Health-related Fantasy advice from insideinjuries.com.
Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH, LA Angels)
Ohtani has been dealing with several minor injuries including a ligament sprain to his hand (April 17), a blister on his throwing hand (April 19) and an ankle sprain (April 27). While none of these injuries was serious enough to put Ohtani on the DL, collectively they had an effect on his performance. While we are dealing with small sample sizes here that can be viewed as random events, it’s no coincidence that Ohtani’s dips in performance occurred during the time periods right after the injuries. The proof is in the numbers.
From the beginning of the season until the first injury on April 17, Inside Injuries listed Ohtani with a Health Performance Factor (HPF) of 92.7% (Peak) and an Overall Injury Risk of 10.8% (Low). Ohtani’s performance as a batter confirms this, as he batted .364/.424/.767 with three HRs, 11 RBI and five Runs scored during the eight games played. On the mound, Ohtani made two starts that resulted in two wins with an ERA of 2.08, 18 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched and an opponent batting average of just 0.93.
Once the injuries began on the 17th, Ohtani’s performances took a turn for the worse. Over his next three starts leading up to May 10, the date Inside Injuries calculated as being Ohtani’s Optimal Recovery Time, he made three starts in which he pitched a total of 13.1 innings and came away with one loss and one win with an ERA of 6.08 and 14 strikeouts with an opponent Batting Average Against of .314. As a hitter, Ohtani’s performance didn’t suffer as dramatically as it did as a pitcher but clearly something had changed. Over the 17 games since the injuries started, Ohtani has batted .281/.328/.509 with three HRs, six RBI and seven Runs scored.
The good news is that Ohtani has reached his Optimal Recovery Date and his performance has improved on the mound. In the two starts he’s made since he’s fully recovered, Ohtani has gone 14 innings with 20 strikeouts resulting in two wins with an ERA of 1.93 and a BAA of .176. Fantasy owners of Ohtani would do well to consider trading him now that his Health Performance Factor is back to Above Average and his Overall Injury Risk is down to just Elevated status. Remember that Ohtani entered this season with a history of elbow injuries and an ongoing issue with his ankle, which has already resulted in missed games and decreased performances.
It’s also worth noting that Ohtani doesn’t get enough at bats to make a true Fantasy impact unless you own him in leagues with daily moves that allow you to move him in and out of your lineup as needed. As a pitcher, Ohtani will not make more than 25 starts at his current pace because he only starts once every seventh day. Any injury will reduce that number further, which will greatly reduce his Fantasy value. Current owners outside of leagues with daily moves should strongly consider trading Ohtani away while his value and performance are both high.
David Price (SP, Boston Red Sox)
Price is another example of a pitcher whose value has fluctuated greatly already this season. We’ve been told countless times that there are many ways to win at Fantasy Baseball. However, the truth is that there are only two ways to win – maximizing player value and minimizing risk. We are currently at a point where Price’s value may indeed be maximized, especially given his recent injury scare and his performances over his last two outings.
Remember, Price began this season late because of a “dead arm” that may have been related to his major elbow problems of last season. Then, about two weeks ago, Price was removed from a start because of numbness and pain in his hand. This was later diagnosed as “mild” carpal tunnel syndrome. Price missed one start and has since come back to win two consecutive starts, throwing 14.1 innings and netting 14 strikeouts for two wins and an ERA of 2.51 with a BAA of .196.
Despite the good news, Inside Injuries lists Price as being High Risk for injury (33.11%) with a Health Performance Factor of Poor (33.71%), which makes this a perfect time to trade him away. You’ll have to really sell his last two outings as being indicative of what he’s capable of going forward (even though that’s probably a bold-faced lie). You’ll also have to perpetuate the Red Sox’ myth that his carpal tunnel syndrome is so mild that it won’t impact his pitching much (another bold-faced lie). There is no escaping the fact that Price is a ticking time bomb whose performance will likely suffer again because of the carpal tunnel syndrome issue. However, even if he avoids any problems with carpal tunnel, his elbow could easily flare up as a result of altered mechanics to protect his wrist from the carpal tunnel. In other words, you really don’t want any part of David Price. Trade him now while he’s performing well.
Jake Faria (SP, Tampa Bay Rays)
The Rays’ 24-year-old lefty was removed from his start Tuesday night in the third inning after complaining of pain in his side. He was later diagnosed with an oblique muscle strain. Faria was placed on the disabled list Wednesday and could end up missing several weeks with the injury. Inside Injuries’ algorithm calculates June 26 as his Optimal Return to Health date mainly because of Faria’s history of oblique muscle injuries. He missed about a month late last season with a similar injury.
To date, Faria has made 10 starts and compiled a record of 3-3 with a 5.48 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 37 strikeouts (6.99 K/9). Faria’s rather low strikeout rate and the fact that the Rays have a below average offense that only offered him 3.68 runs per game to date, makes him expendable in all but the deepest of Fantasy leagues.