Sometimes I feel like Lisa Simpson when she gets the Linguo doll and Homer attempts to make it drink beer. The line from that episode — Trilogy of Error — that seems to haunt my fantasy teams is “This is why I can’t have nice things!” After trading for Jose Fernandez in a keeper league just days ago, once again I’m forced to acknowledge said quote.
Jose Fernandez, Marlins: Before I get too down-in-the-dumps over Fernandez and his right shoulder stiffness, it should be noted he is yet to see a doctor on it just yet. The Marlins haven’t placed him on the 15-day disabled list just yet, but on Friday his fastball posted its lowest (by a small margin) average velocity at 95.74 against a seasonal average of 96.51 before his latest start. His changeup was also down about 1.2 mph, though Fernandez’s curve and slow curve were both in line with his yearly average. While things like elbow or forearm injuries concern me, shoulder issues scare the proverbial pants off of me.
Jason Kipnis, Indians: A shoulder injury has caused the Tribe to lose their second baseman for at least 15-days. Kipnis was shelved retroactive to August 2 and will miss at least the minimum time. The team has used Jose Ramirez at second base, and other than some speed he doesn’t offer a ton of upside. To his credit, Ramirez has hit leadoff in his five games since being recalled, but he should be limited to a deep league or AL-only role.
Sean Doolittle, Athletics: On Friday the left-handed reliever tossed a perfect frame in his rehab assignment at High-A Stockton. Nine of his seven pitches went for strikes, though two balls did get hit to center field. While Doolittle didn’t record a strikeout, he seems to be progressing from a left shoulder strain. The A’s aren’t in playoff contention so the club may not be in a rush to get him back, however their relief corps does own a 4.30 ERA (third worst in baseball) and a 3.84 FIP (11th worst). I’d expect Doolittle to back in another week or two and likely reclaiming his closer role.
Devon Travis, Blue Jays: After hoping he’d only miss the minimum amount of time, it seems as though Travis’ progression from a left shoulder strain hasn’t gone as planned. He’s taking longer than initially expected and is now unlikely to return to the Jays when first eligible. It seems plausible part of the reason the club sought out and acquired Cliff Pennington was to help out at second base while Travis is out.
Chris Tillman, Orioles: The O’s have pushed Tillman’s next start back again, this time to Tuesday in Seattle. An ankle injury occurred while he was covering first base after a grounder has kept him out of action since July 29. Tillman never hit the DL and should be fine to start against an M’s team which hasn’t hit right-handers particularly well. I’ll be using him as a somewhat cheap DFS option and I’ll be streaming him where I can.
Mike Leake, Giants: One start and 6 1/3 innings with his new team is all Leake lasted before being placed on the 15-day DL. Given it’s a left hamstring strain and not an elbow or shoulder issue, it seems probable he’ll only miss the minimum 15 days, making him eligible to be activated on August 18. He’s set to throw off a mound on Tuesday, so if all goes well and someone in your league has made the mistake of dropping Leake, scoop and stash him.
Michael Pineda, Yankees: The righty play catch at 90 feet on both Wednesday and Tuesday without issue. Due to the nature of the right flexor forearm strain, it seems as though the club will continue to take things slow with Pineda and not accelerate his initial timetable of most likely not pitching this month at all. He’s still worth hanging on to in standard 12-teamers if you can spare the DL spot, yet I wouldn’t blame you for dropping him in 10-teamers.
Denard Span, Nationals: Nats Manager Matt Williams told reporters Span suffered as setback with his back injury. Span has been on the DL for over a month now and with this latest report, he may not be back in the big leagues until late August. If you dropped him for any number of other available and healthy outfielders in standard 12-teamers, I couldn’t argue.
Rick Porcello, Red Sox: It’s been a pretty tough season for the ground baller. It has also been a rough season for his fantasy owners as Porcello’s 5.81 ERA and even 4.67 FIP are his worst numbers since 2009. Factor in a career worst 43.2 percent ground ball rate — with a most puzzlingly .332 BABIP, despite fly balls having a lower BABIP than grounders — and now a stint on the 15-day DL due to a right triceps strain as of last Sunday. While his 4.00 xFIP and 3.93 SIERA tell he’s pitched better than his ERA would suggest, dropping Porcello at this point seems like a safe decision.
Byron Buxton, Twins: He’s only two days into his minor league rehab at Triple-A Rochester but Buxton has already shown no signs of his left thumb strain hurting his swing, going 3-for-5 on Friday and 1-for-3 with a walk yesterday. I’d expect to see him back in the Twins lineup at some point this week. The 21-year-old has been a bit rushed in his career as this rehab assignment is his first taste of Triple-A pitching, however I’m still a fan of his skill set, particularly his speed. If you’re looking for a jolt of speed down the stretch, consider picking up Buxton.
Jered Weaver, Angels: Well, Weaver is still sort of a thing, I guess. He has an 88 mph fastball this season, so if he was a DeLorean, he could go back in time to when he was more effective. Unfortunately he isn’t a DeLorean, a hot tub or any other type of time machine, so Weaver’s upside is limited. He does call a very pitcher friendly park home, it’s just his low swinging-strike rate and ensuing K-rate limit his upside. I’ll keeping an eye his velo and whiff rate, but for now I’m putting up the ol Yield sign on picking him up.
Coco Crisp, Athletics: The center fielder exited Saturday’s game, and immediately people thought he may have been injured yet again. The #HugWatch wasn’t in effect as it seemed highly unlikely for a team to trade for the oft injured 35-year-old, and as it turns out, he was neither hurt nor traded. Crisp left the game with a stomach illness related to some a reaction to some medicine he’s been taking. He isn’t expected to hit the shelf over this, yet no one would be shocked to see him once again the DL.
Koji Uehara, Red Sox: A comeback line drive off of Ian Kinsler’s bat struck Uehara in the right arm on Friday. Despite being blasted in the throwing arm, he managed to make the throw to first and record the game ending out. If that isn’t awesome enough for you, according to his Twitter, Uehara’s biggest complaint wasn’t the swelling or pain, but the fact beer is hard to drink with a wrap on his arm. He was held out yesterday’s game with what’s being called a right wrist contusion after X-rays came back negative. The club doesn’t appear ready to place him on the shelf, so I’d be fine keeping him in weekly league lineups.