UPDATE: MRI reveals a grade 1 strain. Approximately 2 weeks RTP
Martin Prado of the Miami Marlins left Wednesday’s World Baseball Classic (WBC) game against the United States after suffering an apparent right hamstring injury. He will return to the Marlins spring training complex to undergo further tests.
According to the Fantasy Doctor’s Dr. Selene Parekh, Prado is expected to miss two to six weeks depending on severity. The injury will likely cause Prado to miss the beginning of the season and could end up start the year on the disabled list.
Prado has had a .280 batting average, or greater, in nine of his last 10 seasons as one of the most consistent players in the league. Team Venezuela will need to rely on a tandem of Yangervis Solarte and Hernan Perez to play third base for the remainder of the WBC. They can both get on base at a high rate but Perez may be the more versatile option.
Hamstring injuries can be tricky, especially when you have 11 seasons worth of miles on your legs. That being said, it is a safe bet that Prado will not be ready to start the season. He has seen 1100 at-bats over the past two seasons for Miami while manning third base and has become a fixture in the team’s lineup. The team dealt with an injury bug last season, they likely will not rush the veteran to return.
27-year-old Derek Dietrich is set to take over third base in Prado’s absence. He batted .279 with seven home runs thru 351 at-bats in 2016. He finished his 2016 season strong by batting .324 in September with three home runs and 10 RBI. He is having a decent spring and should have no competition for the starting job with Prado likely to miss Opening Day.
Dietrich is going to be worth owning in 12-team leagues as long as Prado is on the shelf. He could always produce, he just needs a spot on the field to play. He is not a base stealing threat but has the capability to act as a solid placeholder off the bench until Prado returns and sends Dietrich into fantasy irrelevance once again.
While Dietrich is the only player to gain fantasy relevance while Prado is out, 25-year-old J.T. Riddle has an opportunity to crack the opening day roster. He is batting .269 with three RBI this spring and is looking like he will back up Dietrich at third.