insideinjuries.com Delivers Key Injury Insights and Waiver Tips
Jacob deGrom SP, Mets: elbow strain
When the Mets let deGrom stay in the game on Wednesday night after hyperextending his elbow on an awkward swing, it left us all questioning why they would take any risks with their pitchers. We’ve seen way too many of their starters have health problems over the last few seasons due to questionable decision-making, and deGrom appeared to be the next. He left after the fourth inning when the pain moved from his elbow to his biceps.
Fortunately, scans on his elbow came back clean- there is no structural damage. deGrom could even be cleared in time to make his next start. The smart move would be to place him on the 10-day DL to give his arm time to calm down. Even though all ligaments are intact, there could be a mild biceps or elbow strain that needs time to fully heal. Trying to play in five days, even though this was a minor injury, isn’t the smart long-term decision. There’s no need to take a risk here, especially considering the Mets’ recent history of poor medical decisions.
Yoenis Cespedes OF, Mets: thumb sprain
Over the last two seasons Cespedes has suffered injury after injury. This week it was a thumb sprain, but it was mild and he was back in the Mets’ lineup just a day later. While this injury isn’t a serious concern going forward, his overall Injury Risk is. It’s about as high as it can be for a player not currently on the DL. Sell him while you can if he’s on your roster.
Shohei Ohtani SP/DH, Angels: ankle sprain
Ohtani just won rookie of the month, but his recent injuries are a concern. First it was a blister on his pitching hand and now it’s an ankle sprain. Don’t forget he underwent surgery on his ankle last October. Ohtani isn’t landing on the DL and is available to hit, but his next start is pushed back to at least the weekend. By both hitting and pitching, he places extra stress on his body, and it can magnify any injury. Our algorithm has calculated a two-week Optimal Recovery Time, so for now he is a High Injury Risk.
Joe Panik 2B, Giants: thumb surgery
Following surgery for a torn ligament in his left (non-throwing) thumb, Panik is facing a 6-week absence. Our analytics show a 7-week Optimal Recovery Time, so he should be out longer than current reports suggest. This can be a tough injury to recover from and can lead to weakness in the hand in the first month after a player’s return. Panik isn’t worth holding onto unless you have an open DL spot.
Corey Seager SS, Dodgers: Tommy John surgery
The most devastating injury from week 5 is Seager’s season-ending elbow surgery. He will undergo Tommy John surgery, typically reserved for pitchers who tear their UCL. Our algorithm is showing an 11-month recovery time, so he could be ready around Opening Day. Seager had elbow issues last season and did not end up undergoing surgery in the offseason. He was on a throwing program in Spring Training but was ready to go on Opening Day. Even if he is ready to play next April, he won’t be at 100%. His back also remains a concern.
Miguel Sano 3B, Twins: hamstring strain
For the second time in three seasons, Sano is on the DL with a hamstring strain. It’s a grade 1, the least severe. We are showing a two-week Optimal Recovery Time, but even when he does return he will remain High Risk. His hamstring was likely much weaker due to his 2016 hamstring strain and his shin stress reaction and surgery last fall. He hasn’t made much progress since suffering the injury, so his owners should plan for him to miss more than the minimum 10 days.
D.J. LeMahieu 2B, Rockies: hamstring strain
LeMahieu was placed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain last Friday. Like Sano, this comes with a two-week Optimal Recovery Time. LeMahieu has historically been much healthier, so his return could be quicker and his long-term outlook is more positive.
Johnny Cueto SP, Giants: elbow discomfort
Cueto is seeking multiple opinions on his elbow, never a good sign for a pitcher. The elbow has been a problem over the last few weeks, but the ankle injury that landed him on the DL seemed to be the bigger concern. Now his elbow is the real issue, and there could be an underlying problem that is the source of the inflammation and discomfort in his throwing arm. Even if there is no structural damage, he needs at least two weeks for it to calm down.
Hyun-Jin Ryu SP, Dodgers: groin strain
Ryu just landed on the DL with a left groin strain and is expected to be out through the All Star break. This is a very serious strain and a tough injury for a pitcher to recover from. Ryu also injured his groin in 2016, although this one is far worse. His leg appeared to buckle on the landing after delivering a pitch. He tried to stretch it out but it was clear he couldn’t go on. It’s a tough loss for the Dodgers, as he had been their best pitcher through the first month of the season.
Yoan Moncada 2B, White Sox: left hamstring tightness
It seems like Moncada has battled just about every injury in the books this year. He has had a sore left thumb, soreness on top of his foot, and now multiple instances of tightness in his left hamstring. For now he is not expected to land on the DL, but a few weeks off would do wonders for him. Now is the time to rest and let all of his injuries fully heal so they don’t become lingering problems later in the season when it really matters. Our algorithm is showing a 1-2 week Optimal Recovery Time, and his Injury Risk is Elevated.
Robbie Ray SP, Diamondbacks: oblique strain
A grade 2 oblique strain could sideline Ray through the All-Star break. Our algorithm is showing that it will take at least five weeks for the oblique to heal, then he will be ready to start throwing again and work his way back into the rotation, which could take many weeks due to the long layoff. Right now he is projected to miss anywhere from 6-12 weeks. Oblique strains tend to heal very slowly and are very tricky injuries for a pitcher. His Injury Risk will also continue to be Elevated even when he is cleared to return due to the recurrent nature of oblique injuries.
