insideinjuries.com has the latest Fantasy injury updates, a look at top starting pitcher concerns and some notable waiver adds
Yoenis Cespedes OF, Mets: right quad tightness
It seems like every week Cespedes makes this list for one reason or another. This time it’s a quad issue, something he has battled in each of the last two seasons. His Overall Injury Risk has been High since the start of Training Camp, and now it has jumped even higher. This latest injury is even more concerning than the others because it caused him to land on the DL in 2016 and 2017. These recurring lower body muscular strains keep popping up for Cespedes, and he really should land on the DL. He is trying to play through it, which isn’t smart. If you’re a Cespedes owner, do whatever you can to get rid of him in a trade. He is far too unreliable.
Clayton Kershaw SP, Dodgers: biceps tendinitis
For the fourth time in five seasons, Kershaw had landed on the DL. The past three times have been due to back injuries, but this time it’s tendinitis in his biceps. While his Optimal Recovery Time is just two weeks, he will remain at a High Injury Risk even when he is cleared to return. He is making progress and threw from around 60 feet on Wednesday, and while an MRI confirmed that there is no structural damage, any injury to a pitcher’s throwing arm is a concern. Here’s more on his long-term outlook.
Yadier Molina C, Cardinals: groin surgery
Molina was hit in the groin by a foul tip on Saturday and diagnosed with a “pelvic injury with a traumatic hematoma.” He quickly underwent surgery and is expected to miss at least four weeks, although our Optimal Recovery time is 7 weeks. Molina has been a Top 10 catcher so far this season, and his production will be tough to replace in Fantasy lineups. But he is still worth holding onto if you can afford it. When he is cleared to return he should return to his normal level of production pretty quickly.
David Price SP, Red Sox: carpal tunnel syndrome
For the second time in the last month, Price was scratched from his scheduled start due to numbness in his pitching hand. A series of tests revealed a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome. While this sounds like a fairly positive diagnosis, it comes with some serious concern. Price battled an elbow issue last season that may have caused him to alter his mechanics as he tried to overcompensate. In the short term his grip is the biggest concern, but his elbow could be a ticking time bomb. It was clear that his injury problems affected him over his last five starts. He really should land on the DL to allow time to address his injury, but it doesn’t sound like the Red Sox plan to push his next start back too far.
If he’s on your roster, keep him on the bench until he proves he is healthy enough to put up good numbers. And once he does have that one good day, try to trade him away. His Injury Risk is incredibly high as his elbow remains a concern, and the carpal tunnel syndrome could flare up again and again.
Dansby Swanson SS, Braves: left wrist soreness
Throughout the last few weeks, Swanson has tried to play through soreness in his left wrist. When it got worse, the Braves finally decided to place him on the DL. We are showing a two-week Optimal Recovery Time, so he shouldn’t miss much more than the minimum 10 days. The good news here is that it’s to his non-throwing hand, and he has been able to make some throws and take some swings while out. His Injury Risk is already back to Low, so this isn’t a long-term concern.
Trevor Cahill SP, A’s: elbow impingement
Cahill was placed on the DL this week and diagnosed with impingement in his pitching elbow. While this isn’t a serious concern, he had durability issues throughout his career. Last year he landed on the DL twice with shoulder injuries. His Injury Risk was already Elevated (15%) before the elbow problem, and now it has jumped to High (25%). Expect him back within the next two weeks, in line with our Optimal Recovery Time, but don’t expect him to make it through the year without another injury of some sort.
Johnny Cueto SP, Giants: elbow sprain
After getting multiple opinions on his ailing elbow, Cueto has been placed on the 60-day DL. He will not undergo surgery (for now) but has been diagnosed with an elbow sprain. This is an indication that there is likely a partial tear but not one that is serious enough to require surgery. He will be shut down for six weeks, but if his elbow doesn’t improve in the next month he could be re-evaluated and eventually scheduled for surgery. There is a chance that rest and rehab will allow his elbow to improve enough to pitch again after the All Star break, but his Injury Risk remains incredibly High. Here’s more detail on his injury.
Javier Baez SS, Cubs: groin tightness
Baez left Monday’s game due to groin tightness and sat out Tuesday, but he was back in the Cubs’ lineup by Wednesday. While this appears to be a mild issue, groin tightness does often recur. Just look at Tommy Pham in recent weeks. Baez’s Optimal Recovery Time is just one week, but our algorithm is showing that he is now a High Injury Risk.
