Just when you think things can’t get worse, they always do.  It has been a brutal few days for fantasy baseball GMs after some more elite players went down with injuries that will have a major impact on league standings and playoff berths.  It is situations like these that test the mettle and tenacity of fantasy GMs who need to overcome the adversity and rise to the occasion.  So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.


Day to Day

Nolan Arenado (3B-COL) – Two of the top players battling for National League MVP got hurt over the weekend.  Although both were lucky that the injuries weren’t any worse than they were, one escaped far better than the other.  Nolan Arenado, the first player to 100 RBI this season, was hit by a pitch on his left hand over the weekend.  Thankfully, he did not sustain any fractures and does not need a trip to the disabled list.  He is very sore and will be limited to pinch-hitting duties for a couple days.  Arenado is a fantasy beast and one of the best hitters in all of baseball.  Be very thankful this wasn’t worse than it was because losing Arenado for any period of time would be catastrophic.

Jacob deGrom (SP-NYM) – deGrom has been deGrominant in the second half and was cruising to a win last week against the Phillies until he was hit in the triceps by a batted ball.  He suffered a bruise and was taken out as a precautionary measure by the Mets.  deGrom has done his usual throwing in between starts and will be good to go on Tuesday in the Subway Series against the Yankees.  deGrom has had a great season for an otherwise abysmal Mets pitching staff going 13-5 with a 3.21 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 179 strikeouts in 151.1 innings.

Miguel Cabrera (1B-DET) – It has been a lost season for Miguel Cabrera who has battled injury after injury all year, and his statistics have taken a nose dive as a result.  Cabrera missed a couple games with stiffness in his lower back and is considered day-to-day.  He is batting only .253 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI.  These numbers are alarming because they are way off his typical annual production.  He still belongs in fantasy lineups but there are growing concerns about his health and whether all the miles he has on his body have finally started catching up to him.

Gregory Polanco (OF-PIT) – Polanco has been one of the most frustrating fantasy players all season with his multiple hamstring injuries and bouncing back and forth on and off the disabled list.  He has been limited to 91 games thus far and is only batting .255 with ten home runs, 32 RBI, 36 runs scored and eight stolen bases.  We expected more from the Pirates young outfielder but all we have gotten is headaches and intermittent pedestrian production.  There is a good chance he ends up on the disabled list again with his hamstring injury which could seal his fate for the season.

Rich Hill (SP-LAD) – Scary moment last Friday when Hill was struck in the neck by a batted ball and taken to the hospital for some tests.  Fortunately, x-rays were negative and nothing was found in terms of damage or medical issues.  Hill has turned things around this season as he is now 8-4 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 107 strikeouts over the course of 17 starts.  He will be able to make his next scheduled start without any issues related to being struck on the neck.

Ben Zobrist (2B-CHC) – Zobrist had a stiff neck and was held out of the lineup on Monday against the Reds.  That was unfortunate for him as the Cubs teed off against Cincinnati’s pitching for 15 runs.  Zobrist could have used the hitting barrage because he has been atrocious this season batting only .220 with eight home runs and 32 RBI.  He is considered day-to-day and remains valuable from a fantasy perspective only because he is eligible at multiple positions including second base. 

Shin-Soo Choo (OF-TEX) – Choo has missed the past couple games suffering from a variety of injuries and just needing some extra rest.  The Rangers do not seem concerned about his status moving forward as they just gave Choo an opportunity to recharge.  It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Choo from a fantasy perspective because some years he is worth owning thanks to his five-category production, but other years he belongs on the waiver wire all season.  Right now, he is batting .254 with 14 home runs, 51 RBI, 68 runs scored and ten stolen bases which makes him a decent fourth or fifth outfielder.  He should be back in the lineup by Tuesday so hopefully he is rested and healed from whatever was ailing him.

Brian Goodwin (OF-WAS) – The Nationals outfield situation went from bad to worse to disastrous this weekend when Bryce Harper got hurt.  They already were missing Adam Eaton, Jayson Werth and Ryan Raburn.  Now you can add Brian Goodwin to the list after he had to leave Sunday’s game against the Giants with groin tightness.  It appears right now he is considered day-to-day as the Nationals will give him a chance to rest and recover.  However, if Goodwin’s condition does not improve within a short period of time then Washington will likely put him on the disabled list and just get another warm body up to the big leagues.


