The fantasy baseball roster you could make out of the current disabled list would easily be in first place in many rotisserie leagues. If you left your draft with all of these players healthy you would probably be pretty confident of your trophy chances. Granted, if you left your draft with these players I’d question the skills of your league mates.
Fun story, I once joined a friend’s new fantasy baseball league and one of the members had never done fantasy sports before. He drafted every offensive position in order starting with catcher in round 1. This was my actual reaction when I realized what was going on in about the 3rd or 4th round… Needless to say his pitching was a disaster.
If you’ve got injury questions that are specific to your league — ask in the comments below and I’ll get back to you in 24 hours!
Ryan Braun, OF, Calf Strain
This one was just a matter of time. Braun has only played 3 games in May after injuries to his throwing arm and now his calf. Braun up to this point has been up to his old tricks: 7 HR/4 SB/ .948 OPS. Stash or Trash: Stash. Braun is doing Braun things. He’s probably due for a team upgrade at some point this summer — maybe to the Dodgers who have had injury issues of their own. Fill In: In deeper leagues, you should grab Brett Gardner (58.6%.) Gardner actually has the same amount of HRs as Braun and has one more SB. You can expect the SB difference to increase, but Braun will net you more HRs. Gardner has hit safely in 11 of the 12 games he’s played in May, leading to a .417 average for the month. The Brauny paper towel man isn’t expected to have an extended absence so you might find yourself with a tough decision when he returns around May 21st.
Robinson Cano, 2B, Strained Quad
Cano hadn’t played in five games so this one just made sense. Cano should only miss the minimum and will return on May 23rd. Stash or Trash: Stash. You Ca-know what you’re getting with Robinson: he’s on pace for his usual numbers: 21/8/28/0/.296. Fill In: Neil Walker (41.1%.) On April 30th, Walker saw his batting average hit .195. Since that point he has side-kicked his average up to .255 by going 19 for 54 in 13 May games. He’s also scored 10 runs and 12 RBI in that time.
Carlos Carrasco, SP, Left Pectoral Tightness
As of Tuesday afternoon, Carrasco has not been placed on the DL after leaving Monday’s start after 3.2 IP. He let up five ER and saw his fastball velocity drop about three mph. Stash or Trash: Stash. Early reports are that this is minor, but expect CaCa to find himself on that magical curative 10-day DL like all his mildly injured starting pitcher friends. Fill In: Nate Karns (23.7%.) There was a lot of discussion about Karns in the comments section of last week’s Ambulance Chasers so I think he is deserving of being a fill in option. That, and his 29 K’s over his last 17.1 IP. Karns has always had a pretty nice K/9, but so far this year he has dropped his BB/9 rate by almost an entire walk per game which is helping his overall numbers this season.
Aroldis Chapman, Rotator Cuff Inflammation
You will hear this injury referred to as the “turning point” in the YES network documentary on the Yankees so-far magical season. Up until now, everything has been about Matt Holliday’s forearms, giant Aaron Judge HRs and Michael Pineda not being a complete and utter disaster (he left that to Masahiro Tanaka.) Early reports are that Chapman will miss one month which will quickly turn into the entire season. Stash or Trash: Stash for now, but brace yourself for this one to be longer than one month. Fill In: Corey Knebel (31.5%.) Knebel is probably being swiped up after taking over the Brewers closing job from Neftali Feliz. Kuh-nebel has only allowed 2 ER over 20 IP and has 33 K’s. He’s had an elite K/9 rate for his entire professional career and a sky low 0.0 HR/9 rate so far this year.
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Thumb Sprain.
The Mets shortstop with the unfortunate first name has been nursing this injury since May 6th so he deserves this DL stint. Cabrera is actually tied for 5th amongst SS with 21 runs so far hitting out of the 2nd spot in the Mets lineup. Stash or Trash: Trash. Despite the run total, Asdrubal isn’t really contributing in the other four categories and his 30.1% ownership is reflective of that. Fill In: Tim Beckham (19.8%.) For your deep middle infield slot you could do worse than Beckham. He strikes out a shameful amount (50 K’s in 139 ABs), but he does have 20 RBI and is getting fairly consistent at bats. Beckham’s batting average splits are also pretty consistent (.260 vRHP/.256 vLHP; .259 @ home/ .259 away.)
Yunel Escobar, 3B, Strained Left Hamstring
Yunel Esco-bore (I’m so clever!) is in the top 10 in hits and runs amongst 3B and while he has five HR now — he hasn’t hit double digit HR since 2011. Hitting in front of Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols should keep his run totals high despite the 2-4 weeks he is projected to miss. Stash or Trash: Trash. He is a 1.5 category stud (runs and average kinda), but a dud in 3.5 categories. Fill In: Danny Valencia (12.1%.) I know this is cheating because I recommend him as a fill in for Adrian Gonzalez — but he is the only decent third basemen who is less owned than Escobar right now. In the six games since last week’s article Valencia has gone 8-for-23 with 3 runs, 1 HR, and 3 RBI. He’s got 3 position eligibility too which helps with his flexibility.
Carlos Gomez, OF, Hamstring Strain.
