 HR. He’s got the 2-slot locked-up in the Phillies lineup.
Mark Trumbo, OF, Strained Rib Cage
I mean I could’ve told you he wasn’t going to hit close to 50 HR again this season. He obviously fits the slugging lumberjack trope to a T, but last season’s 47 HR outburst was an outlier. Stash or Trash: Stash for now. He still has the potential for 30+ HR, but a rib cage and back injury could hurt the weaken the torque he puts in his swing. Fill In: I’ll be making all of my outfielder fill in recommendations at the bottom of this article.
Mikie Mahtook (4.8%): I don’t want to recommend Mikie Mahtook because there is nothing in his past or his profile that would predict his performance this year, but he is performing pretty well this season with a .293 average. Over his last 26 starts he’s only gone hitless 3 times. In those 26 starts he’s scored 20 runs and knocked in 12 other Tigers. Alex Pressly hit the disabled list himself so Mahtook has the center field job locked up for the time being.
Bradley Zimmer (36%): Guys, I’m getting tired of recommending Zimmer. The fact that he is unowned in 64% of leagues is fantasy-criminal. In his last 13 games he is hitting .348 with 10 runs, 3 HR, 12 RBI and 3 SB. Don’t be a part of his unownership crime. Go grab him now.
Manuel Margot (23.7%): Another under-owned rookie Margot is the hottest hitter over his last 9 games. He’s hitting .455 in those games with 3 HR and 1 SB. Margot’s speed is his calling card so if you have the need, the need for speed: grab Margot.