2019 MLB Injury Report: March 27
Michael A. Stein breaks down the injury situations across Major League Baseball, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
While the 2019 MLB season technically began last week with the two games in Japan, the real Opening Day festivities are now 24 hours away. Most drafts have been completed so GMs now need to make lineup decisions based on what we know regarding injuries. There are several players whose status is up in the air in terms of whether they will be placed on the injured list or not, so this makes things very difficult for GMs. There should be a slew of transactions and moves made over the next 24 hours, so pay close attention to the updates and adjust your rosters accordingly. So without further ado, here is the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room for the 2019 season.
José Ramírez (3B-CLE)
Fantasy GMs almost had a collective heart attack earlier this week when José Ramírez was carried off the field after fouling a ball off of his leg. The injury looked serious but x-rays confirmed there were no fractures. In even better news, Ramirez was back on the field on Tuesday taking ground balls and indicated that he was feeling better. This is an extremely positive development as it now appears he will be ready to go on Opening Day despite the Indians still considering him day-to-day. Ramirez is an elite player coming off a season in which he hit .270 with 39 home runs, 105 RBI, 110 runs scored and 34 stolen bases making him a top-5 overall pick in any draft format.
Carlos Correa (SS-HOU)
Correa has been dealing with stiffness in his neck since the end of last week and has not been able to play over the past several days. The Astros are not sure whether he will be ready to play on Opening Day which is troubling news for fantasy GMs who were hoping the former number one pick would be past his injury woes. He has missed over 50 games each of the past two seasons and is coming off a very disappointing 2018 season in which he hit just .239 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI. Fantasy GMs have been drafting him at a discount thus far, and this injury isn’t doing anything to make GMs feel good about that. Follow up for additional updates over the next 24 hours to see whether Correa can be plugged into your Opening Day lineup.
Starling Marte (OF-PIT)
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte has been slowed by back injuries this spring but he was back in action on Monday playing centerfield. This is great news for fantasy GMs who are targeting Marte’s five-category contribution to begin on Opening Day. He hit .277 with 20 home runs, 72 RBI, 81 runs scored and 33 stolen bases in 2018. If he can stay healthy all year he should improve on those numbers this season as he will have to pick up the slack while Grégory Polanco works his way back from offseason surgery.
Joey Gallo (1B/OF-TEX)
The Rangers seem to think Gallo will be ready to go for Opening Day after they optioned Zack Granite to the minor leagues. Gallo has been playing in minor league games and reported he was running at about 80%. Despite still not being completely healthy, all signs are pointing towards him being on the field for Thursday. The good news is that Gallo usually doesn’t do much running on offense since he either hits a home run or strikes out. He is a major source of power with 40-home run potential, but he is an albatross for batting average.
Scooter Gennett (2B-CIN)
The Reds were poised to make major strides in the NL Central this season but those aspirations took a big hit after news broke that Scooter Gennett will miss two to three months with a severe groin strain. He sustained the injury trying to field a batted ball last Friday and now will have to wait a couple months to try and replicate his stellar 2018 season when he hit .310 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 86 runs scored and four stolen bases. The Reds were going to have rookie Nick Senzel play second base in Gennett’s absence, but now he is dealing with an injury of his own. It appears they will put José Iglesias at shortstop and move the versatile José Peraza to second base.
Justin Upton (OF-LAA)
Upton sustained an injury to his left big toe last weekend when he ran into the outfield wall. Unfortunately, the Angels placed him on the injured list which means he will miss Opening Day. The good news is that the decision has been made now which gives GMs an opportunity to make other arrangements for their lineups on Thursday. The other positive news is that this is only expected to be a ten day absence so Upton should be back on the field once he is eligible to be activated. The two logical options to take Upton’s place are Peter Bourjos and David Fletcher . Neither of these players are viable replacements so you will have to scour the waiver wire for a suitable alternative.
Yu Darvish (SP-CHC)
The fate of Yu Darvish making a start for the second game of the season depends on a band aid. He has successfully thrown a bullpen session and part of a minor league game with a band aid on his finger, but he will need to make it through another bullpen session without a band aid in order to make his scheduled start this weekend. Darvish was a complete bust last year in his inaugural season with the Cubs. Injuries and ineffectiveness have caused his fantasy value to plummet, and this spring’s blister issue certainly hasn’t made GMs feel much better about him. That being said, Darvish can only be better in 2019 and he can provide great value based on his draft position if he can regain his pre-2018 form.
Rich Hill (SP-LAD)
There are few players who have been injured as frequently as Rich Hill over such a long period of time. At 39-years old, he still has the talent and ability to be a viable fantasy option. However, he has made it abundantly clear that he cannot be depended upon at all. He last started on March 17 when he felt discomfort in his left knee. An MRI has revealed a Grade 1 strain of his MCL and now Hill will begin the season on the injured list. He was 11-5 with a 3.66 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 150 strikeouts in 132.2 innings over 24 starts last year. It would be a nothing less than a miracle if he was able to make 24 starts this season.
Corey Knebel (RP-MIL)
The Brewers bullpen was one of their strengths last year despite an injury to closer Corey Knebel . He wasn’t able to replicate his great 2017 season, but he did contribute a 4-3 record with a 3.58 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 88 strikeouts and 16 saves in 57 games. His absence opened the door for Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress to emerge as late inning options where they thrived. Now the Brewers enter the 2019 season with a lot of uncertainty in their bullpen as Knebel’s previously-existing torn UCL has flared up during spring training. He is getting opinions from multiple specialists so we do not know yet whether he will opt for Tommy John surgery. Even if he chooses to rest and rehab his partially torn UCL, he will miss a significant amount of time and still will be a ticking time bomb ready to go off at any minute.
Steven Souza Jr. (OF-ARZ)
Terrible news for Steven Souza who suffered a multitude of severe injuries to his left knee when he scored a run on Monday. He suffered a torn ACL, torn LCL, partially torn PCL, and a torn posterior lateral capsule. Souza will need season-ending surgery to repair all of these injuries which means he will not have an opportunity to avenge his injury-shortened 2018 season in which he was limited to 72 games. This injury means that Adam Jones will certainly see a lot of playing time despite being a late addition to the team in spring training. This should make Jones somewhat relevant again after he has largely gone undrafted in standard leagues.
Nick Senzel (2B-CIN)
Reds top prospect Nick Senzel sustained an ankle sprain earlier this week in a minor league game and will be placed in a walking boot for the next week or two. The good news is that x-rays did not reveal any fractures, but the sprain is serious enough to require wearing a boot. Senzel was projected to play second base in lieu of the injured Scooter Gennett , but those plans will now have to wait several weeks. He should be stashed on your bench because a promotion is coming in the near future.