Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: July 21
Michael Stein brings you all the latest updates on injuries around MLB and the fantasy impact of players going on and coming off the DL.
In a matter of days, the injury report has seen several elite players be added to the infirmary. It is agonizing when impact players suffer injuries which leave GMs hanging in terms of their status. Sometimes it is easier to deal with when a player is just placed on the disabled list and you know you are without them for a period of time. The hard part is dealing with players considered day-to-day because you may not be able to make a roster move and injury updates may not be in before lineups lock. That is why you must be diligent in checking for updates when a player’s status is left up in the air. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Day to Day
Kris Bryant (3B-CHC) – The former Rookie of the Year and MVP was injured on Wednesday when he slid head first into third base against the Braves. He jammed his finger in between his left pinkie and ring finger leaving his fingers taped together after the game. Fortunately, x-rays came back negative meaning he has avoided a serious injury. Bryant could still miss some time depending on how well they are healing and feeling by Friday. He has indicated that he won’t stop sliding head-first but this incident is another dire reminder that aggressive but reckless play can lead to serious injuries and wipe a player out at any time. Check back in for further updates on his status for the rivalry showdown against the Cardinals this weekend. Bryant is obviously a must-start when healthy and GMs can breathe a sigh of relief that it appears he will avoid any type of extended absence.
Charlie Blackmon (OF-COL) – There is no denying Blackmon’s status as an elite player with his .329 batting average to go along with 23 home runs, 67 RBI, 82 runs scored and eight stolen bases. He is a major part of fantasy rosters and any time he misses will have a detrimental effect on teams vying for a playoff berth. Blackmon left Wednesday’s game in the middle of an at bat with a cramp in his leg. The injury does not appear to be serious which is good news for GMs but it would not be surprising if he is given some additional rest as the Rockies continue clinging to one of the National League wild card spots.
Corey Kluber (SP-CLE) – Kluber has been dominant lately racking up strikeouts at an astounding rate. However, he is not going to start on Friday due to a neck injury. The good news is that the Indians are hopeful he can pitch a couple days later instead but we won’t know that for sure until over the weekend. Kluber has dealt with ongoing back issues so it is not known whether this injury is related or not. He is a fantasy ace with a 7-3 record and a 2.86 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 135 strikeouts in 100.2 innings. His health and durability will be a concern down the stretch so consider acquiring some pitching depth just in case.
Ryan Braun (OF-MIL) – Braun has been limited to 45 games this season due to multiple stints on the disabled list. His balky calf which has bothered him all season flared up again which has cost him the past couple games. The Brewers have managed to maintain their position in first place despite Braun’s limited availability but they will need him in order to hold off the Cubs. Braun’s numbers have been productive when he has played with 11 home runs and 27 RBI, but his ability to stay on the field is a legitimate concern for fantasy GMs.
J.D. Martinez (OF-ARZ) – In just his second at bat with Arizona, Martinez was back on the shelf after getting hit by a pitch on his left hand. Fortunately, x-rays were negative so he avoided any broken bones and only suffered a contusion. Martinez was a big acquisition by the Diamondbacks who solidified their lineup with his presence and he should make a big impact in the second half. Expect him to receive some additional time to rest and heal but he should be back in the lineup over the weekend.
Steven Souza (OF-TB) – It did not look good for Souza after sustaining a hip injury when sliding on Wednesday. He underwent an MRI which revealed no structural damage so it appears that he avoided a serious injury and a likely trip to the disabled list. Souza will most likely get some rest over the next couple days but could return much sooner than it seemed like when he suffered the injury. He has been a very productive fantasy player this season with a .271 batting average along with 20 home runs and 60 RBI. That being said, he still has some work to do on his plate discipline due to his alarming 108 strikeouts in 329 at bats.
Aaron Sanchez (SP-TOR) – The Blue Jays rotation has been decimated by injuries all season and no one more frequently than Aaron Sanchez. He has had multiple trips to the disabled list with various blister problems and it reared its ugly head once again on Wednesday. He only lasted four innings in his last start and was taken out due to blister issues. Toronto may end up putting him back on the DL because it’s evident by now that this is a major recurring problem which has limited him to only eight starts. He cannot be relied upon by fantasy GMs so let someone else take up a roster spot on him.
Brandon Phillips (2B-ATL) - The veteran second baseman was taken out of Thursday’s game with tightness in his hamstring. He has been consistent this season with a .294 batting average but has only mustered eight home runs and 35 RBI making him a marginal fantasy option except in deep leagues with a middle infield spot. At 36-years old, Phillips has had his share of nagging injuries over the years so this hamstring issue could be problematic depending on the severity. He is day-to-day right but we should know more before Friday’s game. Johan Camargo would likely play in his place if Phillips does need some additional time off.
On the DL
Carlos Correa (SS-HOU) – We reported in Tuesday’s article that Correa suffered a thumb injury but the article went to press before it was learned that he required surgery and would miss six to eight weeks. He had the surgery on Wednesday and is already focused on his return which would likely be in September. Correa’s fantasy value is undisputed so his absence will leave a large vacuous hole in fantasy lineups. Marwin Gonzalez should see more playing time at shortstop and is absolutely a viable replacement thanks to his tremendous production as the league’s most valuable utility player.
Cameron Maybin (OF-LAA) – The oft-injured former prospect has a lengthy injury history and never really fulfilled the expectations placed on him years ago when he reached the major leagues. He has provided GMs with a lot of speed in his 25 stolen bases, but nothing much else. He is now back on the disabled list with a sprain of his right MCL that he suffered when attempting a stolen base earlier this week. Maybin will likely miss several weeks with the injury so feel free to cut him loose if he is clogging up your roster.
Joe Ross (SP-WAS) – The Ross Brothers have dealt with their share of injuries and now it is Joe’s turn to miss a significant amount of time. He underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week and would return by the end of 2018 at the absolute earliest. Chances are that he likely wouldn’t be back until 2019 which puts him completely off the fantasy baseball radar much like Michael Pineda. Ross had a very disappointing season before the injury with a 5-3 record and an abysmal 5.01 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. He did have a couple sparkling starts sprinkled in there but overall he was a complete fantasy bust in 2017. Cut him loose set your DeLorean ahead to March 2019 before discussing him again.
On the Mend
Dallas Keuchel (SP-HOU) – The Astros have been without their ace since early June but Keuchel will be making another rehab start this weekend as he recovers from a neck injury. He had been the leading candidate for the American League Cy Young Award with a 9-0 record along with a 1.67 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in only 11 starts. His return will be a huge boost for fantasy GMs needing improvement in most Roto pitching categories.
Neil Walker (2B-NYM) – Walker has been out for over a month with a hamstring injury and is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Friday. He had been having a productive season batting .270 with nine home runs and 33 RBI in 60 games before getting hurt. The Mets will likely be sellers at the trade deadline and should want to showcase Walker as a possible trade chip. He can be a solid source of power at second base so keep him in mind as a free agent acquisition if he is still available and you need some depth in the middle infield.
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).