With the acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez the Red Sox are the favorites in the ultra competitive AL East. However, they also have the most injury question marks which could make it a tight race. Read on for a look at AL East players who look to rebound from an injury filled 2010 and what to expect.
Russell Martin - The former fantasy star has dropped off significantly due to a hip injury. The injury will sap his speed so don't expect SB totals in the teens. His power and AVG are also missing and his future looks bleak. Hitting in the powerful Yankees lineup could give him an artificial boost of run production but his days as a premiere backstop look over. Think of him as a strong #2 catcher with upside if healthy.
Kevin Youkilis - Offseason thumb surgery may affect his swing but there haven't been any negative reports on his health so it's safe to target Youkilis after the top few third basemen come off the board.
Dustin Pedroia - Pedroia says the foot is healed and that is good news for his owners. The injury may slow him on the basepaths but it shouldn't be much of a problem. Bid confidently as he should still finish among the top 5 second basemen.
Jacoby Ellsbury - A rib injury forced Ellsbury to miss most of the season and denied owners a chance to see if he could repeat his awesome 2009. In the short amount of time he was on the field he showed he still have a good contact rate and his elite success rate on the basepaths remained intact. He might take some time to get back up to full speed but he should be hitting leadoff by the season's end.
Josh Beckett - Beckett's back did not cooperate last year and his numbers suffered as he put up a career high 5.78 ERA. Poor luck played a part in it but a dip in command is also to blame. If his back is 100% he should be a solid performer for a few more years but a decline could be setting up shop.
Jesse Litsch - Ineffective in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, the former bat boy has an uphill battle ahead of him. Even when he was healthy his lack of strikeouts made him a fringe fantasy pitcher. It's best to avoid Litsch until he gives you reason to have faith. Don't hold your breath waiting.
Mark Rzepczynski - A finger injury cost him 41 games and, for a time, a spot in the Blue Jays rotation. He struggled when he made his return to the majors before hitting his stride in the season's final 4 starts. With an entire offseason to heal his finger he should be ready to take a step forward in 2011. With a strong K/9 and GB% he could be a nice sleeper for 2011.
Kelly Shoppach - Shoppach's knees have given him trouble recently which isn't a good sign for a catcher. If healthy enough to play he can still put up good HR totals but that's about it. He has lost the Rays starting catcher job to John Jaso and his days of being fantasy relevant seem to be over.
Brian Roberts - He may have missed more than three months of the season but on his return he looked like the same Brian Roberts we're used to seeing. After an offseason to heal further he should be back to full strength and will be a producer as long as he remains in the lineup.
Justin Duchscherer - Duchscherer could end up a steal for the Orioles if he can stay off the DL. A 3.13 career ERA including a 2.54 ERA over 22 starts in 2008. He is only guaranteed $1.1mil so the Orioles aren't taking a big risk. Fantasy owners on the other hand would be taking a bigger risk. He was never a strikeout artist so his value is limited there and throw in a hitter's park and a weak team in the AL East and "Duke" is a risky horse to bet on.