LWOS Fantasy Baseball 2015 Injury Report Week of Mar 1

**These reports are prepared by Ryan Dumouchel and Jose Maldonado.

Welcome to the Last Word On Sports 2015 Weekly Injury Report. This will be a series of reports updated every week to give you the insight and advantage you need to make any necessary changes to your lineup. It can be tough trying to decipher whether a particular injury is serious enough to keep a player off the field for an extended amount of time and we here at LWOS want to provide you with the best up to date information available. We will also provide analysis and, at times, bench and minor league player recommendations that will gain more playing time because of an injury. Be smart and don’t let the injury bug ruin your team and your chance for a Fantasy Baseball Championship.

Without further ado, here is the injury report for the week of Feb. 29 2015:

Homer Bailey, SP, Cincinnati Reds

The Injury: Bailey is currently recovering from forearm surgery and should be back by Opening Day. As of this week, he has started to throw off the mount

What It Means: As it stands, Bailey looks to be a decent late-round pick for starting pitching depth as is current ADP is 181.3. In 2012 & 2013, he pitched 200+ innings. Assuming he continues to make progress in his recovery, he should put up respectable numbers in 2015.

Willie Bloomquist, SS, Seattle Mariners

The Injury: Bloomquist is currently recovering from knee surgery that he had in August and is very likely to be ready by Opening Day.

What It Means: In terms of Fantasy, not very much. Bloomquist does not get regular playing time (only season over 400 PA was 2009) and has put up underwhelming numbers when he has played.

Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

The Injury: Braun is currently recovering from right thumb surgery that he had in October and is likely to be ready by Opening Day. He is expected to be completely active during spring training.

What It Means: Braun’s thumb has been a recurring issue over the last couple seasons. It is possible that this recurring issue played a major factor in the decline in numbers he has seen the last couple seasons. While his ADP is pretty high (32) based on past success, we would recommend keeping up to date and the recovery of his thumb before drafting him onto your team.

Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

The Injury: Cabrera is currently recovering from foot surgery and is likely to be back by Opening Day. It is possibly that he will begin fielding exercises in early-March

What It Means: While Cabrera should be back by opening day, this injury does leave a cloud of uncertainty. Even though this will likely have an impact on his stock, he is still likely to be drafted in the first round. If you are one of those people looking to draft him in the 1st round, pay VERY close attention to how this recovery progresses.

Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco Giants

The Injury: Cain is currently recovering from elbow surgery that he had in August and should be ready for Opening Day.

What It Means: Cain had his worst season as a pro last year, with a 4.18 ERA & 4.58 FIP. It is possible that these numbers from last year may have been a product of trying to pitch through this injury. If you are considering using a late-round pick on Cain, we would advise to closely monitor the recovery progress of this injury. Even with a full recovery, it may be too much to ask for a repeat of 2011-2012 when he had sub-3 ERA’s. Currently, his ADP is at 229.8 and is at least worth a late round draft pick.

Patrick Corbin, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

The Injury: Corbin is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery that he had in March and he may be back as early as June.

What It Means:  For draft status, best case scenario would be a late round pick for deeper and NL-only leagues. While he had solid 2013 numbers, 3.41 ERA/7.69 K/9 in most cases Corbin isn’t worth drafting due to the expectation of missed time.

While a partial season of the above numbers may not be worth drafting, Corbin may be a reasonable waiver wire pick up when he returns and if he shows the potential to repeat the numbers that he had in 2013.

Sean Doolittle, RP, Oakland Athletics

The Injury: Doolittle is currently recovering from a left rotator cuff tear. While a recent ultrasound revealed that this injury is healing, it is unclear when he will be back in action.

What It Means: Doolittle got his first chance to close last year and got 22 SV, 2.73 ERA & 12.78 K/9. With Doolittle missing the early part of the season that temporarily opens up the closer position for the Athletics. This injury makes the A’s closer situation something that demands strong attention as spring training progresses. At this point, the most likely candidates for this job are Tyler Clippard and Eric O’Flaherty.

Lucas Duda,1B, New York Mets

The Injury: Duda currently has a left intercostals strain. While he is likely to be ready for Opening Day, he is currently staying away from swinging bats.

What It Means: While he is not expected to miss time, this could put a dent on his Fantasy Value. Personally, I had been bullish on his ability to repeat his 30 HR outburst from last year. However, if this is an injury that lingers throughout the season this could impact his main fantasy strength of hitting for power.

Jose Fernandez, SP, Miami Marlins

The Injury: Fernandez is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery and is scheduled to be back by June. His recovery appears to be moving along as he is expected to resume throwing from the Pitcher’s mound in early March.

