Welcome to the first edition of the fantasy baseball injury report for the 2017 season.  Pitchers and catchers will be reporting in just a few weeks which means it is time to start preparing for draft season.  There is so much information to digest when strategizing for drafts, including being aware of players who are coming back from an injury.  Throughout the course of the next couple of months, we will take a look at players who missed a significant amount of time in 2016 and analyze what we can expect from them heading into this year.  So without further ado, here is the inaugural edition of the walking wounded for the 2017 season.

Michael Brantley (OF-CLE)

Injury He underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in November 2015 and then had two more surgeries in 2016 related to the same injury.

2016 Season – Brantley played in just 11 games in 2016 after coming back too soon from his labrum surgery.  In just 39 at bats he hit .231 without a home run and only seven RBI and one stolen base.

Reason For Optimism  

  • Brantley is still only 29 years old and is in the prime of his career, so there is still plenty of time for a rebound. 
  • After falling one win short of a championship, the Indians opened their checkbooks and added slugger Edwin Encarnacion so Brantley will not have the pressure of trying to carry a solid Cleveland lineup by himself.
  • He has made progress this winter by taking swings off of a tee so he is on the road to recovery and is expected to be ready for spring training.

Reason For Concern

  • Brantley has only played 11 games since the end of the 2015 season and all that time off could affect his timing, mechanics and production.
  • After acquiring Encarnacion and re-signing Brandon Guyer, the Indians have enough depth and firepower in their lineup to be conservative with Brantley if he has any setbacks or struggles upon his return.
  • Brantley has never hit for much power topping out at 20 home runs in 2014, so his shoulder injury could prevent him from approaching that even if he is able to stay relatively healthy.

2017 OUTLOOK Brantley emerged as a fantasy stud during the 2014 season and was viewed as a solid OF1 in many fantasy leagues thanks to his contributions in all five roto categories.  GMs were willing to take a chance on him heading into 2016 because they thought he would be fully recovered after his initial surgery.  Heading into 2017, Brantley should be viewed as a significant health risk and expectations should be tempered.  The Indians will have a deep and productive lineup that will benefit Brantley greatly if he can remain healthy.  His power production will likely remain minimal given he has never hit more than 20 home runs in a season, but he should still be able to amass 80-90 RBI and score close to 100 runs to complement his always solid batting average.  Many GMs will likely be gun-shy about drafting Brantley with an early pick, so he will have sleeper value as an OF2 or OF3 if you can be patient and time it correctly when to select him.


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),