Wil Myers OF, Padres: left oblique strain
Myers was already a High Injury Risk due to the nerve issue in his throwing arm, and now his Injury Risk is even higher after suffering a left oblique strain. Based on our analytics, he needs at least two weeks for the oblique to heal if it’s a mild (grade 1) strain. A moderate strain would take closer to four weeks to heal. The nerve issue will be something to watch throughout the rest of the year and could be to blame for his oblique strain, as he could have put extra stress on his core in an attempt to compensate for any arm trouble. Oblique injuries tend to linger, so this will be something to keep an eye on even when he is cleared to return from the DL.
Matt Adams 1B/OF, WAS
Owned in 9% of CBS Sports Leagues
Adams got off to a slow start this year, like much of the Washington offense, but has broken out along with the rest of the team over the past few days. He’s hit in the #3 spot in the order the past two days and has homered three times and driven in five in those two games. His OPS has shot up to 1.026, and he’s second on the Nats in home runs with five. With Bryce Harper and Trea Turner getting on base in front of him, Adams should have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs in the games to come.
It’s unclear how long Washington will go with this unconventional lineup, but they certainly won’t break up a good thing while it lasts after struggling so mightily at the start of the season. He will probably still sit a decent amount against lefties, and the Nationals will keep giving Ryan Zimmerman plenty of time at first base despite his struggles, but the slimmed-down Adams has held his own when he’s gotten the opportunity to play left field. He will continue to have plenty of reps there as Adam Eaton appears to be a ways off from returning from an ankle injury. Eaton is now sporting a walking boot and remains an Elevated Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries. Eaton appears to be more week-to-week than day-to-day as originally thought, and Adams will continue to get plenty of reps in left. He’s a hot power bat worth riding.
Howie Kendrick 2B/OF, WAS
Owned in 38% of CBS Sports Leagues
Another hitter taking advantage of the lineup reshuffle in Washington, Kendrick has actually been one of the most consistent bats in the Nationals lineup to date. With the injuries to Eaton, Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy, Kendrick has been an everyday player rather than the super utility man he was supposed to be heading into the season. His veteran bat has taken advantage, as he’s posted a .286/.315/.495 slash line. He’s not overly flashy, but if Washington’s offense continues to surge and he continues to get at-bats in the middle of the lineup (he’s regularly hit in the 4 or 5 hole), then there should be plenty of production to come.
Rendon (toe) is nearing a return, but Kendrick will continue to play just about every day at second while Murphy (knee) continues to work his way back. Murphy is still having issues running and looks to be a ways away from joining the big league club. Given the seriousness of the surgery Murphy had in the offseason, it shouldn’t be a shock that he is still a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries or that the Nationals are being cautious with him. While that remains the case, Kendrick is a solid fantasy option at second base.
Joc Pederson OF, LAD
Owned in 26% of CBS Sports Leagues
The scuffling Yasiel Puig was placed on the 10-Day DL Sunday after injuring both his foot and hip. Puig is a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries, and there’s no immediate timetable for his return. This should allow Joc Pederson more consistent playing time, and he has been pretty good this year. He’s posted a .279/.408/.443 slash line and has walked more than he’s struck out (13 BBs, 12Ks). The power numbers haven’t been there with Pederson, but it’s not as if he’s lost the ability to connect on a long ball.
With more consistent at-bats, you should expect Pederson to have the opportunity to go on a little power hot streak as he’s been known to do. If he can keep the average and on-base totals up and limit the Ks, then Puig’s absence could be a huge chance for him to lock down a permanent spot in the Dodgers’ order for the rest of the season. They’ll need his pop from the left side even more with Corey Seager out for the year. He’s definitely worth a look, even with the outfield deep as always.
Mike Soroka SP, ATL
Owned in 48% of CBS Sports Leagues
Soroka collected a win in his first big league start on Tuesday, getting the win after posting 6 innings of 1 run ball. He struck out five and walked none in what was an incredibly impressive debut in just about every regard. The question is whether or not he will get the chance to stick around in the short term. With the buzz surrounding the youngster and injury concerns remaining with Anibal Sanchez, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they kept him up in the big leagues for a bit and went with a six-man rotation. Even if he is sent back down, he’s worth a stash in leagues due to his upside once he becomes a regular part of the rotation, which should be this season.
Caleb Smith SP, MIA
Owned in 26% of CBS Sports Leagues
Smith has been a bright spot for the lowly Marlins after dominating in his last two starts, in which he has combined for 13 innings, 2 earned runs, 19 Ks and just one walk. It’s a bit out of nowhere, but the numbers back up his success. He’s put up the seventh best swinging strike rate in baseball, ahead of names like Chris Sale. He has the second-highest average fastball velocity among lefty starters and has used his four-seam fastball more to get those swinging strikes. Smith isn’t as bright and shiny of a prospect like Soroka as he’s already 26, but his upside might be just as high, especially if you buy into his last two starts. If you’re dealing with a beat-up staff due to injuries to guys like Robbie Ray, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Jacob DeGrom, Steven Matz or others, Smith might be worth a roll of the dice.
Jacob deGrom Featured Image: (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)