What It Means: For the back end of the draft, it leaves us with an
interesting dilemma. Since Fernandez was very dominant over his first 36 starts (2.25 ERA, 10.31 K/9), do you stash him on your roster until he returns from injury or pass in favor of a less talented pitcher with a cleaner bill of health. Despite the expectation of significant missed time, his ADP is at 177.0 based on his pre-injury dominance.

Matt Harvey, SP, New York Mets

The Injury: Harvey is currently recovering from October 2013 Tommy John surgery and appears on track to be ready by Opening Day. He is expected to make his first Spring Training start on March 6.

What It Means: Harvey was out the entire 2014 season due to surgery but appears on track to have a strong season. If you are thinking of drafting Harvey, it is crucial that you keep a close eye on how he progresses during Spring Training. While there are concerns about how long it will take for him to be back into form and his innings being limited, his talent and performance in 2012-2013 is too strong to ignore.

Josh Hamilton, OF, Los Angeles Angels

The Injury: Hamilton is currently recovering from shoulder surgery and could possibly be back in April.

What It Means: Over the last few seasons, Hamilton’s value has trended downwards due to a continual stream of injuries and decreased production since signing with the Angels. At this point, he’s likely to at least miss some time due to his injury.While Hamilton may also be suspended, one thing to keep in mind is that any suspension he receives would likely start on Opening Day and not when he fully recovered from his injury. The next two players on the Angels left field depth chart are Colin Cowgill and Matt Joyce.

Even with a potential increase in playing time, we would not recommend picking up Cowgill. He has a career AVG of .242 and his power is mediocre at best (11 career HR in 671 PA). Even though extra playing time wouldn’t make Matt Joyce a must-draft player, he is at least capable of providing 15-20 HR power.

Tim Hudson, SP, San Francisco Giants

The Injury: Hudson is recovering from Right Ankle Surgery as will possibly be ready by Opening Day.

What It Means: While he does not appear to be on track to miss anytime, the combination of being 39 and recovering from surgery does not exactly spell fantasy value. Currently his ADP is 341.3 and would only be worth targeting in either deeper or NL only leagues.

Kenley Jansen, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Injury: Jansen is out until late April after having left foot surgery.

What It Means: The Dodgers closer situation will need to be closely monitored during spring training. One of the possible candidates to grab the closer spot is Brandon League. While League does have some experience in the closer role, even if he were to get what appears to be a temporary job, his success would be far from guaranteed as his career ERA of 3.65 is under-whelming and his 6.34 K/9 is less than imposing.

Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers

The Injury: Right hamstring sprain and is likely to be ready for Opening Day.

What It Means: While Lucroy appears to be relatively active at this point, we would highly recommend closely monitoring the recovery process for this injury as Spring Training progresses. While this could leave him at less than 100% at the start of the season, this shouldn’t have too much impact on his draft stock.

Nick Markakis, OF, Atlanta Braves

The Injury: Markakis is currently recovering from neck surgery that he had in December. He has been cleared to resume normal activity and will be ready to play possibly by Opening Day.

What It Means: While Markakis is not on track to miss any time, this doesn’t exactly help is already modest value (his ADP is at 278.5).

Victor Martinez, 1B, Detroit Tigers

The Injury: Martinez is currently recovering from left knee surgery and is likely to be ready by Opening Day. He is expected to report to Spring Training by March 2.

What It Means: Drafting Martinez was already somewhat of a risky proposition due to his age and it being unlikely that his power outburst from last year was repeatable. Being injured this close to the start of the season merely adds to the risk, especially since he will be spending less time at Spring Training.

The Injury: Moore is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery and could be back by June.

Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Cleveland Indians

The Injury: Moss is currently recovering from Hip Surgery from October and is slated to return by Opening Day. While he is expected to miss part of Spring Training, he is expected to resume game activity around mid-March.

What It Means: In the long-term, this does not appear to impact his Fantasy Value. His current ADP is at 178.8 and he still looks on track to be a source of 25+ HR power with mediocre batting average.

Jake McGee, RP, Tampa Bay Rays

The Injury: McGee is currently recovering from Left Elbow Surgery and is expected to be back in May.

What It Means: McGee excelled in the closer role last year saving 19 games. He also had a 1.89 ERA & 11.13 K/9. With McGee expected to miss time, the competition for the Rays Closer job in Spring Training is something that needs to be watched closely. The main candidates to get save opportunities at least for the first month of the season are Grant Balfour, Brad Boxberger and Ernesto Frieri.

Angel Pagan, OF, San Francisco Giants

The Injury: Recovering from back surgery he received in September of 2014. He is a possible for Opening Day.

What It Means: Pagan adds value in average and SB but with 129 games missed the last 2 seasons due to injuries, he has been pushed to later round picks status (Fantasy Pros ADP 348). The OF depth of players is pretty deep as well making Pagan a deep league or NL only option.

Bobby Parnell, P, New York Mets

The Injury: Recovering from Tommy John Surgery he received in April of 2014. A CBS sports report states he will more than likely miss the first 2-3 weeks of the season.

