Welcome to the All-Star break which brings an end to the proverbial first half of the season and begins the stretch run towards the playoffs. It has been an extremely busy few months writing the injury report twice a week as we have seen a plethora of injuries to star players sending GMs into panic mode. In honor of the Mid-Summer Classic, this edition of the injury report pays homage to the most elite players at each position who have been injured at some point during the first half. So, without further ado, here is the All-Star edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Gary Sanchez (C-NYY) – Think back to the beginning of April when GMs were overwhelmed with buyer’s remorse after Sanchez got off to a very slow start and then was on the disabled list for several weeks. There is no longer any second-guessing for Sanchez who finished the first half with a .276 batting average along with 13 home runs, 40 RBI and an All-Star selection. He was expected to be the main cog in the middle of the Yankees lineup this year but the emergence of Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier has alleviated that burden and allows Sanchez to simply be part of the machine and accumulate elite statistics for his scarce position.
Freddie Freeman (1B-ATL) – It is impossible not to think about where Freeman’s statistics would be had he not missed almost two months after being hit by a pitch. He came back on July 4 like he never missed a beat and has raised his batting average to .348 with 16 home runs and 33 RBI. The RBI totals are low but his production has been elite, especially since he now qualifies at third base in some leagues after playing five games at the position since returning.
Robinson Cano (2B-SEA) – Cano has been one of the most productive and durable players in baseball throughout his career and is still regarded as an elite player given the position he plays. He did miss a couple weeks back in May with a quadriceps injury that still appears to bother him. However, he has still managed to hit .275 with 17 home runs and 60 RBI easily putting him at the top of the list in terms of second base rankings.
Josh Donaldson (3B-TOR) – The former MVP has missed over 40 games this year with a calf injury that he sustained in spring training. Donaldson was likely a first round draft pick or cost significant auction dollars but he has not provided the type of production commensurate with such a pick. In only 46 games, he has managed just a .261 batting average with nine home runs and 25 RBI. Fantasy GMs will need much better output from their elite third baseman if he can stay healthy. Donaldson is also a trade candidate given the Blue Jays position in the standings and the fact he is a free agent at the end of next season.
Trea Turner (SS-WAS) – This was a devastating injury for fantasy GMs who have enjoyed the recent outburst of speed and production from Turner who is a cornerstone of many rosters thanks to his eligibility at multiple infield positions. Turner got off to a slow start but had been getting red hot before fracturing his wrist after being hit a pitch at the end of June. He got his batting average up to .279 to go along with seven home runs and 32 RBI. But the real value he has provided is his 53 runs scored and 35 stolen bases including seven swipes in the three games before he got injured. Turner will likely miss a couple months if we use Freddie Freeman’s time frame as a baseline, so he should be back by September barring any setbacks.
Justin Turner (3B-LAD) – As a Mets fan, it is still difficult accepting that Turner was simply released a few years ago and now is an All-Star slugging third baseman for the Dodgers. Big Red missed a few weeks with a hamstring injury earlier in the season but has come back in a huge way batting .377 along with ten home runs and 37 RBI in just 65 games. Not only is his batting average ridiculous and his recent power surge impressive, but he has also scored 40 runs and has demonstrated excellent plate discipline with 32 walks and only 29 strikeouts in 228 at bats.
Jean Segura (SS-SEA) – Segura missed 30 games with an ankle sprain but has been a dynamic offensive force when on the field. He is batting an incredible .349 with six home runs, 29 RBI, 41 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 60 games. He should be a contender for the AL batting title just a year removed after leading the National League in hits. Segura is a great middle infield option with his high-end production in three of the five Roto categories.
Mike Trout (OF-LAA) – It’s hard to imagine a more impactful injury than one to the best player in baseball. Trout suffered a torn ligament in his thumb at the end of May and is now just finishing up his rehab assignment. He is expected back on the field on Friday after the All-Star break which is huge news and an enormous jolt for GMs who have been without his services. Expect nothing but continued elite production in the second half from the multi-time MVP.
