The fantasy baseball world took a few huge blows this week with the likes of Brian Wilson, Drew Storen and Jacoby Ellsbury set to miss a huge chunk of time with serious injuries. The Beard is going to miss the season and the Storen and Ellsbury ailments could limit them once they do return in around two months. Let’s get down to business from the carnage of the first full week of the season:
Jacoby Ellsbury suffered a subluxation of his right shoulder when Reid Brignac landed on him after the slide into second base. A subluxation is basically just a partial dislocation of the shoulder joint. Basically, it means the shoulder didn’t quite pop out of the socket, so there’s likely to be less ligament damage compared to a complete dislocation. While this is obviously a tremendous blow to owners, a total dislocation could have potentially cost him the season. Ellsbury was given the six-week-or-more prognosis from the team, so owners are likely going to need to look elsewhere to replace what they had hoped to be a top-three OF this year.
While there is a very good chance that Ellsbury could be back in six weeks, there’s really an unlimited downside to this injury with respect to the 2012 season. One particular circumstance that comes to mind was the case of Rudy Gay in the 2011 NBA season. Gay subluxed his left shoulder and was miss only four weeks with the injury. As fate would have it, Gay’s shoulder hadn’t quite healed correctly and it caused him to get surgery with the infamous Dr. James Andrews to end his magnificent season (he was a top-15 player, for those that care). Owners need to remember that all injuries are different though and for all we know Ellsbury could be back in those aforementioned six weeks.
If Ellsbury does return close to his six-week prognosis, then I’d expect his power numbers to come down. Most people probably didn’t expect him to hit 32 bombs again, but that’s beside the point. Specifically, Ellsbury subluxed the acromioclavicular joint (aka AC joint) in his shoulder, per the Boston training staff. Translation: Ellsbury hurt the part of his shoulder that connects the acromion (upper part of the shoulder blade) and the clavicle (collarbone). The AC joint’s primary function is to help raise the arm, so this is obviously a potential problem for the a baseball player that has to be in a batting stance with his elbow starting essentially on the same horizontal plane as his shoulder. Again, we don’t know the degree of the shoulder injury and it could be minor.
What would I do if I owned Ellsbury? I’d probably wait for him to return to the lineup and try to shop him once he gets it going. A lot of owners in fantasy leagues will still see Ellsbury as a first-round pick, so I’d ship him for a like a third-round value at the time of his return. He should still be an OF2-3 with his speed and run-scoring numbers, but I’d be very surprised if he’s able to clear 15 bombs on the year.
Cody Ross is likely to be one of the winners directly as evident by his three-run bomb over the weekend. Mike Aviles is another huge winner given his new spot in the leadoff hole and his multi-positional eligibility in leagues. He goes from a deep-league asset to one that should be considered by all owners in the interim.
The rest of the injuries of note after the jump:
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Lorenzo Cain was placed on the DL with a groin strain on Thursday after pulling up lame while chasing down a fly ball. Lorenzo was rollin’ in Cactus League play and it looks like that hot start will be for naught. Personally, I own Cain in all but one league and I’m stashing him on the DL in all of those. He should return near the 15-day minimum and this injury isn’t likely one that is of the recurring variety. It’s certainly possible though.
Mike Morse suffered a setback to his right latissimus dorsi. The slugger is expected to miss the next six weeks with the setback and owners have to be furious about drafting him with hopes he’d be back after just a week of the season. I addressed this issue last week, so let’s not beat a dead Morse.. Sorry. I had to.
Lance Berkman should be back in the lineup on Tuesday after suffering a minor tear in his calf muscle. If we consider that Berkman is 36, owners should be concerned this issue might pop up on him again. Calf injuries can really hang around and I’d bet that this injury will cause Big Puma to miss more games eventually. Just ask anyone that owned Andrea Bargnani in fantasy basketball about how calf injuries can hang around (he missed basically two months with no structural damage in his calf). If I owned Berkman, I’d consider selling high at the first opportunity his value spikes in some degree.
B.J. Upton is set to return Friday was the collision with Desmond Jennings that led to his back injury. Feel free to check out last week’s edition for more details. He needs to be owned in all leagues. Duh.
Carl Crawford is expected to return from his wrist injury soon and will head to Florida for some extended spring action.
Mike Stanton is going to try and play through his cartilage damage in his left knee for the Miami Marlins and he’ll likely be getting days off here and there. Stanton owners are on thin ice right now and one bad step could cause a significant injury. He was my "Bust of the Year" entry for this reason, but chances are owners won’t be able to get enough back in the third-round investment to warrant a deal. Plus it looks like Miami’s ballpark is Petco East.
Mike Carp (shoulder) is expected to return to the lineup this week after heading to Tacoma for his Triple-A rehab assignment. He has legitimate pop and could be a sneaky source for owners needing help in that area.
Tim Wheeler, the Rockies top OF prospect, will need surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his wrist. The 6-foot-4 prospect is expected to miss one month. If that bone sounds familiar, it’s because guys like Domonic Brown and Pablo Sandoval broke that bone last year. The main reason for this carpal bone being broken is that it protrudes towards the palm, thus making it stand more in harm’s way from the HBP. It’s also one of the smaller carpal bones, too. There’s still a chance that Wheeler can make it to the show in the next few months or perhaps earlier given the struggles of Dexter Fowler so far. Owners should keep an eye on him in deeper leagues once he makes it back to Colorado Springs in the PCL.
I covered Scott Baker’s season-ending elbow injury here. Make sure you check that out!
Brian Wilson will undergo Tommy John surgery and will not pitch for the rest of the 2012 season. Wilson’s velocity was extremely down on Thursday by struggling to clear 90 MPH with his fastball and the training staff initially went to check on his ankle, but those watching on TV could have seen B-Dub clutching his right elbow. As for Mr. Black Beard's keeper value, one would think that he should come back strong for the 2012 season. Tommy John surgery had a death-sentence feel to it, but not anymore. Did you guy see Stephen Strasburg hit 100 with one of the best breaking balls in all of baseball? Yeah. Wilson’s long-term prospects in keeper leagues should be fine. On a side note, Wilson is the third closer to far this year to undergo the procedure by joining Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria.
The $64,000 question in fantasy right now is: Casilla or Romo? It’s a tough one and if your league is competitive both of these guys were owned on Thursday with guys like myself, @enosarris (one of my favorite follows) and all the SF beat writers warning owners that Wilson didn’t look right. If for some reason they’re both sitting out there on the wire, it looks like Santiago Casilla is the preferred player to own at this point. He is unfathomably owned in just 2.7 percent of ESPN leagues. Things could change quickly and given the way San Francisco will win a lot of close games with dominant pitching, both guys should be owned for the supreme upside.
Drew Storen joined the elbow club for closers with a minor surgical procedure on bone fragments in his pitching elbow. Storen’s case is a little bit murkier than most since he stated that he never felt pain in the elbow prior to joining the club this eyar and that something changed in Spring Training. Bone reparation is more reliable than muscle, so owners really shouldn’t be overly concerned once he comes back. Although, I’d be remised not to throw out the red flag that if it’s a chip to the part of a bone that has a tendon attached to it, there could be some potential pitfalls. For instance, the majority of the muscles in the forearm connect at the medial (inside) and lateral (outside) epicondyles (outer- and inner-most sharp parts of your elbow), so one would think that might be a problem. That, obviously, is all speculation. Storen is expected to return around the All-Star Game.
The crystal-clear winners here are Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge. They each have registered one save, but owners should be more attracted to Hen-Rod for his intriguing K potential.
Thanks for reading! You can check out the details from the first week right here.