Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: June 2
Michael A. Stein runs through the current list of injuries to significant fantasy baseball contributors around the league.
It was a refreshing few days since the last injury report as no elite player was placed on the disabled list. However, there are several impact players who are banged up with various injuries which will likely cause you some agita when trying to set your lineups. We are now into June and approaching the end of Week 9, so any injuries to key players are going to be even more meaningful from this point forward. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Day to Day
Nelson Cruz (OF-SEA) – Cruz was hit by a Kyle Freeland pitch on his left hand on Thursday and was forced to leave the game due to the injury. The extent of the injury is unknown but it is possible Cruz could miss a game or two depending on any swelling or pain he experiences. Obviously, this time frame could be different if he sustained a fracture or ligament damage, but there is no indication of that at this point. Cruz is one of the best power hitters and run producers in baseball with his .279 batting average along with 12 home runs and 42 RBI, so fantasy GMs are holding their breath hoping that this won’t be an extended absence.
Jean Segura (SS-SEA) – It was a painful Thursday for the Mariners because besides losing Nelson Cruz, they also lost Jean Segura to a right ankle injury. Segura left the game after injuring himself sliding into second base. We should know more about the extent of his injury on Friday, but it should be presumed that he will likely miss a game or two at least. Segura is a very valuable fantasy asset as he leads the American League in hitting with a .341 batting average and also qualifies at both second base and shortstop in many leagues. Taylor Motter will get the reps at shortstop if Segura does miss any time.
Gregory Polanco (OF-PIT) – Polanco has been dealing with an ankle injury and is still considered day to day. He did get a single when pinch hitting on Wednesday, but he was immediately removed for a pinch runner. It doesn’t appear that he will require a trip back to the disabled list but he still may be a few days away from fully returning to the lineup. The timing of this injury was unfortunate because he had swatted a couple home runs last week after coming off the disabled list. Hopefully once he is back on the field he can stay there and regain the consistency he established during his breakout 2016 season.
Justin Upton (OF-DET) – Upton was taken out of Wednesday’s game against Kansas City with what is being described as a mild strain of his right quadriceps. He has been one of the more frustrating players in fantasy baseball over the past couple years because he has extraordinary talent and upside, yet he has failed to deliver on that hype. Upton currently sports a .246 batting average with nine home runs and 25 RBI, so he is still worth starting in mixed leagues. Consider him day-to-day right now but it would not be surprising if he receives a day or two off at least over the weekend to give him some extra time to heal.
Brandon McCarthy (SP-LAD) – The blister epidemic struck Brandon McCarthy this week after he lasted only four innings in his previous start. McCarthy got the blister on his right index finger and was pulled from the game on Thursday after allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out six batters. He has a lengthy injury history including both a shoulder and knee injury earlier this season. McCarthy has pitched well in the nine starts he has made thus far compiling a 5-2 record with 3.37 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 50 innings. It isn’t known yet what McCarthy’s status is yet for his next start because blisters are not predictable in terms of healing or re-occurring. He is a solid back of the rotation fantasy option when healthy so monitor his status over the weekend and early next week.
On the DL
Vince Velasquez (SP-PHI) – Velasquez was placed on the disabled list after he was removed from his last start against Miami on Tuesday with a strain in his right elbow flexor. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI which will determine the severity of the injury and provide a better idea on how much time he may miss. He has had an abysmal season thus far with a 2-5 record and a disastrous 5.58 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. Do not bother stashing him or relying on anyone else the Phillies may throw out on the mound in his place.
Matt Andriese (SP-TB) – This injury is particularly frustrating to me because I had acquired Andriese off the waiver wire in one of my leagues to replace one of my replacements for Noah Syndergaard. I thought I struck gold to at least tread water for a while as Andriese has compiled a 5-1 record with a solid 3.45 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in 60 innings. Now he finds himself on the disabled list with a groin strain that he suffered in his last start against Texas. The Rays have some off days coming up and can afford to skip Andriese’s spot so we should expect him to return once he is eligible to be activated.
Welington Castillo (C-BAL) – Being a former catcher in my playing days, I can empathize with Castillo after he suffered a testicular injury earlier this week. A ball ricocheted off of Didi Gregorius and struck Castillo in the one place a catcher would most not want to be struck. He was taken to the emergency room afterwards but all accounts are that Castillo will be fine and ready to go once he is eligible to be activated. Castillo has been a valuable fantasy player with an un-catcher-like .317 batting average to go along with his four home runs and 17 RBI. Caleb Joseph will get a majority of the playing time in his absence and could be worth a streaming option for Week 10.
On the Mend
Jacoby Ellsbury (OF-NYY) – Ellsbury still has not been medically cleared to return yet from the 7-day concussion disabled list. He took batting practice this week and claims he is feeling much better. Ellsbury is with the team in Toronto, so it is possible he could be activated over the weekend if he can get cleared. The Yankees have had one of the most potent offenses in baseball but very little of that can be attributed to Ellsbury who is hitting a pedestrian .281 with four home runs, 14 RBI and eight stolen bases. Aaron Hicks continues to thrive in his place including a monster six-RBI game on Thursday, and a strong argument can be made that he deserves to keep playing even when Ellsbury is activated.
Steven Matz (SP-NYM) – The Mets depleted starting rotation should get a boost soon when Steven Matz returns. He will likely make one more rehab start before making his season debut after missing the past couple months with an elbow injury. Matz was dominant in his last rehab start and could be a very valuable fantasy asset if he can stay healthy. Hopefully Mr. Met approves of Matz’s return and chooses a different finger to demonstrate his support.
Hunter Pence (OF-SF) – The Giants outfielder began a rehab assignment this week and could return later this weekend or early next week. Pence has been out the past few weeks with a hamstring injury but appears to be on the verge of being back on the field barring any setbacks. He has gotten off to a disappointing start to the season and has also dealt with several injury issues over the past few years. It is possible he is available on the waiver wire in deeper leagues so pounce on it because he is absolutely a worthwhile acquisition.
Seth Lugo (SP-NYM) – Lugo is essentially on the same recovery path as Steven Matz as they both make their way back to Mets for their respective season debuts. Lugo has been out since spring training with an elbow injury but could be one more rehab start away from rejoining the Mets rotation. It is likely that he will take Robert Gsellman’s spot which would move Gsellman into the Mets depleted bullpen. Lugo had a phenomenal run at the end of 2016 and is worth a waiver wire acquisition if you need depth to compensate for other injured pitchers. However, it is reasonable to expect some regression from his impressive 5-2 record with a 2.67 ERA and 1.09 WHIP that he achieved during the Mets postseason push last season.
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).