2018 MLB Injury Report: March 30
Michael A. Stein breaks down the injury situations across Major League Baseball, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
The 2018 Major League Baseball season is underway as 28 of the 30 teams played their first game on Thursday. There is nothing in sports quite like Opening Day and it had an old school feel to it with all teams scheduled to play on the same day as opposed to the Sunday night games. Now that the fantasy season has begun, we can all start speculating which players will inevitably sustain devastating injuries and ruin our fantasy teams. Remember, injuries are part of the game and everyone is susceptible. The key to overcoming injuries in fantasy baseball is to build depth on your roster and be creative and open-minded when the time comes to negotiate trades. So, without further ado, here is the first 2018 regular season edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Salvador Perez (C-KC)
You would think a wealthy, successful major league baseball player would hire someone to carry his luggage for him when traveling. However, Salvador Perez is an every man’s man and still carries his own luggage…for now. He slipped while carrying his luggage earlier this week and sustained a torn MCL in his knee which is expected to sideline him most of April and possibly into May. Perez was one of the top fantasy catchers in the league coming off a season where he set career highs in home runs and RBI with 27 and 80, respectively. Drew Butera will become the starter if you are in desperate need of a replacement.
Josh Donaldson (3B-TOR)
Donaldson dealt with various injuries in 2017 and is now heading into a contract year. The Blue Jays reported that he is suffering from a dead arm which they do not consider serious. He may be given a day or two off just to rest the arm, but as of now he is not expected to miss any significant time.
Daniel Murphy (2B-WAS)
As expected, Murphy was placed on the disabled list to begin the season as he recovers from offseason microfracture surgery. He will need a few weeks of game action in Florida before he is ready to rejoin the Nationals. Murphy was likely drafted much later than he would have been if healthy, so if he can come back at some point in April he could provide great value for his draft position. Stash him on your bench or a DL slot for a few weeks.
Michael Brantley (OF-CLE)
Brantley has been marred by injuries the past couple years and begins the 2018 season on the disabled list where he has spent quite a bit of time of late. He is working his way back from surgery on his ankle and played in a minor league game this week. He should be able to be activated when he becomes eligible and will reclaim his spot in Cleveland’s outfield. Brantley is a good source for batting average and RBI, but he has never developed power like many though he would.
Ian Kinsler (2B-LAA)
Kinsler has been relatively healthy throughout his lengthy career but missed Opening Day with a groin injury. Despite that, he is expected to be back in the lineup for the Angels’ second game and should embark on a productive season hitting atop a potent lineup that includes many run producers. Kinsler is a solid middle infield option who can provide some pop and will likely score over 100 runs this year.
J.T. Realmuto (C-MIA)
One of the few holdovers from last year’s Marlins team, Realmuto will begin the season on the disabled list as he is dealing with a bone bruise in his back. He suffered the injury earlier in spring training and the Marlins want to be cautious with their catcher. Realmuto is firmly entrenched at the top of the second tier of fantasy catchers as he provides production across all five Roto categories. He will likely be back by the middle of April so stash him if you have the roster flexibility.
Michael Conforto (OF-NYM)
It is very rare that the Mets get good news on the injury front, but it looks like Michael Conforto could be activated from the disabled list by the end of next week. He was originally targeting a return by May 1 after undergoing left shoulder surgery last year, but he has progressed well ahead of schedule and even played in a few spring training games. He was drafted much later in drafts due to the injury, so if he only missed two weeks then he will provide tremendous value for GMs who selected him.
Mike Zunino (C-SEA)
Zunino provides solid power from behind the plate which makes him a viable fantasy option, but his batting average is usually a black hole. He was held out of Opening Day due to some stiffness on his right side and is considered day-to-day at this point. The Mariners don’t expect him to miss much time as of now, so he should be good to go any day. Mike Marjama got the start in his place and would continue seeing playing time if Zunino does not come back immediately.
Mark Melancon (RP-SF)
The Giants signed Melancon before 2017 to be their closer and it has been nothing less than a disaster since then. He missed significant time last year with injuries and was not very effective when he pitched. Now he will begin 2018 on the disabled list due to a forearm injury and is expected to miss at least a couple weeks. The Giants will go with Hunter Strickland to close out games in his place, which he already converted his first opportunity on Opening Day against the Dodgers. Strickland should be targeted on the waiver wire since Melancon cannot be trusted to stay healthy.