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Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Cody Bellinger (2021)

by Lucas Babits-Feinerman | @wsonfirst | Featured Writer
Apr 19, 2021

We saw several big-name players return to action this week, including Fernando Tatis Jr., Zac Gallen, and Sonny Gray. Unfortunately, the week was a net negative with Ronald Acuna Jr. going down Sunday, two COVID outbreaks, and more bad news for Cody Bellinger. Let’s dive in. 

Tim Locastro, Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Drew Smyly, Max Fried, Lance Lynn, Mike Moustakas, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux, Lorenzo Cain, Andrelton Simmons, Kyle Garlick, Jordan Romano, Jullian Merryweather, Stephen Strasburg 

Potential Beneficiaries: Nick Heath, Ehire Adrianza, Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson, Michael Kopech, Kyle Farmer, Aledmys Diaz, Abraham Toro, Ronnie Dawson, Chris Taylor, Zach McKinstry, AJ Pollock, Billy McKinney, Jake Cave, Rafael Dolis, Jordan Romano, Paolo Espino

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Injury Roundup

Tim Locastro (OF – ARI)
Tim Locastro (finger) dislocated his finger with a headfirst slide into second base on Saturday. Fractured fingers typically take three to six weeks for a return. Managers who need speed in deeper leagues now is an excellent time to acquire Locastro cheaply. Nick Heath got the first start in Center Field with Locastro sidelined. Heath isn’t on the fantasy radar right now.

Ronald Acuna Jr. (OF – ATL)
Ronald Acuna Jr. (abdominal) is one of four Braves on this week’s injury roundup. He suffered an injury on a headfirst slide into home plate on Sunday. I imagine he’ll be out of the line-up for at least a couple of days, best-case scenario, and a trip to the IL is undoubtedly a possibility. Ehire Adrianza took over for Acuna in Right Field after Acuna left the game.

Starling Marte (OF – MIA)
Marte was also injured Sunday, and it’s been determined that he’s dealing with a non-displaced fracture in his rib. He’s expected to hit the IL, and he’ll be re-evaluated in roughly a week. At that point, those that roster Marte should have a better sense of how long they’ll be without the outfielder.

Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL)
Ozzie Albies (calf) is day-to-day after being hit by a pitch on Friday. He did not play in either of the Braves games against the Cubs over the weekend but should be ready by Tuesday. Ehire Adrianza is playing second base while Albies is out, and with Albies returning, Adrianza will likely shift to right field to cover for Acuna. 

Drew Smyly (SP – ATL)
Drew Smyly (forearm) went on the IL Friday with forearm inflammation. He was replaced in the rotation by Kyle Wright. Smyly had been pitching with reduced velocity this season, so the trip to the IL could be a good thing for his season-long outlook. Reportedly there is no structural damage to his forearm, and the Braves hope that he will be back after a minimum stay on the IL. That would set him up to return Wednesday, April 28th, against the Cubs. 

Max Fried (SP – ATL)
Max Fried (hamstring) injured his hamstring running the bases on Tuesday. The 27-year-old has been one of the most unlucky pitchers in baseball this season. There’s a 7.31 point difference between his ERA and xFIP. Bryce Wilson will replace the lefty in the Braves rotation. Typically, hamstring strains take at least three weeks to recover from, putting Fried on track to return by early May. 

Lance Lynn (SP – CHW)
Lance Lynn (trapezius) is on the IL and expected to miss only one start with a strained right trapezius. He suffered the injury after a Quality Start against the Indians on April 15th. If Lynn does miss the minimum, he’d be on track to return April 28th against the Tigers. Michael Kopech is an option to open for the White Sox in Lynn’s absence. The 33-year-old is one of the best pitchers in baseball early this season, and the White Sox are one of the best teams in the American League. 

Mike Moustakas (3B – CIN)
Mike Moustakas (illness) has missed three straight games with a non-COVID illness. Kyle Farmer is playing third base in his absence. Moustakas is day-to-day and expected back in the line-up for Cincinnati’s next game against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. 

