Sifting through players, no longer a breeze
Fearing the worst from backs, arms and knees
Do you even take them or are they just trash?
Fire up the DL! These guys you can stash!
Well, some of them, that is.
With the solar garlic starting to rot, the regular season just about two weeks away and fantasy baseball draft season kicking into super high gear, the injuries that are piling up are getting downright worrisome. For those of you who have already drafted, you’re likely just waiting for teams to officially place their players on the disabled list so you can attack the waiver wire as quickly as possible. For those of you who have yet to consummate your 2017 fantasy baseball season, it’s time to study the latest ADP numbers and see if you might be able to draft some of these injured players at a bargain price and stash them until they make their return to the diamond.
Here’s a look at 10 key injured players who are still worth a look if the price is right:
10. Carter Capps, RP SD – I’m not much for stashing a late-inning reliever, but if your bench is super-deep or you can immediately DL him and hit your waiver wire, Capps might be worth taking with one of your last picks in your draft. For now, Brandon Maurer is considered the team’s closer, but it’s unlikely the team is so locked in on him that his job security is all that strong. Capps has phenomenal stuff and could be considered an option down the road, but keep in mind, you need to watch how he performs with the new rule many believe was specifically implemented with Capps in mind. The second push-off he does from his back foot could be an issue and while he altered his delivery to adhere to the rule, it might not be enough.
9. Alex Dickerson, OF SD – The Padres outfield was a little crowded to start the spring, but many believed Dickerson would prove himself enough to not land in a platoon with Travis Jankowski. Well, we may never know as a disc protrusion in his back has him on the shelf. The team said surgery would not be necessary, but with a 3-to-4 week recover timetable, he’ll sit tight and start the season at Triple-A. Dickerson’s got some decent pop in his bat and has flashed some speed as well, so his stay in the minors following his rehab stint may not be long. A lot could hinge on Jankowski’s performance, as well as those of rookies Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, but those who remember Dickerson’s second-half performance from last season (.257-10-37-5) know he’s capable of posting solid numbers when he’s at full health.
8. Anthony DeSclafani, SP CIN – I’m not into stashing a starter pitcher who’s been shut down for a month with a UCL sprain, but there are many who look at his 3.28 ERA and 3.50 K/BB over 123.1 innings from last year and are intrigued by the possibility of stashing him. The Reds are expected to handle him with kid gloves, so his first-half value, to me, is minimal, but you may as well leave him on your radar for the second half of the season.
7. Huston Street, RP LAA – To absolutely no one’s surprise, Street is going to start the regular season on the disabled list with a Grade-1 lat strain and has relinquished the closing duties to Cam Bedrosian. Some are still carrying a torch for Andrew Bailey, but that’s not happening. Not with his injury history, that is. However, while Bedrosian holds down the ninth inning, there’s a definite chance Street could regain the job at some point after his return. You’re not getting big strikeout numbers and the ratios are good but not great, but if you’ve drafted Bedrosian and are looking for a potential handcuff, Street just might be worth a pick in the final round of your draft if you can immediately flip him to the DL.
6. Wilson Ramos, C TB – This is probably one of the deepest of the stashes as Ramos, who tore his ACL and meniscus back in October, isn’t even expected to try out DH duties until mid-May. Obviously that’s a long time away and impossible to even hazard a guess as to how he’ll produce afterwards, but the catcher position is a dumpster fire, especially for those of you in two-catcher leagues. The Rays gave Ramos a two-year, $12.5M deal in the offseason and that’s not back-up catcher money. They may use him as a DH to start, but once they deem him ready to squat behind the dish, he’ll play. Think second half here.
5. Charles Tilson, OF CHW – The speedy 24-year old center fielder will start the season on the DL after a recent MRI revealed a stress reaction in his foot. The good news, though, is that there was no fracture, so the return timetable is definitely shorter. The even better news is that the White Sox are going to be using Peter Bourjos in center to open the season and he’s as soft a roadblock as you can get. With the White Sox in full rebuild mode, Tilson isn’t on the mainstream radar and can be had with a super-late pick in your draft, especially now that he’ll be on the DL to open the year. But once he’s healthy and ready to get back on the field, he’s got a fantastic chance to grab the starting job back. Those looking for a potential stolen base surge and have DL spots in their league should consider Tilson late.
4. David Dahl, OF COL – Had I known Dahl’s injury was coming, I would have immediately bought stock in Kleenex as the crying from fantasy owners has been persistent. Sorry, folks. These things happen. His back injury was finally diagnosed as a stress reaction in his rib and he’s expected to spend a fair amount of April on the disabled list. That being said, Dahl makes for a fantastic stash as he’s dropping from the sixth round to the 11th and 12th in recent mock drafts. For that price, I’m definitely willing to stash him so long as you make sure you draft a solid back-up outfielder to use while he’s out. Hello, Gerardo Parra!
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B CLE – This one’s got fantasy owners scared. Real scared. Kipnis has been shut down with a right shoulder strain and is heading for a second opinion later in the week. If you’re drafting before those results come in, he’s a major risk and as such, his draft position is in rapid decline. If the second opinion comes back similar to the original diagnosis, then you could end up with a decent bargain who could help you for roughly four months (regardless of when he returns he’s going to need some time to get his swing back). If it’s bad news, well, then he’s an easy drop. Fortunately, the position is deeper than it’s been in ages and you’re still going to land someone who can help your team. It really comes down to a matter of which second basemen are available in your draft when you hit those mid to late rounds. If you’re still seeing names like Brandon Phillips and Jedd Gyorko in the 12th round, then you can probably grab Kipnis and then follow up with one of those guys. At least then, you’re covered.
2. Ian Desmond, 1B/OF COL – I’m treating Desmond the same as I’m treating Dahl. He’s been a fourth-round pick who is now falling to the ninth or 10th round depending on how much people believe in the six-week timetable the Rockies are giving on his recovery. I’m a little skeptical, especially considering they’ve inserted a metal plate in his left wrist to compensate for the fracture, but if he drops far enough, he could prove to be enough of a bargain should he go maybe 15-15 instead of 20-20. Or some other derivation that’s close. Again, similarly to Dahl, you need a steady outfield replacement early enough if you want to make this move and again, I’m looking at Parra. As far as how the Rockies handle the replacement of two of their players, you can check out my recent article in the New York Post.
1. Max Scherzer, SP WAS – Well, this piece was started before Scherzer threw his session Thursday and seemed to impress a number of people with his two-finger fastball grip again. However, we are not fully out of the woods here and there is still plenty of talk about Scherzer not being ready for Opening Day. The Nationals are going to watch him super-closely over the next two weeks and then make a determination. He’s obviously still an elite, but the one thing I’ll say is that he had issues last year with the finger/knuckle and we’re now seven months down the road and he’s just coming back from it. Depending on how he feels Friday and how long before the Nats have him throw again, he could either land on the DL or just have his first start pushed back to the second week of the season. Either way, there’s no need for a discount. People seem to be timid about drafting him in the early part of the second round, but he’s still usually gone by the end of the second.