Tommy Pham OF, Cardinals: groin tightness
Pham has been battling groin tightness on and off over the last three weeks. Over the weekend he said he was around 70% and proceeded to miss the next three games. Had he landed on the DL when this initially popped up back in April, he would be back at close to 100% right now. Instead he continues to be bothered by the injury. While his Injury Risk remains High, his HPF (Health Performance Factor) has improved to Above Average, a sign that he can still play well despite the groin tightness.
Todd Frazier 3B, Mets: hamstring strain
A hamstring strain has landed Todd Frazier on the DL. Frazier got off to a hot start in the first three weeks of the season then saw his average drop to .237 in the following three weeks. While he didn’t report a problem with his hamstring until a few days ago, it’s possible that a mild strain or tightness contributed to his decline. Our algorithm is showing a 2-3 week Optimal Recovery Time.
Aces You Can and Cannot Trust
These players don’t have any current injuries and nothing in their past is a major red flag. They are the most trustworthy starting pitchers until the end of the season.
Corey Kluber CLE
Stats: 5-2, 2.62 ERA
Chris Sale BOS
Stats: 3-1, 2.02 ERA
Max Scherzer WAS
Stats: 6-1, 1.74 ERA
Carlos Carrasco CLE
Stats: 5-1, 3.61 ERA
Note: He has battled left pectoral tightness, elbow swelling, a hand fracture, hamstring strain, and shoulder inflammation in recent years but currently isn’t bothered by anything
Justin Verlander HOU
Stats: 4-1, 1.17 ERA
Noah Syndergaard NYM
Stats: 2-1, 3.09
Note: Last year’s lat muscle tear was a serious concern, but that seems to be in his past and he is back at a Low Injury Risk.
Somewhere in the Middle
These pitchers have a good shot at regaining their status, but that’s only if they take enough time to fully heal. Even then their Injury Risk will be increased for the rest of the season, but they have the potential to fully recover.
Current Injury: pinkie fracture
Bumgarner is slowly working his way back from a Spring Training pinkie fracture. He has now hit our Optimal Recovery Time, meaning he can return to the mound and really ramp up his throwing program. We could see him back in the rotation within the next month. It’s important that he is 100% pain-free and regains full strength in his hand. If he doesn’t it could slightly throw off his mechanics, which would lead to a poorer performance than we have come to expect from the Giants’ ace.
Carlos Martinez STL
Current Injury: lat strain
The Cardinals hope Martinez will miss just one start, but our analytics show that he needs to miss 2-3 weeks recovering from his lat strain. Core injuries are tricky to recover from and often take longer than expected to heal. If he rushes back, his Injury Risk will be incredibly high over the next month. If he can take off the rest of May and return in June at 100%, he should be a reliable ace for the rest of the year.
Jacob deGrom NYM
Current Injury: elbow strain
The Mets finally made the right decision and placed deGrom on the DL after he hyperextended his pitching elbow during an at-bat. deGrom avoided any structural damage, but he did do some short-term damage to the elbow. Our Optimal Recovery Time is three weeks- it sounds like he will return before then, so his Injury Risk will remain High throughout the rest of May. He also had ulnar nerve surgery in 2016, meaning he needs to be extra cautious since he has had arm problems in the past.
Hyun-Jin Ryu SF
Current Injury: groin strain
A groin strain is expected to sideline Ryu through the All Star break. This is a very serious strain that likely involves a partial tear to the muscle. Throwing off the mound will place a lot of stress on the groin area, so he needs to take his throwing program very slow when he is cleared to return. This is a long recovery that needs to be approached very cautiously- it won’t take much to make the damage worse, which could ultimately require surgery. If he allows around eight weeks for the groin to heal before ramping up his activities, he should be ok in around three months. He isn’t worth keeping on Fantasy rosters unless you have an open DL spot.
Current Injury: none
Strasburg may be healthy right now, but his injury history is somewhat concerning. Our algorithm had him at a High Injury Risk since the start of Spring Training. Strasburg has had Tommy John surgery, a lat strain, multiple upper back strains, an oblique strain, shoulder inflammation, and elbow soreness, just to name a few. Any one of these problems could flare up at any moment, so he isn’t the most reliable ace. He is 4-3 with a 3.52 ERA through his first 8 starts in 2018- solid but not dominant.
