I have the dubious distinction of writing about one of the worst parts of fantasy sports: injuries. Injuries can easily lay waste to a stellar draft and send a team tumbling down the standings. However, once a year I get to “celebrate” the injury as I select the MLB All-Scar teams. Inclusion on the list can be earned by a severe season-ending ailment or moderate but impactful injury. The uptick in DL usage created a sizeable list of candidates but here are the Seventh Annual MLB All-Scar teams.
C Wilson Ramos
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Ramos gets this honor almost by default. The hard-hitting catcher has appeared in just nine games this season after tearing his ACL last season with Washington. He made a wise decision in the offseason by moving to the American League. In Tampa, the designated hitter slot should help alleviate the stress placed on his knee while allowing his bat to remain in the lineup.
1B Greg Bird
After losing a season to a labral repair, Bird was set for a bounce back campaign. He was crushing the ball in the Grapefruit League and was penciled in as New York’s starting first baseman and number three hitter. Unfortunately, he fouled a ball of his foot in the spring and hasn’t done much since. The bone contusion from the ball has been slow to heal and a cortisone injection did little to progress his status. The team is now contemplating exploratory surgery and a return this year is looking less likely.
2B Devon Travis
Travis is another AL East player that appeared primed for a comeback. After Travis’ 2016 season was shortened by knee, shoulder, and hand problems, fantasy owners were looking forward to a productive year from the 26-year-old. Sadly, his early season struggles were compounded by a wrist injury. While on the DL for the wrist issue Travis opted for another knee surgery to address a lingering cartilage issue. He’s already been transferred to the 60-day DL and could be out for the remainder of the season.
SS Didi Gregorius
Gregorius is a rare All-Scar member that could also be an All-Star. He’s put together an impressive season but did miss New York’s first 21 games with a shoulder strain sustained in the World Baseball Classic. The lack of productivity for those first three weeks may have setback fantasy owners more than they are willing to admit.
3B Adrian Beltre
Beltre’s strained calf muscle not only forced him out of the World Baseball Classic but kept him out until late May. As a result, the veteran third baseman has appeared in just 35 contests for the Rangers. He’s looked ok since returning but his power has regressed after last year’s 32 homerun season.
OF Mike Trout
Trout will be unable to play in Tuesday’s game in Miami due to his still healing thumb. Trout tore a ligament in his thumb in late May and underwent surgery shortly after suffering the injury. He’s progressed through rehab and is expected back following the break but it’s hard for any fantasy owner to stomach 40 lost games from the top player in baseball.
OF J.D. Martinez
Martinez’s inclusion on the list was earned following a foot injury in March. He received the dreaded “Lisfranc” diagnosis and sat for Detroit’s first 36 games. He’s been a top-rated outfielder since returning but, like Gregorius, his early season absence handicapped some teams from the start.
OF Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury missed a handful games of in May with a bruised nerve in his elbow but it was a concussion that warranted his inclusion on the list. His stint on the 7-day DL lasted 30 games as the symptoms lingered. He’s struggled since his return and is striking out an alarming rate (40 % K%) since the start of July.
SP Dallas Keuchel
After a puzzling 2016 season, Keuchel has looked every bit the Cy Young Winner he was in 2015. However, his return to form makes his lingering neck problems that much more difficult to manage. The spasms have been linked to a pinched nerve though the Astros insist it is not related to a disc issue. He’s progressing through his second DL stint and is optimistic about a return shortly after the break.
SP David Price
It’s not just that Price’s elbow injury prevented him from pitching until the end of May but it also disrupted his spring. Instead of building up toward the start of the regular season, Price was withheld from throwing and then forced to complete a rehab protocol. He just now appears to be rounding back into form but the risk of the forearm and elbow inflammation resurfacing continues to linger.
RP Zach Britton
The Baltimore closer has made two trips to the DL with forearm problems. The structural integrity of the elbow is reportedly intact but Britton has yet to resume closing for the Orioles. Fantasy owners who invested in the 29-year-old were likely expecting more than five saves before the All-Star break.
C Tom Murphy
The Colorado catcher missed two months with a broken forearm and struggled upon his return. He has since been sent back to Triple-A Albuquerque in hopes of rediscovering his swing. The injury shouldn’t have many long-term ramifications but it will be interesting to see if Murphy can bounce back this season after logging a few extra at-bats.
1B Freddie Freeman
Freeman’s talent remains undeniable but he has to be in the lineup to produce. Unfortunately that proven more difficult than expected as a broken wrist forced him to the DL for seven weeks. On the plus side, he’s looked stellar since his return and shown no lingering effects from the injury.
2B Kolten Wong
After a disappointing 2016 campaign, Wong has begun to show flashes of his potential. Sadly those flashes have occurred around two separate elbow injuries, including a triceps strain to his throwing arm. Wong has hit the ball well on his most recent rehab assignment and is set to rejoin the Cardinals after the All-Star break.
SS Trea Turner
The consequences from Turner’s broken wrist are just starting to effect fantasy owners as his fantasy contributions are difficult to replace, particularly when it comes to stolen bases. Turner has been ruled out indefinitely though he should follow a timeline similar to Freeman. Look for him to target a mid-August return.
3B Justin Turner
Turner’s hamstring injury wasn’t the mostly costly injury in terms of length but it did cost his owners 19 games of elite-level production. The 32-year-old will be hard-pressed to hit .377 over the course of the season but he’s still a potent fantasy option even with a bit of regression.
OF A.J. Pollock
Pollock owners who gambled on any type of sustained health from the Arizona outfielder have to be disappointed. After playing in just 12 games last season, Pollock’s lower extremity problems resurfaced. He spent nearly two months on the DL for a groin strain that was compounded by a quad injury sustained during his rehab assignment. He was activated shortly before the break but will be a precarious play for the remainder of the season.
OF David Dahl
The Rockies are still waiting to see if Dahl will be able to join a suddenly crowded Colorado outfield. Dahl has not played since March after a stress fracture in one of his ribs was detected. It’s believed to be linked to a 2015 collision that resulted in Dahl having his spleen removed. He’s progressing but I wouldn’t count on him making much of a fantasy impact in 2017.
OF Yoenis Cespedes
Just like last season, Cespedes’ performance has been stalled by a lower extremity muscular injury. Last year it was a quadriceps injury while this year it is a hamstring problem. The injuries were on opposite legs but he has dealt with similar issues for most of his career. This was an understood risk when it came to drafting Cespedes and it looks like it will remain heightened for the remainder of the year.
SP Madison Bumgarner
Bumgarner’s ill-fated dirt bike ride has been a turning point for those heavily invested in the left-hander. Fantasy owners can rarely rebound from a significant injury to an ace pitcher without surrendering other assets. Fortunately if you have remained patient, Bumgarner’s sprained AC joint appears to have improved and he’s slated to return following the break against the Padres.
SP Noah Syndergaard
The pitcher known as Thor has been anything but mighty after straining his latissimus dorsi in late April. He has yet to throw since sustaining the injury and remains several weeks away from beginning the rehab sequence. He’s becoming harder to own in leagues with a shortened regular season, especially with the recent grumblings that he could pitch in relief upon his return.
RP Jeurys Familia
A scary injury forced the Mets closer under the knife. Familia underwent surgery to remove a blood clot near his shoulder. He is slated to begin throwing shortly after the All-Star break but isn’t expected to be activated until August at the earliest. He may run out of time to reclaim the closer role and isn’t worth owning in standard leagues.
Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Follow Jeff on Twitter: @InStreetClothes.
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