Key Waiver Adds and the Latest Injury Roundup from insideinjuries.com
Jimmy Nelson MIL, SP
Owned in 33% of CBS Leagues
Nelson had shoulder surgery last September and still has not made his way back onto a big league mound. He hasn’t thrown off any mound yet either, but the other signs are positive and point to him being back some time after the All-Star Break. Nelson is an elevated injury risk according to Inside Injuries, but has a peak Health Performance Factor, which signals that his shoulder should be close to 100%, and he’s just in the process of getting back into pitching shape. He likely won’t be much of a factor until August, but he’s a worthy DL stash if you have an open spot given how good he was last year, and how solid Milwaukee has been this season.
Dereck Rodriguez SF, SP
Owned in 12% of CBS Leagues
With the injuries to the Giants rotation, Rodriguez has gotten a chance to pitch every 5th day, and he has done quite well. He’s used superb control to pitch to a 3.82 ERA and was fantastic in his last start, giving up just 1 run over 7. He should certainly be owned in more than 12% of leagues given the starting pitching landscape this season. The one issue is whether or not he will stay in the rotation when Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzijia return. Both are currently on rehab assignments and could be back in the early stages of July. However, given the injury troubles that those two and Madison Bumgarner have endured, there’s a likelihood that Rodriguez will get another chance in the rotation later, if he hasn’t earned a permanent spot already. He’s definitely worth a look in some deeper leagues.
Zack Wheeler NYM, SP
Owned in 42% of CBS Leagues
The big positive around Zack Wheeler is that he’s throwing harder than he has in quite some time, signaling that he’s the healthiest he’s been in quite a while. Wheeler has battled injuries since the start of his big league career, including Tommy John surgery in 2015 and continued elbow problems last season. He remains an elevated injury risk according to Inside Injuries, and the elbow issues will always be in the back of everyone’s mind, but his confidence continues to grow and his 96 mph average fastball velocity shows it. He’s posted 3.26 ERA over his last 6 starts and is beginning to look like a pitcher that should be owned in way more than 42% of leagues. If he’s still available in yours, it’s time to snatch him up.
Jose Bautista NYM, OF
Owned in 7% of CBS Leagues
It’s crazy to think that Bautista is a legit fantasy option in 2018, but that’s the truth. With the well-documented injuries in the Mets’ outfield, Bautista has been getting regular plate appearances and doing plenty with them, particularly taking walks. He has the highest walk rate of anyone in baseball with over 100 plate appearances, and his power and run production numbers have gone up lately as well. With Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce still on the shelf with no timetable to return, Bautista should remain in the regular lineup. He’s worth a look in deep leagues, especially category leagues that use OBP.
Brandon Phillips 2B, BOS
Owned in 1% of CBS Leagues
Even more absurd than Bautista being relevant is Phillips being so, but, believe it or not, he is. Boston just signed him to a minor league deal with Dustin Pedroia’s knee still a major question mark. Pedroia will have his knee checked out this weekend, but, according to Inside Injuries, he remains a high injury risk. With his status up in the air and utility man Eduardo Nunez struggling mightily, Phillips could be playing 2nd base somewhat regularly in Boston pretty soon. Given his solid production in Atlanta last season and the team and ballpark he would be walking into, Phillips becomes an intriguing option at second base. He’s a deep league stash as of now, but there is some upside here.
Gary Sanchez C, Yankees: groin strain
An MRI showed a grade 1 groin strain for the Yankees catcher, and our algorithm is showing a 4-week Optimal Recovery Time. This is on the longer end of his projected 3-4 recovery timeline. If he tries to return before then, even as a DH, his Injury Risk will remain a concern. Sanchez also battled groin tightness in 2017 and missed a few games. This is always a tricky injury for a hitter, but it especially tough for a catcher. Sanchez isn’t exactly playing great this season, but it’s still tough to lose his bat for a month. And an injury like this certainly won’t help him turn things around any time soon. Maybe the refresh will be good for him so he can return to his 2017 form in the second half of the year.
