Fantasy Baseball Roundup: Injury Outlooks and Waiver Pickups
The team at insideinjuries.com has your latest injury updates and top waiver adds
Aroldis Chapman RP, Yankees: knee tendinitis
Chapman has landed on the DL with tendinitis in his left knee. He was clearly bothered by the injury during his last appearance, showing a significant drop in velocity. Chapman's knee was already a problem earlier this season, forcing him to miss the All-Star game. Now he needs at least two to three weeks for things to heal up a bit. Chapman was an Elevated Injury Risk before his latest flare-up because we knew this could be a lingering concern, and now he is Very High Risk (26 percent). The Yankees need to take things slow so he can be 100 percent by the playoffs.
Didi Gregorious SS, Yankees: left heel contusion
Gregorius was placed on the DL after a collision at first base left him with a bruised left heel. Inside Injuries is showing a three week Optimal Recovery Time. This is the type of injury that can linger, and the last thing the Yankees need is another player who isn't 100 percent by the time the playoffs begin. He shouldn't return until mid-September. Gregorious has been one of the Yankees’ more dependable players this season, and the team is already without a few key players in Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. It's a tough loss for this ball club. The Yankees slid Gleyber Torres over from second to short, with Neil Walker now filling in at second.
Jose Abreu 1B, White Sox: abdominal surgery
After reporting pain on Tuesday, Abreu was sent to be evaluated and ended up undergoing some sort of abdominal/groin surgery (possibly for a sports hernia), which will sideline him for multiple weeks. While the White Sox hope he could be back in around two weeks, Inside Injuries is showing a much longer seven week Optimal Recovery Time. He is now a Very High Injury Risk.
Marcell Ozuna OF, Cardinals: right shoulder inflammation
Ozuna’s right shoulder injury has finally landed him on the DL. Ozuna has been battling pain in his shoulder for most of the season, and it may even be a problem that has lingered for over a year. While there could just be inflammation in the joint, there's something more going on here, based on the fact that this has been a long-standing problem. The Cardinals newest acquisition, Matt Adams, is filling in while Ozuna is out. Ozuna's Injury Risk is now very high (28 percent), and a Poor Health Performance Factor indicates he isn't anywhere near healthy enough to contribute. He needs multiple weeks of rest.
Chris Sale SP, Red Sox: shoulder inflammation
When Chris Sale returned to the rotation after just two weeks on the DL due to a shoulder injury, we warned that it was too soon; his Injury Risk was too high for him to be playing. Well, after just one start he is back on the DL with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. This time, Sale needs to remain sidelined for at least three to four weeks. That should allow him to fully recover in time for the playoffs. The Red Sox weren't careful enough with their ace, and now they are paying the price. For now he is doing exercises to strengthen and improve his arm, but he isn't throwing.
Marcus Stroman SP, Blue Jays: blister
Stroman finally landed on the DL after trying to play through a blister issue on his finger. It re-opened during his last start, and with these problems it's important to put down the baseball and take the time to rest so it doesn't continue to get worse. Stroman didn't do that when his blister started to form, and this is what he was left with. Stroman also battled a shoulder injury earlier in the year that landed him on the DL. Two weeks should be enough this time around for him to heal.
Justin Bour 1B, Phillies: oblique strain
An injury to Justin Bour is coming at a bad time for the Phillies, as they battle the Braves for the top spot in the NL East. Bour felt a twinge in his left oblique during a swing in the ninth inning Wednesday night and was placed on the DL the following morning. Oblique strains are notoriously tricky, and they often linger or re-appear even when they are close to fully healed. While the team says the move is precautionary, he still needs a minimum of two weeks to heal, and he should be out even longer.
Brandon Nimmo OF, Mets: finger sprain
Despite a clean x-ray and MRI, the Mets placed Brandon Nimmo on the DL with a finger injury. The team is calling it a bruised left index finger and backtracked after initially saying he would not need a DL stint. The finger wasn't improving as quickly as expected, so it made sense to open up the roster spot. Inside Injuries is showing a one to two week recovery time.
Yu Darvish SP, Cubs: stress reaction in elbow
The Cubs are finally shutting down Yu Darvish for the season. Darvish was lifted from his latest rehab start with renewed discomfort in his pitching arm. An MRI showed a stress reaction in his elbow. This is something that could have started to bother him all the way back in May when his arm problems flared up (the injury was initially called a triceps strain along with an elbow injury). The triceps strain still exists and has not fully healed, but it's the stress reaction that is forcing him to shut things down. At this point it's unrealistic to think that Darvish will never come close to living up to his massive contract.
Waiver Wire Adds
Kelvin Herrera RP, WAS
Owned in 48% of CBS Leagues
Herrera was the first of the Nationals' injured relievers to return from the DL on Tuesday, meaning that he will get the first chance to reclaim the closer role. Herrera still has a High Overall Injury Risk and his performance has been lacking since he was traded from Kansas City to Washington, but the upside for saves here over the next few weeks is still too much to ignore. Washington's lights-out closer Sean Doolittle (High Overall Injury Risk) is still dealing with a stress reaction in his foot and doesn't appear to be on the way back any time soon. While it appears the Nationals are giving up on a 2018 playoff run, it's not as if this is all of a sudden one of the worst teams in baseball. There is still enough talent for this team to give Herrera plenty of save opportunites for as long as Doolittle remains out, which could end up being 2019.
