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Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Mike Trout, Kenta Maeda, Pete Alonso (2021)

by Lucas Babits-Feinerman | @wsonfirst | Featured Writer
May 25, 2021

We’ve made it through eight glorious weeks of baseball and seen a lot of injuries. Every player in the first half of the first round has missed time but none as much as Mike Trout, who appears on this week’s injury report. Fantasy managers are pretty close to having Jacob deGrom, and Cody Bellinger return and players like Adolis Garcia, Marcus Semien, and Carlos Rodon have surprised everybody by being early season All-Stars. There’s still plenty of time left in the season, but the beginning of June usually marks the time when fantasy teams take a good hard look in the mirror and realize if they’re contenders or pretenders. 

Players Injured: Alex Verdugo, Wilson Contreras, Wade Miley, Nick Senzel, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Kenta Maeda, Nelson Cruz, Jorge Polanco, Pete Alonso, Kendall Graveman, Dylan Moore, Dylan Carlson, Cavan Biggio, Victor Robles

Potential Benefactors: P.J. Higgins, Tony Wolters, Jose De Leon, Tyler Naquin, D.J. Peters, Juan Lagares, Randy Dobnak, Trevor Larnach, Rob Refsnyder, Cameron Maybin, Rafael Montero, Donovan Walton, Jack Mayfield, Lane Thomas, Joe Panik, Andrew Stevenson.

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Injury Roundup

Alex Verdugo (OF – BOS)
Alex Verdugo (hamstring) exited on Friday with a tight hammy. He was out of the lineup on Saturday and Sunday but did have one at-bat as a pinch-hitter. He’s considered day-to-day, and judging by his pinch-hit appearance, should be back in the starting lineup soon. Danny Santana has been playing Center Field with Verdugo out. 

Wilson Contreras (C – CHC)
Wilson Contreras (wrist) took a Craig Kimbrel fastball off his wrist (ouch) late in Sunday’s game. Manager David Ross said that Contreras might have broken his wrist, but Contreras finished the game, so it’s unclear how severe the injury is. The 29-year-old catcher will undergo further testing on Monday, and fantasy managers will have a clearer picture of where they stand. I’d plan to be without him for at least one or two games. P.J. Higgins was recently recalled from Triple-A and is the backup catcher until Austin Romine is healthy. It’s also possible that the Cubs bring back Tony Wolters. 

Wade Miley (SP – CIN)
Wade Miley (foot) hit the IL on Friday. He was injured during a start against the Giants on Wednesday. Miley’s been solid this season with a 3.38 xFIP and a 3.09 K/BB ratio in 43 2/3 innings pitched. The Reds haven’t announced a replacement for Miley yet, but Jose De Leon is the most likely candidate. 

Nick Senzel (OF – CIN)
Nick Senzel (knee) was forced to the IL on Friday with knee inflammation. The Reds use him in a utility role this season, playing in Center Field, Second Base, and Third Base. It seems like Senzel is constantly playing through injuries because of his no-holds-barred style of playing. There’s no word on a timetable for his return. Tyler Naquin will hold down Center Field with Senzel injured. Naquin has been outstanding this season, and managers can grab him now that he has a clear path to playing time. 

Mookie Betts (OF – LAD)
Mookie Betts (shoulder) didn’t play over the weekend. He was in the lineup on Sunday but ended up scratched because of shoulder soreness. He’s considered day-to-day. If he’s not back in the lineup early next week, then that’s a red flag for fantasy managers. D.J. Peters is filling in while Betts is out. 

Mike Trout (OF – LAA)
Mike Trout (calf) hit the shelf for an extended amount of time this week with a Grade 2 calf strain. He was injured in Monday’s game against the Indians while running the bases. Trout was having a great season before the injury (1.090 OPS, eight home runs, two steals) and is one of the best players in the game. It’s unfortunate for the Angels, fantasy managers, and fans of good baseball. He’s out six to eight weeks which could mean he’s out until after the All-Star break. Juan Lagares is the Angel’s new Center Fielder. 

