Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Trevor May has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and will require surgery, the Twins GM Thad Levine announced on Saturday. May has been both a starting and relief pitcher in his three seasons with the Twins.
According to the Fantasy Doctor’s Dr. Selene Parekh, the 27-year-old will need to undergo Tommy John Surgery to reconstruct the ligament in his throwing arm. May is expected to return in nine to 11 months and should be fully healthy for the 2018 season.
The hard throwing May had 60 strikeouts in 42.2 innings pitched last season, but struggled to remain healthy due to constant back injuries. His 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings was the highest on the team in 2016 among players who pitched a minimum of 40 innings.
Since the team’s primary closer, Glen Perkins, is still recovering from surgery, the team bullpen depth was expected to be tested in 2017. May’s injury only further widens the whole the team has in its bullpen. However, because May was not expected to be the team’s closer, his injury holds little fantasy implications.
Brandon Kintzler is expected to open the season as the closer, according to Mike Beradino of St. Paul Pioneer Press. He should be the only Twin relief pitcher, or perhaps pitcher in general because they have a weak starting rotation, worth a roster spot in standard leagues. But May was still expected to play a vital role in the team’s shorthanded bullpen.
Right handers Ryan Pressly and Michael Tonkin will likely see the biggest increase in playing time due to their impressive 2016 seasons. Pressly’s 3.67 ERA in 2016 is the lowest among returning starting pitchers. Tonkin’s lead the Twins bullpen with 80 strikeouts last season.
J.T. Chargois is another name that could see increased playing time in May’s absence. The right-handed pitcher made his major league debut in 2016, finishing the season with a 4.70 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched. May’s injury opens the door for Chargois to earn appearances.
Though the team should rely all three of pitchers more because of May’s injury, none are expected to increase their fantasy value as long as they do not get saves.