Yoenis Cespedes (OF-NYM) – It has been a disastrous year for the Mets which is encapsulated in the type of year that Cespedes is having thus far. He missed over a month with a hamstring injury nestled in between a few stops and starts with various leg ailments. At no time this season has Cespedes looked completely healthy but his big bat was needed in the middle of the Mets lineup. Unfortunately, in the 42 games he has played thus far he has only been able to muster a .265 batting average with just nine home runs and 19 RBI. The Mets seem to realize they won’t be contending for the playoffs so it would behoove them to be cautious and conservative with Cespedes in the second half which could diminish his fantasy value.
Ryan Braun (OF-MIL) – Braun has missed more than half the season thus far with a calf injury that has required multiple trips to the disabled list. The former MVP has been limited to just 40 games and has only produced a .259 batting average with ten home runs and 23 RBI. The Brewers have somehow hovered around first place most of the season without Braun so they will need him to stay on the field in the second half. Expect him back in the lineup when play resumes this weekend but have a backup plan since the calf is still clearly an issue.
Ian Desmond (OF-COL) – Desmond was a huge free agent acquisition by the Rockies in the offseason and was expected to be an elite player this year. However, he missed the first month of the season after suffering a fracture in his hand when he was hit by a pitch in spring training. He came back in May and has hit .283 with five home runs, 26 RBI, 31 runs scored and ten stolen bases in just 57 games. Now he is back on the disabled list with a right calf strain and no time frame for when he might return. His eligibility at both first base and outfield makes him even more valuable so this is big loss for GMs who are banking on his five-category production.
Adam Eaton (OF-WAS) – GMs suffered a crushing blow to their rosters at the end of April when Eaton tore a ligament in his knee and required season-ending surgery. He was red hot when he got injured and was well on his way to a huge year igniting a potent Nationals offense. Eaton was batting .297 with two home runs, 13 RBI, 24 runs scored and three stolen bases in only 23 games before suffering the injury. Michael Taylor and Brian Goodwin have done an admirable job filling in for Eaton and Jayson Werth in Washington’s outfield.
Noah Syndergaard (SP-NYM) – Thor was one of the top pitching options coming into the season and seemed to be on his way to fulfilling his destiny until he caught the contagious injury bug within the Mets rotation. First, he was suffering from a biceps injury and refused to go for an MRI. Then he insisted on making his next start at the end of April and had to be pulled in the second inning before being diagnosed with a lat muscle injury. He still hasn’t resumed throwing so it would be surprising if he returns any time soon, if at all this season.
Madison Bumgarner (SP-SF) – This had to be one of the dumbest and most frustrating injuries a star fantasy baseball player could ever sustain. Bumgarner just couldn’t resist riding his dirt bike back in April and suffered a shoulder injury in an accident. This bonehead move has cost Bumgarner three months so fantasy GMs will be receiving a huge boost when he returns this weekend after the All-Star break. He has been shaky during his rehab outings but there is no reason to doubt that he can regain his dominant form and still be one of the best pitchers in the league during the second half.
Zach Britton (RP-BAL) – Britton was arguably the best closer in the league heading into 2017 drafts after the year he had last year. However, he has been plagued by injuries all season including multiple stints on the disabled list with a forearm injury. He missed two months before being active this past week and the results have been mixed thus far. Britton should resume his role as closer for Baltimore in the second half but his mystique and aura are gone now. There is concern that the forearm injury will flare up again so be sure to have other options just in case.
Jeurys Familia (RP-NYM) – Speaking of closers who have lost their mystique and aura, Familia also fits into that category. After a dominant 2015 and 2016 season, Familia came into 2017 with a domestic violence suspension as well as less dominant stuff when he took the mound. He only pitched in 11 games after his suspension was over and converted three saves but something seemed off as indicated by the eight walks he issued in only 9.1 innings. His 3.86 ERA and 1.61 WHIP showed signs that something wasn’t right, and sure enough he landed on the disabled list with an arterial blood clot in his right shoulder which required surgery. He is due to start throwing again soon and is aiming at coming back some time in August.
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).