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Who is Set to Benefit From A Later Start? (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

Mar 5, 2022
Ronald Acuna

The delayed start to the season will give Ronald Acuna more time to get back to full health.

Well, here we are. The 2022 season has, officially, been delayed and we are all now sitting here waiting like the meme of Pablo Escobar in Narcos. 

While it all might seem like doom and gloom now, there will be a season. The delay has also not stopped many from continuing to draft their fantasy rosters. There were a lot of question marks on players that had injury concerns heading into this season and, now, they are going to be big-time benefactors of this later start. Question is, who are these players and what can we now expect from them once the lockout does end?

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The Young Phenom: 

Ronald Acuna (OF – ATL): FantasyPros ADP: 9.4

Acuna is, easily, going to be the top player to benefit from the later start to this season. After tearing his ACL on July 10th, many questioned whether he would be ready for the start of the 2022 season when it was originally supposed to start in late March. Now that the first two series have been canceled, the Acuna hype videos blowing up all over the place are creating more buzz around the industry.

As these videos continue to come out, Acuna’s ADP will continue to rise throughout drafts and it looks like he should be ready to go by the new start of the baseball season. 

The Arms:

Clayton Kershaw (LHP – FA): FantasyPros ADP: 129.0

After not receiving the Qualifying Offer from the Dodgers, Kershaw finds himself as a no-strings-attached free agent. 

The 33-year-old lefty is coming off an injury-plagued season where he was unable to pitch in the playoffs due to left flexor tendon trouble that led him to needing a PRP injection. 

As he entered the off-season, he stressed that the time off was going to be his main form of treatment. In fact, his exact words were: “I’m going to rest and let it heal. I’m not going to get surgery on it or anything. Everybody I’ve talked to, all the doctors and everything, feel good that I’ll be ready to go by Spring Training.”

Seeing that he was going to be ready by spring, there’s no reason to believe that Kershaw will not benefit even more from the extra time he now has to rest up. Fantasy managers should now feel a little more comfortable drafting him. 

Lance McCullers (RHP – HOU): FantasyPros ADP: 140.0

Another pitcher with a flexor tendon strain, but this one was much later in the year. McCullers suffered his injury in Game 4 of the ALDS, which led him to being left off of the ALCS and World Series rosters for the Astros. 

As we went through the off-season, we found out that the injury he suffered was actually way worse than what we were led to believe. There have been reports recently that he is even “behind” in his recovery and was already looking like he was not going to be ready for Opening Day in 2022. One thing he attributes to the delay in recovery has been his inability to communicate with team doctors due to the lockout. 

McCullers will now be able to use this extra time to continue to rest and recover from his injury. Even though it does not look likely that he will be ready by the new beginning to the season, McCullers should still be able to accumulate more counting stats on fantasy rosters once he does return. 

The “Freak” Injury

Max Muncy (1B/2B – LAD): FantasyPros ADP: 112.0

Just like his teammate Kershaw, Muncy had no choice but to watch from the bench as the Dodgers got eliminated from the 2021 NLCS. In what was a bizarre injury where he collided with a runner at first base on the last day of the regular season, it was revealed that he tore his UCL. 

We are now about five months separated from when the injury occurred and Muncy states that his elbow is “getting there.”

It was hard to believe that Muncy was on pace to be ready for the late March start of the season. He has not even been able to start swinging a bat yet, and that is not a good sign. 

Much like the players mentioned previously, a little extra R&R will do nothing but help Muncy in his recovery. Since he joined the Dodgers, Muncy has been a big part of their success. Now that Corey Seager calls Texas home, the Dodgers are going to look for Muncy to play an even bigger role for them going into 2022. 

Pitchers with Innings Limit Concerns:

Noah Syndergaard (RHP – LAA): FantasyPros ADP: 199.0

Pablo Lopez (RHP – MIA): FantasyPros ADP: 121.2

Freddy Peralta (RHP – MIL): FantasyPros ADP: 56.0

Luis Severino (RHP – NYY): FantasyPros ADP: 162.6

Mike Clevinger (RHP – SD): FantasyPros ADP: 170.2

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Cristian Crespo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Cristian, check out his archive and follow him @CCres_26.

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