Injury Report: Breaking Down The Top 10 Injured Players (And More)

by Dave De Wit

We’re a month into the season, and odds are you’ve been stung by the injury bug.

It’s almost impossible to avoid the dreaded red DL next to someone on your roster over the course of the baseball season. Often times you can be overwhelmed, having more injured players than available DL roster spots. When that’s the case, you have to decide whether to drop one of your injured players or burn a bench spot with someone who will not produce for a while.

In an attempt to clear up any disabled list log jams, we will rank the top ten injured players for 2014 with their estimated time of return, name an injured player that shouldn’t be owned, and name an injured player that should be stashed if you have an open DL slot.

Top Ten Injured Players for 2014

NOTE: this is not based solely on skill, but also on estimated time of return

1) Chris Davis – Oblique – mid- to late-May
A first-round pick for most owners, Davis has an oblique injury, and it will be interesting to see if it affects his swing in any way, but most likely he’ll be back to mashing taters before Memorial Day.

 

2) Aroldis Chapman – Head – early-May
Given how serious Chapman’s injury looked, it is unbelievable that he is almost ready to get back on the mound and close out games for the Reds. The fortunate thing, other than the fact that he didn’t get more seriously hurt, is that this injury had nothing to do with his arm. He’ll be throwing triple-digits in no time.

 

3) Michael Cuddyer – Hamstring – early- to mid-May
Since last year, not many hitters have produced a well as Cuddyer, which makes any missed time so frustrating. Hamstring injuries can be even more frustrating, as they have a tendency for set backs, but Cuddyer can provide plenty of value without his legs, so he has no need to push himself on the base paths or in the outfield.

 

4) Chris Sale – Elbow – mid-May to early-June
Sale was a late scratch a couple weeks ago, which doesn’t seem as scary as when a starter leaves mid-game, but there is still plenty of cause for concern for fantasy owners — even if Sale turns out to be just fine physically. Given that the Sox aren’t big contenders this year and that they have Sale locked up for many years, they are going to be very cautious bringing him back. That could cost him as much as another month.

 

5) Doug Fister – Lat – early-May
Fister had all the makings of a breakout year this season as he moved to the National League. However, his lat injury got in the way big time and slowed him down. After battling through it for a while in the spring, Washington finally just put him on the DL to let him heal. Now that he’s ready to go, he should be very good while he pitches, the bigger question is, will this lat injury crop up again later this year?

 

6) Anibal Sanchez – Finger – mid- to late-May
Sanchez is an odd case. Apparently his blister broke open during his last start and was very gross. The good news is that, unless this blister issue is being talked up to cover some secret arm injury (I’m a conspiracy theorist, I guess), Sanchez should be back on the mound and as good as ever as soon as his skin heals.

 

7) Ryan Zimmerman – Thumb – late-May
Zimmerman is one of many hitters who are battling thumb injuries this year. But unlike the others, Zimmerman didn’t elect to have surgery. While that means he’ll be back sooner, it also may cost him a bit of power at the plate. That said, he could still hit with a bad thumb (Dustin Pedroia did all last year), so he can rack up some counting numbers and post a solid batting average.

 

8) Bryce Harper – Thumb – late-June to early July
Unlike his teammate Zimmerman, Harper did have surgery to repair his thumb, and by going under the knife, he will be sidelined longer. However, he’s a very talented player and could easily provide excellent numbers in the second half of the season.

 

9) Alex Cobb – Oblique – late-May to early-June
The Tampa Bay Rays are famously slow with bringing back players from the DL. It’s probably a very wise strategy, but it can be infuriating for fantasy owners who wait and wait and wait despite reports that the player is fully healthy. Cobb was pitching well before the injury, just like he pitched well last year, so expectations are high for when he returns, but it could be a while.

 

10) Tony Cingrani – Shoulder – mid- to late-May
Cingrani was placed on the DL Thursday afternoon and apparently, he didn’t think it was necessary. Since replacing Johnny Cueto early last year, Cingrani has been as good a pitcher as anyone in the majors. The good news is that since he didn’t think he needed a trip to the DL, it appears that he will return quickly. The bad news is that typically players are the worst source for setting a timetable for their own returns from injury.

NOTE: This list excludes players who are already scheduled to return such as Clayton Kershaw, Mike Minor, and Hisashi Iwakuma.

Injured Player to Drop: Devin Mesoraco
It pains me to suggest dropping Mesoraco. The young catcher has had such a great start to the season before hitting the DL with a strained hamstring, and he comes with prospect pedigree to back it up. However, he’s not going to perform much better than a lot of the other catcher options out there in mixed, one-catcher leagues.

 

Injured Player to Stash: Kole Calhoun
As it stands, Calhoun is owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues and just 12 percent of ESPN leagues. The original time frame on his ankle sprain puts his return anywhere between the middle and end of May, giving him a good chance of amassing 100+ games this season. Before the injury, Calhoun was the solid source of power and speed that was advertised, hitting three homers and stealing two bases in 14 games. When he returns, he’s likely to get the leadoff spot back, making him an excellent source of runs, as he is hitting in front of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. A fantasy bench spot should not be wasted on Calhoun, but if you have an empty DL slot, he’s a good option to stash.

