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Fantasy Baseball Injury Stash Rankings & Waiver Wire Pickups (Week 3)

Fantasy Baseball Injury Stash Rankings & Waiver Wire Pickups (Week 3)

This week has been carnage across MLB. Numerous big-name players got injured, with many going down for the season. Most of the injuries have happened to pitchers. It’s sad to see these studs lose years of their careers. It’s difficult to judge what the issue is but these guys throwing 100 miles per hour (MPH) on every pitch is not a normal human thing. Hopefully, we get a break from all the injuries, but this article should help clarify some things!

Let’s dive into this week’s rankings and determine who is worth those precious injured list (IL) spots.

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2024 Fantasy Baseball Injury Stashes

Pitchers to Stash Right Now

Walker Buehler (SP – LAD) 

Walker Buehler has been inching closer to a return from Tommy John surgery. In his most recent rehab start, he pitched 4.2 scoreless innings. He cracked 60 pitches in that game and will only need one more rehab start before returning to an MLB mound. Look for the Dodgers to handle him with kids’ gloves going forward.

Justin Verlander (SP – HOU) 

Justin Verlander was slow to get going in spring training but he’s also in the middle of a rehab assignment. He allowed seven runs across three innings in his first rehab start but is expected to make another one in the coming days. If that goes well, the former Cy Young winner could return to action next week or the week after. Don’t worry about that seven-run stinker, this vet will find his form.

Spencer Strider (SP – ATL) 

There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding Spencer Strider. We have to include him until we get an honest answer. He left his most recent start with an elbow issue and was diagnosed with UCL damage. That’s the last thing you want to hear because Tommy John surgery usually follows that injury. He is the best pitcher in baseball, though, and needs to be held until we learn more.

Jordan Romano (RP – TOR) 

Jordan Romano is set to begin his rehab assignment today, meaning he could return to action in about a week. Relievers don’t need as long as starters, but he didn’t have a spring training, so a few appearances should have him ready to return to the Toronto closer role in about a week.

Justin Steele (SP – CHC) 

Justin Steele pulled his hamstring in his opening start and continues to make progress. There haven’t been many updates but Craig Counsell said he expects Steele to return sometime in May. He looked incredible before that debut and shouldn’t need much time to get healthy after recovering from this hammy issue since it’s not an arm injury.

Framber Valdez (SP – HOU) 

Here’s another ace that went down this week. We haven’t had much clarity in this situation, but Houston sent Framber Valdez to the IL with elbow inflammation. The good news is that Houston is downplaying the issue, saying he could be back soon. This is a situation we need to monitor.

Max Scherzer (SP – TEX) 

Fantasy managers were skeptical about drafting Max Scherzer but he’s making significant progress in his recovery. The former Cy Young winner is expected to throw live batting practice next week and could be sent on a rehab assignment shortly after that. A veteran like this won’t need much time when he gets to that point in the rehabilitation process, making him a good bet to return sometime next month.

Gerrit Cole (SP – NYY)

Gerrit Cole just started throwing this week, the first of many steps to a full recovery. It’s a good start, though, with Cole on the 60-day IL. That means he can’t return until the end of May. A June return would be all fantasy managers could’ve hoped for after the initial diagnosis.

Paul Sewald (RP – ARI) 

Paul Sewald suffered a dreaded oblique strain in one of his final spring training appearances but resumed throwing this week. He threw from 60 feet on Monday and needs to progress to long toss before beginning bullpen sessions. Getting to that point is the fast track. If everything runs smoothly, we could see Sewald back in action within a month.

Nick Pivetta (SP – BOS) 

Nick Pivetta was the most recent addition to the IL, dealing with a flexor strain in his elbow. That sounds bad on the surface, but there’s some belief that Pivetta will be ready to return after the minimum 15-day absence. If he resumes throwing in the coming days, look for him to return in two weeks.

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Hitters to Stash Right Now

Royce Lewis (3B – MIN)

Royce Lewis was a fantasy darling at the end of last season, but he can’t stay healthy. He’s only played about 60 games at this level and just had his fourth IL stint. It’s a quad injury this time. He’s expected to miss at least another month. He received a PRP injection and should resume some baseball activities in the next week.

Luis Robert (OF – CWS) 

Luis Robert was the only saving grace for the ChiSox but he’ll be out the next six weeks with a Grade 2 hip flexor strain. There was skepticism he would miss up to three months but the new timetable is somewhere between six and eight weeks. He’s still one of the best players in fantasy and needs to be held.

Eloy Jimenez (OF – CWS) 

If you thought the White Sox lineup was bad without Robert, it’s horrific without Eloy Jimenez. The oft-injured outfielder suffered a thigh injury last week but isn’t expected to miss much time outside the minimum 10 days. There’s some thought he’ll be back this weekend, but rushing back an injury-prone player like Eloy is asking for another injury.

Sean Murphy (C – ATL) 

Sean Murphy is one of the best catchers in baseball but a Grade 1 oblique strain has him on the IL. Unfortunately, he hasn’t resumed swinging a bat yet and it looks like he’ll miss at least another two weeks. He is eligible to be removed from the IL already but there’s no chance that will happen this week if he can’t swing a bat.

Josh Lowe (OF – TB) 

Josh Lowe was an intriguing pick at the end of drafts after landing on the IL, missing the opening weeks with a Grade 1 oblique strain. Tampa can be a tricky team to figure out when it comes to injuries because they like to keep things under their roof. In any case, a Grade 1 oblique injury usually takes about a month to recover from, so we should get an update on Lowe soon.

Josh Jung (3B – TEX) 

This was the most disappointing injury because I had Josh Jung spread throughout my fantasy leagues. The third baseman suffered a wrist fracture last week and will be out for 8-10 weeks. That’s why Texas put him on the 60-Day IL. However, he shouldn’t miss too much time beyond that.

Lars Nootbaar (OF – STL) 

Lars Nootbaar is the closest to returning out of all these hitters. He is expected to return to the lineup this weekend. Some thought he would return last week, but they wanted to get him more at-bats with the lack of spring training action. Look for him to return on Friday or Saturday.

Tommy Edman (2B, SS, OF – STL)

Tommy Edman was cleared to return to baseball activities on Monday. That’s the first step in his recovery from offseason wrist surgery. It’s a scary surgery but Edman is a sneaky source of steals with multi-position eligibility. Look for him to be back in a few weeks.

Max Kepler (OF – MIN) 

Max Kepler is a platoon guy in Minnesota. He landed on the 10-day IL with a bruised knee. That seems like a strange injury to land on the IL but we don’t expect Kepler to miss much time outside the mandatory 10 days.

TJ Friedl (OF – CIN) 

TJ Freidl fractured his wrist during spring training and was projected to miss the opening month of the year. There haven’t been many updates on Friedl but he should resume baseball activities within the next 10 days and will likely return in about a month.

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Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.

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