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Before the season even started, Fantasy owners were dealing with injuries. Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley and Hanley Ramirez were all big names that got hurt this spring. Even Adam Eaton, whose stock was on the rise in a big way this offseason following the trade of Justin Upton, saw his sleeper potential hit the skids due to injury. What about the effect on keeper/dynasty value? An injury in a long-term league is less detrimental unless it is significant or of the season-ending variety; often times, though, the immediate value of an injured player takes a hit.
Dealing with injuries can be part of a strategy to give your keeper/dynasty team an advantage over the competition. Stashing players on the disabled list for future use is a great way to maximize your roster. Depending on the depth of your league, the rosters and amount of DL spots, you can work the system by picking up injured players off the waiver wire or cheaply in trades. All you need is a little bit of patience. Recent injuries to Jose Reyes and Zack Greinke are forcing many owners’ hands in more ways than one. If there is limited roster and DL space, owners are forced to cut or trade their other injured players to make room. That creates a buying opportunity for the savvy keeper/dynasty owner to grab a player and await his return. The help can be the equivalent of making a deadline deal; just what your team needs in the dog days of summer.
All stashes accompany an element of risk. For one, we do not know exactly how each player will rebound from injury. Also, many stashable players are still developing and are not already established big league talents. Whether these players are available free agents or acquired via trade for below market value, they could be well worth the wait in the long-term.
10 to Stash
1. Brandon Beachy was well on his way to a breakout 2012 campaign when he had to undergo Tommy John surgery just 13 starts into the season. The 26-year-old has been nothing short of impressive at the major league level, with a 3.08 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 252 Ks in 41 starts spanning 237 and two-thirds innings. It is not likely someone of his talent level is on your waiver wire unless it is a shallow keeper league, but his current owner might grow impatient or need immediate help. He should be back around the All-Star Break, and should give you a solid arm for that championship run.
2. Not unlike Beachy, Daniel Hudson brings a solid major league resume to the table. Also not unlike Beachy, he underwent Tommy John surgery midway through the 2012 season and remains on track to debut in July. He is a former top prospect who has mid-rotation upside. Do not expect him to immediately turn back into the 2011 Dan Hudson, but he should be useful down the stretch and even stronger in 2014. He finds his way onto this list because his value is not anywhere near what it was heading into last season and that makes him a fine acquisition, even in shallow keeper/dynasty leagues.
3. Logan Morrison made an impressive debut with the Marlins in 2010, hitting 2 HRs, 7 Triples and 20 doubles in just 62 games. That came with a .283 average and impressive .390 on-base percentage. A year later his average and OBP fell, but he hit 23 HRs and drove in 72 runs while scoring 54 of his own. Coming off of knee surgery, he only managed 93 games in 2012 before inflammation in the same knee ended his season. He started this season on the 60-day DL and his value has fallen significantly since his rookie year. He has the tools to be an above average Fantasy first baseman, with the ability to hit for power, drive in runs and draw walks. All this makes him a solid stash choice for long-term leagues. His value is not likely to sink much lower than it is right now with all of the injury concerns.
4. After an impressive cup of coffee in 2009, Neftali Feliz managed 40 saves for the Rangers in 2010 on his way to the American League Rookie of the Year award. He was a reliable closer once again in 2011, this time finishing with 32 saves. There was potential for more with Feliz and the Rangers decided to stretch him out as a starter for the following season. He made seven starts and one relief appearance before falling victim to Tommy John surgery. Before the injury, he was showing flashes of being a potentially dominant starter. Post injury, it is hard not to wonder if the bullpen is the place for him, at least initially. While Joe Nathan is holding down the back of the bullpen, Feliz will surely have a spot later this summer if he proves to be healthy. Long-term, you either have a Top 10 closer or a potential number two starter on your hands. Buy him while he is rehabbing if you have the DL space to stash him away.
5) Remember Michael Pineda? The 6’7” righty debuted in 2011 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 171 innings. He was traded the following offseason to the Yankees for 2014 post-hype sleeper Jesus Montero. After a rough spring and complaints of shoulder soreness, Pineda eventually underwent surgery for a torn labrum. There is a chance he comes back before the All-Star Break, but any type of 2013 production should be considered gravy. At just 24 years old, he is a “stash for the future” type of player. If he can get healthy, he has top of the rotation upside. Do not pay too much in trade for him; he is pure flier material at this point.
6) While Avisail Garcia may resemble teammate Miguel Cabrera in size, stature and country of origin, let us end the comparisons right there. Garcia is an intriguing prospect, but Miggy he is not. He made an impression on the Tigers in his 2012 September call-up; enough so that he found himself on the playoff roster. He suffered a heel contusion in spring training and has been on the DL ever since. When he is healthy enough to return he might find himself in Triple-A. That might not be a bad thing, as he needs work on his pitch selection and overall approach at the dish. If he can improve as a hitter, tap into his raw power and maintain his speed, he could be a major Fantasy asset. Monitor his progress closely. He will be back in Detroit before long and makes for a worthwhile gamble because of his potential.
7) Nathan Eovaldi was the key piece in the Hanley Ramirez-to-the-Dodgers trade last summer. The righty profiles as an innings-eating starter who could fill out a Fantasy rotation. He has been very hittable thus far in the majors, but his potentially plus fastball and quality slider give him some future projection. He was enjoying a great spring before he was placed on the DL with mild shoulder inflammation. When he returns, he should deliver an up and down Fantasy performance as he continues his on the job training. If he shows enough flashes you will want to consider him as a cheap keeper for 2014.
8) Could Arodys Vizcaino be the Cubs closer of the future? He has been brought through the minors as a starter, but made a handful of relief appearances along the way. As he regains his arm strength, it is certainly possible that he could stay in the bullpen for at least this season. Given his size – 6’, 190 lbs. – it would not be a shock for him to stay there and flourish. The former top prospect should be ready by mid-season and certainly has the stuff to be overpowering as a reliever. Keep him stashed for his potential; he could develop into a dominating closer or perhaps a mid-rotation starter as soon as 2014.
9) James Darnell may not wow you with his plus tools or raw athleticism, but he can hit and draw walks. After a breakout 2011 minor league campaign, Darnell has fallen almost completely off the prospect map due to injury. He had a left shoulder injury that ended his 2012 season prematurely, and now he is trying to bounce back from an oblique strain. He has moved from 3B to the OF, so there is more pressure on his developing power. He is worth a stash because of his ability to potentially be a solid Fantasy role player.
10) Danny Duffy is another former top prospect who needed Tommy John surgery in 2012. Sound familiar? Duffy actually quit baseball briefly in 2010 to get his life’s priorities in order. He came back to the Royals and was very impressive in the minors. He earned a call-up in 2011, making 20 starts with a 5.64 ERA and 87 Ks in 105.1 innings. He earned a rotation spot out of spring training the following year but only made six starts before surgery ended his season. Duffy is a player who makes for a great deep league stash because he is very much under the radar at the moment. The talented lefty could be an effective number three starter if he can get healthy and continue to develop.