CarGo1 is going to miss four to six weeks with this injury. You shouldn’t really miss him though — despite 4 HR and 5 SB, Gomez is having a pretty go-hum season that is quickly seeming like his new normal. Stash or Trash: In deep or AL-only leagues you can stash him, but if you’re in a shallow league and you’ve got younger options on the come-up — take a chance on them. Fill In: Josh Reddick (20.3%.) Despite a crowded Houston line up, Reddick has been getting his hits in when given the opportunity against mostly right-handed pitchers. Since April 15th his average hasn’t dipped under .275 and in 13 games in May he has a 10/4/9/0/.295 slash line.
Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, Throwing Shoulder Inflammation
Gone til mid-June. Judging by his stats, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has been injured since his April 16th start. In his most recent four starts he has a 5.68 ERA. Overall for the season he has a 6.46 FIP and has lost two mph on his fastball since last season. Long story short, he’s overdue for this DL-stint. Stash or Trash: He’s 36 years old and now has shoulder injuries? That’s trashy. Fill In: Eddie Butler (5.8%.) Consider this a not-so-humble humble-brag: I predicted last week that Butler would take over the Cubs 5th starter job and he did. Read more about Butler in last week’s issue of Ambulance Chasers. In his first start he only allowed 5 baserunners and had 5 K’s in 6 IP.
Francisco Liriano, SP, Throwing Shoulder Inflamation
While Liriano’s average fastball is still hovering in the 92 mph range, his slowest fastball thrown was around 84 mph — the lowest of his career. The Jays are thinking he’ll be back after a minimum stay on the DL, but I bet they’re also thinking “what have we done…” Stash or Trash: Trash. People are hoping for good Liriano thinking this is 2013-2015 — but, and here here is my riskiest prediction: it isn’t. Fill In: Luis Perdomo (6.8%.) Perdomo never pitched in AA or AAA and even his career minor league ERA of 4.10 isn’t anything to be proud of at the low minor league levels and had a 5.71 ERA in 146.2 IP for the Padres last season. But that’s all in the past, he’s thrown 4 straight quality starts and has 34 K’s in 34.1 IP so who cares? Ride the hot hand!
Kenta Maeda, SP, Hamstring Tightness
This has been a lingering injury for Maeda. However, after allowing 17 ER in his first 19 IP, he has settled down to allow only 5 ER over his most recent 20 IP. Maeda is eligible to return this Sunday, May 21st, but I think the Dodgers will hold him out a bit longer to give his hamstring some time to rest. Stash or Trash: Stash. It seems like he’s turned it around and a nice 10-day DL rest will do wonders for him. Fill In: If you need a fill in starter for this week only you should give Zach Godley (22%) a shot. Who is Godley? He’s a 6’3” 240 lb mountain of a man from South Carolina. He has five pitches in his repertoire: fastball, cutter, curveball, sinker and a changeup of which he primarily uses his sinker and curve to induce an ungodly 7.50 GB/FB ratio. In his 3 starts so far this season he has a 1.95 ERA and a 9.2 K/9. Will he keep this up for the whole season? Probably not, but you only need him for one match-up this week and Godley is facing the Padres in PetCo. A groundball specialist against the team with the lowest batting average in the premiere pitcher’s park in the league? Pencil him in for a QS, a win and at least 7 K’s.
Hunter Pence, OF, Hamstring Strain
Pence has predicted a pretty pithy pause for this DL stint. As he’s gotten older, Pence has become increasingly injury prone so beware. Stash or Trash: Despite already only being about 36% owned in ESPN leagues, I don’t think you can just drop Pence yet. The Giants offense hasn’t really consistently clicked yet and this 10 day vacation to visit Stephanie Tanner might be just what the doctor ordered.
Stash. Fill In: Hernan Perez (28.6%.) Hernan, the barbarian has been swinging a hot sword lately. Since he took over the 3 spot in the Brewers lineup on May 2nd he is 16 for 48 with 2 HR, 7 runs and 6 RBI. Perez only topped 10 HR at any level for the first time last season, but with five HR so far he could top that with 15-20. Historically Perez has mostly been known as a speed threat notching 34 SB last year. If you can get 15/30 from a 3B/OF? That is a fantastic season from a player who went largely undrafted.
AJ Pollock, OF, Groin Strain
While this has been diagnosed as the lowest grade of strain, the Diamondbacks are going to take ‘er easy with their star outfielder especially since this is an injury that he suffered last season as well. Stash or Trash: Stash. You want them to take it easy with Pollock. He is second in the league with 11 SBs and is tied for 5th among OF with 26 runs. Fill In: Alright so you need steals and runs from a guy who is widely available? Take a chance on Delino Deshields (5.4%.) He is locked into playing time with Carlos Gomez hitting the DL and while he only has 2 SB in May you have to believe that the Rangers are going to be letting him loose now that one of their key weapons is missing from the lineup.
Trevor Story, SS, Strained Shoulder
Story is eligible to come off the DL on May 21st and he is expected to do so. Stash or Trash: Stash. Story is one of the top young SS in the league despite his .180 AVG so far. His owners have got to be hoping he’s taken these 10 days to go back to Irving, Texas to find himself and his swing. Texas forever. Fill In: You could go for Tim Beckham above, but that feels lazy to recommend him again so take a chance on Freddy Galvis (22.5%.) I don’t know who the heck he’s knocking in but Galvis leads all SS with 23 RBI.