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Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Yordan Alvarez, Corey Kluber, Trevor Story (2021)

by Lucas Babits-Feinerman | @wsonfirst | Featured Writer
May 31, 2021

It’s week nine of the fantasy baseball season, and we’re already into June. It’s the time of year when contenders and pretenders start to separate, and managers who have dug themselves into an early hole may lose interest. That’s why it’s crucial to stay vigilant on the waiver wire and up-to-date with injuries. A couple of big names, Adalberto Mondesi and Framber Valdez, made their season debuts this week, but we lost Corey Kluber, Trevor Story, and Luke Voit (among others).

Players Injured: Taylor Widener, Zach Plesac, Kyle Gibson, Bryce Harper, Harrison Bader, Marcell Ozuna, Anthony Rizzo, Trevor Story, Yordan Alvarez, Lance McCullers, Michael Brantley, Luke Voit, Corey Kluber, Ramon Laureano, Kevin Gausman, Trent Grisham

Potential Benefactors: Matt Peacock, Seth Frankoff, Caleb Smith, Triston McKenzie, Kolby Allard, Matt Joyce, Brad Miller, Justin Williams, Guillermo Heredia, Kris Bryant, Rafael Ortega, Brendan Rodgers, Aledmys Diaz, Taylor Jones, Chas McCormick, Chris Gittens, Mike Ford, Miguel Andujar, Deivi Garcia, Mike King, Chad Pinder, Tony Kemp, Scott Kazmir, Jurickson Profar.

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Injury Roundup

Taylor Widener (SP – ARI)
Taylor Widener (groin) went to the IL on Tuesday after leaving last Sunday’s start early. A groin strain can take three weeks to heal, but since the D-Backs rushed Widener back early once already, maybe they’ll take a conservative approach this time. Matt Peacock, Seth Frankoff, and Caleb Smith are filling in for three injured Arizona starting pitchers.

Zach Plesac (SP – CLE)
Zach Plesac (thumb) broke his thumb by taking off his t-shirt. This one goes into the bizarre injuries hall-of-fame alongside Kendrys Morales (celebration), Sammy Sosa (sneeze), and many others. The Indians are shutting Plesac down for three weeks, but this type of injury usually has a four to six-week timetable to heal. Triston McKenzie will be recalled and could take Plesac’s spot in the rotation.

Kyle Gibson (SP – TEX)
Kyle Gibson (groin) went on the IL on Tuesday with a groin strain, but it’s retroactive to May 22nd, so Gibson may be back this week. He pitched six innings the day before the injury. The 33-year-old has a 2.24 ERA, but his 4.00 xFIP is a truer measure of his future performance. He boasts a .234 BABIP, compared to .305 career average, and a 6.0% HR/FB%, compared to 14.3% career average. Fantasy managers should sell Gibson when he returns. Kolby Allard will function as the Rangers’ fifth starter while Gibson is hurt.

Bryce Harper (OF – PHI)
Bryce Harper (forearm) went to the IL on Tuesday. The stint is retroactive to May 23rd, and the Phillies have not been transparent about Harper’s injuries. He missed some time recently with a sore shoulder, too. There is no timetable for his return, but he’ll be eligible to play in early June. Brad Miller and Matt Joyce will split time in right field with Harper out.

Harrison Bader (OF – STL)
Harrison Bader (rib) hurt himself while making a diving catch on Monday. He has a hairline fracture in his rib, and manager Mike Shildt said he expects Bader to return soon after becoming eligible. Dylan Carlson will handle center field while Bader sits out, and Justin Williams will operate in left field.

Marcell Ozuna (OF – ATL)
Marcell Ozuna (fingers) fractured two fingers when diving head-first into third base. He’ll be out for at least six weeks. He was also arrested and charged with assault and battery in a domestic violence case, and his future this season is in serious jeopardy. Guillermo Heredia will function as Atlanta’s left fielder with Ozuna out.

Anthony Rizzo (1B – CHC)
Rizzo (back) has missed five straight games with a back injury. He’s day-to-day, but if he doesn’t get back in the lineup early in the week, it will make sense to send him to the IL for a couple of days. Kris Bryant has been playing first base with Rizzo injured and could be eligible there soon (he has five games so far).

Trevor Story (SS – COL)
Trevor Story (elbow) left Thursday’s game early with elbow inflammation. He will undergo an MRI soon to figure out the full extent of the injury. It doesn’t appear to be serious at this juncture. Story is also likely to be traded before the deadline. Brendan Rodgers is playing shortstop with Story sidelined.

Yordan Alvarez (UTIL – HOU)
Yordan Alvarez (wrist) is on the injury report, but at least it’s not for his knees. He last played on May 25th, and manager Dusty Baker said he was a candidate for the IL until he improved significantly. He is expected back early in the week, barring setbacks. Aledmys Diaz and Taylor Jones stand to benefit from any time Alvarez misses.

Lance McCullers Jr (SP – HOU)
Lance McCullers (shoulder) hit the IL on Wednesday. It is conspicuous timing, with the Astros getting Framber Valdez and Jake Odorizzi back from injury, but McCullers did throw 40 pitches in the first inning of his last start, so maybe that is the root of the damage. He’s been solid this season with a 3.84 xFIP and a 2.27 K/BB ratio. There’s no timetable for McCullers’ return, but the injury is not severe.

Michael Brantley (OF – HOU)
Michael Brantley (hamstring) last played on May 23rd. Manager Dusty Baker blamed the injury on the artificial turf in Globe Life Field. He expects to be back shortly after he’s eligible. Chas McCormick will operate in left field with Brantley out. Brantley has a .305/.346/.455 slash line in 179 plate appearances this season.

Luke Voit (1B – NYY)
Luke Voit (oblique) went on the IL on Wednesday with a Grade 2 strain. This type of injury takes between three and four weeks for the average position player to return from, but when Aaron Judge suffered a grade two strain in 2019, it took him nearly two months to heal. Voit only appeared in 12 games this season because of a knee injury, and the Yankees have been miserable at first base without him. Mike Ford, Miguel Andujar, and maybe Chris Gittens could get a shot while Voit sits out.

Corey Kluber (SP – NYY)
Corey Kluber (shoulder) couldn’t make it through the fourth inning in his first start after his no-hitter. He has a strained shoulder, and the Yankees stated that he’d be shut down for four weeks and then need another four to build up his arm strength. That means that the best-case scenario is a return after the All-Star break. Youngster Deivi Garcia was called up to replace Kluber but didn’t pitch well. Mike King might get the next shot.

Ramon Laureano (OF – OAK)
Ramon Laureano (groin) has missed three straight games with a groin injury. He’s having a great season with 11 home runs and eight stolen bases. It’s not a severe injury at this point, so expect Laureano back next week. Mark Canha is playing Center Field with Laureano out, and Chad Pinder and Tony Kemp will continue to split time in left field.

Kevin Gausman (SP – SF)
Kevin Gausman (hip) left his start on Sunday early. The Giants called the move precautionary, and the club expects him to be available for his next start. It is a developing situation. Scott Kazmir could fill in if Gausman misses time, but there’s no replacing his 1.53 ERA through 10 starts this season.

Trent Grisham (OF – SD)
Trent Grisham (foot) is on the IL retroactive to May 22nd with a foot contusion. He was day-to-day, but the Padres put him on the IL when the foot didn’t heal quickly. That’s a good sign for a speedy return, but it’s not a guarantee. Jurickson Profar will handle center field with Grisham out.

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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.

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