The fantasy baseball playoffs are right around the corner as GMs jockey for position in the standings. This week there are several big names on the injury report including one player who continues to make it a habit of ending the season a tad early. It may be too late to make any trades if your league’s deadline has come and gone, but you still can be aggressive on the waiver wire as there are still players to be acquired who can help compensate for some of the losses sustained. Without any further ado, here is the next edition of the walking wounded.
Giancarlo Stanton (OF-MIA)
It is now official – Giancarlo Stanton has achieved Troy Tulowitzki status. Yet again, Stanton’s season has been cut short by a season-ending injury after he sustained a serious groin injury when trying to stretch and single into a double. The Marlins announced that he would miss the remainder of the season which is a huge loss for fantasy GMs. While Stanton has struggled mightily at times this year, he has also provided solid power with 25 home runs and 70 RBI. He can be dropped in all redraft formats and will officially be designated with a red flag come draft time in 2017.
Miguel Cabrera (1B-DET)
Cabrera was removed from Monday’s game with a left biceps injury and then was held out of the lineup on Tuesday for some additional rest. The Tigers do not believe this will require a trip to the DL and consider Cabrera to be day-to-day. He may get another day or so to rest, but this shouldn’t be anything to panic about because Cabrera frequently plays through nagging injuries. He is as dependable as they come and is having another stellar fantasy season with a .310 batting average to go along with 27 home runs and 77 RBI.
Ryan Braun (OF-MIL)
Braun suffered an ankle and knee injury when sliding into the wall down the left field line at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. The Brewers are hopeful he will just need a couple days of rest, but it is more likely that he ends up on the disabled list due to the multiple injuries. Braun has had a resurgent season batting .325 with 22 home runs and 65 RBI and re-established himself as a top fantasy option. A stint on the DL at this point in the season would be devastating for fantasy GMs who are relying on his elite production down the stretch.
Yoenis Cespedes (OF-NYM)
Cespedes has begun playing in rehab games as he works his way back from a quad injury which landed him on the disabled list. The Mets hope to have him back in the lineup this weekend in San Francisco, and this would be great news for fantasy GM’s who have missed his streaky yet prolific power. The real hope is that he can stay off the golf course and focus on getting himself healthy to try and lead the Mets back into the playoffs.
Sonny Gray (SP-OAK)
Gray is a fitting description for how fantasy GMs feel about their decision to draft the A’s young pitcher. Sonny Gray had established himself as a borderline fantasy ace over the past couple seasons and his status was validated with early round draft picks and significant auction dollars. Unfortunately, GM’s got no return on their investment this year as Gray has compiled a 5-11 record with an abysmal 5.74 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. He landed on the DL with a strained forearm and there is no timetable in place for him to return. It is a safe bet he will be shut down because Oakland has nothing to play for and any further damage could reduce or eliminate any trade value Gray still has.
Matt Holliday (OF-STL)
There is no doubt that Holliday’s best years are behind him, but he is still a serviceable third or fourth fantasy outfielder with his 19 home runs and 60 RBI. He was hit by a pitch late last week and suffered a fractured right thumb which required surgery. In a best case scenario, Holliday may be back as early as the end of September. That likely wouldn’t be enough time for him to make much of an impact on your roster, so go ahead and drop him unless you have available DL slots you can afford to use.
John Lackey (SP-CHC)
The Cubs have been the league’s most dominant team all year thanks in large part to their great starting pitching. John Lackey has been a big part of that by winning nine games to go along with a solid 3.41 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and an average of just under one strikeout per inning. He was taken out of his last start on Sunday night with right shoulder tightness but the injury does not appear to be anything serious. The Cubs will likely give Lackey a little extra time before his next start assuming he is feeling healthy enough. Right now there is no cause for concern but check back later in the week to see when his next start will be scheduled.
Steven Wright (SP-BOS)
Wright has been a pleasant surprise this season compiling a 13-5 record with a 3.01 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. The knuckleballer had an incredible first half earning a spot on the American League All-Star team, but he cooled off a bit after the break. Then Wright sustained a shoulder injury when pinch running and was placed on the DL retroactive to August 8. The Red Sox feel confident that Wright will make his return early next week when he is eligible to be activated.
Nathan Eovaldi (SP-NYY)
The Yankees youth movement will have to continue without Nathan Eovaldi for the foreseeable future after he was diagnosed with both a partially torn UCL in his elbow and a completely torn flexor tendon. Eovaldi will need two major surgeries which all but ensures he will miss the entire 2017 season. You can forget about him as a fantasy option and don’t even bother taking a flier on him in redraft leagues next year.
Aaron Nola (SP-PHI)
Nola was one of the few bright spots for the Phillies earlier in the season but he hit a wall and got pummeled over the past couple months. Now he has been diagnosed with a UCL sprain in his elbow and a low-grade flexor sprain. He will be shut down for the year and is not planning on having surgery. His final numbers for 2016 are ugly with a 4.78 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP so dropping him in redraft formats should make your roster breathe a sigh of relief. Nola is the projected future ace for the Phillies so look for him to improve in 2017 assuming he can stay healthy.
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).