Kenta Maeda (SP – MIN)
Kenta Maeda (groin) has struggled this season, posting a 5.27 ERA, but he’s got a 4.02 xFIP and a 3.55 K/BB ratio, showing that there’s room for optimism for patient managers. Maeda’s trip to the IL comes after playing through the injury, potentially affecting his performance this season. Michael Pineda will come off the IL and take Maeda’s start. The biggest benefactor here is Randy Dobnak, who will stick in the rotation for now. 

Nelson Cruz (UTIL – MIN)
Nelson Cruz (wrist) has missed four games in a row after being hit by a pitch on Thursday. He was in the lineup on Friday but was scratched before the game started. It’s a bit concerning that Cruz hasn’t been healthy enough to play, but he’s still considered day-to-day. If he can’t play on Monday, then he might be sent to the IL. If that happens, he’ll probably miss the minimum, as it doesn’t appear to be a long-term injury. Josh Donaldson could see more at-bats at DH with Cruz out, and Trevor Larnach should get regular playing time once the Twins play musical chairs with all their players. 

Jorge Polanco (2B – MIN)
Jorge Polanco (ankle) has missed three straight games and could be sent to the IL if things don’t get better. Polanco left the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader early. What’s especially troublesome is this is the same ankle that Polanco had surgery on in the offseason. With Polanco out, the Twins shifted Luis Arraez to the Keystone and used Rob Refsnyder in the outfield. 

Pete Alonso (1B – NYM)
Pete Alonso (hand) joined the rest of the Mets starting infield (sans Francisco Lindor) on the IL on Friday. The Mets think that Alonso’s injury originates from a hit-by-pitch in early May. The numbers bear it out, too, considering Alonso went from .250/.329/.486 in April to .218/.343/.364 in May. He’s been one of the major’s preeminent exit velocity stars this season, averaging 94.1 MPH per batted ball and topping out at 117.1 MPH. There’s no timetable for his return, but X-rays have been negative, so hopefully, he’s back soon. Dom Smith will take over first base, and Cameron Maybin will replace Smith in left field. 

Kendall Graveman (RP – SEA)
Kendall Graveman (COVID-19) is the last qualified reliever to have not allowed a run this season, and now he’s out indefinitely due to COVID-19. It’s unclear whether Graveman is asymptomatic, if this IL-stint is because of vaccine side-effects, or if he’s unvaccinated and has a severe case of the virus. Hopefully, it’s one of the first two because there’s no valid excuse not to be vaccinated at this stage in the game. Rafael Montero, who has struggled in high leverage spots this season, will assume sole possession of the closer’s role until Graveman is healthy enough to return. 

Dylan Moore (2B – SEA)
Dylan Moore (calf) went on the IL on Wednesday. He’s got a calf strain, and there is no timetable for his return. Moore has struggled this season but still provided value with five home runs and eight stolen bases. Moore won’t hit for a high batting average while he’s striking out 30% of the time, but he can certainly do better than his .168 mark so far this season. The Mariners are platooning Donovan Walton and Jack Mayfield while Moore is injured. 

Dylan Carlson (OF – STL)
Dylan Carlson (back) has missed two straight games with a tight back. He’ll go for a more in-depth evaluation on Monday and hopefully be back in the lineup early next week. Lane Thomas played for Carlson over the weekend. 

Cavan Biggio (3B – TOR)
Cavan Biggio (neck) was diagnosed with a cervical spine ligament sprain and placed on the IL on Saturday. Neck sprains like this take four to six weeks to recover from, which puts Biggio’s timetable late June to the All-Star break. Hopefully, some time off will do Biggio good since he’s striking out 31.1% of the time and has a putrid .205/.315/.315 slash line. Joe Panik is filling in at third while Biggio recovers.

Victor Robles (OF – WSH)
Victor Robles (ankle) was placed on the IL retroactive to May 20th on Sunday. He has a sprained ankle, and his timetable for return is anywhere from two to six weeks. Andrew Stevenson takes over in Center Field while Robles is injured. 

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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.