More Trouble is Looming
Clayton Kershaw LAD
Current Injury: biceps tendinitis
While the Dodgers are optimistic that Kershaw’s biceps tendinitis should heal in the next few weeks, his recent list of injuries is concerning. He has landed on the DL three times in the last four seasons due to various back injuries, and now he is on the DL with an arm injury. These are very troubling injuries for a pitcher, and there’s no telling when his back will act up again. His tendinitis could be caused by trying to overcompensate for his back injury, placing added stress on the biceps. While this specific injury should heal within the next three weeks, he needs to find the root cause of his mechanical issues to ensure that this is the last of his injury problems. That’s easier said than done, so he is High Risk.
Waiver Wire Advice
Logan Morrison DH, MIN
Owned in 34% of CBS Leagues
Morrison has struggled to start the season in Minnesota, failing to build off of his breakout 2017 with Tampa Bay. However, some of that could be chalked up to bad luck and circumstances. Morrison’s exit velocity and launch angle are both up a tick from last year when he hit 38 bombs. He has started to turn it around recently with a .933 OPS in his last 11 games. Morrison’s struggles might partially be due to the poor weather in Minnesota and around the U.S. in the early parts of the season. For a dead home run hitter, batting outside in the cold is a lot different than a dome in Florida. Expect Morrison’s numbers to continue to rise and for the home runs to come in bunches as the weather warms up. Minnesota doesn’t have many other options from a power perspective with Miguel Sano (hamstring) currently banged up, so they will give Morrison plenty of opportunity to get it going, as should fantasy owners.
Alen Henson 2B/OF, SF
Owned in 25% of CBS Leagues
With Joe Panik (thumb) out, Henson has filled in nicely at second for the Giants, hitting .263 with six extra base hits and two steals over 11 games. Panik will be out for at least another month, meaning Henson will continue to get regular at-bats. He’s gotten some run in the leadoff spot recently and is a solid speed option. He hasn’t posted massive stolen base numbers in his limited MLB experience, but his pedigree in the minors shows more in that area. He’s a solid shorter-term option, especially if you need steals.
Dustin Fowler OF, OAK
Owned in 23% of CBS Leagues
The 23-year-old Fowler was one of the top prospects in the Yankees system before suffering a devastating knee injury in his Major League debut last season. Oakland acquired him in the Sonny Gray trade late last season, and now Fowler has been called up to play center field for the A’s. Fowler has recovered well from the patella injury according to all reports, and is a Low Injury Risk with a Peak HPF Health Performance Factor according to Inside Injuries. He should get regular at-bats at least against right-handed starters, which should be enough to give him value in deeper mixed leagues. His talent is still worth betting on.
Ross Stripling SP, LAD
Owned in 3% of CBS Leagues
The Dodgers’ rotation has been ravaged by injuries, giving Stripling the opportunity to claim a spot. Clayton Kershaw (biceps tendinitis) won’t be back until late may at the earliest, while Hyun-Jin Ryu (groin strain) won’t be seen until the second half of the season, according to Dave Roberts. With Rich Hill’s documented injury issues and struggles this season, as well as Walker Buehler’s impending innings limit, Stripling should continue to find starts in the Dodgers rotation, even if he moves back and forth between the bullpen and rotation at times. He has pitched well overall this season and could provide some value in deep leagues with the state of the Dodgers staff.
Alex Reyes SP, STL
Owned in 55% of CBS Leagues
Reyes is currently working his way back from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in February of 2017, making his first rehab appearance and going 3.1 scoreless innings. He still has a decent amount of time to go before he’s brought up to the Majors, but he’s an exciting lottery ticket option. Reyes was dominant in his short stint in the majors in 2017, when he bumped back and forth between the rotation and’pen. He was expected to be a mainstay in the rotation starting in 2017 before he had to undergo the surgery. Reyes is back at a Low Injury Risk with a Peak HPF according to Inside Injuries as he works his way back, which is a good sign for him at this point in his rehab. It’s unclear whether or not he’ll go back to the rotation or bullpen upon his return, but the upside is still there. If he’s still sitting on the wire in your league and you have an empty DL spot, he’s a no-brainer stash.
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