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Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Spring Training Recap

by Nicholas Tasso
Mar 29, 2016

Will A.J. Pollock be ready for the start of the regular season?

Will A.J. Pollock be ready for the start of the regular season?

With the start of the regular season now just a few days away, it’s time to see which players are dealing with injuries that will delay the beginning of their new season. Despite MLB being a 162 game season, It’s vital to get off to a strong start in season-long leagues, especially for H2H leagues. Let’s get right into the guys who will be sidelined as the new year begins.

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C.J. Wilson (LAA – SP)
Wilson was shut down for 8-to-10 days on March 25 due to left shoulder tendinitis. This means Wilson will not even begin to resume baseball activities until right around Opening Day. The 35-year-old had very little fantasy value before this injury, but it may lead to more opportunity for Andrew Heaney at the start of this season. Heaney should be slotted for the fifth spot in the rotation, and he should be considered if you are streaming starters or playing DFS.

Lance McCullers (HOU – SP)
There’s not much news coming out from Houston on McCullers. His return date is still up in the air, and he will start the season on the DL, despite throwing a bullpen session on March 23. Keep an eye on him, as he was poised to have a strong sophomore season. It is unsure at this point who the Astros may call up when they need a fifth arm in the rotation.

Will Smith (MIL – RP)
Smith was channeling his inner Clint Barmes when he tore a ligament in his knee while taking off his cleats. He was the likeliest choice as the Brewers’ closer to start Opening Day, but that duty will most likely go to Jeremy Jeffress. It’s still the Brewers, so the opportunities to collect saves will be few and far between. Jeffress is definitely worth a free agency addition, even if it is determined Smith doesn’t need surgery.

Edwin Encarnacion (TOR – 1B/DH)
Just yesterday, Encarnacion suffered a strained oblique. Initial reports have Encarnacion slated to be ready for Opening Day. If he happens to miss a few games at the beginning of the year, Justin Smoak may be in line for some starts. Smoak has tremendous power, as he hit 18 home runs in 296 at-bats, but still struggles with making contact with the ball. If Encarnacion were to miss extended time, Smoak would be worth a pickup in deeper leagues.

Jhonny Peralta (STL – SS)
One of the bigger news items of Spring Training was the left thumb injury that Peralta suffered in early March. Peralta underwent surgery and will be out between 10-to-12 weeks, which puts his return in June or July. Despite only playing in 29 games at the shortstop position, Jedd Gyorko looks like he is slated to start the season at short. If he struggles, however, the Cardinals also have Ruben Tejada, who is more familiar with playing the position.

A.J. Pollock (ARI – OF)
Pollock has been experiencing right elbow soreness, and his status for Opening Day is up in the air. This doesn’t seem to be something serious, but keep an eye on the news over the next few days. There’s no official word on what the D’Backs would do if Pollock was out, but I would assume they would put David Peralta in center field and figure out a platoon situation in the corner outfield slot.

Brett Anderson (LAD – SP)
Anderson had back surgery in early March and is not expected to be ready until June. It’s hard to say that Anderson will be missed, considering LA has a plethora of options to start after Clayton Kershaw, with Scott Kazmir, Alex Wood, Mike Bolsinger, and the newly added Kenta Maeda. In addition, Hyun-Jin Ryu is also aiming to be back this summer.

Andre Ethier (LAD – OF)
Ethier fractured his right tibia this spring and is expected to be out at least until June. The Dodgers have a logjam in the outfield, so this won’t hurt them as much as you’d think. If Carl Crawford and/or Joc Pederson struggle, Trayce Thompson and Scott Van Slyke could see more playing time.

Michael Brantley (CLE – OF)
Earlier in 2016, it was expected that Brantley would be ready for Opening Day. That seems unlikely now while he is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Rajai Davis and Marlon Byrd should benefit the most from Brantley’s absence. It’ll be interesting to see how manager Terry Francona will construct his lineup early in the season.

Yu Darvish (TEX – SP)
Darvish was another victim of Tommy John surgery as he went under the knife back in March 2015. He’s still a ways from returning to major league baseball. In the meantime, it looks like the Rangers will go back to Martin Perez and Nick Martinez as their fourth and fifth starter. One of these two will probably lose their starting gig when Darvish returns.

Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS – SP)
Rodriguez is expected to miss at least the start of the regular season due to his dislocated right kneecap. There have been some conflicting reports early on that stated Rodriguez would be ready for Opening Day. It looks like the final rotation spot will go to either Steven Wright or newly-acquired Roenis Elias. The Red Sox might not need a fifth starter until the second week of the regular season, so wait until then before making any roster decisions.

Look for this article every Monday during the MLB season.

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Nick Tasso is a correspondent at FantasyPros. Find his other work at FantasyPros here. He also contributes to Daily Fantasy CafeFollow him on Twitter @theinefficient2.

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