Injury Storylines To Follow: NL East (2019 Fantasy Baseball)

by Ryan Gavin
Mar 10, 2019

Yoenis Cespedes hopes to return from surgery to remove bone spurs in 2019.

Spring training is officially underway, and Opening Day is right around the corner. Drafts are coming up soon and with that, it’s important to monitor any injury storylines that may carry over from last year. While most players spend the offseason rehabbing to get healthier and stronger for the start of the season, drafters should keep in mind those who have had trouble staying on the field recently. This series of posts will take a look at a few key players in each division whom you might want to weigh the risks of drafting.

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Josh Donaldson (3B – ATL)
The Braves are an exciting team going into 2019. Their roster is stuffed with a lot of young, healthy players who are fun to watch. The largest exception to this is Josh Donaldson, who signed through free agency earlier this year. The 33-year-old third baseman has had a very durable career until fairly recently. He started the season last year with “Dead Arm Syndrome,” an overuse injury in the shoulder, and he needed time to recover.

While he was able to DH for the Blue Jays while working through his shoulder problems, he will not have the same option in the National League. When he recovered from the shoulder issue, Donaldson bounced on and off the DL, and back and forth between Triple-A and the majors while dealing with a left calf strain. Calf strains are an issue he has missed time with going back to 2017, which makes the nagging nature of the injury concerning. Expect the Braves to give Donaldson time off throughout the season to avoid injury flare-ups that have hampered him over the last couple of years.

Yoenis Cespedes (OF – NYM)
No team seems to deal with as many injuries as often as the Mets. Team leaders Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard were both on and off the shelf for portions of last season. Cespedes, who missed around half of last season after dealing with a nagging hamstring issue, was finally shut down for the season last summer to undergo surgery on both heels.

At the time of the surgery, the timetable for his return was set at eight-10 months. That would put his 2019 debut somewhere in the range of June through August at the earliest. However, the Mets have provided little information about his progress. Missing the season is a possibility, but Cespedes himself has stated he believes he will return at some point this year.

Noah Syndergaard (SP – NYM)
Syndergaard has had a shaky track record when it comes to his durability as well. After battling a lat strain in 2017, he missed time at the start of the season with a strained ligament in his right index finger. He later sat out a short stint with hand, foot, and mouth disease.

On the plus side, he is still only 26 years old and was still able to start 25 games last year. However, his track record is still somewhat concerning from a durability standpoint.

Adam Eaton (OF – WAS)
As they enter into a new phase without Bryce Harper, the Nats have a lot of young players and a handful of older veterans. One key piece they have missed for much of the last two seasons is Adam Eaton. A dependable player for most of his career, he has had a difficult time staying on the field.

After tearing his ACL on Opening Day in 2017, he missed time last year with a bone bruise and arthroscopic ankle surgery. He managed to put together a solid remainder of the season after returning, and at only 30 years old can hopefully have better luck staying on the field this year.

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Ryan Gavin is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Ryan, check out his archive and follow him @injuryoutlook.

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