It’s been another very busy few days since the last injury report, but this is par for the course. The only difference is the timing of when these injuries take place because now fantasy GMs are jockeying for playoff positions and any loss of time for impact players could have a more devastating effect. We are at that point in the season when certain injuries are turned into season-ending simply because a MLB team is out of playoff contention and does not want to risk any further injury to a valuable investment. In addition, MLB rosters will be expanding in two weeks so managers will have a lot more depth to work with which means players won’t be rushed back to the field. All of this plays into fantasy strategy and how to pursue a league championship with so much out of your control. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Day to Day
Nolan Arenado (3B-COL) – The Rockies star third baseman has had a rough week with his left hand. First, he was hit by a pitch in the left hand earlier in the week which he was fortunate enough to avoid any fractures. He came back in the middle of the week only to get hit on the same hand by a groundball on Thursday against the Braves. Arenado is considered day-to-day after x-rays confirmed again that there were no broken bones or fractures. His .311 batting average along with 27 home runs and 103 RBI make him the best fantasy third basemen in the league.
Yu Darvish (SP-LAD) – The ace right-hander has pitched well for the Dodgers since being acquired before the trade deadline a few weeks ago. He has gone 2-0 with three consecutive quality starts. However, during his most recent start on Wednesday, the Dodgers limited him to six innings due to tightness in his back. He had only given up three solo home runs to account for all of the runs against him, but Los Angeles opted to play it safe and take him out to avoid any extra potential issues. Right now there does not appear to be any concern whether he will be able to make his next start. The Dodgers are salivating at the thought of Darvish pairing up with the great Clayton Kershaw to form a dominant 1-2 punch once Kershaw is able to return to the big leagues.
Jon Lester (SP-CHC) – Lester was annihilated by the Reds on Thursday giving up nine runs in less than two innings. He was taken out of the game due to tightness in his late and is scheduled to meet with a doctor so we won’t know much else about his status until that happens. However, it certainly appears likely that he will be placed on the disabled list which is a big loss for fantasy GMs who were counting on the Cubs staying hot down the stretch and eventually running away with the NL Central. Mike Montgomery is likely the top choice to take Lester’s place in the rotation while he is out.
Aroldis Chapman (RP-NYY) – It has been a struggle lately for Chapman after giving up five earned runs in his last three appearances. He has been bothered by a hamstring injury which could explain his recent issues causing his ERA to balloon to 3.89 and his WHIP to 1.33. Chapman was given the night off on Thursday and the Yankees have several other viable options to step in for 9th inning duties including David Robertson and Dellin Betances. Chapman should be able to avoid the disabled list but keep a close eye on this situation because hamstring injuries just don’t go away.
Jose Ramirez (3B-CLE) – Ramirez has emerged as a very valuable fantasy player since 2016 as indicated by this season’s impressive .308 batting average along with 18 home runs, 58 RBI, 79 runs scored and 12 stolen bases. All of this while being eligible at second base, third base and outfield in most leagues. Fortunately, he was able to avoid a significant injury when he was hit by a pitch on his right forearm and x-rays came back negative. He was given the second game off of a double-header on Thursday but should be ready to go again on Friday. Plan on having Ramirez in the lineup without any concerns.
Odubel Herrera (OF-PHI) – There have not been many bright spots for the Phillies this season, but Odubel Herrera continues to prove he is worthy of playing every day and being a productive outfielder for the future. He has missed three games in a row with a hamstring injury and could head to the disabled list if he is not able to play Friday or Saturday. Herrera won’t crack many lineups in standard leagues, but he provides solid depth and is an OF4 or OF5 option in deeper leagues. His .287 batting average with 12 home runs, 46 RBI, 51 runs scored and seven stolen bases validates the Phillies Rule 5 selection from a couple years ago.
