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Fantasy Baseball Injury Stash Rankings & Waiver Wire Pickups (Week 4)

Fantasy Baseball Injury Stash Rankings & Waiver Wire Pickups (Week 4)

It’s been terrible seeing all of these injuries. I have numerous leagues where all four of my injured list (IL) slots are full and we’re not even a month into the season. That makes this article as critical as ever because numerous big-name players are flirting with a return.

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

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Pitchers to Stash Right Now

Walker Buehler (SP – LAD) 

Walker Buehler is a difficult player to figure out because it’s tough to say how L.A. will handle his workload. He’s been out for over a year due to Tommy John surgery but is expected back within the next two weeks. He’s making his fourth rehab start today and could be back in the Dodgers’ rotation before our next article is published. With that said, don’t be surprised to see him skipped sometimes and possibly limited throughout the year.

Justin Verlander (SP – HOU) 

This is the final week Justin Verlander will be in this article, something fantasy managers love to hear. The former Cy Young winner made his final rehab appearance and is expected to make his season debut on Friday. Activate him accordingly.

Framber Valdez (SP – HOU) 

Houston is desperate for reinforcements and it looks like they’ve dodged a bullet regarding Framber Valdez. The lefty played catch on Monday and has stated he might be ready to return when his minimum 15 days are up. If everything runs smoothly, that would be as soon as this weekend. We don’t expect that to happen but Valdez could also return before our next article.

Bobby Miller (SP – LAD) 

This injury came out of nowhere, with Bobby Miller landing on the IL due to shoulder soreness. That’s a dreaded injury, but some skeptics believe L.A. is doing it to limit his innings. If everything goes as planned, he is expected to resume throwing early next week and could be back a week after that.

Justin Steele (SP – CHC) 

Justin Steele pulled his hammy in his debut but resumed throwing this week. That’s the first significant step. Steele is expected to throw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Saturday. That means a rehab assignment could resume sometime next week, which would have him on pace to return in early May.

Max Scherzer (SP – TEX) 

Max Scherzer has been progressing well in his recovery from a back issue, throwing 25 pitches in batting practice on Monday. He was initially supposed to return in June, but there’s speculation he could return in early May. This is one of the best pitchers in baseball when healthy.

Gerrit Cole (SP – NYY) 

Gerrit Cole was the first big injury in spring training. Fantasy managers are lucky he’s not out for the year. He was projected to miss the first two months of the season. He increased his throwing distance earlier this week. That means batting practice and a bullpen session could be right around the corner, with a June return looking most likely.

Kyle Bradish (SP – BAL) 

Kyle Bradish looked to be on his way to Tommy John surgery during spring training but he chose to pitch through a UCL tear. He’s made quick work in his rehab, throwing three scoreless innings in his debut at Double-A on Tuesday. That means he could return to the rotation in about two weeks after another two rehab starts.

Yu Darvish (SP – SD) 

Yu Darvish is spread across all my fantasy leagues, so seeing him land on the IL on Wednesday was depressing. The Padres pitcher is dealing with neck tightness. There’s some thought he could return on April 30, when he’s first eligible to return.

Jhoan Duran (RP – MIN) 

Jhoan Duran was expected to miss the opening two months but he’s making steady progress and could be back sooner than expected. The Twins closer suffered a Grade 2 oblique strain in spring training but is up to a 25-pitch bullpen session in his rehabilitation. That means a rehab assignment could be in the coming week, leading to a late April or early May return.

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Hitters to Stash Right Now

Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL) 

Ozzie Albies landed on the IL on Tuesday with a broken toe and is expected to be out for 2-3 weeks. That’s not the worst-case scenario because surgery has already been ruled out. He’s the best hitter to land on the IL. He shouldn’t be out past mid-May.

Christian Yelich (OF – MIL) 

Christian Yelich was trying to avoid the IL but Milwaukee made the move on Tuesday. The former All-Star is dealing with a back issue but isn’t expected to miss much more than the minimum 10 days, forecasting him to return to action on Tuesday. Back issues have been a problem for Yelich throughout his career, so keep an eye on him when he returns.

Josh Lowe (OF – TB)

Tampa is always quiet regarding injury news but we finally got an update on Josh Lowe. The outfielder is expected to begin his rehab assignment on Thursday, which could have him in line to return in a week. He didn’t have much spring training action, so look for him to play at least 5-10 games in the minors.

Luis Robert (OF – CWS) 

When Luis Robert suffered a Grade 2 hip flexor last week he was projected to miss three months. That timetable has been dropped to six weeks. That’s a good sign but don’t expect to see Robert before the end of May.

Seiya Suzuki (OF – CHC) 

Seiya Suzuki is yet another player who suffered an oblique strain and is projected to miss at least four weeks with what’s being considered a moderate strain. That sounds like a potentially lengthy absence, with Suzuki looking at a late May return.

Royce Lewis (3B – MIN) 

Royce Lewis has had trouble staying on the field, marking his fourth trip to the IL in just 71 games at this level. He suffered a severe quad strain and just received a PRP injection last week. He’s still expected to miss at least another month but has been one of the best fantasy producers when on the field.

Carlos Correa (SS – MIN) 

Carlos Correa isn’t the same fantasy stud from the past, but he’s still a solid IL stash. The shortstop suffered a mild intercostal strain over the weekend and will miss at least the next two weeks. It shouldn’t be a long-term issue but Correa likely won’t return until May.

Sean Murphy (C – ATL) 

This situation is getting sketchy. Sean Murphy landed on the IL with an oblique injury weeks ago and hasn’t even progressed to swinging a bat yet. A Grade 1 strain doesn’t sound like a huge deal but don’t expect Murphy to be back in action anytime soon if he hasn’t even started dry swings yet.

Jake Burger (3B – MIA) 

Wow, another oblique strain. It’s hard to understand why this is such a common injury. Jake Burger is dealing with an intercoastal issue. There hasn’t been any designation on the injury or a timetable, so we don’t know what to expect until we hear more.

Brandon Lowe (2B – TB) 

It’s hard to believe that all three Lowes are on the IL but Brandon Lowe is the final stash in our piece. He’s another player who suffered an oblique strain. We don’t have much information outside of that. A lack of information tends to be the case for Tampa Bay, so don’t expect Lowe to return anytime soon.

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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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