2019 MLB Injury Report: March 21
Michael A. Stein breaks down the injury situations across Major League Baseball, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
The 2019 MLB season has officially begun with the two games played in Japan between the A’s and Mariners. I would be remiss without acknowledging the great career of Ichiro Suzuki which came to an end after the second game. Ichiro was always a player I enjoyed having on a fantasy team and is sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer. Opening Day for everyone else is next week so now is the time when decisions must be made about players dealing with injuries. So without further ado, here is the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room for the 2019 season.
Luis Severino (SP-NYY)
Severino is dealing with inflammation in his right rotator cuff but he did make 25 throws from 60 feet away earlier this week which is an encouraging sign. He did not report any issues or discomfort after the throwing session so he is clearly making progress. However, he still has a ways to go and will not make his big league debut until at least May. Severino’s draft value has plummeted due to the fact he will miss all of April, but he can still provide great value in later rounds by stashing him in anticipating of a return sometime in May. The Yankees recently signed Gio González to add some depth to their starting rotation so he could be a good waiver wire acquisition in April if he gets a chance to be their fifth starter.
Rhys Hoskins (1B/OF-PHI)
Hoskins sat out this entire week as he is dealing with some soreness in his left shoulder. The Phillies do not appear to be worried about Hoskins’ status for Opening Day so fantasy GMs can expect to have the slugger in their Week 1 lineups. Hoskins is coming off a season in which he hit .246 with 34 home runs, 96 RBI, 89 runs scored and five stolen bases. He is expected to have a monster season this year thanks to being surrounded in the lineup by major acquisitions such as Bryce Harper , J.T. Realmuto , Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura .
Yu Darvish (SP-CHC)
There is no way to sugarcoat how awful Darvish’s season was in 2018. After signing a huge free agent contract with the Cubs, he ended up making only eight starts and went 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. He came into spring training healthy but was taken out of his last start due to a blister. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday and then make a start over the weekend. Fantasy GMs are understandably cautious about Darvish as he is being drafted as a SP4.
Matt Carpenter (3B-STL)
Cardinals veteran infielder Matt Carpenter has been sidelined all week with tightness in his back. This is a recurring injury which has flared up several times over the years. St. Louis is hoping that he will be able to play in a game this weekend and get in enough work to be ready for Opening Day. Given his experience, he likely just needs to avoid any setbacks in order for the Cardinals to feel comfortable putting him in the lineup on Opening Day. Carpenter is a very valuable fantasy player as he provides power and runs scored while also qualifying at multiple positions.
Joey Gallo (1B-TEX)
Rangers slugger Joey Gallo has been out with a right groin strain but is hoping to play on Sunday. He indicated that he hasn’t felt any pain or tightness in a few days but wants to be sure he doesn’t do anything to re-aggravate the injury. Gallo is prolific power hitter coming off a 2018 season when he hit 40home runs with 92 RBI. However, he is an albatross for batting average as he hit .206 and strikes out at an alarming rate. It’s this lack of plate discipline and all-or-nothing performance that prevents him from being drafted in the early rounds. He is a great option if you are desperate for power, but make sure you have enough balance to offset his lack of batting average.
Michael Fulmer (SP-DET)
It took three separate professional opinions, but now Michael Fulmer has been convinced to undergo Tommy John surgery. This obviously means he will miss the entire season and likely the beginning of 2020. He is coming off an abysmal 2018 season when he went 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA. Despite those atrocious statistics, he was still a valuable trade asset for the rebuilding Tigers but now they will have to hold onto him until next season. Fulmer should not be drafted at all, and if you already had your league’s draft then feel free to drop him.
Andrew Heaney (SP-LAA)
Heaney has been dealing with an elbow injury for most of spring training and is scheduled to begin throwing again later this weekend. This is a positive development despite the fact that he will have to begin the regular season on the injured list. Heaney has a lot of hype surrounding him coming off a season in which he went 9-10 with a 4.15 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 180 strikeouts in 180 innings over 30 starts. Fantasy GMs are banking on him taking that next step, but his recurring elbow issues can’t be ignored.
Matt Olson (1B-OAK)
It did not take long for fantasy GMs to deal with a potentially serious injury now that the MLB season has officially begun with the two games between Oakland and Seattle in Japan. A’s first baseman Matt Olson was removed from the game after he fouled a pitch off and then could not grip the bat. This sounds exactly like a hamate bone injury which would normally require a significant absence. Olson played in all 162 games last year batting .247 with 29 home runs, 84 RBI and 85 runs scored. Now it appears that he could be out for a while but we won’t know for sure until next week when the team comes back to the U.S.
Greg Bird (1B-NYY)
Troy Tulowitzki is being seriously challenged for most oft-injured player in baseball by a new teammate. Greg Bird was hit by a pitch on his right elbow and is dealing with swelling and soreness in the area where the impact was. The Yankees are sending him for x-rays to see if there are any fractures. This is very unfortunate because he was having a great spring training thus far giving Luke Voit some major competition for the starting first base job. Bird has only played in 176 games since 2015 and compiled a .214 batting average in that time. He clearly has talent and potential, but fantasy GMs just cannot bank on anything from him.
Alex Wood (SP-CIN)
The Reds overhauled starting rotation will not be complete when the season starts, but it shouldn’t be long before they are at full strength. Alex Wood , who was acquired from the Dodgers in the winter, has been dealing with stiffness in his back since February. The good news is that he is scheduled for a throwing session next Monday and appears to be back on track towards returning. He will begin the season on the injured list but he should be back at some point in April.
Dellin Betances (RP-NYY)
The Yankees have dealt with a lot of injuries this spring, and that misfortune now includes Dellin Betances . He was diagnosed with an impingement in his right shoulder and has been shut down for the time being. Betances will treat the issue with some anti-inflammatories and be re-evaluated at some point. He will begin the season on the injured list which means the rest of the Yankees dominant bullpen moves up one inning in the pecking order. He has been one of the most dominant setup relievers in the league over the last several years but was never able to lock up closing duties when given the opportunity.