On the DL

Bryce Harper (OF-WAS) – Baseball fans and fantasy GMs all held their collective breaths this past weekend when Bryce Harper tripped over first base and landed awkwardly on the ground.  He grabbed his lower leg and was in enormous pain after what looked like would be a season-ending injury.  Miraculously, Harper avoided any structural damage as the injury was limited to a significant bone bruise.  This means that Harper will be back before the end of the season, although most likely towards late September.  That won’t help much during your push to the fantasy playoffs as he will be sidelined for much of the stretch run.  You will not be able to replace his .326 batting average along with 29 home runs, 87 RBI and 92 runs scored.  The best thing you can do is scour the waiver wire and find the best outfielder you can who will at least play. If you are going to try and make a trade, just be careful because you will be dealing from a position of weakness and desperation, and you do not want to significantly weaken yourself at another position just to try and make up some of the difference from losing Harper.  

James Paxton (SP-SEA) – Paxton could be in the discussion for the AL Cy Young award if only he could stay healthy.  He has landed on the disabled list for the second time this season, this time due to a strained left pectoral muscle.  Paxton is 12-3 with a 2.78 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 138 strikeouts in 119.2 innings.  This injury is especially devastating for the Mariners who are fighting for the second wild card and have had all sorts of trouble keeping their pitching healthy.  He is scheduled to undergo an exam on Tuesday which should give us a better understanding of how long he might be out.  The initial prognosis was three weeks so hopefully nothing has changed too much from that.

Willson Contreras (C-CHC) – The Cubs did in fact put Contreras on the disabled list after straining his right hamstring last weekend.  He had become one of the best power-hitting catchers in the league with 21 home runs and 70 RBI, so his loss is massive in terms of fantasy impact.  Alex Avila will see most of the playing time in Contreras’ absence, but he is not a viable replacement for the next four to six weeks.  There should be slightly better options on the waiver wire although catchers will be a popular destination since Brian McCann went on the DL as well.

Masahiro Tanaka (SP-NYY) – It is somewhat surprising that Tanaka didn’t end up on the injury report sooner after being diagnosed with a partially torn UCL several years ago.  His elbow managed to stay intact, but he has come down with inflammation in his right shoulder which has landed him on the DL now.  It’s been a huge struggle for Tanaka this season who is 8-10 with a 4.92 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and has 141 strikeouts in 133.2 innings.  Luis Cessa took his place on Monday against the Mets, but he also left the game early with an upper back injury and will undergo an MRI.  There is no time frame for Tanaka’s return at the moment, so he can be dropped in leagues where you need the roster flexibility and have better pitching options than him at the moment.

Brian McCann (C-HOU) – The Astros are just dropping like flies with injuries as now McCann heads to the disabled list with soreness in his right knee.  He joins fellow catching Evan Gattis on the sideline as he is dealing with concussion symptoms.  McCann’s numbers aren’t pretty, but he is still worth rostering and starting in many leagues.  He is batting .232 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI which is not terrible for a catcher all things considered.  However, Houston’s catching options right now are Juan Centeno and Max Stassi, and neither belong anywhere near your fantasy rosters.

Dustin Pedroia (2B-BOS) - The heart and soul of the Red Sox has landed on the disabled list again with inflammation in his left knee.  The injury is not new as he has been dealing with the balky knee for many weeks now.  Boston has opened up a lead of four games in the loss column over the Yankees so they are hoping to stave them off while Pedroia rests and recovers.  He was batting .303 with six home runs and 54 RBI making him a viable middle infield option.  In his absence, Eduardo Nunez will play second base while young Rafael Devers mans the hot corner.  Devers has been on fire lately hitting three home runs in two games, including a dramatic game-tying home run off of Aroldis Chapman.  Devers and Nunez are both solid fantasy options right now and should be snatched off the waiver wire if they are still available.


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).