Fantasy Baseball Injury Update: Pre-Draft Edition


It’s the last week of Spring Training when teams make the final cuts and determine who is healthy enough to start the season.  If you league already had their draft then you might feel a little cheated this week because of the big names that will now start the season on the disabled list.  If you have yet to draft then you might be able to avoid some of the injury landmines that can derail a team from the first pitch of the season.

Here is a list of some of the key players who will start the season on the DL and how it will affect your team and their draft status.

Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers

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There were already a ton of questions surrounding Justin Verlander going into this season and this week his future became a little less clear.  Verlander left his last spring training start early because of soreness in his pitching arm. It was originally thought to be minor pain but as it turns out Verlander has a strained tricep that will cause him to start the season on the DL.

Analysis – Although they are still calling this a minor issue beware of putting Verlander on your team this season.  JV played struggled with recovery from core muscle surgery last season which caused a big drop in his numbers.  Soreness anywhere for Verlander has got to be a big concern for Verlander this season who is trying regain his CY Young form.  Reports have Verlander making his april 12th start but that is up in the air at this point.

Matt Wieters – C – Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles slugging catcher missed most of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.  It was thought that Wieters would be ready to go by the time opening day rolled around but his recovery has taken much longer than expected.  According a tweet by CSN’s Rich Dubroff, Wieters start the season on the disabled list and stay in Florida to continue his recovery.

Analysis – Many owners (including me) were eagerly anticipating Wieters return to the field.  Unfortunately the wait will be a bit longer.  Even though they expect Wieters to return April 11th you have to be concerned about whether or not his offensive numbers will return. If you are a risk averse type of owner Matt Wieters is not for you.

Nick Swisher – OF/DH – Cleveland Indians

Despite going 2 for 3 against the Giants on April 1st, Swisher will need a little more time in extended spring training in order to get ready for the daily grind of the show.

Analysis – Swisher has started well this spring after surgery on both knees of the offseason.  Because he figures to play a lot of DH of the tribe this season, Swisher could get ready pretty quickly. The former Yankee might be a sleeper pick this year playing pain-free on his newly fixed knees.

JJ Hardy – SS – Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles are counting on Hardy to have another solid season but the veteran shortstop is 32 years-old which makes him susceptible to old guy injuries.  That is the case for Hardy who was shut down from baseball activities on March 31st.  According to Baltimore sun Beat writer Eduardo Encina.

Analysis – It is tough to depend on players once they get past 30 years-old.  That is when the grind starts to wear down players. Fantasy Baseball owners should consider Hardy a high risk player considering his age and potential for a nagging shoulder injury.

Chris Sale – SP – Chicago Whitesox

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  • The White Sox ace has been making good progress and will be ready to make his season debut in mid-april.  Sale who is nursing a surgically repaired foot has managed to stay on schedule so far.

    Analysis – Looks like Chris Sale will start the season completely healthy. After being snubbed for the Cy Young award last season look for Sale to make a run again this season.  If you get a chance you should grab him. 

    Hyun-Jin Ryu  – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

    Ryu has a sore shoulder and no one can seem to figure out why.  After a couple of MRI’s there is no structural damage yet the soreness is enough to send the Dodgers left hander to the DL to start the season.

    Analysis – Ryu was projected as a solid mid-round pick this offseason.  With so much mystery surrounding his injured shoulder, owners should pass on drafting Ryu consider adding him after he has proven he is past whatever is ailing him. 

    Daniel Murphy – 2B – New York Mets

    Murphy has established himself as an affordable second base option that can produce some decent power and speed stats.  A year removed from his career year in 2013, owners were looking for him to smack double-digit home runs with a couple dozen stolen bases in 2015.

    A week ago Murphy came up with a hamstring strain which threatened to send him to the DL for the start of the season. Now it appears the Mets starting second basemen will be ready for opening day after making significant progress over the last week

    Analysis – It looks as if you can put Murphy back onto the draft board.  All systems appear to be go for opening day and for the Mets second basemen to be a solid mid-round draft choice again.

    Didi Gregorius – SS – New York Yankees

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    The heir apparent to Derek Jeter sprained his wrist a week ago and it hasn’t been right since.  The injury threatens to keep the prince from assuming Jeters throne on opening day but the Yankees don’t seem that worried about it.

    Analysis – This is something to keep an eye on.  Wrist injuries can be nagging, yet rather than rest it the Yankees seem determined to let him play through it. This injury has the potential to spoil Didi’s plans for a breakout season in 2015.

    Josh Reddick – OF – Oakland A’s

    After his breakout season when he hit 32 dingers in 2012, Reddick has had trouble staying on the field.  In fact he has missed significant time in each of the last two seasons while combining for just 24 home runs in 2013 and 2014.  This year isn’t any different as an obilque injury threatens to keep Reddick sidelined to start the 2015 campaign.

    Analysis – Reddick’s average cam up a bit last season but his low declining home run and speed numbers make him a low round pick.  in an auction beware of owners running up his salary based on name recognition rather than performance. 

    Coco Crisp – OF – Oakland A’s

    Last season Crisp saw a big drop in his power numbers from 2013’s career high of 22.  Those numbers aren’t likely to get nay better now that Crisp will miss 6-8 weeks after getting bone spurs removed from his elbow.

    Analysis – It’s not just the injury but age that is causing Coco’s numbers to decline.  The 35-year-old is in the twilight of his career; something owners should strongly consider before adding Crisp to your roster.  Still Crisp might be a decent mid-season pick up if he proves to be healthy after the surgery.