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Fantasy Baseball Injury Stash Rankings: Oneil Cruz, Nick Lodolo, Jazz Chisholm

Fantasy Baseball Injury Stash Rankings: Oneil Cruz, Nick Lodolo, Jazz Chisholm

Even if we’re entering the dog days of the lengthy MLB regular season, it’s certainly crunch time as we approach the Aug.1 MLB trade deadline.

Injuries will certainly play a factor in decisions made by front offices across the league as buyers search to fill holes while sellers look to capitalize on the value of targeted players. When it comes to fantasy baseball, managers constantly have to be wary of the injured list. Those in redraft leagues are consistently making decisions on who to keep and who to punt from their IL spots, while those in dynasty leagues look at the long-term prospectus.

Let’s have a look at who is worth keeping for those valued IL roster spots. We try and blend advice for both redraft and dynasty leagues, while timetables always play a factor in the rankings. Let’s get at it while keeping in mind that Jacob deGrom likely won’t pitch until the 2025 season, when he will be 37 years old.

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Fantasy Baseball Injury Stash Rankings

Top 10 Players to Stash Right Now

Aaron Judge (OF – NYY)
Yordan Alvarez (OF – HOU)
Mike Trout (OF – LAA)
Cedric Mullins (OF – BAL)
Jose Altuve (2B – HOU)
Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD)
Max Fried (SP – ATL)
Hunter Greene (SP – CIN)
Chris Sale (SP – BOS)
Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL)

This list is absolutely loaded with superstar players who are currently unavailable to their respective clubs. The good news for many teams (and fantasy managers) is that a good chunk of these players should be back sooner than later.

Aaron Judge headlines the list as he’s been out long-term with an injured toe. However, he has been running the bases in recent days, which is a wildly encouraging sign for both fantasy managers and a Yankees offense that has been putrid without their superstar slugger.

The Houston Astros are about to get a heck of an offensive boost as Yordan Alvarez is on a rehab assignment and is expected back on Monday. At the same time, reports indicate Jose Altuve is nearing a rehab assignment of his own as he works his way back from an oblique injury. Altuve took batting practice on the field prior to Tuesday’s game against the Rockies while he has appeared in just 32 games this season due to the oblique and a broken thumb suffered at the World Baseball Classic.

Cedric Mullins, unfortunately, returns to the list due to a second groin injury while he is without a timetable to return. Mike Trout underwent surgery in early July to remove his fractured left hamate bone and won’t return anytime soon.

Braves ace Max Fried is on a rehab assignment himself, while fellow southpaws Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale are throwing bullpen sessions. Brandon Woodruff is set to begin a rehab assignment on Saturday. Finally, Hunter Greene has been throwing off a mound at the club’s Arizona spring training facility.

Top 8 Pitchers to Stash Right Now

Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD)
Max Fried (SP – ATL)
Hunter Greene (SP – CIN)
Chris Sale (SP – BOS)
Brandon Woodruff (MIL)
Nick Lodolo (SP – CIN)
Shane Bieber (SP – CLE)
Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI)

We touched on a number of these pitchers above, but updates on some others are in order.

The elite strikeout rate of Nick Lodolo absolutely needs to be stashed, especially in dynasty leagues. The left-hander has been out since May 6 due to a stress reaction in his tibia but was striking out the opposition at a big-time 28.3% rate, while his 3.43 SIERA is far superior to his bloated 6.29 ERA on the season. Remember, he pitched to a 3.66 ERA in 19 starts as a rookie last season.

Guardians ace Shane Bieber is a first-time name on this list. He has been shut down for a couple of weeks with a forearm issue, but he’s also having a down season, at least by his standards. The 2020 AL Cy Young winner owns a 3.77 ERA and a 4.39 SIERA on the season, but fantasy managers are most disappointed with a 19.4% strikeout rate that is a shell of the 33.1% mark he posted in that 2020 campaign.

Finally, Merrill Kelly is another newcomer in the midst of a career year for the surging D-backs. Kelly is out with a calf injury but is on a rehab assignment in the Arizona Complex League. Kelly owns a 3.22 ERA in 16 starts, while his 25.7% K% would be a career-high if the season ended today.

Top 8 Hitters to Stash Right Now

Aaron Judge (OF – NYY)
Yordan Alvarez (OF – HOU)
Mike Trout (OF – LAA)
Cedric Mullins (OF – BAL)
Jose Altuve (2B – HOU)
Oneil Cruz (SS – PIT)
Jazz Chisholm Jr. (2B, OF – MIA)
Thairo Estrada (2B, SS – SF)

Again, we’ll need to update the bottom three hitters as well, as we covered the top five in our overall rankings.

Oneil Cruz has appeared in just nine games this season due to a broken ankle suffered in April. However, his power/speed combination is one to behold at just 24 years old after he hit 17 homers with 10 stolen bases across just 87 games as a rookie in 2022. He is currently ramping up baseball activities after beginning to do so in late June.

Jazz Chisholm has had a down season if you’re looking at his 103 wRC+ versus his 139 mark last season, but he, too, sports an excellent combination of power and speed. He homered 14 times with 12 steals in just 60 games at age 24 last season and has nine homers and 14 stolen bases across just 45 games this season. That combination will play at the second-base position.

Finally, the final spot in the rankings came down to Thairo Estrada or Dansby Swanson. Despite similar production, we gave the nod to Estrada as he is eligible at second base, while his 18 stolen bases are far superior to Swanson’s four. He’s been an underrated fantasy asset, but the downside is he won’t be back until mid-August due to a hand injury.


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