Lots of little piddly injuries this week that don’t seem to be of much consequence. Self-proclaimed MVP candidate Yoenis Cespedes missed a few games with hamstring soreness, but seems ready to return. Stephen Strasburg must have had a great time on his July 20th birthday, because here we are nine months later and he is missing a start to be with his wife as they have their second child. Lil’ DP, Dustin Pedroia, has missed a few games after getting taken out by a Manny Machado slide that would make Ty Cobb proud until Cobb looked at a picture of Machado. And Justin Upton injured his forearm hustling into second base trying to outrun all the lofty hype and expectations we’ve heaped on him for a decade now.
If you’ve got any specific injury-related questions you want answered, please post in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you.
Jose Altuve, HOU, Too early to tell.
A late addition to this week’s column, I’m thinking Altuve is going to find himself on the 7-day concussion DL after a violent collision with Teoscar Hernandez as they both went after a pop fly in shallow right field. Altuve walked off the field under his own power, but Hernandez had to be helped off the field. It is too early to say what the results are, but I’ll post any updates in the comments below. Stash or Trash: Stash regardless. Fill-In: Kolten Wong (5.2%)? Is it finally the right place for Wong time? We all wanted Wong to be our 20/20 threat at second base for the past three seasons and he hasn’t lived up to our expectations yet. How rude. He still hasn’t lived up to that this year, but over his past 7 games he has a 1.107 OPS so maybe we are starting to see the start of something good.
Madison Bumgarner, SF, Fender Grab Can Can to a Superman Nak Nak FAIL
In the worst Fast and the Furious movie tie-in promotion of all time, Bumgarner apparently ate it while dirt biking on Thursday, April 18th. You can take the Bumgarner out of the back woods, but you can’t take the back woods out of the Bumgarner. Surgery has so far been ruled out, but Bumgarner is still expected to miss at least two months. Some reports have been listing the damage to Bumgarner’s shoulder as “terrible” so I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to be a lot longer than 2 months. Stash or Trash: Stash. Bumgarner is a top-5 starting pitcher, but brace yourself now for worse news. Fill In: Last call for Lance Lynn (31%.) I’ve touted him a few times before and he is my pick 2017 Razzball Most Valuable Fantasy Pitcher so he should be more owned than this. A lot of owners have forgotten about Lynn due to his Tommy John Surgery, but I obviously am predicting good things for him going forward and so far (23.1 IP, 2.70 ERA, 20 K’s) so good.
Miguel Cabrera, DET, Groin Strain
The Tigers are hoping he’ll be able to return after his 10 day DL stint is up (May 2nd.) However, Miggy wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire in typical Miggy fashion before the injury posting what would be his lowest OPS (.834) since his rookie year in 2003. But this is professional hitter Miguel Cabrera were talking about here. He still should be fine going forward, but there is always that lingering question of when Mother Nature is going to start gaining the upper hand. Stash or Trash: Definite stash. The two-time MVP is going to be back soon and doesn’t how to not hit over .300. Fill In: For the week or so remaining I’d recommend Mitch Moreland (41.7%.) I was pretty high on Moreland going into this season due to his change of scenery and I was thought he underperformed his skill set in Texas. He’s hitting 5th in the Red Sox lineup after Bogaerts, Benintendi, Betts, and Banley Bamirez so he has the potential to be a huge boost to your RBI totals.
Lucas Duda, NYM, Hyperextended Left Elbow
The unintended consequence of this injury is Jay Bruce gaining 1B eligibility. The Duda was off to a pretty good start in OBP leagues with 4 HR and a .360 OBP. This doesn’t sound like a long-term injury and Duda himself abides, believing he won’t need more than the minimum 10 day DL stay. Stash or Trash: Stash. Fill In: Duda is only owned in 9.1% of leagues which is too low in my opinion, but if you need a fill in for deep/NL-only leagues Josh Bell (10.1%) could be a good option. He’s struggled to begin the season, but is hitting .294 with 2 HR’s over his last 7 games. Could be a good buy low situation.
Logan Forsythe, LAD, Fractured Right Big Toe
Last week I told you not to worry about Forsythe’s injury. This week I’m eating crow. I actually liked Forsythe as a cheap middle-infield option leading off for the Dodgers this year. Early reports had LoFo missing only two weeks, but this feels like an injury that might take three. What evidence do I have? I broke my big toe playing flag football in college and it took about 3 weeks until I was walking normally on it. Now, however, my right big toe hurts before it is about to rain. So he has that to look forward to. Stash or Trash: I’d say trash for now. In shallower leagues he probably won’t get grabbed by anyone else and in NL-only leagues there are probably better options worth taking a chance on. Fill In: Joe Panik (49.1%.) Panik is going to hit over .300 and that’s about it so he isn’t a bad fill in option. You might want to start doing some needs assessment of your team, however, because if you’ve got 5 good OFs for 3 spots you might want to shop one of them for a 2B upgrade.
