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Nationals Daniel Murphy, Giants Brandon Belt Are Risky Plays

Nationals Daniel Murphy, Giants Brandon Belt Are Risky Plays
Inside Injuries June 18, 2018 6:37AM EST

Health-Related Lineup Tips from insideinjuries.com

Matt Adams 1B, Nationals – Sit

Adams’ left index finger was hit by a pitch when he squared up to attempt a bunt during Friday night’s game, which caused considerable swelling and discomfort. X-rays of the finger didn’t show any fractures, and Adams is expected to make a full recovery. According to Inside Injuries’ algorithm, Adams’ Return to Health Date is July 6, and he will be a High Injury Risk, especially if his finger isn’t given adequate time to heal. An injury to a hitter’s top hand and fingers on a bat can impact their performance, which is the reason for Adams’ Poor Health Performance Factor. Adams’ finger is set to be re-evaluated Monday in Washington after the swelling has some time to subside.

Adams is a streaky type of hitter to begin with, and he’s had a problem with plantar fasciitis at times this season. In fact, Adams stroked seven home runs during the first seven games played in May, but he’s only hit three homers in the 28 games he’s played in since May 7. It’s no coincidence that Adams missed a few games at the end of May/beginning of June when the plantar fasciitis diagnosis was made public.

Mark Reynolds & Daniel Murphy 1B, Nationals – Cautious Starts

It should be an easy decision to replace Adams with either Reynolds or Murphy, but there are compelling reasons to avoid the whole situation. Reynolds, like Adams, tends to be streaky and is prone to extended slumps. Unfortunately, he is in the midst of a terrible slump right now. His overall numbers (.269/.329/.522) don’t look too bad, but over the last 10 games he’s played, he’s been just awful with a .143/.211/.229 triple slash, one HR, one RBI and two runs scored. Murphy is fresh off the disabled list. While he’s long surpassed his March 9 Return to Health date, Inside Injuries still lists Murphy as being a High Injury Risk with a Below Average Health Performance Factor. The Nationals are considering whether to play Murphy at first base going forward, a move they believe will put less stress on his surgically repaired knee. If they follow through with those plans, Reynolds may have a tough time getting at bats, and Adams will have to go to the outfield to play once he returns. Things get even more complicated when you factor in Ryan Zimmerman, who’s been on the disabled list for the better part of a month with an injured oblique or back depending on who you believe. For now, you can cautiously start Murphy or Reynolds if you pay close attention to the team’s lineup announcements each day. You will also need to pay close attention to Adams’ and Zimmerman’s progress in rehab and be ready to trade, drop or activate them according to your team’s needs. In truth, though, it might be best to divest yourself of all four players and see what, if anything, you can get back in a trade.

Brandon Belt 1B, Giants – Cautious Start

Brandon Belt was activated by the Giants following an all too brief recovery period after emergency surgery for appendicitis. Inside Injuries’ algorithm calculated a July 7 Return to Health date for Belt, so he will remain at High Risk for Injury because he’s returned to the field with less than 50% of his recovery time served. In addition, Belt currently carries a Below Average Health Performance Factor. The primary danger for Belt is the incision point for the appendectomy, which could weaken his core muscles and leave him vulnerable to a hernia or a muscular tear. Prior to the surgery, Belt was one of the hottest hitters in MLB, batting .301/.396/.536 with 11 HRs, 31 RBIs, 32 Runs, and a pair of stolen bases. Fantasy owners should activate him immediately, but we also recommend that you hang on to your backup plan for Belt in the event he is further injured or suffers a setback.

Pablo Sandoval 1B/3B, Giants – Cautious Start

The Big Panda was the primary first baseman for the Giants while Brandon Belt was out following surgery. Sandoval will now move over to third base for at least the next six weeks or so because the Giants’ regular third baseman, Evan Longoria, will be on the disabled list with a fractured hand. Sandoval has been remarkably healthy since the Red Sox traded him to the Giants last season. He’s been working hard to clean up his reputation, which was damaged following a terrible trio of seasons with the Red Sox during which Sandoval played in a total of 161 games to produce .237/.286/.360 triple slash with 14 HRs, 59 RBIs, and 53 Runs. Granted, Sandoval endured multiple injuries during a difficult period of time in MLB when players were vilified for the use of steroids and human growth hormones to speed their recovery from injuries.

Right now, it appears that his good health is producing in accordance with his Above Average Health Performance Factor, as Sandoval is currently posting a .279/.346/.451 line with five HRs, 23 RBIs and 12 Runs scored over just 122 at bats. While that isn’t what we’d call “explosive” production, there is no question he is hot at the plate now. It’s certainly good enough for deep mixed and mid-sized NL-Only league play. You’ll have to monitor his performance, which could crater at any time, but it appears he will be productive for at least a few more weeks.

 Quick Hits

The Mets activated Jeurys Familia Sunday. You’ll want him active right away despite his Below Average Health Performance Factor…The Indians welcomed Tyler Naquin and his .333/.360/.457 production back. Fantasy owners should get Naquin active as soon as possible, as he is already listed with a Low Overall Injury Risk… Elvis Andrus’ return to the Texas Rangers appears imminent as he was heading to the team’s Triple-A Round Rock facility to play one or two rehab games. Andrus has fully recovered from a broken elbow and surpassed his May 30 Optimal Return to Health date, which explains his Above Average Health Performance Factor. Prior to the injury, Andrus was tearing through pitchers at a breakneck pace of .327/.426/.500. Andrus’ return will mean a reduction in playing time and at bats for Jurickson Profar, who did well at .239/.313/.440, but still has consistency issues.


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