Reynaldo Lopez (SP-CHW) – Lopez was one of the big assets the White Sox acquired when they traded Adam Eaton the Nationals, but it has not been easy thus far. Lopez has gotten rocked thus far through his first couple starts but now had a health issue to contend with. He was taken out of his most recent start on Thursday against Texas with tightness in his right side. We don’t know the extent of the injury yet but he is expected to be evaluated by a team doctor on Friday. Lopez has value in keeper leagues, but redraft leagues should have little use for a rookie pitcher making his first couple starts on a bad team during the dog days of summer.
On the DL
Gregory Polanco (OF-PIT) – It comes as no surprise that the Pirates officially put Polanco on the disabled list after we reported on his hamstring injury earlier in the week. Polanco suffered a strain in his left hamstring and is on the disabled list for the third time this season. Not even Troy Tulowitzki has that kind of repetition. Polanco is a five-tool player when healthy, but that just hasn’t happened at all this year. He is batting .255 with ten home runs, 32 RBI 36 runs scored and eight stolen bases. At this point we should just consider it a lost season for Polanco and look ahead towards next year when his draft value will likely slip and he could be drafted as a significant bargain.
Trevor Rosenthal (RP-STL) – Things came full circle for Rosenthal who had lost his closer’s job to Seung Hwan Oh and then reclaimed it back from him. Now the job belongs to Oh again after Rosenthal landed on the disabled list with irritation in his right elbow. He will undergo an MRI and the Cardinals fear that the injury could be related to his UCL which means Tommy John surgery. There were indications that something was wrong when Rosenthal’s velocity was consistently down during his last appearance on Wednesday against Boston. He had a 3-4 record with a 3.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11 saves and a dominant 76 strikeouts in 47.2 innings. Even more remarkable was that he converted all seven of his save chances with a 1.88 ERA since the All-Star break.
Garrett Cooper (1B-NYY) – The Yankees just can’t seem to keep a first baseman on the field for more than a couple weeks. Garrett Cooper, a recently acquired minor leaguer with the Brewers, has played 13 games thus far batting .326 with no home runs and six RBI. He is now on the 10-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left hamstring. In a corresponding move, the Yankees recalled Tyler Austin from the minor leagues to take his place. Austin had been previously hurt when it was thought he would take over first base after Greg Bird went down during spring training. Cooper had been platooning with Chase Headley and fared well through his first 43 at bats. However, he is not worth stashing on your DL if you have other needs to take care of during the stretch run.
Jose Reyes (SS/3B-NYM) – The Mets infield has turned over quite a bit in the last few weeks after several trades were made and promotions from the minor leagues. Jose Reyes, who started the season as the Mets third baseman replacing David Wright, has already moved all over the infield back to his original position at shortstop and then over to second base to make room for top prospect Amed Rosario. Reyes has seen his playing time fluctuate due to all of the transactions and also due to the fact that he has been wildly inconsistent and unproductive at the plate batting just .223 with nine home runs, 39 RBI, 49 runs scored and 14 stolen bases. He is now on the disabled list with a strained left oblique that does not appear to be overly serious. The Mets are hopeful that he will be ready to go once immediately eligible. Despite his multi-positional eligibility and past statistics, Reyes does not offer much in terms of fantasy value at this point. Let him remain on the waiver wire because you can find someone much more productive.
Ryan Madson (RP-WAS) – Madson has been spectacular all season with both Oakland and now Washington. He and Sean Doolittle have really shored up the Nationals bullpen which was a disaster for most of the season. Now the Nationals will have to compete without Madson for the next couple weeks as he has been placed on the disabled list with a sprained finger. The Nationals don’t think the injury is too serious, and it is backdated to August 14 so he can possibly return next Thursday if all goes well. Madson only has one save this year, but his peripheral numbers make him a valuable fantasy pitcher including a 1.68 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and 19 holds. He has yet to allow a run with Washington and should be rostered when he returns thanks largely to number of opportunities he will get to pitch as the Nationals move closer and closer towards clinching the NL East.
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 email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).