Spring training games have begun and the start of the season is only a few weeks away. As is the case every year, star players typically use this time to work on their timing and mechanics as opposed to worrying about the accumulation of statistics. But when spring injuries flare up, it can have a lasting effect because it delays players’ ability to work out the kinks before the season starts. There are several big names on the injury report this week which could impact your fantasy baseball draft. So without further adieu, let’s delve into this week’s edition of the walking wounded.
Host your fantasy baseball league and play Free Fantasy Baseball at Fleaflicker with full commish options and live scoring/stats.
1. Evan Longoria (3B-TB). Rays third baseman Evan Longoria continues to be cautious as he deals with some lingering pain in his right hand. He should be back in the lineup by the middle of the week and is not concerned about the injury. This delay should not have any affect on whether he is ready to begin the season, so he remains one of the top options at third base and arguably a first round pick in fantasy baseball drafts.
2. Carl Crawford (OF-BOS). After signing a ridiculous contract with the Red Sox prior to the 2011 season, Carl Crawford embarked on one of the most disappointing seasons in real or fantasy baseball history. This past winter, Crawford underwent surgery on his left wrist. However, he experienced a setback in his recovery that could jeopardize his availability for Opening Day. Crawford will be shut down for at least the next week and you can expect the Red Sox to be overly cautious with their overpaid left fielder. It was expected that he would have a bounce-back season and was still projected to be an early round draft pick. However, this setback should push his fantasy value further down.
3. David Wright (3B-NYM). The cornerstone of the Mets franchise has been temporarily shut down with discomfort in his left rib cage. David Wright, coming off a season where he missed several games due to a back injury, is looking to re-establish himself as one of the league’s elite third baseman and take advantage of the new hitter-friendly dimensions at Citi Field. Wright should be just fine after additional rest, so he remains a top option at third base in fantasy drafts behind Evan Longoria and Jose Bautista.
4. Ryan Madson (RP-CIN). The Reds’ new closer, Ryan Madson, was shut down after feeling some discomfort during his first bullpen session of the spring over the weekend. Neither Madson nor the Reds seem overly concerned about his sore elbow as no damage was discovered by team doctors. Madson is a solid second tier option as a closer as he should have no problem saving 35 games for an improving Cincinnati team. Closely monitor his progress because if he is shut down for an extended period of time it could mean that he may not be ready by Opening Day.
5. Anibal Sanchez (SP-MIA). There was cause for concern when Anibal Sanchez had his spring debut pushed back because of a sore shoulder. Sanchez has a history of arm injuries, so the Marlins want to be cautious with their right handed starter who is in line for a solid fantasy season if he can remain healthy. He will be surrounded by much better talent in the rotation this year with a healthy Josh Johnson, Carlos Zambrano, Mark Buehrle and Ricky Nolasco. Sanchez is a decent mid-round fantasy pick, but he is always a candidate to miss a start here and there because of how delicate he is.
6. Ike Davis (1B-NYM). Leave it to the Mets to have a player with Valley Fever listed on the injury report. Granted Conor Jackson had it a couple years ago, but this is not a common malady amongst major league baseball players. Ike Davis has been instructed by doctors to avoid getting fatigued. What this means in terms of his playing time is unknown, but he did play in a game against the Nationals on Monday and went 1-2 before leaving for a pinch runner. Davis was a great fantasy option due to his bounce-back potential, but there is now a tremendous risk associated with him because of the unknown nature of how this illness could affect him.
7. Corey Hart (OF-MIL). Unfortunately for Corey Hart, he will have to surrender wearing his sunglasses at night as he recovers from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Because it was a relatively minor procedure on his meniscus, he may only miss 3-4 weeks. Even optimistically, Hart is likely to begin the season on the disabled list for the second straight year. He is still a decent OF2 option with 20-20 potential, but this knee injury could hamper his stolen bases.
8. Freddie Freeman (1B-ATL). Braves sophomore first baseman Freddie Freeman suffered a right kneecap injury last week and is scheduled to make his spring debut early this week. He took batting practice over the weekend and appears ready to go, especially given that he has had this injury before and knows his limitations. Freeman is coming off a terrific rookie season and is a solid option at first base in the middle rounds after the big sluggers are off the board.
9. A.J. Burnett (SP-PIT). New Pirates ace A.J. Burnett suffered an orbital bone fracture last week after bunting a ball off of his face. He underwent surgery and will likely miss 8-12 weeks meaning he could return by late April at the earliest. Perhaps Burnett was taking his role as a Pirate too literally and though it was necessary to wear an eye patch. Either way, when healthy, he should benefit from being back in the National League and not having any pressure to perform as he did in New York. But because he is injured and will get a late start, he should be a late round pick at best in fantasy drafts.
10. Shaun Marcum (SP-MIL). There is cause for concern with Brewers pitcher Shaun Marcum as he continued experiencing stiffness in his right shoulder after playing catch over the weekend. He met with team doctors and underwent an exam. Marcum will be shut down indefinitely, pending the results of the exam, which could effectively mean he could miss the start of the season. Marcum does have a history of injuries despite making 33 starts in 2011. He is a decent SP3 or SP4 option when healthy, so continue to monitor his progress (or lack thereof).
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!)