2018 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.
Finally, Opening Day is just about upon us and the beginning of another baseball season has arrived. It is now time to see how the fruits of your labor in drafting will play out now that the games will count starting this Thursday. Unfortunately, it has been a brutal few days in terms of injuries to several players which will have a significant fantasy impact as we start the season. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone at this point because injuries are frequent, expected and devastating all rolled into one excruciating reality. So, without further ado, here is the final spring training edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Madison Bumgarner (SP-SF)
Last year, Madison Bumgarner helped ruin many GMs’ fantasy season when he injured himself riding a dirt bike. Now he is wreaking havoc on GMs once again after fracturing his left pinkie finger after getting hit in the hand by a comebacker. Bumgarner underwent surgery on his finger and is expected to miss up to six to eight weeks. This is a devastating because he was expected to return to his dominant form this year after being limited to just 17 starts in 2017. If you have drafted him already, then obviously he should be stashed on your bench or in a DL slot. If you haven’t drafted yet, then he will slip quite a bit and could be had at a great bargain if you time your selection properly.
Rafael Devers (3B-BOS)
Devers was taken out of Monday’s spring training game after sustaining a bruised right knee when he slid into home plate. He indicated that the knee was feeling better later in the day and he is expected to be fine for Opening Day. Third base is very top heavy with a huge drop off after the top tier, so Devers is certainly one young player to target at the hot corner after hitting .284 with ten home runs, 30 RBI, 34 runs scored and three stolen bases in 58 games last season.
Greg Bird (1B-NYY)
Here we go again with Greg Bird. The Yankees’ first baseman has been plagued by injuries over the last couple years and now we will have to wait another couple months to see what he can do. He needs surgery to remove a broken spur on the outside of his right ankle and is expected to miss a couple months. The Yankees will likely utilize various players at first base such as Tyler Austin and Neil Walker. Big things were expected of Bird this year, but those expectations should be severely tempered now as he continues to build a reputation of being fragile.
Danny Duffy (SP-KC)
Duffy is one of the more perplexing fantasy players in the league because he has so much talent yet has not been able to put it all together. He has never made more than 26 starts in a season or reached 180 innings in his career. Last weekend, he had to be taken out of his last start with tightness in his shoulder. This was concerning, but he threw some long toss the following day and he believes he will be ready for Opening Day. Duffy is a high risk/high reward pitcher who is capable of being a top-of-the-rotation option, but he carries a lot of injury history as baggage.
Dinelson Lamet (SP-SD)
Lamet has been a sexy fantasy pick thus far as his penchant for strikeouts is very appealing. He is coming off a season where he went 7-8 with a 4.57 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 139 strikeouts in 114.1 over 21 starts. Lamet had a spot secured in the Padres rotation but his season debut will be delayed as he is currently dealing with an elbow injury. It is expected he will have an MRI as a precautionary measure, but as of now it is anticipated he will miss at least most of April while he recovers.
Jeff Samardzija (SP-SF)
The Giants are not only starting the season without their ace Madison Bumgarner, but they will also be without Jeff Samardzija as well. Samardzija will begin the season on the disabled list with a strained pectoral muscle. He is expected to miss several weeks as the normally durable pitcher will land on the DL for the first time in his career. He has never had a good win-loss record, but Samardzija does provide solid peripheral statistics and could be a bargain if taken late in drafts.
Steven Souza (OF-ARZ)
Tampa Bay’s fire sale during the offseason included shipping Souza to the Diamondbacks which made fantasy GMs salivate. Unfortunately, Souza injured himself diving for a ball in the outfield and suffered a pectoral injury which will sideline him for over a month. He is coming off a season in which he slugged 30 home runs and stole 16 bases, so he has great value in multiple categories. Souza will be a valuable fantasy player when he returns and joins a potent Arizona lineup.
Tim Anderson (SS-CHW)
The White Sox have one of the most promising young rosters in the league which includes shortstop Tim Anderson. He is coming off a season in which he hit .257 with 17 home runs, 56 RBI, 72 runs scored and 15 stolen bases. Those are decent numbers to build on but he isn’t quite at the level where he can be considered a dependable fantasy option. His injury is not considered serious so he should be just fine for Opening Day. Consider him as a middle infield option only in deeper leagues.
Jason Vargas (SP-NYM)
The Mets signed Vargas to be an innings eater and stabilize the back end of the starting rotation which was ravaged by injuries in 2017. However, he suffered a fracture in his non-throwing hand a week and a half ago and will begin the season on the disabled list. He has been throwing but needs more time for his hand to heal before he can take the mound in a game. Expect him to miss a couple starts at the beginning of the season and then reclaim Seth Lugo’s spot in the rotation once he is able to return.
Tim Lincecum (RP-TEX)
It’s been several years since Tim Lincecum was an effective major league pitcher, and now we will have to wait another few weeks before he gets the opportunity to revive his career. The Rangers signed him as a possible closing option but he will begin the season on the disabled list due to a blister on his middle finger. He likely needed more time to get ready for the season anyway, so this shouldn’t set him back too far. It remains to be seen what he has left or if he can reinvent himself, but for now he should remain on the waiver wire until he proves he can get major league hitters out again.