Mitch Haniger, SEA, Strained Oblique
This injury happened the night before this article went live so unfortunately there hasn’t been a DL announcement just yet, but everyone seems to already be predicting it. They’re also predicting he’ll be about three to four weeks. Haniger has been the hottest surprise OF so far this year, non-Korean import division, being ranked 4th on the ESPN Player Rater with 19/4/16/2/.321 line. Stash: Stash. Haniger has been performing amazingly so far this year so this couldn’t come at a worse time. Hopefully all the prognosticators are wrong and this is a mild injury. But if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then that duck probably just ruined your night. Fill In: David Peralta (20.7%.) Peralta has been swinging the hot stick the past week getting multiple hits in 6 of his last 7 games. He’s got 3 HR and 3 SB so Peralta will make you not miss Haniger as much.
Shelby Miller, ARI, Throwing Forearm Inflammation
The Mystery Files of Shelby Miller continue. If he could control his…control he could have the potential to…control the Cy Young race. He’s only 26, has a 95-mph fastball and has shown solid ground ball tendencies in the past, but for whatever reason just hasn’t been able to put it all together. Stash or Trash: Trash. He’s way too inconsistent and how this elbow injury makes him droppable. Fill In: In NL-only leagues Matt Cain (5.9%) is worth a look. He might finally be making that transition that all old pitchers must make to keep earning a paycheck: from young stud who can fool any batter with every pitch to smart, wily veteran who must study hitter tendencies since they’ve lost velocity on their fastball and movement on their breaking balls. After 4 starts he has a 1.16 WHIP and a 2.42 ERA.
Aaron Nola, PHI, Back Strain
This seems like the type of injury that would be caused by a mechanical change due to overcompensating for another injury. Nola’s injury issues at the end of 2016 had me nervous for this year, but if you trust him or you’re from Philadelphia you’re going to ignore this message anyway. Stash or Trash: If you believe it actually is always sunny in Philadelphia, than stash. Fill In: Besides the aforementioned Lance Lynn I wouldn’t mind taking a flier on Hector Santiago (17.3%.) He’s thrown three straight quality starts and his next matchup is against the Rangers who have a .178 AVG in 163 ABs against lefties so far this year.
Pablo Sandoval, BOS, Right Knee Sprain
The hero to chubby guys everywhere will never stay healthy. We were all pulling for Sandoval after it looked like he finally cut weight this off-season and was heading into a starting role with the Red Sox. After his first 10 games of the season he was hitting his weight in 2nd grade, .132. In the 7 games since then, however, he’s hitting his weight at the beginning of the 2016 season, .348. Panda, panda, panda panda panda panda panda is capable of hitting for a high average, but now on the wrong side of 30 and the wrong side of 250 pounds, his injury risks grows exponentially with each passing day. Stash or Trash: Trash in standard leagues. You can do better. Fill In: Yuli Gurriel (28.8%) is starting to come around. Like Sandoval, Yuli was struggling to begin the season going 2 for 21 in his first 7 games. Since then he’s hit for a scorching hot 16 for 37. He’s got dual-eligibility at 1B too.
James Shields, CWS, Strained Right Lat
My curse strikes again. After begrudgingly listing Shields as a fill in last week he finds himself on this same list. “Big Game” James has actually been performing better than he has any right to allowing only 1 ER in each of his first three starts. He’s an old-35 so he’ll probably miss 3 or 4 starts with this injury. Stash or Trash: Trash. Fill In: Shields himself was only owned in 16.2% of leagues so you’re probably looking for a really deep league option if you were part of that percentage. Patrick Corbin (10.6%) has 3 straight quality starts against Cleveland, Dodgers and Padres. Two of those three teams are major league teams so if you need a deep fill in pitcher, Corbin is not a bad option.
Troy Tulowitzki, TOR, Right Hamstring Strain
At the monthly shortstop parties Tulo is definitely firmly entrenched as the grumpy old man grumbling in the corner at the Lindor, Correa and Corey Seager’s of the world about how he used to be just like them back in the day. “Yea, these kids ain’t got nothing on us,” Jimmy Rollins grunts. “I could teach these young bloods a thing or two,” Asdrubal Cabrera adds. “No you couldn’t,” Tulo and Rollins say together. Stash or Trash: Stash in deeper. Trash in shallow. Fill In: Tulo’s time has come and gone. You used to be able to put up with his injury stints when he was far-and-away the best SS in the game. Now that he’s the tenth best SS you can find better fill in options. Even someone like Zack Cozart (50.8%) who won’t keep hitting .386 obviously, but if you’re going to stash Tulo you might as well ride the hot hand for now.