We are just days into the 2014 baseball season and already the injuries are piling up. We discussed the status of several pitchers in the Opening Day edition of the Injury Report. Now we will shift our attention to hitters (no offense Bobby Parnell, but the partially torn MCL in your elbow will not be featured in this edition). You will notice that there are several players on this list who tend to frequent the Injury Report more often than would be desired. So if you drafted these players, then no one is going to feel sorry for you trying to tempt fate.
Jose Reyes (SS-TOR)
It is like déjà vu all over again seeing Jose Reyes on the Injury Report. After missing several months last year with a severe ankle injury, Reyes is right back on the shelf with hamstring tightness after he was removed from Opening Day in the first inning. The good news is that an MRI only revealed mild inflammation which means he should be back in a matter of weeks, not months. However, he is a ticking time bomb with respect to his fragile legs. Even when he does come back, we will all be wondering how soon it will be before he injures himself again. His legs and his speed are what make Reyes great, and if he doesn’t have those working for him than he ceases to be as fantasy relevant as he should be. I’m not saying he is done, but I have argued that we are in the midst of witnessing the demise of Jose Reyes. You won’t be able to get maximum value for him now, so just hope he can come back and then look to trade him while you can.
Matt Kemp (OF-LAD)
It was only a couple seasons ago that Matt Kemp was a legitimate top five pick in any fantasy baseball format. Several injuries later, he is now one of the biggest risks and questions marks around. Kemp is scheduled to make his season debut on Friday when the Dodgers activate him from the DL after recovering from ankle surgery. When healthy, Kemp can be one of the most dynamic fantasy players in the league thanks to his unique ability to hit for a high average along with power and stolen bases. But he has endured multiple serious injuries since 2012 including shoulder and ankle maladies. Now you just need to hold your breath and hope that he can stay healthy.
Shane Victorino (OF-BOS)
The Flyin’ Hawaiian has had his wings clipped as a Grade 1 hamstring strain has landed Shane Victorino on the disabled list. Victorino was looking to come back after a thumb injury, and instead he is shelved with a hamstring problem. These types of injuries are very difficult to gauge because they require sufficient time to heal and then extensive rehab. Victorino has averaged 20 stolen based a season in his 11-year career, but that may change going forward as he gets older and has to deal with this hamstring issue. Certainly stash him on your DL or bench because if he does make a full recovery he is a very valuable fantasy player.
Michael Bourn (OF-CLE)
The Indians signed Michael Bourn to a lucrative free agent contract before the 2013 season and he did not live up to his billing as a stolen base machine. Granted, he is not your typical leadoff hitter because he doesn’t walk very much and he strikes out quite a bit. But Bourn is one of the fastest players in baseball and changes the game once he is on base. He has begun the year on the disabled list with a hamstring he sustained midway through spring training. But reports out of Cleveland are that Bourn could begin a rehab assignment shortly and possibly be back with the Indians at some point this weekend. That will be good news for fantasy GM’s who need stolen bases and don’t mind sacrificing batting average or on base percentage.
Chris Young (OF-NYM)
After missing Opening Day with an illness and a sore quad, Chris Young made his Mets debut on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, it was a very brief debut as he was taken out of the game after aggravating his quad injury in left field. As expected, Young was placed on the disabled list and will miss at least a few weeks. He was looking to rebound from a horrible 2013 season which was the culmination for four consecutive years of significant decline in his statistics. Young was a sleeper heading into 2014 because of his power and speed combination along with the fact he was in line to get well over 500 at bats. Unless you have a deep roster with available DL slots, he is not worth stashing at this point.
Wilson Ramos (C-WAS)
If Wilson Ramos didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all. This is a man who survived being kidnapped and yet cannot stay on the baseball field for more than five minutes because of injuries. On Opening Day, Ramos sustained a fractured hamate bone which required surgery. He will likely be out 4-6 weeks. While that may not be a huge chunk of time, the problem is that injuries such as this tend to sap players’ power (see Jose Bautista and Pablo Sandoval as recent examples). Ramos slugged 16 home runs in 2013 in limited at bats, so he has legitimate power. In fact, he was the Nationals’ cleanup hitter on Opening Day as well. Jose Lobaton will likely get a majority of the playing time, and he has proven he can hit major league pitching. If you are in deep a two-catcher league, Lobaton is a satisfactory replacement for Ramos.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment),
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@BarryFantasy I'd say Blount only because Belichick will want to look like a genius.