In a matter of just a couple days, the fantasy baseball emergency room has stayed just as a busy but with some new patients. Week 3 of the season has been tumultuous with multiple impact players suffering a variety of injuries. But this is where your creativity and negotiating skills will need to shine because you cannot stand idly by while your roster gets decimated. Depth and flexibility are two key ingredients to fantasy baseball success, and now is the perfect opportunity for you to start focusing on that while the season is still so young. So without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Day to Day
Yoenis Cespedes (OF-NYM) – The one player the Mets could ill afford to lose left Thursday night’s game against the Phillies with a hamstring injury. Cespedes indicated that he felt a shock when running to second base and will undergo an MRI on Friday. Even if the MRI comes back relatively clean you can expect Cespedes to miss at least several days because the Mets will not want to risk making the injury any worse. This injury all but assures that Michael Conforto will get more at bats unless the Mets face a left-handed pitcher and Juan Lagares gets the call. With Cespedes likely out a few days, it makes Nationals pitchers even more appetizing for this weekend’s matchup against a depleted Mets lineup.
Daniel Murphy (2B-WAS) – The 2016 MVP runner-up was scratched from Thursday’s game against the Braves with a leg injury. It appears he was available to pinch hit if necessary but he was not needed. The Nationals expect him back in the lineup on Friday which is great news for fantasy GMs because Murphy gets to tee off against his former team for the whole weekend. He lit the Mets up like a Christmas Tree and a menorah last year, and we should expect more of the same this season as well. Murphy is an elite option overall, but is an absolute lock in DFS getting to hit at Citi Field for three days.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF-COL) – CarGo was hit by a pitch on his right hand on Wednesday night against the Dodgers and was taken out of the game. X-rays came back negative which is great news as there are no fractures or broken bones. The Rockies were off on Thursday but it is possible he may sit on Friday if there is any lingering pain or swelling. The time off could be a blessing for CarGo to rejuvenate himself after getting off to an awful start. He is batting just .175 with only one home run and two RBI in his first 15 games. Those numbers will improve, especially as the lineup gets deeper once Ian Desmond and David Dahl make their way back.
Xander Bogaerts (SS-BOS) - Bogaerts just returned from the bereavement list and then jammed his left thumb sliding into second base. He gave Boston the lead with a 9th inning hit and then injured his finger on his way to second. The injury does not appear serious but it seems likely that he will be given at least a day off to recuperate. Bogaerts is one of the top options at shortstop with his lofty .341 batting average and will be hard to replace, but Brock Holt should be a serviceable option if there are no other options available.
Justin Upton (OF-DET) – Upton collided with Tampa Bay’s Tim Beckham on Tuesday and injured his forearm. He has missed the past couple games since then but did swing off a tee on Thursday and experienced some soreness. J-Up will require another couple days of rest before he might be ready to return, but if the soreness or pain lingers any longer than a retroactive stint on the 10-day disabled list could be in order. The Tigers have been using Andrew Romine to fill in for Upton so he would likely continue getting the at bats for as long as Upton is out.
Jayson Werth (OF-WAS) – The bearded wonder suffered a groin injury on Wednesday against the Braves and then missed Thursdays game with ongoing soreness. He will likely be back at some point over the weekend against the Mets but another day or two off is a very likely scenario. Michael Taylor started on Thursday for Werth and should get some extra at bats if Werth needs more time to recover. Werth has gotten off to a respectable start clubbing three home runs and batting .289 through his first 13 games. He has the luxury of batting behind Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper so when healthy Werth is a viable option in deep leagues with four or five outfielders.
Lucas Duda (1B-NYM) – Duda suffered a hyper-extended elbow on Wednesday night during a collision with a baserunner and was taken out of the game. He also missed Thursday’s game and is considered day-to-day. There is some concern about the injury because Terry Collins indicated after Wednesdays game that a hyper-extension of the elbow could be a serious injury and require an extended absence. Wilmer Flores will take Duda’s place against left-handed starters and Jay Bruce will see time at first base against right-handed pitchers. Duda’s status should be updated by the weekend but he is still nothing more than a corner infield option in deep leagues
Travis d’Arnaud (C-NYM) – The oft-injured and frequently underwhelming former top prospect has earned himself a reputation as being injury prone during his young career. He got off to a fast start with the bat this year, but ironically it was a bat that has landed him on this injury report. He hit the back of his wrist on Cameron Rupp’s bat as he was attempting to throw a baserunner out at second base on Wednesday night. He stayed in the game for a couple innings but then couldn’t grip a bat or ball as the gash got worse. He is considered day-to-day but any type of injury with d’Arnaud feels like the end of the world since he has spent so much time on the DL over the past several years. Rene Rivera will play in his absence and he is not a viable fantasy option except in deep NL-only leagues.
Jose Iglesias (SS-DET) – The Tigers are expected to place Iglesias on the 7-day concussion DL after he was struck in the head in a collision at second base on Wednesday night. Iglesias tripped trying to turn a double play and ended up throwing the ball away to let the winning run score against Tampa Bay. Dixon Machado started in place of Iglesias on Thursday and should see playing time while Iglesias is out for the next week. Iglesias does not provide much fantasy value outside of a respectable batting average in Roto leagues, so you probably won’t notice very much that he is out.
On the DL
David Price (SP-BOS) – It just seems inevitable that Price is going to need surgery at some point because he is still experiencing soreness around his elbow. He has been throwing but the Red Sox have slowed down the process. Even in a best-case scenario, it is still several weeks before we will have a good sense on when or if he could make his season debut. For now, keep Price stashed on your bench or DL because he is just too valuable to discard to the waiver wire. That could cause some roster pains if you are limited in your flexibility, but the thought of dropping Price with the chance he could come back is even more horrifying. This is one of the agonizing aspects of playing fantasy sports because owning Price hinders your ability to make other moves and obtain depth at other positions. You are going to have to ride this one out until we have more clarity on his situation.
Aaron Sanchez (SP-TOR) – Toronto’s young ace has been dealing with blister problems on his right middle finger and underwent a surgical procedure to remove part of the nail. While fantasy GMs certainly don’t want to see him land on the DL, this is a better option that having him leave every start early because of blister problems. The Blue Jays have been horrendous thus far but Sanchez has tremendous upside and missing a little time right now could actually help later on in case Toronto wants to limit his innings. Stash him on your bench or DL because he will likely be back by the end of the month.
J.A. Happ (SP-TOR) – Happ has accumulated one of the more bizarre stat lines to begin a season. He is 0-3 thus far with a pedestrian 4.50 ERA. These numbers don’t seem overly impressive but then he also has a 1.12 WHIP with 20 strikeouts and ZERO walks in 16 innings. He landed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to April 17 after he was taken out of his last start with inflammation in his elbow. He threw from 60 feet away on Thursday and is hopeful that he will only miss one start before being activated. It appears that Mat Latos will take his spot in the rotation which should only be appetizing for fantasy GMs if they had a DeLorean and could travel back to 2010.
Logan Forsythe (2B-LAD) – Forsythe was hit by a pitch on the foot on Tuesday night and suffered a fracture of his right big toe. He has been placed on the 10-day disabled list and is expected to miss a few weeks. This is not an insignificant loss as Forsythe is a solid source of both power and batting average at a scarce second base position. The Dodgers will use Chase Utley to replace Forsythe a majority of the time, but Utley is not the same player he was five years ago. He could be considered for a waiver wire acquisition if you are in deep leagues with middle infield spots, but he won’t provide much other than filling a roster space for two weeks.
On the Mend
Ian Desmond (1B/OF-COL) – The Rockies gave a time frame of the end of April for Desmond to return after he underwent surgery on his broken hand back in March. They appear to have prognosticated correctly because Desmond has been taking ground balls and playing catch at first base with the goal of taking batting practice within the next few days. Barring any setbacks, there is a great possibility that Desmond will be back by the end of the month and provide a huge boost to fantasy GM’s with his five-category production. Colorado has been one of the most surprising teams in the league and adding Desmond to the middle of their lineup will do wonders for the box score and stat lines. Your patience in stashing him will pay off although Mark Reynolds has done an admirable job filling in for Desmond thus far. Reynolds will likely be relegated to the bench so see if you can maximize his value now and perhaps dangle him out there for a trade.
Jason Kipnis (2B-CLE) – Welcome back Jason Kipnis as he returns to the Indians for Friday’s game after starting the year on the disabled list with both shoulder and hand injuries. Kipnis will provide a big injection of offense into a weak position for fantasy GMs who drafted him at a discount because of the injury. Jose Ramirez will now go back to third base and is arguably just as, if not more valuable than Kipnis. Both Kipnis and Ramirez are likely going to go 20/20, but Kipnis typically does not hit for as high a batting average. The combination of these players provides tremendous value in both real and fantasy baseball.
Jean Segura (SS-SEA) – Segura has been on the DL with a hamstring injury but is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Friday. This means he will likely be activated and back in the lineup for next week which is good news for fantasy GMs. Segura provides solid production in batting average and stolen bases, so his presence at middle infield will be a big boost in those categories. It will also provide an extra boost for Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager for more RBI opportunities with Segura on base ahead of them.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and co-host of the Fantasy Alarm Podcast. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).