What It Means: Parnell may miss the first few weeks of the season but he is eyeing the closer role upon his return. He did have 22 saves in 50 IP in 2013. If he is not drafted in your league (Fantasy Pros ADP is 385 so it’s highly likely) he could be an excellent waiver wire addition if he does regain his former position. In the mean time, Jenry Meija should be in line for the closer role, as he lead the Mets last year with 28 saves.

Garret Richards, P, Los Angeles Angels

The Injury: Recovering from knee surgery he received in August of 2014. He is possible for Opening Day.

What It Means: A LA Times article stated that Richards threw his fourth bullpen of the spring (the first time throwing from the windup and the stretch) and he reported feeling good again. He reaffirmed his desire to be ready to go for Opening Day. After a breakout start in 2014 (2.61 ERA, 164 K in 168.2 IP) he should be a solid pick for 2015. If he doesn’t make opening day, he will more than likely be ready a start or two after.

Chris Sale, P, Chicago White Sox

The Injury: Sale suffered an avulsion fracture on the lateral side of his left foot. He is expected to miss at least 3 weeks.

What It Means: Apparently, there was an accident at his home and Sale came into camp with the injured foot. We will know more once the swelling goes down, but the time frame is a sigh of relief for the southpaw, as he may only miss the first start or two of the season. Since his introduction as a starter in 2012, Sale has been a dominant force on the hill. His 626 strikeouts rank 7th among qualified starting pitchers and his 2.79 ERA ranks 5th. We will keep a close eye on this injury, as Sale is a highly coveted fantasy asset (Fantasy Pros ADP 17).

Michael Saunders, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

The Injury: Saunders has a torn meniscus in his left knee that he suffered in Spring Training. He is expected to miss the first half of the season.

What It Means: This is a big blow for Saunders and the Blue Jays as he is the type of player who, when healthy, has the ability to put up a 20/20 season at a cheap price (Fantasy Pros ADP 338). It is not his first time dealing with an injury either, missing 68 games in 2014 and 39 games between 2012-2013. This was considered a freak accident but Saunders can definitely be categorized as injury prone. Look for him on the waiver wire (if he is available) after the All-Star break. In the mean time, Kevin Pillar and Steve Tolleson are the only backups, but we will see how things turn out during Spring Training.

Nick Swisher, 1B, Cleveland Indians

The Injury: Recovering from left and right knee surgery he received in August of 2015. He is possible for Opening Day

What It Means: Swisher has not been the same since his departure from New York. His power (.380 SLG with Cleveland compared to a career .453 SLG) and average (.230 AVG with Cleveland compared to a career .251 AVG) have been on the decline since 2012. Some of that may have been due to injury and park factors but, with knee surgeries under Swisher’s belt, fantasy owners are a lot more cautious in selecting him (Fantasy Pro ADP 445) and we suggest you to do the same.

Melvin (B.J.) Upton Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves

The Injury: A MRI showed inflammation in his left foot. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

What It Means: Upton was looking to bounce back this year as his time in Atlanta has not been pretty (.198/.279/.314 with only 15 HR in 267 games). Fantasy owners have been disappointed when drafting Upton and it’s definitely showing this year (Fantasy Pros ADP 368). At this point, Upton is strictly deep NL only league material until proven otherwise. The options for CF are limited, as the depth in the OF for Atlanta is shallow.

Adam Wainwright, P, St. Louis Cardinals

The Injury: Wainwright left Spring Training dealing with abdominal pain. He is likely for Opening Day.

What It Means: A NBC sports report stated doctors examined Wainwright and diagnosed him with an abdominal strain, he has been told to rest for a couple of weeks. We will keep an eye on reports in case anything changes, but Wainwright should be safe to draft (Fantasy Pros ADP 38, career 3.01 ERA, at least 198 IP in the last 5 seasons). However, he is going on 34 and one wonders how long Wainwright can keep up his dominance.

Jayson Werth, OF, Washington Nationals

The Injury: Recovering from shoulder surgery he received in January of 2015. He is possible for Opening Day

What It Means: Jayson Werth is hoping to make Opening Day, as his surgery was considered “minimally-invasive.” He should be a solid mid round pick (Fantasy Pros ADP 125) that contributes in multiple categories. However you will want a backup to fill in for him if he does miss the first week or so of the season.

Matt Wieters, C, Baltimore Orioles

The Injury: Recovering from Tommy John Surgery he received in June of 2014. He is possible for Opening Day

What It Means: Matt Wieters will be participating in Spring Training per Bleacher Report. If all goes well, Wieters should be in the line-up come Opening Day. He should also be a solid mid-round pick (Fantasy Pros ADP 161; averaged over 20 HR and 68 RBI from 2011-2013) if you miss out on the early round catchers.

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