Houston Astros COVID-19 Outbreak
Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman have all been out since April 14th with COVID-19 related injuries. We know little about the full extent of their illness if they are sick or if the Astros are following protocol. Manager Dusty Baker expects them back in the line-up on Tuesday, but it’s not a guarantee. Aledmys Diaz, Abraham Toro, and Ronnie Dawson have been filling in for the trio. Fantasy managers will want to follow this situation closely, especially in weekly leagues, because the Astros are playing two games in Coors Field this week. Early indications are that they will be activated ahead of Tuesday’s game.

Cody Bellinger (OF – LAD)
Cody Bellinger (calf) went from day-to-day to injured with no structural damage to having a hairline fracture in his calf. He’s out indefinitely, and the Dodgers do not expect him back any time soon. A typical timeline for return to action after a fractured fibula is at least four to six weeks. That means Bellinger probably won’t be back before mid-May. Chris Taylor is playing every day in Bellinger’s absence, and there’s more opportunity for Zach McKinstry and AJ Pollock. 

Gavin Lux (2B – LAD)
Gavin Lux (wrist) went on the IL on Sunday. He’s been struggling this season and hasn’t fulfilled the potential he showed in Triple-A in 2019. The Dodgers don’t expect the 23-year-old to miss much time, with manager David Roberts saying that Lux could return as soon as he’s eligible. Like Bellinger, Taylor, McKinstry, and Pollock figure to see increased playing time with Lux out. 

Lorenzo Cain (OF – MIL)
Lorenzo Cain (quad) left Tuesday’s game with a quad injury, and the Brewers placed him on the IL on Wednesday. He was injured running out a ground ball. Quadriceps injuries are usually shorter than hamstring injuries, and it sounds like a grade one strain, which has a typical timetable of two-three weeks. Jackie Bradley Jr. has shifted from left field to center field, and Billy McKinney plays Left Field with Cain injured. McKinney has been hitting the ball hard in limited playing time this season. 

Andrelton Simmons (SS – MIN)
Andrelton Simmons (COVID-19) refused to be vaccinated with the rest of the Twins when they received their shots and later tested positive for COVID-19. For whatever reason, Simmons was the only Twin to refuse the vaccine. He had a chance to be a good role model for young baseball fans but sadly could not be bothered, and now he has COVID-19. I implore all my readers to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Jake Cave is getting more burn with Simmons injured. 

Minnesota Twins COVID-19 Outbreak
Kyle Garlick is the only confirmed positive from MLB’s latest outbreak. It appears as if his positive test is not related to Simmons’. The Twins have already had two games postponed, and it looks like they will resume play on Tuesday. The rumor is that one more player is COVID-19 positive, and the Twins’ Sunday batch of testing all came back negative. It is a situation for managers to monitor as it develops. 

Jordan Romano (RP – TOR)
Jordan Romano (ulnar neuritis) hit the IL on Thursday. It’s unfortunate because he was in line to close after Julian Merryweather hit the IL on Wednesday. Jays’ pitching coach Pete Walker thinks Romano may return as soon as he’s eligible on April 25th. Rafael Dolis will be the interim closer, but managers should scoop Romano if he were dropped in your league because it seems like he’ll be back soon.

Julian Merryweather (RP – TOR)
Julian Merryweather (oblique) was removed from Tuesday’s game and placed on the IL on Wednesday. Oblique injuries typically take about five weeks to recover from, so it appears as if Merryweather won’t be back until mid-May at the earliest. Jordan Romano and Rafael Dolis will share closer duties with Merryweather out. 

Stephen Strasburg (SP – WSN)
Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) was roughed up by the Cardinals and then placed on the IL. Given his injury history, I expect the Nationals to be cautious with their star pitcher. There is no timetable for his return. Paolo Espino will crack the Nationals rotation in Strasburg’s absence.

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Lucas Babits-Feinerman is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Lucas, check out his archive and follow him @WSonFirst.