While we are starting to see actual reports and stats posted by minor leaguers, there are a number of our top 50 fantasy prospects which have already missed time this year due to injuries. Let's take a look at when we can expect to see them back in action, and if this affects their timeline to the majors.
#1 Byron Buxton
Buxton missed time during spring training due to a sprained wrist, and hasn't played since then. The injury was expected to be just a couple of weeks, but it sounds like he may not debut until sometime later on in May. Wrist injuries are always concerning, given the potential for a loss of power among hitters, and the fact that this one is lingering could lead some owners to sell him low. Don't be one, as his long-term value is still the same as of right now. He is extremely unlikely at this point to debut this season (he wasn't likely before), but I could still see time in AAA if he comes back strong next month.
#3 Javier Baez
Baez had gotten off to a slow start in the first week of the minor league season, and now has landed on the disabled list with an ankle injury. Hopefully he won't be out for too long, but I would back up his timeline to the majors by about a month, moving him into July sometime if he comes back quickly. The longer he's out, the less likely he debuts this year.
#11 Clint Frazier
Frazier was expected to start the season at Low-A this year, but a hamstring injury kept him back at extended spring training. It sounds like he is expected to debut there within the next two weeks, and is already considered healthy:
Indians Vice President of Player Development Ross Atkins told The Plain Dealer on Thursday the 19-year-old outfielder needed about 15 to 20 more at-bats, or seven to 10 days.
"He's actually very close. He's 100 percent right now, so he's completely recovered,'' Atkins said. "We just want him to make sure he has all the facets of spring training that everyone else had, which is giving him as many consistent at-bats before the season as possible.''
I think that Frazier ends up staying in Low-A all season, possibly getting a call up to High-A if that team makes a postseason run.
#13 Dylan Bundy
Bundy has been throwing already as he looks to return from Tommy John surgery. His timeline has been mentioned as sometime in late June/early July, and given that timeframe I would be extremely surprised if he returned to the majors at all this year.
#25 Kyle Zimmer
Zimmer has been throwing in extended spring training, as the team is looking to limit his innings but still have him potentially available down the stretch. As a result, he will head to AA to start his season officially in late May, with the potential to throw around 150 innings across all levels. As we get past his initial start date, he may be worth targeting to stash in redraft leagues.
#38 Austin Meadows
Meadows is expected to head to Low-A West Virginia in the next week or so after missing the start of the season with a hamstring injury. Doesn't seem like it will really affect his timeline in any meaningful way, as I would expect him to spend the full season at Low-A given the depth in the outfield at the next level.
#43 Max Fried
There haven't been a lot of updates about Fried to this point, although it sounds like he might debut at High-A sometime next month. Obviously, you'd like to see him throwing in games at this point, but they will take their time with him to get him back up to 100%. It wouldn't surprise me if the team didn't leave Fried in Lake Elsinore for long once he's healthy, given how brutal the offensive environments can be in the south half of the California League.
No News Expected
#12 - Miguel Sano - Sano had Tommy John surgery and isn't expected to return to the field until much later in the season, if at all this year.
#21 - Jameson Taillon - Taillon had successful Tommy John surgery this month, and should be out until at least this time next year.