Kris Bryant 3B, Cubs: shoulder inflammation
The Cubs finally placed Bryant on the DL after missing a few games with inflammation in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. The good news here is that he is looking at a short 1-2 week Optimal Recovery Time, so he should be ready to return soon after the minimum 10 days is up. His HPF (Health Performance Factor) is Below Average right now but should improve quickly.
Lorenzo Cain OF, Brewers: groin strain
Cain left the game on Saturday with tightness in his groin, and the Brewers were forced to place him on the DL. Considering his history of lower body injuries (hamstring- 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018; quad- 2017, 2018; knee- 2015), he should be extra cautious. Our algorithm is showing that July 7 is the absolute earliest he should return, but with the All-Star break approaching it would be best to give him the extra rest. Cain was already a High Injury Risk before his latest groin strain, and now it has jumped to 42%, which is very concerning.
Carlos Correa SS, Astros: back stiffness
While the Astros didn’t plan to place Correa on the DL, back injuries are tricky and notoriously slow to heal. They finally made the decision on Thursday to place him on the DL after he had not played since leaving Monday with back stiffness. Manager A.J. Hinch said “I’m going to be ultra careful and conservative with him. I’m not going to play him until I’m convinced that he’s not sore anymore.” This is the right approach with any sort of back injury as they can be easily re-aggravated and made much worse. While Hinch also said that this is unrelated to the mild strain to his right said earlier in the month, the first very easily could have lead to the second. Once Correa feels back to normal, he should take another day or two to rest and receive treatment before being plugged back into the lineup. We are showing an Optimal Recovery Time of at least 2 weeks.
Clay Buchholz SP, Diamondbacks: left oblique strain
Buchholz landed on the DL with a mild left oblique strain, and the Diamondbacks are expecting a short absence for their starter. While his Injury Risk is currently Elevated, we are showing a two week Optimal Recovery Time, so his numbers should improve quickly. With a July 8 Healthy to Return Date, Buchholz could make a start or two before the All Star break if all goes well.
Steven Wright RP, Red Sox: left knee inflammation
The Red Sox placed Wright on the DL due to soreness and inflammation in his left knee. Wright underwent surgery last summer to restore cartilage in his knee, and flare-ups like this are fairly common following these serious procedures. That’s why our algorithm still had his Injury Risk as Elevated despite being nearly a year removed from surgery. Wright’s last outing was horrible, allowing 10 hits and 10 runs in just 3.1 innings. While he may not need more than a few weeks on the DL, this will continue to be an injury to monitor throughout the season. At 33, this is a tough one to fully recover from.
Arodys Vizcaino RP, Braves: right shoulder inflammation
Vizcaino has battled soreness in his throwing shoulder on and off throughout the year. The Braves finally decided to shut him down to allow the inflammation to calm down, placing him on the DL earlier this week. He could return as soon as Sunday. So long as nothing is structurally wrong (and it doesn’t sound like it is), he should be ready when first eligible. He will throw off the mound on Friday, and if that goes well he should be fully cleared to return to the Braves’ bullpen.
Mike Soroka SP, Braves: right shoulder inflammation
Mike Soroka’s return from the DL was short-lived. He initially missed a few weeks in late April and early May with a mild strain, experiencing pain in the back of his right shoulder. After just two starts, he has again been placed on the DL. This time it’s the 60-day, so he is looking at a lengthy absence. It’s a surprise considering his MRI was clean and showed only inflammation, no structural damage. The plan is to shut him down from throwing for around 4 weeks, then he will slowly start to play toss and stretch out his arm, followed by bullpen sessions then rehab starts.
Dylan Bundy SP, Orioles: left ankle sprain
Bundy sprained his left ankle while running the bases over the weekend. He hoped to avoid the DL, but after testing it out on Tuesday, he continued to experience pain when landing on his throws off the mound. His absence shouldn’t last more than a few weeks, which is in line with our two week Optimal Recovery Time. He is currently sitting at an Elevated Injury Risk and Below Average HPF, but his numbers will improve quickly as he approaches his July 9 Healthy to Return Date.