Fantasy Baseball Breakdown

Ben Arledge

 Injuries plague fantasy baseball owners. Typing your team’s most valuable asset’s name into Twitter or Google and getting back the dreaded phrases of “Headed to the DL” and “Stint on the 15-day DL” can put any serious owner into the darkest of states. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but there is no arguing the disappointment that an owner feels when he/she takes a top round draft pick out of the starting line-up and stores it away in the dungeon that is the DL slot. The player just marinates there and you can never know how long he will stay or if he will come back at the same level. Injuries suck, to put it plainly. 

Cliff Lee is a big loss, holding a sub-two ERA through his first three starts, including 10-innings of scoreless ball against San Francisco last week. However, he is expected back on May 4, so don’t fret. Daniel Hudson’s right shoulder injury is also expected to be a quick recovery, after his MRI revealed no structural damage. Michael Pineda, Chris Carpenter and Doug Fister are all expected to miss more significant time, so replacements are necessary. 

I would take a look at Derek Holland as a nice fill in. A low-three ERA, sub-one WHIP and just about a strikeout per inning makes him a reasonable spot starter. Matt Harrison, Holland’s Texas rotation mate, would also offer some quality innings, going 3-0 in his first three starts with a 1.66 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in that time. Finally, Ivan Nova of the Yankees might provide some upside. The guy does not lose games and has a 10.00 K/BB ratio through his first three starts. 

At the plate, the most notable injury is that of Jacoby Ellsbury. The Boston centerfielder will be out six weeks and on a positive note, will not need surgery. I am a little concerned about how he will come back from the injury, but it might still be a nice time to buy-low on him and stash him on your DL. Michael Morse is also out for quite some time, as he is not expected to hit the field again until June at the earliest. Lance Berkman is out with a calf injury for at least two weeks, Chris Young’s hot bat (.410, five homers) is out two-to-three weeks and Carl Crawford is still waiting for clearance to play the field. After sitting on the DL with a wrist injury, Crawford managed to strain his elbow, extending his stint. I have to throw up my hands with him. Brett Gardner is due back May 3 off a wrist injury, while Ryan Howard and Chase Utley still have a long time riding the bench. As for replacements, Chase Headley is worth a look. He is hitting .293 with four homers. Jordan Schafer could be a speed answer, cruising with six stolen bags this season. JD Martinez is also a quality add, hitting north of .300 with 14 RBIs and 11 walks. 

Don’t panic. Free agency has plenty of options for you, especially this early in the season. The season goes on – just hope for speedy recoveries. 

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