Throughout the course of the fantasy baseball season, every GM is going to deal with adversity when it comes to injuries. It is unavoidable. There are too many players and too many games to be played. However, we are approaching the end of Week 6 of the season and it seems like the sky is falling for everyone because big name players continue to go down with a variety of injuries. Everyone is susceptible so there will be no pity parties. However, we must roll with the punches and rely on roster depth and creativity. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Day to Day
Robinson Cano (2B-SEA) – It is very rare to see Cano on the injury report so alarm bells went off when he was scratched from the Mariners lineup on Thursday. He injured his quadriceps on Tuesday against the Phillies but then came back with a huge game on Wednesday. Now he is out of the lineup on Thursday so he is clearly not 100%. There is no reason to panic just yet, but the situation is worth monitoring on a daily basis since Cano is the benchmark for second baseman in fantasy leagues. Mike Freeman played second base on Thursday and should not garner any fantasy consideration.
Ryan Braun (OF-MIL) – Braun is listed here as day-to-day but the expectation is that he will be placed on the disabled list as he is dealing with both a flexor strain and now has an injured calf. These injuries are too much for him to overcome right now so Milwaukee plans on doing the sensible thing and putting him on the DL so they are nor playing with a short-handed bench. Braun is still one of the top outfielders in the league despite falling off from his pre-PED suspension levels. He should absolutely be stashed on your bench or a DL slot and hopefully ten days is all he needs for both injuries to heal.
Hanley Ramirez (1B-BOS) – Ramirez was taken out of Wednesday’s game with a spasm in his right trapezius muscle. The injury also kept him out of Thursday’s game as the Red Sox wanted to give him some extra time to recover. Mitch Moreland played first base in lieu of Ramirez and would likely see most of the playing time if Ramirez needed any additional time off. Han-Ram is off to a pedestrian start to the season batting .257 with five home runs and 16 RBI which makes him a middle-of-the-road first baseman in mixed leagues.
Addison Russell (SS-CHC) – The Cubs opted not to start Russell on Wednesday as he is dealing with soreness in his shoulder. He was scratched before the game and we don’t know the extent of the injury just yet or whether he will be back on the field on Friday. Javier Baez played shortstop in Russell’s place and then Tommy La Stella filled in at second base. This would presumably be the arrangement going forward if Russell requires any more rest. Russell is coming off a season where he fell just shy of 100 RBI but has struggled thus far in 2017 batting only .227 with just two home runs and 15 RBI in his first 32 games.
Kendrys Morales (1B-TOR) – It seems like the entire Blue Jays roster has been injured thus far as we can add Morales to the lengthy list now. He has missed the past couple games with a hamstring injury but Toronto has indicated Morales should be available for pinch-hitting duties on Friday. A stint on the disabled list does not seem likely at this point, but the risk of re-aggravating the injury is always present. Remember, Morales once injured himself celebrating a home run so he will have to play it safe to ensure his hamstring is 100%.
Steven Souza Jr. (OF-TB) – Souza missed his third straight game on Thursday with a thumb injury. He jammed his thumb on a pitch on Monday night and has not been back on the field since. If he is not able to play in another day or so then Tampa Bay will likely consider placing him on the disabled list. Souza got off to a torrid start this season but has seen his batting average come back down to earth at .277 to go along with his four home runs and 19 RBI. Peter Bourjos played in lieu of Souza and would only be a fantasy consideration in leagues that keep track of good defense (meaning he has no fantasy value).
On the DL
Jeurys Familia (RP-NYM) – It just keeps getting worse and worse for the Mets who have now lost Jeurys Familia to possible surgery. He has been diagnosed with an arterial clot in his right shoulder and will be meeting with the same doctor who performed Matt Harvey’s thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last year. We should know more about Familia’s status in the next couple days, but it is safe to assume that he will be lost for a significant amount of time. Addison Reed immediately becomes a must-add off the waiver wire as he will once again be the Mets closer in Familia’s absence.
