There is no bigger killer to your fantasy baseball championship dreams than MLB injuries. You could be cruising along crushing your competition and a couple of guys hit the shelf and you are left really struggling to fill holes on your roster. That is why it is key to keep track of the MLB injury report in mid-March when your fantasy baseball drafts are happening or are very close to happening. You have to know where you can pick up some discount on minor problems, and guys to avoid that might be looking at more serious problems. With just about two weeks left until the MLB regular season opens, let’s take a look at the latest guys who are dealing with injury and what you can expect going forward.
MLB Spring Training Injury Updates
Everyone freaked early in camp when the Rangers prized free agent stud had some discomfort in his side considering the injury problems he has dealt with lately. However, it seems much ado about nothing as deGrom has thrown some side sessions without issue and struck out five over two innings in a Double-A game on Monday. While you might hold your breath the whole season if you draft deGrom, right now it appears he is on track to begin the season with no issues.
He ran the bases on Sunday and Monday without any issues and now it appears the knee injury Vlad suffered last week was indeed very minor and nothing that should linger or impact his 2023 season. If you have a draft coming in the next few days perhaps you still might be able to get a slight discount on Guerrero, but that should be over soon as he is showing no ill effects from the knee problem.
Fantasy players will hope to never see Walker slide head first again as he injured his right shoulder on one such slide last week. It is no surprise that the Cardinals are taking it a bit easy on one of their prized phenoms, but Walker is still set to return to games on Tuesday. It clearly looks like this is a minor thing and the hype machine for him can get back on the tracks. Walker is jumping up ADP boards by the day with his spring performance.
He was scratched from a spring start last weekend, but Senga was able to start throwing at 90 feet from flat ground on Monday. Given his first year on the team and his pretty sizeable contract, you would expect the Mets to take it easy with him for the rest of spring. The finger injury has been called tendonitis and shouldn’t hamper his 2023 season once he gets ramped up for it.
First it was a hip flexor, and then on Friday Diaz was hit on the hand with a pitch. The good news is that the x-rays were negative and he was able to get back on the field for the Rays on Monday. He offers a little pop to go with a generally pretty good batting average and could be a corner infielder or a bench insurance guy to help your fantasy teams in 2023.
I don’t want you to read into this too much like things are going really well for him, but McCullers was able to play catch on Monday. It is a small step, but it is a step in the right direction. The potentially great pitcher is trying to return from an elbow strain in February, and still has a way to go. McCullers has long struggled with injury but is really good when he is on the mound. There is no timetable for his possible return yet, and is only a stash if you have plenty of IL spots.
It was great to see a guy who has had such a hard time staying on the mound pitch so well in his first outing. Kopech threw three perfect innings and struck out one while hitting the high 90s on his fastball. The talent is there, the potential is immense, the injury concerns are just huge. This is an encouraging sign and puts him in a great place to be drafted as your fifth or sixth starter on your fantasy team with the ability to over-deliver on that spot.
It is never good to hear forearm strain when it comes to a pitcher, especially before the season starts. It is worse when it is for a new team after just signing a big contract. However, so far it has been the best case scenario for Rodon as the Yankees are going to have him not throw for seven to ten days, which we are about halfway through now. There is still a very likely chance that he is not ready for Opening Day, but at least as of now Rodon has avoided major disaster. He should likely be dropped a couple of rounds down your draft board given the concerns with him now.
After offseason foot surgery, Munoz is looking to make his spring training debut later this week. He has already faced live hitters in batting practice on Monday, but now he will get into a game. While Paul Sewald looks to be the closer to start the season, Munoz is almost a given to take over at some point during the season and sooner rather than later wouldn’t surprise me. He is definitely a name to look at late in drafts if you wait on saves.
Sometimes you just can’t listen to the manager. Over the weekend, Buck Showalter hadn’t ruled Quintana out for opening day with the stress fracture in his rib. Monday came the news that the Mets were shutting him down for three months. Quite the change in not a lot of time! The team is continuing to spin this story and general manager Billy Eppler said later in the day that the team was still gathering opinions. Either way this is not good, and I believe the three month timetable will hold. This probably means in the best case scenario we aren’t seeing Quintana until the All-Star Break or really close to it. Unless you are in a league with several or unlimited IL spots, you can probably forget about Quintana when it comes to draft day.
He has had some knee and shoulder injuries this Spring, but it now appears that he is past them and Bautista should be ready to make his first spring appearance on Tuesday. With plenty of time before the season starts, there should be no worries about Bautista being ready to close games for the Orioles right from Opening Day. With his electric stuff, Bautista should be high on your radar when it comes to closers.
The Mets outfielder only just got on the field recently and then was plunked in the head with a pitch on Sunday. The good news though is that manager Buck Showalter said that he was negative for a concussion and should be able to play again either Tuesday or Wednesday. It has been a rough start to the year for Marte with injuries, but luckily this one is very minor and should have no impact on his Opening Day status.
Speaking of being hit with a ball in the head, Turner just started baseball activities again on Monday after having stitches in his face removed. Early reports were he was going to have stitches for weeks, but he is healing at a rate that would make Wolverine proud. Turner was once a real long shot for Opening Day, but now seems like a real possibility. He isn’t the guy he once was with the bat, but he still should give you some production worthy of your corner infield spot.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Nick Senzel won’t be ready for Opening Day. He had offseason toe surgery, and while the team was hopeful that he would be good to go when the season began, that is now looking like a much bigger longshot. Chances are that Senzel will open the year on the Injured List and hopefully be ready some time before the end of April. This guy has always had a horrible time staying on the field, and this is not an encouraging start that 2023 will be any different.
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