Fantasy baseball weekend wrap: Injured stars edition


Injuries were the big story of the fantasy baseball weekend, and a few could be major, so rather than spend too much time on any one malady here are my thoughts on what it means.

Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees: His oblique strain was called "pretty significant" by manager Aaron Boone. That could mean months. Keep Judge rostered, but this means even when Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicksreturn soon that Clint Frazier can keep bashing. He looks great. Mike Tauchman had a big weekend against the Royals, but I am not buying there.

Jacob deGrom, SP, New York Mets: It sounds like -- and we have seen this before -- the organization does not know how to handle this elbow injury. Perhaps an MRI is pending, perhaps not. There is no great replacement for deGrom, but the concern is he returns soon and the sore elbow requires more than an MRI. He remains my No. 2 starting pitcher overall -- but be concerned.

Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Mets: An errant pitch struck his right hand, and while initial tests showed no breaks, those in weekly formats should consider other options this week. His Sunday home run notwithstanding, Cano is struggling at the plate and has not reached base at a normal clip. Todd Frazier could come off the injured list today, but Jeff McNeil could move to second base.

Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates: Marte has an abdominal bruise after running into his shortstop, and while no timetable on his return is clear, this might be more than a few weeks. So few players can steal 40 bases, and we have lost another. Gregory Polancocould make his season debut this week, but he seems like an overrated fantasy option. Roster him, of course, but have we seen his best?

Austin Meadows, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: If only the Pirates had someone like Meadows! He sprained a thumb completing a triple, and early word is he will miss a few weeks. Meadows has blossomed at the plate as a power/speed source. Joey Wendle and Brandon Lowe are leadoff options in his stead. Lowe is a 25-homer option. Wendle hits for average. The Meadows injury means more opportunity for Avisail Garcia, which is good, even for standard leagues.

Jean Segura, SS, Philadelphia Phillies: He and backup Scott Kingery are on the shelf, although Segura could return this weekend. My concern with Segura is mild, although players sometimes stay attached to first base after hamstring injuries. The Phillies show little intention of stealing bases as it is.

Mike Moustakas, 2B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers: He fractured the tip of his right ring finger, and the team has not made a roster move on him, but you have to think he will miss a few weeks. The Brewers can turn to Hernan Perez for a bit. We would prefer Moustakas heals and returns to a 30-homer track, as opposed to struggling at the plate for two weeks.

Matt Shoemaker, SP, Toronto Blue Jays: Scoff that this right-hander is hardly worthy of inclusion with the others, but he was the most-added player in ESPN standard leagues, off to a surprising 3-0 start with a 1.57 ERA. His season ended with a torn ACL Saturday. I am a bit intrigued in deeper formats by righty Sean Reid-Foley. As for Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who has dealt with finger issues for two seasons and left a weekend start with another, he might pitch this week. Have faith.

Sunday recap

Box scores


Josh Donaldson, 3B, Atlanta Braves: 3-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R
Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: 4-for-5, 2 HR, 3 R
Justin Smoak, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays: 4-for-5, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K
James Paxton, SP, New York Yankees: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K


Avisail Garcia, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: 0-for-5, 3 K
Jorge Soler, OF, Kansas City Royals: 0-for-5, 5 K
Collin McHugh, SP/RP, Houston Astros: 3 1/3 IP, 8 H, 9 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Brandon Woodruff, SP, Milwaukee Brewers: 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
Shane Bieber, SP, Cleveland Indians: 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Weekend takeaways
It took 1,337 plate appearances, but Joey Gallo finally hit a sac fly. The only position player with more PAs before their first SF was Steve Sax (1,388).

h/t: @Kurkjian_ESPN
- MLB Stats (@MLBStats) April 21, 2019

Hitting a sacrifice fly might not mean much to fantasy managers, except it is a run batted in sans an at-bat, and any time Joey Gallo does not cost us an at-bat with a strikeout is a positive. However, look at Gallo so far: The power is there, as per usual, but that .281 batting average is mighty attractive. It is not going to last, but then again, Gallo is striking out at a lower, albeit still high, rate as compared to his career and making far more contact. His BABIP is elevated, based on the past, as defenses cannot wait to shift against him. Perhaps a major drop in batting average is pending, but if this .208 career hitter can hit .230 or so, that would be nice.

A pair of young players received much notice this weekend and became highly sought-after fantasy free agents. One is Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker, announcing his debut with a home run against Derek Holland. Tucker is not a major power option, but he sure steals bases and is capable of drawing walks. The Pirates could leave the switch-hitter leading off even when Kevin Newman and Erik Gonzalez regain health.

The other rookie to watch is Boston Red Sox third baseman Michael Chavis, a power option capable, in theory, of handling second base. The Red Sox lack second base options. Chavis is a right-handed hitter with pop and some swing-and-miss in his game, but the upside, especially with middle infield eligibility perhaps looming, is excellent. By the way, Rafael Devers looks awful at third base, and while things should change soon, Chavis could end up playing there as well. I think Chavis will hit.

Versatile catcher Blake Swihart found a new home in Arizona, and the club claims he will play outfield corners for a while as well. Some will note Swihart cannot hit enough to play outfield, but how do we know? Those in NL-only formats and multi-catcher ones should take a chance.

Health report

I was initially skeptical that Tampa Bay Rays lefty Blake Snell, after his bathroom mishap, would miss only one start with a busted toe. Turns out he is unlikely to pitch this week as well. A monster season is still likely, even if he misses the rest of April.

Colorado Rockies second baseman Daniel Murphy and his fractured index finger are on the mend and could return to the lineup any day now. This is bad news for Garrett Hampson, who has not hit, as Ryan McMahon could move to second base so Murphy can handle first base. Murphy is going to hit.

Closing time

It seems a matter of time before the Los Angeles Angels demote right-hander Cody Allen from the closer role, but popular sleeper Ty Buttrey is pitching far earlier in games than the seventh or eighth innings. Hansel Robles opened Sunday's game. I would still go with Buttrey.

The Texas Rangers claim right-hander Jose Leclerc remains the closer despite a rough Sunday that featured four walks, a home run and only two outs. Shawn Kelley is next in line, but perhaps not this week. Leclerc has had control problems in the past, even in his breakout 2018. Stick with him.


Astros right-hander Brad Peacock returns to the rotation to face the Minnesota Twins on ESPN+, and do not presume it means a pitch count. Peacock can go six innings. He misses bats, though he is better against right-handed hitters. He is a wise streamer in fantasy, though I also like Tampa Bay right-hander Yonny Chirinos.

Steven Matz retired nary a Phillies hitter in his most recent outing and faces them again, although they are short a few hitters from that night. I think the pitcher has the advantage in the quick rematch. Not saying Matz tosses a gem, but 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball has value in many leagues. The Phillies did not hit so well, even at Coors Field this weekend. People dumped Matz in myriad leagues but should not have. Watch the lineup around him too.

Most recent KaraBlogs

Thursday, April 18: Free agents to get, led by several Tampa Bay Rays
Wednesday, April 17: Garrett Hampson, Steven Matz, Blake Snell
Tuesday, April 16: Closer report, Raisel Iglesias struggles
Monday, April 15: Weekend wrap, Clayton Kershaw value
Thursday, April 11: Free agents to get, including Dansby Swanson