Finally, baseball is back. Opening Day is just about here and we can finally stop paying attention to meaningless spring training statistics. It has been a tough spring in terms of injuries, but that is to be expected. So without further adieu, here is the final spring training edition of the walking wounded as you start putting your Week 1 lineups together while also navigating the waiver wire, Best of luck to all fantasy GM’s and have a great season (unless I am playing against you in a league).
Josh Hamilton (OF-LAA)
Now that the mystery of whether Hamilton will be suspended is over, we can focus on his health status and when he is expected to return to the Angels. Hamilton is working his way back from shoulder surgery and should be back by May. There is no question that he has been a major disappointment since signing with the Angels a couple years ago, but he is worth adding as a free agent and stashing on your bench or DL if you have sufficient room.
Anthony Rendon (2B/3B-WAS)
The good news is that Rendon does not need surgery on his injured knee. The bad news is that he will likely miss at least most of April. Rendon was one of the highest rated fantasy players this offseason generally being drafted in the late first round to early second round of many standard 12-team Roto leagues. His production across the board and multi-positional eligibility made him an attractive option, but his knee injury has scared some GM’s off the hype train. The biggest concern will be wondering when or if Rendon will re-aggravate the injury at some point, so be prepared to remain uneasy all season long.
Alex Cobb (SP-TB)
When Cobb was sidelined with forearm tendinitis, everyone assumed Tommy John surgery was in the foreseeable future. After resting for several weeks, Cobb has resumed playing catch and could return to the mound shortly. But he will still be out at least until late April as the Rays will expectedly be cautious and conservative with their ace. Cobb is a great fantasy option when healthy, but it might be quite awhile before anyone is confident of that prognosis.
Justin Verlander (SP-DET)
As expected, Verlander landed on the disabled list with his injured triceps but could be back by the second week of the season. He could face hitters next week as he works his way back, so barring any setbacks Verlander may not miss much time at all. Clearly he is not the same pitcher who dominated baseball a few years ago, but he might be a sneaky sleeper late in drafts if he can have any type of rebound. In fact, I took him in the 22nd round of a draft earlier this week which could end up being a steal. If not, no harm no foul.
Coco Crisp (OF-OAK)
Crisp underwent surgery this week to remove bone spurs from his right elbow and will likely miss up to two months. Even at his age, Crisp is still a solid source for stolen bases and provides some unexpected power. Fortunately this injury is not to his legs so he should still swipe some bases once he returns. He should only be stashed if you are in a deep league with sufficient DL slots.
Koji Uehara (RP-BOS)
Uehara was placed on the disabled list with a lingering hamstring injury which could keep him sidelined past the date he is eligible to return. He reported pain when trying to throw, so the 39-year old may miss more than just a couple weeks. Edward Mujica will be the Red Sox closer in the interim, so he is worth taking a flier on as a source for saves until he inevitably loses the job.
Ervin Santana (SP-MIN)
Technically Santana is not injured, but he will be out for 80 games after being suspended by MLB for testing positive for Stanozolol. He had a solid season with the Braves last year pitching for a contract, but his fantasy value was diminished after signing a four-year deal with Minnesota. Now with the suspension, he should be dropped unless you have a very deep bench and can afford to stash a mediocre starting pitcher.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and is also the co-host of the Fantasy Alarm podcast. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment),