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Injuries and Waivers: Bleak Long-Term Outlook for Brewers’ Eric Thames, Add Jesus Aguilar

Injuries and Waivers: Bleak Long-Term Outlook for Brewers’ Eric Thames, Add Jesus Aguilar
Inside Injuries April 26, 2018 4:14PM EDT

The Team at insideinjuries.com has the last Medical Roundup and recommended Waiver Adds

Injury Insights and Analysis

Eric Thames 1B, Brewers: torn UCL in left thumb

Thames exited Tuesday night’s win over the Royals early after jamming his hand into the ground while fielding a ground ball.  An MRI showed a torn UCL in his left thumb. The Brewers have placed Thames on the 10-day DL, but this could turn into an extended absence. The Inside Injuries algorithm is calculating a five-week Optimal Recovery Time. Once Thames returns, his power production will be significantly lower than it was pre-injury.

Adrian Beltre 3B, Rangers: left hamstring strain

Adrian Beltre always had problems staying healthy, so it was no surprise to hear he is dealing with a hamstring strain. He missed 68 games last year due to various injuries, with a left hamstring strain being the most severe, followed by a calf strain. The Rangers put him on the 10-day DL, but we think it’s going to be at least two weeks until he’s healthy enough to return.

Kris Bryant 3B, Cubs: head injury

Kris Bryant was evaluated for a concussion after being hit in the head with a pitch. He looked unbalanced after taking a shot to the head and needed assistance getting back to the clubhouse. Bryant passed initial concussion tests, but he’s meeting with team physicians to be cleared for a return. He will remain an Elevated Injury Risk.

Andrew Miller RP, Indians: left hamstring tightness

Wednesday’s game ended sooner than hoped for Indians pitcher Andrew Miller. He threw just two pitches before he started experiencing tightness in his left hamstring and was pulled from the game. He’s expected to undergo an MRI, after which will have more information regarding his return. Cleveland management has suggested that it’s not a serious injury, and it’s also important to note that Miller dealt with a similar issue a few years ago. The Inside Injuries algorithm is calculating a 1-2 week Optimal Recovery Time, but that could become even longer if the MRI shows a strain.

Tommy Pham OF, Cardinals: head laceration

Tommy Pham cut open his forehead while taking warmup swings with a resistance band. Luckily, the cut did not require stitches and Pham has cleared the MLB’s concussion protocol. He should be fine to keep in lineups, but his Injury Risk does remain slightly increased due to his recent groin strain.

Asdrubal Cabrera 2B, Mets: hamstring strain

Cabrera was out of the lineup on Wednesday dealing with a minor hamstring injury. It’s something Cabrera has been dealing with for a while, and Wednesday’s absence was just to give him rest. He was back in the lineup Thursday, but he’ll be a High Injury Risk. Cabrera has a long injury history that includes hamstring injuries, so this could be a recurring problem. Our algorithm is showing that he needs two weeks off for it to fully heal.

Byron Buxton OF, Twins: migraines and toe contusion

Byron Buxton was starting his minor league rehab program on Sunday after being out with migraines when he fouled a ball of his left foot. Initial X-rays came back negative, but he still needed a hole drilled into his toe to relieve pressure. It’s worth noting that Anthony Rendon had a similar procedure done last week when he fouled a ball off his toe, and the Nationals placed him on the 10-day DL. Buxton won’t be healthy enough to return to action for at least another two weeks, and his migraines will continue to be a concern that could pop up at any moment.

Jake Lamb 3B, Diamondbacks: elbow tendinitis & AC sprain

Jake Lamb had finally started making some progress in his recovery from an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder, but he was shut down this week after experiencing tendinitis in his right elbow. Lamb was still a week or so away from a return, and the elbow tendinitis will set him back an additional two weeks according to the Inside Injuries algorithm. He won’t be healthy enough to return until mid-May. New injuries like this are common as players tend to overcompensate. Lamb may have placed too much stress on his right arm trying to generate power instead of getting his whole body behind his throws.

Waiver Pickups

Jesus Aguilar 1B, Brewers (8% ownership on CBSSports.com)

Following the UCL tear in Eric Thames’ left thumb, Aguilar is first in line to step in and take over at first base. Now is the time to pick him up, especially if you are desperate for someone to take Thames’ place. Ryan Braun could be in the mix as well, but if Aguilar plays well it’s his spot to lose. Right now he owns a .421 average and 1.070 OPS. While these numbers aren’t exactly sustainable, he proved last year that he can be a solid source of power, hitting 16 home runs in 311 plate appearances to go along with a .837 OPS. Aguilar is going to cool off at some point, but even then he is worth owning.

According to our algorithm, Thames is looking at a roughly two-month absence, and when he does get cleared to return the thumb injury will continue to cause a dip in his power. While it’s tough to match Thames’ power, Aguilar should be a viable replacement. In addition to his already impressive slash line, he also boasts a very low 12% strikeout rate.

Ervin Santana SP, Twins (51%)

While Ervin Santana’s recovery from finger surgery has been incredibly slow, it looks like he has finally turned the corner. If he is still available in your league, now is the time to scoop him up. He could still be a month away from returning to the Twins’ rotation, but he is getting close to mound work. It could happen any day now. Santana’s surgery was a capsular release/debridement procedure, which doesn’t come with much long-term concern. Recovery takes multiple months, but once he is fully cleared he should be good to go without any lingering effects. Santana should be a solid starter in the second half of the fantasy baseball season.

Mac Williamson OF, Giants (28%)

When Hunter Pence hit the DL, Williamson was called up to take his spot in the starting lineup, and he has not disappointed. In five games he is hitting .315 with three home runs and six RBI. That includes a 464-foot opposite field bomb on Tuesday night. Now, he didn’t get the start on Wednesday due to neck stiffness after running into the outfield wall the night before, but this shouldn’t be a long-term concern. He will be back crushing it in no time, he just might need a few more days to rest.

If this keeps up, Williamson could continue to be the guy to own in this outfield behind Andrew McCutchen. Pence has been bothered by the thumb injury since Opening Day. He finally hit the DL last week, and our analytics are showing that he needs around two weeks of rest for it to heal. Even when he does return, he may have lost his everyday role in the Giants’ outfield. The time to jump on Williamson is now. Do it before it’s too late.

Mallex Smith OF, Rays (36%)

The Rays have gotten off to an ugly start this season, but Mallex Smith is out to prove he can be an long-term contributor in this lineup. With Kevin Kiermaier (thumb) expected to be out until the All-Star break, Smith will continue to be the Rays’ everyday center fielder. His best attributes are his speed and defense. He is going to steal bases and produce runs, and he will be a steady source of hits. For now he is hitting in the bottom half of the order, but if continues to produce, he could move up and get a shot at the leadoff spot.

If you’re a Fantasy owner looking to add steals to your lineup, Smith could be your guy. He has the potential to swipe 30+ bags if he can keep a starting role when Kiermaier returns. The Rays are looking to the future, so they will likely be patient with Smith even if he hits a slump at some point. Not only does Smith have high upside on the field, but his Injury Risk is relatively low. He had hamstring issues at Spring Training and in 2017, but both times it was minor. Smith is a pretty safe option in the outfield.

Check out the rest of the Inside Injuries fantasy baseball advice and MLB Injury Risk analysis here. 

Jesus Aguilar Featured Image: (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)


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