Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: May 22, 2014
Michael A. Stein discusses the impact of injuries on fantasy baseball.
Quite a bit has happened since the last edition of the walking wounded. This edition could make you cry, so I apologize in advance for being the bearer of bad news. As I have said repeatedly, injuries are a part of baseball, both real and fantasy. To win your league, you must be adept at accumulating depth, navigating the waiver wire, and negotiating favorable trades. You will need all of these skills to help compensate for the loss of some of the players on today’s list.
Mike Trout (OF-LAA)
Fantasy GM’s held their collective breaths and almost passed out when the news broke that Mike Trout was removed from Wednesday’s game with a hamstring injury. Fortunately it does not appear to be serious and he is expected back in the lineup on Friday. Trout has had somewhat of a rough start to the season despite still hitting .270 with eight home runs, 31 RBI, and five stolen bases. He has set the bar awfully high for himself, so these numbers seem pedestrian for him. Once he is back and his hamstring feels better, you can expect a return to elite production from Trout.
Cliff Lee (SP-PHI)
The good news is that Cliff Lee apparently has a mild strain in his elbow which means there is no tear that would require Tommy John surgery. The bad news is that his mild strain will likely keep him out almost a month. Lee has never dealt with arm issues before, so this is new territory for the 35-year old fantasy ace. We have seen it too many times before where a minor diagnosis turned into season-ending surgery, so don’t rest your laurels on this just yet. For now stash Lee on your bench or a DL slot because he should be back at some point. But, you should also prepare yourself for the worst in case he has a setback or an aggravation of the injury after he returns.
Prince Fielder (1B-TEX)
From the department of devastating news, Prince Fielder will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. After being traded to the Rangers during the off-season, fantasy GM’s had high hopes for the slugging first baseman to put up monstrous numbers. He never really got going in 2014 and now we won’t see the normally durable Fielder until next year. He can be dropped in all redraft leagues.
Ryan Braun (OF-MIL)
Just a little over a week after returning from an oblique injury, Ryan Braun was taken out of Thursday’s game with tightness on his right side. The extent of the injury isn’t known yet, but it seems apparent he wasn’t fully healed. Braun has also been struggling since coming back, so fantasy GM’s may want to consider long-term alternatives now that we are over eight weeks into the season. I’ll say it again – karma can be a real b*tch.
Carlos Gomez (OF-MIL)
It has been an eventful week for Carlos Gomez. First he hit a foul ball that unfortunately injured a child in the stands in Atlanta. Then he has missed a couple games due to a lower back injury which also cost him a couple games last week. Gomez has become one of the most valuable fantasy players in the league, so any games missed by him can be critical for GM;s. There should be concern over this lingering back injury because it can both sap him of his power and diminish his speed and stolen bases.
Matt Cain (OF-SF)
Once upon a time, fantasy GM’s loved having Matt Cain on their rosters because he was both successful and durable. Now in a matter of weeks, Cain has both cut his finger making a sandwich and also strained his hamstring trying to field a comebacker. An MRI revealed a Grade 1 strain of his hamstring after he was taken out of Wednesday’s game. Cain is not being ruled out for his next start yet, but we learned just a few weeks ago not to trust whether Cain will start after sustaining some type of injury. We should know by the end of Week 8 what his status is, so sit tight for now and don’t rush to any conclusions.
Joey Votto (1B-CIN)
As I reported earlier this week, it seemed very likely that the Reds would place Joey Votto on the disabled list with his quadriceps injury. That is exactly what happened. The move is retroactive to May 16, so Votto could be back by next week. He has struggled offensively this year, so looking for a short-term replacement or an upgrade isn’t the worst idea in the world.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service. You can contact him at email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment),