2018 MLB Injury Report: August 31
Michael A. Stein breaks down the injury situations across Major League Baseball, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
The calendar will turn to September this weekend which means pennant fever in both MLB and fantasy baseball. This is always a tricky time of year for GMs because MLB teams have their rosters expanded which provides an influx of new players but also allows teams the flexibility to rest their regulars and give them extra time off to heal injuries. You will have to make roster and lineup decisions thinking about these factors because an extra couple games or at bats could be critical in deciding your fantasy baseball fate. So, without further ado, here is the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Chris Sale (SP-BOS)
The good news is that Sale has started throwing again this week. The bad news is that it was just playing catch and he is still quite a bit away from returning to the mound. Sale has been on the disabled list twice this past month with shoulder inflammation and likely is still a couple weeks away from returning. Boston’s big lead in the AL East has also allowed them to be cautious and conservative with their ace, so fantasy GMs are suffering because of that. Keep him stashed and hope he progresses quicker now that he has resumed throwing.
David Price (SP-BOS)
Fantasy GMs suffered a serious scare after David Price was knocked out of his last start when he was struck by a line drive on his left wrist. X-rays came back negative and he was only diagnosed with a contusion. He is scheduled to pitch on Monday against Atlanta which would give him two starts next week. However, there is a chance he may not be ready to go by then so fantasy GMs will need to closely monitor this situation. Hopefully there are further updates from Boston over the weekend so GMs in weekly leagues have enough time to make a decision on what to do with him.
James Paxton (SP-SEA)
The Mariners’ are still alive for a playoff berth and a lot of that will depend on whether James Paxton can be both durable and effective once he returns from the disabled list this weekend. He was hit in the forearm by a line drive a couple weeks ago right after he returned from the disabled list so it has been awhile since he saw extended big league action. He is a top end fantasy option so he should be immediately plugged back into lineups before he faces the A’s this weekend.
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Buster Posey (C-SF)
The Giants are still hovering around the NL West race but seem to have resolved themselves that it isn’t going to happen in this even-numbered year. Buster Posey , the face of their franchise, underwent surgery on his hip and is done for the season. It was a disappointing 2018 for Posey who finishes the year batting .284 with five home runs, 41 RBI, 47 runs scored and three stolen bases. His days as a premier fantasy catcher may be over. It is also questionable what kind of value he could provide even if he makes a full-time move to first base as his power and run production have all decreased significantly over the past several years.
Eugenio Suárez (3B-CIN)
Suarez is one of the league’s emerging stars as he has established himself as a real fantasy asset reaching the 30-home runs plateau already to go along with a .295 batting average and 95 RBI. He has seen his batting average, home runs and RBI all increase each year since 2016 so there is no more surprise when it comes to his fantasy value. Suarez did not start for the Reds on Thursday as a result of back spasms so he is considered day-to-day. Keep an eye on this situation because back spasms can linger and potentially require an extended absence.
Charlie Morton (SP-HOU)
Roy Halladay, Jr. has had a stellar season thus far going 13-3 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 185 strikeouts in 152 innings. Unfortunately, he landed on the disabled list due to right shoulder discomfort but is expected to return by next weekend. Morton has provided great fantasy value this year as a back-of-the-rotation option who has performed like an ace most of the year. Keep him stashed and hope that this stint on the DL will provide some much needed rest for him to finish the season strong.
Marco Gonzales (SP-SEA)
Gonzalez was one of the best fantasy gems of the season through July as he compiled a 12-5 record. Unfortunately, he has been abysmal over the past month losing his last four starts and allowing 23 earned runs in his last 20 innings. This recent stretch has elevated his ERA to 4.32 and his WHIP to 1.28. Gonzalez now finds himself on the disabled list with a neck injury but he has already started throwing lightly. It is unknown if he will be activated once he is eligible early next week, but even if he does come back he will need to earn GMs’ trust again before being put back into starting lineups.
Eddie Rosario (OF-MIN)
Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario was taken out of Thursday’s game with a strained left quadriceps. An injury such as this likely requires an extended absence, so it is possible Rosario could be out well into September depending on the severity of the strain. He has had a very solid season batting .292 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 83 runs scored and eight stolen bases. Wait for further updates and see whether the Twins make a roster move with him before making any decisions about dropping him to clear a roster slot.
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Sean Manaea (SP-OAK)
The A’s have been an incredible story all season long thanks in large part to a starting rotation that was pieced together to compensate for a myriad of injuries. Sean Manaea has been the de facto ace of the rotation with a 12-9 record along with a 3.59 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 108 strikeouts in 160.2 innings. However, he is now the latest casualty in the rotation as he has been indefinitely shut down with tendinitis in his left rotator cuff. This is not good news for the A’s or fantasy GMs as there is a very real possibility that he is done for the season.
Albert Pujols (1B-LAA)
Speaking of being shut down for the season, future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols underwent knee surgery this week and is done for the year. The 39-year old finished the season batting .245 with 19 home runs, 64 RBI, 50 runs scored and one stolen base. He is clearly a shell of the player he used to be and still has three more expensive years left on his contract. It remains to be seen whether the Angels will be able to move this contract in the offseason, but what we do know is that this may truly be the end of Pujols’ relevance in any capacity from a fantasy perspective.
Jason Heyward (OF-CHC)
Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward was taken out of Thursday’s game against Atlanta with tightness in his right hamstring. He was trying to make a diving catch which caused the injury and all indications right now are that he is day-to-day. We should know more about the extent of the injury in the next day or two. Heyward has failed miserably to justify the contract he signed with the Cubs and should only be rostered in NL-only or very deep mixed fantasy leagues.
Steven Duggar (OF-SF)
Duggar was given the chance to play every day for the Giants and produced a .255 batting average with two home runs, 17 RBI, 20 runs scored and five stolen bases in 41 games. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn labrum when diving into second base this week and will require season-ending surgery. Duggar’s value would have solely been in NL-only leagues, but now he belongs back on the waiver wire in any league format. Gorkys Hernández should see most of the playing time in center field for the remainder of the season.