Saturday, April 3, 2010

Injury Bug Bites Hard This Spring

Many teams are fighting the injuries this Spring (none harder than the Mets) and all have fantasy baseball impact. Here's a look at some of the more significant injuries and the replacement players that may benefit in the short-term.
  • CL Joe Nathan, MIN (elbow) - Nathan is done for the year. No surprise here. There was speculation that SP Francisco Liriano would step into the closer role until he came out and said he didn't want it. The surprise is that in a matter of days, manager Ron Gardenhire went from a "closer-by-committee" approach including RHP Matt Guerrier, RHP Jon Rauch and LHP Jose Mijares to "officially" naming Jon Rauch the closer. Rauch needs to be 100% owned.
  • 1B Lance Berkman, HOU (knee) - Not a good sign when the player says he's not sure he'll be ready to come off the DL when eligible. Hopefully he only misses a couple of weeks, but be prepared for this injury to linger if he rushes back. says, "The plan calls for 3B Pedro Feliz to stay at third against righties with UTL Geoff Blum playing first base. When the Astros face a lefty, rookie 3B Chris Johnson will start at third with Feliz shifting over to first."
  • OF Carlos Beltran, NYM (knee) - Beltran could be out until June. Hopefully you were aware of this fact when you drafted him and planned your outfield accordingly. OF Angel Pagan and OF Gary Matthews Jr. are expected to pick up the slack until Beltran returns. Neither is a viable fantasy option unless one of them gets off to a hot start.
  • SS Jose Reyes, NYM (thyroid) - Reyes had already slipped down many fantasy draft boards after his horrendous 2009 season and the discovery of a thyroid condition this Spring isn't helping his value. Not officially on the DL yet, it's hard to figure out what to do with him on your roster. A wait-and-see approach will provide you with nothing but waiver fodder. I hope you planned ahead or just avoided Reyes all together for 2010. MI Alex Cora is expected to fill in during the Reyes absence.
  • SP Cliff Lee, SEA (abdomen) - A timetable hasn't been determined for his return and a trip to the DL hasn't been ruled out. Toss in a "pending" five-game suspension and it could be a while before Lee returns. Not wait Mariners fans and Lee owners were hoping for in 2010.
  • 2B Ian Kinsler, TEX (ankle) - Kinsler hasn't participated in drills recently and there is no timetable set for his return. Assume a few weeks unless positive news starts coming out of Texas.
  • CL Brad Lidge, PHI (elbow) - Reports are that he'll be out until "at least" mid-April. RHP Ryan Madson has been named the interim closer and could claim the job long-term if Lidge comes back and falters like he did in 2010. Sleeper closer candidate - RHP Danys Baez averaged 32 saves over 2003 - 2005.
  • SP Joe Blanton, PHI (oblique) - He's expected to miss 3-to-6 weeks. RHP Kyle Kendrick is the beneficiary of Blanton's injury but has limited fantasy value other than a spot start for a possible favorable match-up.
  • OF Coco Crisp, OAK (finger, hamstring) - Crisp was dinged up before fracturing his pinkie. OF Travis Buck makes the team but it's unclear who benefits from Crisp's injury.
  • 1B Russell Branyan, CLE (back) - Branyan was nothing more than a late round flier at best but his injury ensures OF Matt LaPorta gets a chance to shine and could be a very valuable late roound/waiver wire pick up.
  • 3B Alex Gordon, KC (thumb) - Gordon is a favorite "bounce back" candidate for 2010 and shouldn't miss much time. Stash him on the DL and pick up anyone that won't hurt your team in his absence (as if someone could do worse than him).
  • SP Scott Kazmir, LAA (back, hamstring) - Scott should only miss one start as he looks to regain strength. He's owned in 100% of ESPN leagues because everyone keeps hoping he reaches his potential. Grab him if he was dropped and stash him.
  • SP Gil Meche, KC (shoulder) - Meche shouldn't be out long and is the perfect guy to spot start with favorable match-ups, at best.
  • SP Erik Bedard, SEA (shoulder) - Bedard could have been had cheap in the late rounds or even better, off waivers after drafts. He won't be ready to go until June, at best, but could be a valuable starter down the stretch, if healthy. Stash him on the DL and be patient.
  • CL Houston Street, COL (shoulder) - The Rockies recently shut him down and that can't be good. Estimates originally had him returning by May. Pay close attention to his rehab process if you own him. In the mean time, LHP Franklin Morales and ex-closer RHP Manny Corpas should be owned by someone in your league.
  • 2B Freddy Sanchez, SF (shoulder) - He's expected to miss 3-to-4 weeks but has little to no fantasy value except for his batting average in a deep mixed league with a middle infielder roster spot. 2B/3B/SS Juan Uribe benefits from Sanchez's injury but also has limited fantasy value in deep mixed leagues.
  • 1B/OF Daniel Murphy, NYM (knee) - Murphy was shaping up to be a nice late round pick until being sidelined 2-to-6 weeks with a knee injury. 1B Mike Jacobs and 1B/3B/OF Fernando Tatis are expected to platoon in his absence.
Are there other injuries (large or small) that are impacting your team(s) or have you benefited from a waiver pickup at some other managers expense?

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