Dellin Betances RP, NYY
Owned in 38% of CBS Leagues
With Aroldis Chapman hitting the DL due to knee tendinitis on Wednesday, Betances is all of a sudden in line for save opportunities over the next couple of weeks. Chapman has a High Overall Injury Risk, and there's no immediate timetable for his return. With David Robertson also on the DL with a shoulder injury, the only other option for saves in New York is the newly-acquired Zach Britton, who has obviously done quite well in the role before. However, the Yankees appear to be set on giving Betances the first shot, given his 0.82 ERA and 19/1 K/BB ratio since the All-Star break. Britton is looming here, but Betances should be added in most leagues.
Dan Winkler RP, ATL
Owned in 9% of CBS Leagues
Atlanta's current closer, A.J. Minter, hasn't pitched in nearly a week due to a tight back, opening the door for others in the Atlanta bullpen to pick up some save opportunities. Winkler got the save Monday night, while Johnny Venters closed out the game Wednesday night. The Braves continue to indicate that Minter is day-to-day, but the longer this plays out, the more likely he is to end up on the 10-Day DL. Winkler has arguably been the best pitcher out of the Braves bullpen this season, posting a 1.05 WHIP and striking out 65 in 51.2 innings. A quick trip to the DL for Minter might open the door for Winkler to claim more save opportunities the rest of the way, if not the majority of them. He's worth a speculative add in deeper formats if you're looking for save potential down the stretch.
Scott Schebler OF, CIN
Owned in 35% of CBS Leagues
Schebler has been featured in this spot before, but has taken a bit longer coming off the DL from a shoulder injury than anticipated. However, he started a rehab assignment Monday and should be back in the Reds lineup by the end of the week. Once he is, he should be ready to go. He still has an Elevated Overall Injury Risk, but his Health Performance Factor is Peak. Schebler's numbers have been very solid, yet overlooked, all season. With the outfield cleared out in Cincy, he won't have to worry about losing at-bats as part of a platoon anymore once he returns. Pick him and his .821 OPS up and put them to use in your lineup.
Welington Castillo C, CWS
Owned in 15% of CBS Leagues
The already-thin catcher position continues to take hits, with one of the few true studs in Buster Posey potentially being lost for the season. If you're like many fantasy owners and are scrambling for a replacement, take a look towards Castillo, who is nearing a return from his 80-game PED suspension. Castillo went deep 20 times in 96 games last season in Baltimore and had six more in 33 games this season before being suspended. It may take some time for him to knock off the rust off, but given how thin the catcher position is with Posey ailing and Gary Sanchez still on the mend, odds are there's someone in most leagues looking for a guy like Castillo to plug in a hole.
The Walking Wounded
Stephen Strasburg (SP, Nationals)
The Nationals activated Stephen Strasburg to pitch Wednesday’s game, and it did not go too well. Strasburg gave up five runs in 4.0 innings, including two home runs. Even more worrisome, his velocity dropped quickly, with the nine fastballs he threw in the fourth averaging just 92.2 mph. He was also shaking his arm on the mound between pitches.
This was actually Strasburg’s second stint on the DL this season. His first DL stint ran from early June through July 20 due to shoulder inflammation, and his start on July 20 couldn’t have been a worse disaster. He allowed six earned runs on eight hits over 4.2 innings and ended up on the DL again; this time with a neck impingement. It's exactly what Inside Injuries warned would happen.
Fantasy owners of Strasburg are probably anxious for his return, but Inside Injuries is preaching a cautious approach once again. Our algorithm calculated an August 30 Return to Health date, and we are currently listing him at High Risk for injury with a Poor Health Performance Factor. Keep in mind that the Nationals are all but mathematically out of the race for a playoff spot. If Strasburg were to be injured again, they just might shut him down for the season. They’ve done it before despite making the playoffs, so be forewarned.
Buster Posey (C/1B, Giants)
According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, Giants catcher Buster Posey could be shut down after the current series against the Mets to have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Posey admitted recently that he’s known about the injury and the need for surgery for some time, but was waiting to see if the team rallied to earn a playoff spot. Now that the Giants are eliminated from the postseason, Posey will likely have the surgery as soon as possible so he can be ready for 2019 Opening Day. Posey’s performance at the plate has suffered as a result of the injury. He carries a .306/.375/.466 career line and has averaged 19 home runs per season. This year, however, he’s batting just .286/.360/.386 with only five home runs. Nick Hundley will take over the everyday catcher duties once Posey is out.
Yadier Molina (C, Cardinals)
Molina is playing with a shoulder injury he’s had since at least May, which he spent some time on the disabled list recuperating. While our injury algorithm calculated a July 14 Return to Health date for Molina, he returned at the beginning of June and his performance has suffered as a result. Molina has continued to hit for average with a .275/.324/.456 triple slash, though his power has been significantly diminished. He hit 11 home runs over the first three months of the season, but has only hit five homers since July 1. Inside Injuries has Molina at High Risk for injury with a Below Average Health Performance Factor, a designation that will likely continue through to the end of the season. Fantasy owners in need of power from their catcher should consider other options if available.
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