Fantasy Baseball Hot Takes: Injuries & Roster Moves
Greg Jewett takes a closer look at some of the latest injury updates and roster news around MLB.
Although no one knows when baseball in America will return, news keeps surfacing regarding injured players along with rosters taking shape. Two pitchers elected to get Tommy John surgeries, a potential closer heads to the minors and more will be covered to keep ahead of the competition.
Chris Sale Surgery...
Years later than most predicted, Chris Sale will miss the 2020 season:
As I reported yesterday, Sale had resumed his throwing program in recent days. Obviously, his arm didn’t respond as he or the team hoped and - like many pitchers initially diagnosed with a flexor tendon - the result was Tommy John.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) March 19, 2020
Due to this being an elective surgery, it’s yet to be scheduled so his potential timetable to return remains as murky as his initial diagnosis. If this season ends late, it could push back the start of the 2021 season, so stay tuned as all of this evolves. But this tweet makes things even more unsettled in how this progressed:
Does Roenicke trace Sale's elbow woes to start of 2019? "He was obviously frustrated all of last season...But even the year before...he didn't feel like he was right."— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) March 19, 2020
As for the Red Sox rotation, it may not give fans a warm fuzzy:
No one seems to want to pay full retail for Eduardo Rodríguez , which with his checkered injury past can make sense, but targeting Nate Eovaldi or Martín Pérez comes with much more inherent risk. A wild card here will be Collin McHugh if he can ramp up his workload prior to a start of the season.
Tyler Beede Ditto…
Well, not quite as hurtful as the Sale news, Tyler Beede will also miss this season taking away his upside status:
Tyler Beede will have Tommy John surgery tomorrow in Dallas.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) March 19, 2020
Who closes for the Giants?...
Based on early drafts, many speculated on Shaun Anderson procuring saves for the Giants to open the season. However, it’s tough to do so while in Triple-A:
Depending on the health of Tony Watson , it seems like he will be involved. But, keep close tabs on Tyler Rogers who turned heads in camp all spring before the shutdown. He’s a sneaky end game target for save stashers. As for Duggar heading to the minors, this affirms Billy Hamilton will be shagging fly balls by the bay in centerfield. Plan accordingly.
Usually in life, bad news comes in threes. With Sale and Beede headed for surgery, could Phillies reliever Seranthony Domínguez be the next to succumb?
Seranthony Domínguez , like Chris Sale , was seen last year by Dr. James Andrews, who recommended PRP injection and rest for damaged UCL in elbow. Sale wound up needing Tommy John surgery anyway. #Phillies haven’t said it yet, but sure feels like Dominguez will have same outcome. https://t.co/Kn4lg5tv0k— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) March 20, 2020
If this were to occur, it only strengthens the hold on the ninth inning for Héctor Neris .
Justin Verlander undergoes surgery…
Talk about bad timing. Justin Verlander will not miss any time in the majors with a work shutdown, but he may spend a quarantine with Kate Upton on the mend:
Astros announce RHP Justin Verlander underwent a surgical procedure on his right groin today. Verlander is expected to be out for approximately six weeks.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) March 17, 2020
Yankees on the mend…
How does the delayed season affect players rehabilitating?
Aaron Judge : “That’s the silver lining in all of this, having the ability to not feel rushed trying to get back for a certain date. We don’t really have a date right now. I’m just trying to let it heal. Not trying to rush it.”— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 20, 2020
And, good news on another power hitter from the Bronx as well:
Prayers up for Trey…
Trey Mancini left the hospital after undergoing a procedure to remove a malignant tumor. No timetable for a return gets covered in the article, but for now, trying to send some good vibes to Manicini and his family overcoming this crisis:
In other Orioles news:
A hot spring by Chris Davis lets Baltimore allow Ryan Mountcastle more time to hone his craft in the minors without rushing him. Be sure to track which position he primarily plays while at Triple-A once the season resumes.
Threes wild in Seattle?...
Years ago, Bill James wrote about a hybrid staff with three pitchers throwing three innings each in a game to prevent injuries. In 2020, all things may be on the table for the Mariners rotation:
If/when baseball does come back, Dipoto said they will not risk the health of any of their pitchers by ramping them up too soon. He said they go three inning starts or a 10-man rotation if they had to, to make sure pitchers stay healthy.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) March 19, 2020
Perhaps Marco Gonzales will not be put in this type of situation, but the young guns like Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn may. Plus, how many innings can Taijuan Walker be trusted to log even in a shortened season? Key point here, do not own the pitcher working as the opener since he cannot get the win or the save. However, the second starter of this triumvirate could garner cheap wins and save chances or wins could ensue for the third pitcher in this system. Color me intrigued but not in a quality outings format which would render this staff useless.
Free Willie and Falefa raked…
Proving he’s luckier than his owners, Willie Calhoun continues to make progress and will move to light jogging recovering from his surgery after being hit in the face with a 95 MPH fastball:
If Calhoun somehow makes it back for the start of the season, it would be an amazing story. As for his teammate, Isiah Kiner-Falefa cemented his spot on the roster with a strong spring. Kiner-Falefa owns five career home runs in the majors but launched four in 34 at-bats this spring with a robust 1.167 on-base plus slugging percentage. There’s a chance Todd Frazier shifts to first base with Kiner-Falefa taking over at third if he can carry over his adjustments to the regular season.
Padres with three positions still in the air…
At catcher, the team hoped to get a decent amount of production from Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejía . But, as good as Hedges' defense rates, he lacks as a threat with a bat in his hands. Mejia did not record a hit in 15 spring at-bats, small sample size aside, he needs to produce early on to stay relevant in fantasy. Keep tabs on Luis Torrens and prospect Luis Campusano as the season wears on. A turnover at catcher could happen in San Diego.
Second base paints a clearer picture with Greg Garcia surging in spring and owning a career .369 on-base percentage versus right-handed pitching. This leaves Jurickson Profar and Brian Dozier fighting for the short side of a platoon.
Past performance suggests Joey Lucchesi will start the year as the fifth starter but his spring went off the rails at the start. Cal Quantrill put fuel on the fire in this competition pitching well until the shutdown. A shortened training camp probably benefits Lucchesi but his owners may wish handcuffing with Quantrill just in case.
Royals wide open for roles?...
Decisions remain open at who gets the ball in the ninth inning for Kansas City. Beat writers suggest both Josh Staumont and Trevor Rosenthal worked with high velocities and painted corners. There’s no guarantee Ian Kennedy gets an exclusive role as the closer in 2020. It seems like an evergreen thought, but Ryan O’Hearn mashed in spring working his way back from a demotion in 2019 and may be on the precipice of a post-hype breakout. It remains to be seen if Bubba Starling can wrest at-bats away from Alex Gordon , but stranger things happened. Last, Danny Duffy , if healthy could be a surprise in deeper leagues.
A new minute-to-win it challenge?
Combining social distancing with creativity, Willson Contreras working on his swing in the driveway could fuel a new competition for my students at home for Physical Education:
Willson Contreras (@WContreras40) March 20, 2020
As always, we hope our Fantasy Alarm family remains safe in a world riddled with worries. Wash your hands, maintain social distance but try to find normalcy in an ever changing world. For those like myself searching for a feel good tweet, the MLB came through this morning:
Because we could all use a smile. ???? pic.twitter.com/YrmQWPo5Hq— MLB (@MLB) March 20, 2020
Have a catch with your child, call an old friend or watch an old game on television. Sports remains a beacon of hope in times of despair. Most importantly, hug your loved ones a little tighter before bed. Be safe and be well.