I almost don’t know what to do with myself this week. There are only nine fantasy baseball relevant players who made it into this week’s Ambulance Chasers (I said relevant Jered Weaver — relevant.) That is the lowest total since Week 1 of this series. Maybe players are just playing safer to avoid injury. Or maybe there are just less players left to get injured…
- Week 1: 9
- Week 2: 15
- Week 3: 14
- Week 4: 11
- Week 5: 14
- Week 6: 16
- Week 7: 13
- Week 8: 9
As always, leave a comment below if you’ve got any injury questions that are specific to your league!
Trevor Cahill , SP, Throwing Shoulder Soreness
Cahill has been enjoying his best season as a starting pitcher since tee-ball so this is a really unfortunate injury. He’s still walking almost four batters per game, but a career high 11 K/9 helps wipe that damage off the basepaths. His 3.27 ERA/3.05 FIP makes this improvement seem legit. Stash or Trash: Stash until we get the MRI results. Might be a week, might be a month plus. Fill In: JC Ramirez (24.7% owned in ESPN.) Ramirez has allowed less than three ER in six of his last seven starts. It may seem like Ramirez has come out of nowhere, but he actually got his start as 17 year old in 2006 in the Mariners minor league system. Should you expect Ramirez to continue this successful run for the rest of the season? No, he’s never shown this level of skills before, but get some good starts out of him while you can.
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Fractured Left Wrist
Aaron Loup is going to get the Ray Finkle treatment in his hometown of Raceland, Louisiana. That’s Braves country! Freeman was on pace for career highs across the board and was solidly in the NL MVP conversation until Aaron Loup struck and killed Freeman’s left wrist on May 17th. Stash or Trash: Stash. Early reports predicted an 8-10 week recovery time. That means we won’t be seeing Freddie’s smiling face until July 12th the earliest — July 26th the latest. Fill In: Luckily, there have been a lot of 1B options who have been stepping up lately who will make the loss of Freddie a bit easier. Personally I grabbed Justin Bour (27.5%) and have been feeling pretty good about it. In his 4 games since joining my Roswell Aliens he’s hit three HRs in four games. Expand that to his previous 11 games he has seven HRs, 10 RBI and a .378 AVG.
Phil Hughes, SP, Throwing Biceps Tendonitis
Poor Steely Phil. He never really lived up to the lofty Yankee expectations that were heaped on him (why are Yankee expectations always so over exaggerated? Cut it out Yankee Nation.) Outside of 2014 when he finished 7th in Cy Young voting he’s been a complete disappointment as a starter. So far this year Hughes has a 5.29 ERA, a 1.511 WHIP and *FART NOISE* you shouldn’t be owning him anyway, Gary! Stash or Trash: Trash in 2015. Trash in 2016. Trash in 2017. Korean Baseball in 2018. Fill In: In deep, deep, deep leagues you can take a chance on Alex Meyer (2.6%.) Prospect stalkers have been tracking Meyer since he was drafted in the first round in 2011. Meyer really hasn’t shown any of the potential that he showed pre-draft nor in the minors. And while this year hasn’t been spectacular yet, he has 7 strikeouts in each of his last three starts and is being given the chance to sink or swim. With luck, he can avoid being the next Phil Hughes.
Nate Karns, SP, Fluid Buildup and Tightness in Throwing Elbow
Gross. Juicy Elbow. Karns unfortunately found himself another victim of the Kerry Klug Recommendation Curse. I named Karns as a good fill in option for Carlos Carrasco last week and like many before him — he needs a fill in option himself this week. Stash or Trash: Honestly, in this year’s pitching climate Karns is a guy you probably added off waivers as a Bumgarner/Syndergaard replacement so you should stash him. He has been performing really well this year. Fill In: Joe Ross (10.6%.) Ross made three starts in 2017 before getting sent down to the minor leagues. While down there, Ross was tasked with working on his release point. In his first start back the work seems to have…worked. He threw eight innings and only allowed one ER in his first start back.
Brian McCann, C, Concussion
Concussion injuries always take me back to Justin Morneau’s 2010 concussions. At that time Morneau was only 29 years old, was named an All-Star four seasons in a row and looked well on his way to a Hall of Fame caliber career. After his concussions he was never the same. However, McCann said he is feeling better and is anticipating a return to the lineup on Saturday. Stash or Trash: Stash. Fill In: Considering he’ll be back in three days and the catcher position is a disaster — you’re probably better off without one.
Brad Miller, SS/1B/2B, Abdomen Strain
Fantasy baseball utility man extraordinaire, Brad Miller was a surprise break-out last season. He more than doubled his career high HR with 30, but who didn’t? This year despite an obnoxiously high 18.4% walk rate, Miller has been a bit of a disappointment. Also despite somehow having a hard hit rate that is six percent higher than last year, he only has 2 HR. His 20.4% HR/FB rate from 2016 falling to a more human 7.1% might have something to do with it. His GB% also has gone up 6.9% while his FB% has fallen 4.6% from 2016 also could be a factor. Stash or Trash: Stash. His positional flexibility makes him a great help to your team and there is still plenty of time for him to improve. Fill In: Get Devon Travis (20.3%) on your team fast, quick and in a hurry. Not wanting to be different than his Blue Jay teammates, Travis ended April with a .130 AVG. In May, he has hit .369 with 10 runs, 10 RBI and 14 doubles. He won’t keep this ludicrous pace, but he definitely has 15/15 potential with a decent average.
Gregory Polanco, OF, Strained Left Hamstring.
This is one injury that I was actually grateful to suffer. So far Polanco has not lived up to his 56.7 ADP. Six SB, only one HR, 15 runs, nine RBI, and he only has a 22.8% hard hit rate, down from his career 30.4%. Hopefully this injury timeout is just what he needs to rest up and get healthy for the rest of the season. Stash or Trash: Stash. Polanco doesn’t have a timetable to return even though he’s due to return on May 25th. I think a little R&R is just what he needs to restore his season. Fill In: Adam Frazier (9.8%.) Frazier is the main beneficiary of Polanco’s injury in Pittsburgh. He has Ecksteinian power and not much speed, but he’ll be the one playing and at every level he’s made phenomenal contact. In his last nine games he’s been batting out of the leadoff spot and 17 for 37 with six runs and seven RBI.
Aaron Sanchez, SP, Blister
Sanchez might look 16 years old, but he must have the hands of a four year old. This is the second time this season that he’s found himself on the disabled list for blister issues. Stash or Trash: Stash. He’s going to miss more than the 10 day minimum, but in the long run that will be a positive if the blisters no longer bother him for the rest of the season. Fill In: Alex Cobb (43.2%.) Alex Cobb was James Paxton before Paxton was Paxton…does that make sense? A few years ago everyone was predicting Cobb would elevate to elite SP level, but injuries have derailed his ascension. Cobb has four straight quality starts in May after a shaky April. His strikeout totals haven’t been too spectacular, but with quality starting pitching increasingly hard to come by, you can deal with that.
Justin Turner, 3B, Hamstring Strain
In the March 9th edition of Ambulance Chasers I covered Turner’s off-season knee soreness and expressed concern about the injections he was receiving for it. The Red Rooster isn’t a spring chicken anymore and even in March I was worried about these leg issues. Stash or Trash: Stash. It is only a grade 1 strain, but take my word for it, this could be a lingering issue. Fill In: Ryon Healy (23.3%.) Healy has always had a great average. He hit .293 in 1,579 minor league bats and hit .305 in his 72 game debut last season. This season he’s only hitting .256 so far, but has been heating up hitting safely in 14 of his last 16 games.