Spring training is in full force and fantasy baseball drafts are popping up everywhere. Of course, injuries can change the entire landscape of a fantasy draft so it is critical that you carefully watch and monitor the progress of players who get hurt during the spring. So without further adieu, let’s delve into this week’s edition of the walking wounded.
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1. Chris Carpenter (SP-STL). The oft-injured former Cy Young award winner Chris Carpenter is suffering from a bulging cervical disc in his neck. He reportedly played catch on Wednesday and has received an anti-inflammatory injection. It is questionable whether he will get sufficient work during spring training in order to be ready by Opening Day. Even if all goes well, Carpenter is 36 years old and has been on the decline. He is no longer worth an early pick in fantasy drafts, and his health could only further demote his status.
2. Kendrys Morales (1B-LAA). Kendrys Morales, the poster child for stupidest injuries in the history of baseball, took another baby step in his progress towards returning to the big leagues for the first time since 2010. He ran the bases on Monday but felt some tightness and soreness in his calf. Once he can run the bases without lingering tightness, he is likely going to be the DH in a spring training game. He has been working very hard in his attempt to be ready by Opening Day. Barring any significant setbacks, he should return to the Angels in the near future and is a great low risk – high reward fantasy option.
3. Giancarlo Stanton (OF-MIA). After changing his name, the artist formerly known as Mike Stanton was hit by a pitch on his wrist and has been sideline for a few games. He is not expected to miss many more games and shouldn’t have any issues being ready for Opening Day. Stanton is a top outfield option in fantasy drafts and should have no problem eclipsing 30 homeruns and 100 RBI.
4. Nick Markakis (OF-BAL). After undergoing abdominal surgery back in January, Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis made his spring debut on Wednesday. While his results were not spectacular, the fact he is back on the field is good news and an indication that he should be ready by Opening Day. His numbers have slipped the past few years, so it is important for him to get off to a good start in April. However, he may be temporarily hampered as he recovers from his surgery. He is a solid middle tier outfield option in fantasy drafts, but his value incrementally increases if he can regain his power stroke that has evaded him the past few seasons.
5. Salvador Perez (C-KC). One of the young studs the Royals were counting in 2012, rookie catcher Salvador Perez was pulled from Tuesday’s spring training game and has been diagnosed with a meniscus tear in his knee which will require surgery. There is no timetable for his return yet, but it is very likely he will begin the season on the disabled list. He is still a viable fantasy option at catcher, but his injury will demote him to a C2 or backup catcher in fantasy leagues.
6. Drew Pomeranz (SP-COL). Drew Pomeranz, one of the prospects acquired by the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, was removed from his last spring training start with tightness in his right hip. The Rockies were likely being very cautious with the 23-year old lefty who is competing for a spot in Colorado’s rotation. He hasn’t allowed an earned run this spring. If he is healthy and cracks the starting rotation, he is worth a flier in the later rounds of your fantasy baseball draft.
Rockies pitcher Drew Pomeranz left his start against the Dodgers on Tuesday after two innings due to right hip tightness. He did not allow a hit over his two frames and struck out two of the six batter he faced. “It was tight warming up. It stayed stiff. I could have still pitched but there’s no point in pushing it,” Pomeranz said. “It’s nothing serious. Just a little tightness. If I had to pitch, I could still pitch. I’m not worried about it.”Rockies pitcher Drew Pomeranz left his start against the Dodgers on Tuesday after two innings due to right hip tightness. He did not allow a hit over his two frames and struck out two of the six batter he faced. “It was tight warming up. It stayed stiff. I could have still pitched but there’s no point in pushing it,” Pomeranz said. “It’s nothing serious. Just a little tightness. If I had to pitch, I could still pitch. I’m not worried about it.”
7. Ervin Santana (SP-LAA). Angels pitcher Ervin Santana got hit by a comebacker during his last start and was taken out of the game in his second inning of work. There is no word yet on the extent of Santana’s injury, so keep an eye on his progress as Santana is primed for a good fantasy season as the Angels fourth starter.
8. Jacob Turner (SP-DET). Jacob Turner is one of the better pitching prospects in baseball and was on track to start the season in the Tigers starting rotation. However, he was lit up in his last start and has been shut down for the time being with tendinitis in his right shoulder. The Tigers have never been shy allowing young pitchers a chance to be in the big leagues at an early age (see Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello), so Turner is still in their plans. However, Detroit will want to be cautious with their rookie so he may not start the season in the rotation depending on how long he is shut down. He is still worth a draft pick because he will likely make an impact at some point this season.
9. David Robertson (RP-NYY). After suffering an injury that would make Clint Barmes proud, David Robertson ran on the treadmill and reported no soreness in his injured foot. Robertson is one of the elite set-up men in baseball and the likely heir apparent to Mariano Rivera. While he will not have many save opportunities this year, he is still a great producer in terms of ERA, WHIP and strikeouts. For keeper leagues, he is someone to keep an eye on, especially if Rivera retires at the end of 2012.
10. Tim Byrdak (RP-NYM). While Tim Byrdak should only be considered a fantasy option if your league is comprised solely of left-handed relief pitchers, he is included in this week’s report for all the wrong reasons. Just a couple weeks ago, he dressed like Hulk Hogan at the Mets spring training facility in Port St. Lucie. He was decked out in the classic red and yellow attire and did all of the Hulkster’s mannerisms. This did generate attention throughout baseball at the time. Just a few days later, a Hulk Hogan sex tape was revealed which has horrified the general population. Concurrently, Byrdak sustained a knee injury requiring surgery which will sideline him until at least the end of April. Byrdak gets credit for doing the Hogan impersonation with such detail that he injured his own knee to emulate the Hulkster. Let’s just hope that there is no Tim Byrdak sex tape that comes out any time soon.
Check out the rest of our 2012 Fantasy Baseball Rankings.
Rounding The Bases - Todd Zola Looks At The First 10 Rounds of a Likely 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft
Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola - Looking Ahead To The 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season
Rounding The Bases - Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (20 Prospects for '14)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 24
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (September Call-Ups)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 23
Rounding the Bases: A Day For the Little Man
Rounding The Bases: Morse, Willingham On the Move?
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Roster Expansion)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 22
Rounding the Bases: Five Surging Pitchers & Hitters
Rounding the Bases: Five Surging Pitchers & Hitters
Rounding the Bases: Rookies, Veterans & Roster Movement
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Pitching Help On The Way!)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 21
Master Notes From Todd Zola - Taking A Look at Starting Pitching In Keeper Leagues
Rounding the Bases: Small Names, Big Production?
Rounding the Bases: A First for Stephen Strasburg and the (Near) Final Round-Up
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Hitting Help On The Way!)