2018 MLB Injury Report: July 21
Chris Bouvier breaks down the injury situations across Major League Baseball, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
Baseball is back! Yeah, we had the Home Run Derby, the Futures game and the All-Star game but then theres the multiple days off with no baseball at all and that’s just unacceptable. So now that all is right in the world we have something very important to discuss… INJURIES! Over the course of the last three days there haven’t a bunch of actual injuries but there is however, a ton to cover in regards to injury updates. That is what we’re here to do for you today. We’ll cover the good news and the bad in order to help you prepare for roster moves for your fantasy teams. Let’s get to it!
Carlos Correa (SS-HOU)
A frequent visitor to this piece as of late and for good reason, he’s an elite player on an elite team who’s status has been sort of up in the air over the past week or so. Yesterday, Houston manager A.J. Hinch said that Correa wouldn’t be coming off of the disabled list until after the current road trip setting up for a July 27th return versus the Texas Rangers at the earliest. Making his way back from back soreness, Correa has taken it slow in his return to the field and that’s probably a good thing. Houston is loaded as a team and could afford to let him get himself right especially with the break giving him even more time.
This extended stay on the DL should be beneficial for the young shortstop as they want him to be 100% for the playoff run so when he does return everyone should feel very confident that he’s completely healthy and ready to roll in the second half. Correa has very subpar numbers to date based on what he’s accomplished thus far in his career, likely due to his back problems, but should come out firing and have a huge second half for the Astros. Look out American League!
Nomar Mazara (OF-TEX)
The Rangers outfielder was placed on the DL yesterday with a sprained right thumb retroactive to Tuesday. This means that he would be eligible to return on July 27th in Houston if he’s ready to go. In the meantime, Texas called up top prospect Willie Calhoun to take his place on the roster. Calhoun’s pedigree could force a tough decision somewhere in this outfield but it remains to be seen what will in fact happen when Mazara returns.
While its worth noting that Calhoun is a force with his bat, Mazara is only 23 himself and is slashing a healthy .272/.332/.450 in 91 games so far in 2018. It seems more likely that his injury will only cause him to miss a week and will regain his spot in the order based on his success at the plate, however, if Calhoun takes off at the big league level someone else may not be so lucky.
James Paxton (SP-SEA)
The Big Maple is showing up as Tuesday’s probable starter for the Seattle Mariners. This is great news for Paxton owners as it now appears that his back stiffness isn’t a concern and may have been precautionary and to give the team more roster flexibility before the break. If this is the case, feel free to deploy the big lefty on your fantasy rosters when he returns to the mound.
Paxton is having a great year on the mound with a career high 32.2% strikeout rate in 119.1 innings and has a 2.97 SIERA. If all goes well from now until Tuesday, Paxton will be squaring off against the San Francisco Giants at home where he’s been the most dominant allowing only a .257 wOBA. The Giants only have a 74 wRC+ versus lefties on the road so it makes for an excellent first start back for the Mariners ace.
Gleyber Torres (2B/SS-NYY)
Originally, the young infielder in New York was slated to return to the big leagues on Monday after his three week stint on the DL with a hip injury. It has since been announced that he will play a game at High-A Tampa on Saturday and see what happens from there. Yesterday, Manager Aaron Boone said that Torres is expected to return to the Yankees prior to Wednesday’s game on July 25th in Tampa Bay so at least he wont have to travel far from his rehab assignment.
Torres has been a massive part of the early success from the Yankees batting .294 with 15 home runs and 42 runs batted in mostly out of the 9-hole. That kind of production at the bottom of the lineup turning it over to the likes of Judge, Gregorious and Stanton make for an excellent recipe for success. His maximum potential likely comes when he’s locked into the leadoff spot or even batting second. For now, Torres will still provide great numbers for his fantasy owners down at the bottom of the order, so long as he’s healthy.
Ryan Braun (OF-MIL)
Stop me if you’ve heard this before but Ryan Braun is making his way back from the disabled list. In fact, the day is likely to be today. It was said that he is likely to be reinstated before todays game against the Dodgers after he felt good after doing a workout this past Thursday. Braun has been dealing with a back injury and we all know those things can flare up again in a heart beat so proceed with caution.
With fellow outfielder/first baseman Eric Thames on the DL, Braun should be slotted back in as the everyday left fielder while also getting the old man treatment of receiving multiple days off per week. Braun is still providing the team with some power and speed with his ten home runs and seven steals in only 71 games played. While his .235 average leaves much to be desired, his .262 BABIP and 20.4% line drive rate suggest that some positive correction is coming his way.
Rafael Devers (3B-BOS)
Another young player on a great team set to make his return, such good news in the article this week huh? Rafael Devers is set to return from the 10-day DL prior to todays game versus the Detroit Tigers after a successful workout yesterday. The move will push Eduardo Núñez over to second base as Devers regains his role at the hot corner.
Devers hasn’t been what most expected this season with an underwhelming .241/.292/.424 slash line and his 0.27 BB/K ratio has a lot to do with that. He must employ a better approach if he wants to improve that slash line. The 21-year-old still has plenty of time to refine his approach and be what many hoped he’d be, especially the Red Sox.
Brandon Morrow (CP-CHC)
The NL Central leading Chicago Cubs have lost their closer for the second time this season, this time due to an MRI showing an issue in his bicep. The Cubs have many sufficient arms in the bullpen allowing them to take their time with Morrow in his return. While there still is no specific timetable for a possible return, neither him nor the team seem all that concerned of a long term stay on the shelf.
Morrow has been lights out for the Cubbies in 2018 going 22 for 24 in save opportunities. He’s only allowed three extra base hits in 30.2 innings and has a 3.44 K/BB ratio. The only cause for concern is that his 3.10 SIERA and 93% strand rate make his 1.47 ERA look a little lucky. While he could possibly be headed for some regression, a closer on a winning team like the Cubs always has potential, just be aware of the peripheral stats in case regression comes early.
D.J. LeMahieu (2B-COL)
The Rockies second baseman was placed on the DL after yesterdays game in which he left after his second at bat with a strained oblique. These injuries can be quite scary for fantasy owners as they usually take a month or longer to completely recover from. A core injury for any player is of major concern. The good sign here is that manager Bud Black said that he’s hopeful his second baseman wont miss a ton of time and that “it doesn’t look like a six-week or eight-week oblique strain.”
Eligible to return on July 31st versus the Cardinals, LeMahieu is likely to rest for a while before being reevaluated towards the end of the month. LeMahieu is having another very productive season for the Rockies slashing .278/.324/.430 with eight home runs and five steals. The injury is a tough one for fantasy owners as well as the Rockies with the team being two games back of the Dodgers for first place in the NL West.
Zach Eflin (SP-PHI)
The surprising starting pitcher for the Phillies has been dealing with a blister issue on his right middle finger and was forced to miss a start against the Marlins the Sunday before the break. Good news folks, he’s all good. Eflin will come off of the DL prior to Mondays game against the Dodgers and he will indeed be the starting pitcher in that meeting. Eflin owners can breathe a huge sigh of relief as the blister doesn’t seem to be a concern any longer.
Eflin is having a great year for the Phillies with a 4.79 K/BB ratio and 1.08 WHIP. His 3.67 SIERA, 24% K-rate and 26% hard hit rate show that he is pitching very well, missing bats and inducing plenty of soft contact. Many of his peripherals show sustainability for an above average and solid pitcher in the near future with the only negative being that they don’t project for a very high ceiling. His prospects at the beginning of the season compared to what he’s done for the Phillies up to this point make his floor completely acceptable however.