In the fourth installment of our “Injured Players Draft Guide”-Dr. Jesse Morse takes a look at injured or recovering shortstops entering the 2017 season.
Corey Seager, the 22-year-old top prospect playing shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers, surprised everyone with a monster rookie season, which earned him the NL ROY title. He led all MLB shortstops in WAR – over Correa, Lindor, Villar and Bogaerts. Seager was easily the best Dodger hitter, posting a 137 wRC+, hitting 26 HRs and managing a respectable .204 ISO. Seager suffered an oblique injury during spring training that he continues to work his way back from. He is scheduled to play 7 innings in a minor league game today (March 25), after playing 5 innings earlier this week. As long as he doesn’t reinjure his oblique, he should be good to go on Opening Day. He will likely be the best Dodgers hitter again this year, but I do expect some regression in the power department, and he may struggle to live up to the massive hype he generated after his impressive debut. He’s currently being drafted as the 3rd SS, behind only Machado and Correa, and an ADP of 18. That’s a little too rich for my blood, not because of the injury, but because in order to be worth it at that price, he’d basically have to repeat or surpass his rookie campaign. While possible, I’d prefer to wait a bit and draft Villar, Lindor or Story who you can wait a round or two after Seager and still offer the same upside, but with a safer-floor (at least for Villar and Lindor anyway).
Imagine if Trevor Story didn’t get hurt last year? Would he have beat out the aforementioned Seager for NL ROY? Unfortunately, we will never know. Story had a history April, hitting 10 home runs in his first 102 plate appearances. Yes he regressed in May, but bounced back strongly in June and July – hitting 13 homers in those two months combined, finishing with 27 homers before tearing a ligament in his thumb which required surgery to repair. This kid is built for Coors Field, and has a legit shot at 30+ HRs this year. Add in double-digit steal potential, hitting in a stacked COL lineup and you have yourself a potential top 3 fantasy SS. Hand injuries can zap power, but so far the repaired thumb ligament seems to be fully healed, as he has already hit 4 home runs in ST, looking like he’s ready to pick up where he left off. If Story can decrease his strikeouts, you will have a high-risk, high-reward SS. He’s currently being drafted with an ADP of 35, as the 7th SS off the board. At that price, draft him with confidence!
It seems that Matt Duffy is currently flying under the radar after posting mixed results over the past two years. Basically, he had one solid year and one down year. Duffy will begin the year as the TB Rays’ SS after starting last year as the SF Giants’ starting 3B, coming over in the Matt Moore trade. Duffy is actually expected to begin the year on the DL after suffering an Achilles injury, requiring surgery in September 2016. Duffy has been struggling to make any progress with his rehab, and recently traveled to North Carolina to see the doctor who completed the surgery. The majority of Duffy’s fantasy value comes from his multi-positional eligibility, dabbling a bit in each of the 5 categories. Steamer’s a little down on him this upcoming year, projecting him with a 95 wRC+, 9 HRs, 9 SBs, and a .272 BA. Playing in his age-26 season, Duffy will likely continue with his high-contact rate ways, but his upside is capped by his low fly ball rate. Due to his 3B eligibility, you can slide him into your CI slot, assuming he’s healthy, and forget about him. He’s currently being drafted as the 31st SS, with an ADP of 351, putting him in the same region as Jorge Polanco, and Jurickson Profar. If it were up to me, I’d choose one of those two over Duffy, unless he falls to a point where he’s a low risk pick for you.