Cincinnati Reds right fielder Scott Schebler strained his left shoulder in Saturday’s 6-5 loss against the Atlanta Braves, departing the game after making a diving catch in the sixth inning.
Depending on the severity of the strain, Schebler’s injury may completely change the outlooks for both fantasy and professional baseball. According to Dr. Selene Parekh, left shoulder strains are usually about two weeks RTP. Sometimes steroids are used to quiet down the shoulder. If he doesn’t respond to treatment, expect an MRI to be performed.
For fantasy owners, Schebler’s shoulder strain may sap certain teams of an all-important power component, with Schebler’s 16 dingers tying him second in the MLB. After being considered a fantasy afterthought—the 26-year old had just 12 homeruns entering 2017—Schebler has burst out this season and is now owned in more than 62 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues.
To start the season, Schebler was a sneaky waiver-wire pickup capable of shaping seasons as a top-four outfielder. Now, those same owners can only sit and wait for Schebler’s full diagnosis in what may be a season-shaping outcome, with Schebler sporting a .243 batting average 30 runs batted in behind stars Joey Votto and Adam Duvall.
Scooter Gennett is expected to assume most of the corner outfielding duties in place of Schebler. The utilityman is generally known as a light-hitter and may not provide much value for most fantasy teams. Still, though, if Gennett does end up receiving the bulk of the playing time the next few weeks, keep an eye on him, as the hometown native is slashing .293 with three homeruns and 18 runs batted in.
If Schebler remains out for a significant amount of time, expect the Reds to quickly fall out of the playoff race—especially with the defending World Series Champions yet to find their groove. Then, Cincinnati officially becomes sellers at the trade deadline, and with specifically hot-hitting shortstop Zack Cozart becoming an unrestricted free agent next season, may be very active before July 31st.
Although the Reds were not expected to compete for the National League Central Division crown, a slow start for its contenders leave Cincinnati just three games out of first place despite sporting just a 25-29 record. Schebler’s play has been a key reason for the Reds ability to stay in the race thus far, with Cincinnati ranked within the top third of the league in runs scored, largely due to the play of one of its best power hitters.