Every team has to deal with an injury at some point in the season. But the injuries suffered early in the season are the ones which truly test a team’s depth and morale. Ten players around Major League Baseball are dealing with injuries that will force them to start the year on the disabled list. However, they possess prominent fantasy value down the road.
(In no particular order):
David Price- Boston Red Sox (elbow)
The Boston Red Sox will be without the former Cy Young award winner until May at the earliest. But this offseason’s acquisition of Chris Sale softens the blow that comes with Price’s injury. Drew Pomeranz did not make this list, but he is out as well and the Red Sox depth will be tested. Kyle Kendrick seems to be likely step into the rotation after a solid spring training, joining Eduardo Rodriguez as another pitcher who is getting a chance to start the season in the rotation due to injuries. Both players should still be on waiver wires after drafts, but are worth keeping an eye on with all of the run support they will be receiving.
Chris Tillman- Baltimore Orioles (shoulder)
The team believes Tillman can return sometime in early May. The team’s ace being on the shelf really hurts this team, particularly because they have one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball. Kevin Gausman will be asked to be the team’s top pitcher to begin 2017, starting with his opening day start. Mike Wright is still expected to make at least one or two starts while Tillman is out. He is not worth owning in 12 team leagues.
Wilson Ramos- Tampa Bay Rays (Knee)
The Rays will be forced to wait until June in order to cash in on their biggest offseason acquisition. The team knew that is what they were getting into when they signed him and so should owners who drafted him. He had a career year last season, hitting 22 home runs while batting .307. Tampa Bay signed veteran catcher Derek Norris to manage duties behind home plate in the meantime. He is a streaky power hitter who could end up being a temporary fix for a 12-team league owner seeking a catcher.
Jason Kipnis- Cleveland Indians (shoulder)
The team’s star second baseman isn’t expected to return until May. He is one of the better second baseman in the league so Cleveland will be sure to take its time to allow the injury to heal properly if they want to return to the World Series. Jose had a breakout season in 2016, batting .312 in over 500 at-bats. He was slated to be the team’s starting third baseman, but with Kipnis going down, he may find himself back at second base. Spring training phenom Yandy Diaz has been named the Opening Day third baseman over Giovanny Urshela. Diaz hit .444 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 45 at-bats this Spring Training. Let him prove it in the regular season before picking him up.
J.D. Martinez- Detroit Tigers (foot sprain)
Detroit’s will be without one of its top run producers until late April. Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton will be asked to take on more of the run producing responsibilities in his absence. JaCoby Jones is already expected to be named the team’s new center fielder. Tyler Collins and Mikie Mahtook are in line to platoon in right field until Martinez returns. Neither player will be worth owning during the few weeks they will start in place of Martinez. Make sure to keep J.D. in your disabled list roster spot until he returns.
Drew Smyly- Seattle Mariners (flexor strain)
The team’s new offseason acquisition will be shut down for six to eight weeks, and perhaps longer if his elbow does not strengthen. He can be safely dropped in all fantasy leagues. The Mariners have already announced that Ariel Miranda will be taking his place in the rotation. Miranda posted a 3.88 ERA in 10 starts last season with Seattle. He should get plenty of run support from this team and could warrant fantasy consideration if he continues his solid play into 2017. But for now, he should be safe on waiver wires in 12 team leagues. Deeper leagues should grab him now.
Steven Matz- New York Mets (elbow soreness)
Another year, another Mets pitcher is suffering from elbow soreness. Matz has received a PRP injection and will be shut down for the next three weeks, after which the team will reevaluate the injury. The Mets are sure to be cautious with the oft-injured left-handed pitcher, meaning his timetable is truly anyone’s guess. Robert Gsellman already locked up a spot in the rotation prior to the injury announcement, but Zach Wheeler now gets a chance to open the season in the rotation. Wheeler is recovering from several injuries and has not pitched in a regular season game since 2014. He has a 5.11 ERA in 12.1 innings this spring and will likely be overrated in fantasy leagues because he is on the Mets. He will take time to truly return to his old self, pick him up at your own peril.
David Wright- New York Mets (shoulder impingement)-
The Mets captain will enter the season on the disabled list with no return date in sight after not being able to throw to third base because of his injury. It is questionable whether or not he will ever be able to play the field anymore, let alone play third base. His future may not be with the Mets if that is the case. He is working to get back and play at some point this season, but many are beginning to question if he is suited to play in the National League anymore. Jose Reyes will be the starting third baseman in the meantime, a welcome sign for Mets fans who were wondering where he could fit on the field in 2017. Reyes hit .281 in 32 at-bats this spring. His average is still respectable and can still bring a little speed. Because he is eligible to play third base and shortstop he may be a solid utility option in 12-team leagues as long as he can remain healthy.
Scott Kazmir- Los Angeles Dodgers (hip)
His fastball clocked in at just under 85mph, A hip injury was digging into his velocity so the team is choosing to shut him down. His injury timetable has not been announced at this time. Kazmir was 10-6 with a 4.56 ERA in his first season with the Dodgers in 2016. Brandon McCarthy returned from an injury midway thru the 2016 season to start nine games, posting a 4.95 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched. He narrowly beat Alex Wood for the final rotation spot in place of Kazmir. Brandon McCarthy is the fifth starter on the NL West favorite Dodgers. He could gain fantasy value at some point this season but there are better fantasy starting pitchers out there than McCarthy as far as 12-team leagues are concerned.
Ian Desmond- Colorado Rockies (broken hand)
He is nursing his hand back to full strength following surgery in March, but should be back by mid to late April. Desmond was one of the most versatile players in fantasy baseball last season, hitting for power and padding stolen base categories.His versatility makes him an obvious candidate to slide into your disabled list roster spot until he returns. He was slated to be the team’s first baseman after playing shortstop and outfield for most of his career prior to signing with Colorado this offseason. The team is inclined to start veteran Mark Reynolds in his place. Reynolds is worth owning after batting .282 with 14 home runs in 383 at-bats with the team last season.