11 comments

  1. J-Sizzle13 says:

    Where is Mat Latos? The potential to be a top 15 SP and has not thrown a pitch yet this year. He has to be on this list.

  2. Corey says:

    I have a team just riddled with injury. We drafted before Corbin and Medlen went down. Now I have Sale and Sanchez out. Had to drop Cobb just to keep rolling a full lineup out. That lineup is currently Weaver, Tillman, Buehrle, Peralta, Perez, and Kennedy.

    In a 10 team h2h, do I drop any of those guys to speculate on Bauer starting next week?

    No available bench spots since Hamilton and Davis are holding down the other two.

  3. costaricanchata says:

    josh hamilton ?

  4. Marky Mark says:

    Not in the top 10 by any stretch….but Henderson’s trip to the DL has to shuffle around the MIL bullpen around. So it’s a good time to drop Brothers and pick up Zach Duke in anticipation of an increased role and ideally a steady source of holds, right?

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    Corey – Bauer is no better or worse of an option then the fliers you already have, honestly. He may have a little bit of a higher upside, but he also is still a major risk.

    Marks Mark – I still like Brothers as a better chance for saves over someone like Duke.

    As for Latos/Hamilton being left off, I have to defer to Dave for his thinking in that regard but it does go to show how many injuries we are all dealing with.

  6. Bryan says:

    With Kipnis tot the DL I need to pick up a middle infielder. 10 Team Head to Head

    Waiver Options:
    J Hardy
    A Cabrera
    J Villarreal
    A Escobar
    J Peralta
    D Jeter
    D Ackley
    M Semiien

    Pick 1

    Thx!!
    B

  7. El Burro says:

    Dave – strategy question… Apologize for length of this in advance. The question needs color, so need to give you entire picture.

    LEAGUE: 14 team, redraft, 6×6 (ops/holds), weekly H2H. We roster 30 guys with 26 active slots (13 bats/ 12 arms), and only 4 bench spots (with no DL). Extremely competitive.

    Important to note, given the depth of my league, we often draft and roster most of the top 15-20 Minor League talent. As such, I came out of the draft stashing 2 of the better minor league arms in Gausman and Bradley, which I intended to hold until called up later this year. With multiple offensive guys hitting now having hit the DL in Trumbo, Calhoun, Mesoraco and Avisail Garcia (who I have since dropped), I’ve been having to play a man down P to fill my offensive roster slots with live bodies to buy time until my guys return from their DL stints.

    Offense:
    C – Pinto (DL. Mesoraco)
    1B – Fielder
    2B – Espinosa
    3B – Longoria
    SS – Andrus
    CI – Arenado
    MI – Brad Miller
    OF (5) – Heyward, Marte, Morse, Viciedo, Ackley
    UTIL (2) – Ike Davis, Moustakas
    BENCH – Trumbo (DL), Calhoun (DL), Mesoraco (DL)

    Pitching looks like this (we start 12 guys: 4 SP, 2 RP + 6 P flex). I typically start 6 SP/6 RP. 6×6 with HOLDS:
    SP (6) – Gio, Salazar, Skaggs, Estrada, Porcello, Garza,
    RP (6) – Santos, Carlos Martinez, Drew Storen, Rex Brothers, _____, ______
    BENCH – Cobb (DL), Gausman (NA), Bradley (NA)

    Despite my injuries, I’m still sitting at .500, but getting throttled the last 2 weeks. And as you can see above, I’m not starting 2 Pitchers in an effort to stash my NA guys in Gausman and Bradley.

    QUESTION: I could either (A) stay the course with this staff and hope for the best with call-ups and injuries, add RP as I get my offense healthy and drop “temporary offense” like Moose, Pinto and Ackley. OR (B) drop Gausman / Bradley, and grab some underwhelming arms like: Robbie Erlin, Josh Beckett, Henderson Alvarez, Danny Duffy or MR and just stream based on match-ups?

    My quandary is that I never like to panic and make rash decisions this early into the year. I know Bradley and Gausman could be solid down the road and despite their early injuries, I’m inclined to hold and not give away some potential upside gold. However, I do realize that they are both injured and you never know with rookie arms, plus they likely won’t be up until June at the earliest (which is another 4+ weeks). On the flip side, I know that if I dump them, they will be claimed. Hence, my very long winded question as to what you think I should do here under the circumstances?

    Thanks

  8. Rotoprofessor says:

    Bryan – Hardy is my first choice, with Escobar & Cabrera just behind him.

    El Burro – If there is no keeper, then it’s easy to drop one of the two arms now. You don’t know when they will arrive and, when they do, how well they will perform. It’s hard to give away wins now because if you aren’t in playoff contention when they do arrive it won’t matter.

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