Tom Murphy, the Colorado Rockies catcher, has a hairline fracture in his right forearm, according to Nick Groke of the Denver Post. Murphy was competing with Tony Wolters and Dustin Garneau for the team’s starting catcher position.
According to the Fantasy Doctor’s Dr. Selene Parekh, the injury typically requires players to miss four to eight weeks depending on location of the injury and which bone was involved. The injury will force Murphy to start the season on the disabled list and may not return until late May.
He was the top ranked Rockies catcher, according to Yahoo’s fantasy baseball rankings. Murphy had struggled early in spring training as a .238 hitter with no run production. Wolters and Garneau will battle to become the team’s opening day starting catcher. Monitor this situation carefully. They play for the Colorado Rockies, which means half of their games will be played at Coors Field. Whoever starts will be a cheap fantasy option late in drafts.
Wolters has never had more than eight home runs in a season while playing with the Rockies organization, but he has shined with the team this spring training. He is batting .438 with a home run and four RBI in 16 at-bats, after batting just .259 last season. This is only a small sample size but if Wolter’s can continue to swing the bat like this he may just be the starting catcher on Opening Day.
Dustin Garneau is a 29-year-old who has been in the organization since he was drafted in 2009. He has been leap-frogged by younger catchers like Murphy and Wolters after having minor stints with the major league club over the last two seasons. Garneau has much more power than Wolters, according to his play in the minor leagues. He has hit 30 home runs in 488 at-bats with the Alabama Crimson Tide, the organizations AAA-affiliate, since 2015. He already has two home runs and six RBI this spring while batting .333.
Garneau may be the more productive fantasy player if given the opportunity, but either player will be a stealthy pick at the end of fantasy drafts as long as they play in Coors Field. Be sure to keep an eye on this battle before draft day in order to draft the correct Rockie.