Zach Britton (RP-BAL) – The good news is that there does not appear to be any damage to Britton’s UCL, but that does not change the diagnosis of the strain in his forearm. The Orioles will likely shut Britton down completely for at least a month so a return by the All Star break seems to be the optimistic goal. Brad Brach has converted eight out of his ten save opportunities thus far but is coming off a blown save against the Nationals on Wednesday. The job is still his but Darren O’Day could see some ninth inning work if Brach’s struggles continue.
Trevor Story (SS-COL) – Struggling shortstop Trevor Story was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder strain that he suffered on a check swing against the Cubs on Tuesday. Story is coming off a monster rookie season that got cut short with an injury, but he has been abysmal in 2017 batting just .180 with six home runs and 15 RBI. Even worse, he has struck out 48 times in 111 at bats which is a staggering ratio (and not in a good way). The Rockies recalled Jeff Hoffman to pay shortstop, but they do have an internal option in Ian Desmond who used to play the position earlier in his career with the Nationals. It doesn’t appear they will go in that direction, but the thought of Desmond gaining shortstop eligibility is something GMs would salivate over.
Mark Melancon (RP-SF) – The Giants placed closer Mark Melancon on the disabled retroactive to May 6 with a pronator strain near his right elbow. Melancon, signed to a lucrative free agent contract before the 2017 season, has been six saves thus far for a Giants team that has been one of the worst in baseball. The Giants are hopeful he can return once he is eligible to be activated on May 16 but for now they will use a closer-by-committee approach headed up by Derek Law who notched his second save on Wednesday despite giving up two runs to the Mets in the ninth inning.
Andrew Toles (OF-LAD) – This is a tough break for Toles and fantasy GMs as he will be undergoing surgery to repair his torn right ACL and will likely miss the rest of the season. Toles had become a viable OF3 or OF4 option as he recently upped his batting average to .271 to go along with his five home runs. This means that Cody Bellinger is here to stay and will move to left field and the Dodgers will just patch things up at first base until Adrian Gonzalez returns.
Kenta Maeda (SP-LAD) – The Dodgers carousel of starters continues as Maeda now hits the disabled list with tightness in his hamstring just as Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill have returned. Maeda was a disaster to start the season but has pitched better over his last three starts lowering his ERA to 5.03. He is also averaging just over a strikeout per inning so he does possess some value. However, if you need the available roster space then don’t hesitate to drop him because chances are he will still be on the waiver wire even when he is eligible to return.
On the Mend
Yoenis Cespedes (OF-NYM) – No team has been decimated by injuries quite like the Mets, and no player more important to their lineup than Yoenis Cespedes. He has been on the disabled list since the end of April with a hamstring injury which was already bothering him at the time. The Mets indicated that Cespedes would be resuming baseball activities soon and could be ready to return within a couple weeks. This would be great news for fantasy GMs who have been missing a big power bat in their lineup and is a much more optimistic prognosis than when Cespedes initially went down.
J.D. Martinez (OF-DET) – Martinez has missed the entire season with a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot but could be activated this weekend. He is in the midst of a rehab assignment in Triple-A but has not hit well, so the Tigers could keep him down there until he gets his stroke back. Either way, Martinez is all but a lock to be back for Week 7 which should provide a boost for GMs who have been ravaged with injuries.
Sean Manaea (SP-OAK) – The A’s are expected to activate Manaea over the weekend or early next week after he successfully completed his rehab assignment. Manaea has been out with a shoulder injury and is set to return and take Jharel Cotton’s spot in the rotation. He is a worthwhile addition via the waiver wire if he is available despite his inconsistent results thus far in 2017 which include a 1-2 record with a 5.18 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 27 strikeouts in 24.1 innings.
Logan Forsythe (2B-LAD) – Forsythe has been on the disabled list since April with a broken toe but could possibly begin a rehab assignment within the next few days. The Dodgers have been ravaged by injuries this season and Forsythe would be a welcome addition back into the lineup as well as fantasy rosters given the scarcity at the second base position. He also suffered some tightness in his hamstring since the toe injury but the Dodgers seem to think he could be close to a rehab assignment now barring any setbacks.
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).