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It has been a long, painful journey but we have finally made it to the All-Star break.  Week after week we have seen impact players go down with a variety of injuries that have wreaked havoc on our rosters.  Now we have reached the break where many players will utilize these four days off to continue resting and healing so they can be ready to perform during the dog days of summer and down the stretch.  It’s a perfect time for you to evaluate your roster and see where you need to improve not only in performance but also in depth.  So, without further ado, let’s delve into the final first half edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.

Day to Day

Xander Bogaerts (SS-BOS) – Fantasy GMs collectively gasped when Bogaerts was hit in the hand by a pitch during Thursday’s game.  Thankfully x-rays came back negative so there were no fractures or breaks.  He should be considered day-to-day for the weekend as Boston will not want to rush him back if there is any swelling or lingering pain.  Bogaerts is clearly an elite fantasy shortstop with his .308 batting average to go along with six home runs, 41 RBI, 50 runs scored and nine stolen bases.  Check his status before tonight’s game but don’t be surprised if he is given the day off.

Johnny Cueto (SP-SF) – The Giants scratched Cueto from his start on Thursday shortly before game time due to an inner ear infection.  Depending on how he feels over the next couple days it is possible that he could get a start in before the All-Star break.  However, with the Giants season going nowhere they have little reason to rush their expensive ace back unnecessarily.  Cueto has had a very disappointing season compiling a 6-7 record with a 4.26 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 96 strikeouts in 105.2 innings.  Despite his shortcomings thus far, Cueto would be a great buy-low trade candidate for the second half of the fantasy season.

Rougned Odor (2B-TEX) – Odor was hit by a pitch on his left hand on Wednesday and had to be removed from the game.  X-rays came back negative which is good news for fantasy GMs who have seen far too many times small bones get fractured which costs players significant time on the disabled list.  Odor is considered day-to-day at this point but shouldn’t miss much additional time at all depending on any swelling or lingering pain.  His .216 batting average has been a Roto albatross but he has been on a power surge of late slugging four home runs in the past week.  Hopefully this injury does not quash the production because he has not yet provided the return on investment that GMs had banked on when drafting him.

Joey Gallo (3B-TEX) – This generation’s Rob Deer has truly been an all-or-nothing fantasy player this season.  The power is tremendous as he has 21 home runs thus far.  However, his .194 batting average is unacceptable, his 112 strikeouts in 248 at bats is laughable, and his 41 RBI is an astonishingly low number for someone with as many long balls as he has hit.  There are too many negatives about his game that offset the power he can provide which is why he is on the waiver wire of most standard 12-team leagues.  Gallo has received a lot of playing time this season thanks to a rash of injuries on the Rangers’ roster, and now he finds himself in that boat after being removed from Wednesday’s game with a hamstring injury.  The severity of the injury is not known yet but you should expect him to ride the bench for a while anyway due to his lack of meaningful production.

Joe Mauer (1B-MIN) – It is hard to remember that at one time Mauer was a consensus Top 10 draft pick in any fantasy baseball league format.  Ever since moving to first base full-time, he has fallen off the radar as a fantasy-relevant player because his statistics are so pedestrian for his position.  This year is no different as Mauer’s .286 batting average along with five home runs and 34 RBI should be keeping him on the waiver wire in standard 12-team leagues.  He does provide depth if necessary and could fill a corner infield spot in deep leagues.  For now he will likely sit out the rest of the first half with a back injury and have the extra days off during the All-Star break to heal up and be ready to return next weekend. 

Edinson Volquez (SP-MIA)

Volquez has always been one of the most inconsistent pitchers in baseball throughout his career.  Once regarded as a top fantasy option and traded straight up for Josh Hamilton in his prime, Volquez has bounced around the league showing sporadic signs of brilliance while also nauseating GMs at the same time.  Despite throwing a no-hitter earlier this season, he has compiled a disappointing 4-8 record with a 4.19 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 81 strikeouts in 92.1 innings.  He was removed from his last start on Wednesday against St. Louis due to a knee injury which he has been dealing with for the better part of a month.  It is unlikely that he will pitch again before the All-Star break and a trip to the disabled list could very well be in order once the Marlins know more about the severity of the injury.

On the DL

John Lackey (SP-CHC) – The Cubs veteran pitcher was placed on the 10-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.  He has been able to take the mound for 17 starts despite dealing with the injury, but since he was not going to pitch again before the break the Cubs made the move to recall Kyle Schwarber from the minor leagues for the weekend.  Lackey is not much of a fantasy option right now with a 5-9 record to go along with an inflated 5.20 ERA, 1.33 WHIP in 98.2 innings

Jharel Cotton (SP-OAK) – The Violent Femmes can best describe Cotton’s injury as he has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a blister on his thumb.  Don’t get the reference?  Look it up on iTunes, kids.  Cotton has been inconsistent at best compiling a 5-8 record with a 5.17 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 14 starts.  He has walked 32 batters in 76.2 innings which is not a good ratio either.  Cotton should be able to return soon after the All-Star break depending on how the blister heals which is questionable since he has been dealing with it for several weeks already.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP-LAD) – The Dodgers have placed Ryu back on the disabled list with a left foot injury which will keep him sidelined through the All-Star break.  Ryu has had a lengthy injury history over the past couple years including multiple stints on the DL this season.  He is not worthy of ownership on fantasy rosters at this point with his 3-6 record and 4.21 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.  Brandon McCarthy, another pitcher with a significant injury history, is expected back from the disabled list this weekend and will start in place of Ryu.

On the Mend

Matt Holliday (1B/OF-NYY) – Holliday is looking to return to the Yankees lineup tonight against the Brewers after missing the past couple weeks with a viral infection.  He has been surprisingly productive at this stage of his career batting .262 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI in the middle of that potent Yankees offense.  He should fit right back in the heart of the lineup and provide extra protection for Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez

Michael Conforto (OF-NYM) – Conforto is off to a great start in his rehab assignment for his hand injury and is on pace to return after the All-Star break.  The young Mets outfielder has been very inconsistent throughout his career but should hopefully see regular playing time in the second half as the Mets playoff hopes appear all but gone. 

Chris Davis (1B-BAL) – Davis is scheduled to take live batting practice this weekend as he recovers from an oblique injury which has sidelined him for the past few weeks.  This means that Davis could begin a rehab assignment in the near future and should be back in the Orioles lineup shortly after the All-Star break.  Davis has been his typical all-or-nothing player this season which makes him solely one-dimensional in terms of production.  The power should continue to be there but be prepared to suffer mightily in batting average.

Kyle Hendricks (SP-CHC) – Hendricks successfully threw a bullpen session earlier this week and is due to throw another one over the weekend.  Barring any setbacks, he could be in line to start a rehab assignment next week which puts his potential return to the Cubs in line for mid-to-late July.  Hendricks has regressed from last year but if the tendinitis in his right hand has healed then perhaps we will see the 2016 version of him again in the second half.

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 michael.stein@fantasyjudgment.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).

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