The majority of breakouts in fantasy baseball can be attributed to a player going on the disabled list, and opening up an opportunity for somebody else. Injuries are one of the few ways to disrupt the status quo, and allow for change in an everyday lineup. What I'm hoping to do with this new weekly series is to track the movement of players on and off the disabled list, to get an idea of where new opportunities may crop up. I've decided to section this off into three main categories: Returning Soon, for players close to coming off the disabled list; Recently Injured, for players about to lose playing time and open up an opportunity for someone else; and News and Notes, for updated timelines of existing injuries or anything else worth mentioning. It is my goal to provide actionable advice on every bullet, and only include players who I think can make an impact in a wide number of leagues.
On the DL - Injury News & Analysis
Brian Creagh takes a look at all the players going on and coming off the disabled list and what the fantasy ramifications are.
Henderson Alvarez - Henderson has one more rehab start and then should return to the Marlins rotation. I'm jumping all over Alvarez in leagues where owners dumped him in mid-April. He walks that line where he's worth rostering, but not worth stashing on the DL for a few weeks. His 34% ownership level on Yahoo is a good indication that he's widely available in standard leagues. David Phelps is the odd man out and will likely get kicked to the bullpen.
Chris Capuano - Not the sexiest name, but Capuano should get a rotation spot in the next week or so when he returns from a strained quad. It's yet to be determined if he'll replace Adam Warren, Chase Whitley, or move to the bullpen. My bet is that Warren goes to the bullpen and Capuano slides into the rotation. He's a nice pickup in deep leagues where starters are hard to come by.
Jaime Garcia - Garcia had a tough rehab start against Memphis, but he did throw 72 pitches and is nearing a return to the rotation. He's another guy who is coming into a rotation spot and is widely available at 1% ownership in Yahoo. Tyler Lyons will get the boot from the St. Louis rotation when Garcia returns in the next week or so.
Jake Lamb - Lamb is out of his walking boot and could return to Arizona on their next homestand. The infield will become even more crowded as Lamb, Hill, Owings, Tomas, and Ahmed will battle for playing time. Given Lamb's offensive upside, he should find consistent ABs at 3B when he's healthy enough to return.
Kenley Jansen - Jansen is returning on Saturday and should take back his closers role immediately. The bullpen has pitched well, but a closer hasn't really emerged in his absence. Yimi Garcia may still get some high-leverage opportunities as Jansen eases back into the role.
Brett Oberholtzer - Oberholtzer returns on Wednesday to the Houston rotation. With the team playing well, Oberholtzer becomes another nice add in deep formats.
Sean Nolin - Rumor has it, Nolin could move to the rotation when he returns from the DL. He's in AAA now and being streteched out for a few more starts. A nice add now in re-draft leagues.
Josh Hamilton - He's an enormous question mark, but he's close to returning and is worth a gamble in all formats.
Dillon Gee - Gee goes down with a mild groin strain. The issue isn't serious and should require only a minimal time on the DL. The big fallout here is that Noah Syndergaard will get a crack at the rotation. It won't last long, but it should be fun seeing Syndergaard make his debut against the equally exciting (and strikeout prone) Chicago Cubs offense.
Everth Cabrera - Placed on the 15-day DL with a foot contusion, Cabrera should be good to come back when he's first eligible. The tricky part is that J.J. Hardy has returned to claim SS, and the rest of the infield is crowded. Cabrera's value has pretty much evaporated and if you're still hoping for a return to his 2013 form, the clock has probably struck midnight.
Michael Saunders - Back on the DL, Saunders is down this time with knee inflammation. It's the same knee he had off-season surgery on, and this doesn't bode well for the remainder of his 2015 season. I'm cutting bait on Saunders in all formats. The injury is good news for Kevin Pillar as he'll continue to get looks in the OF for Toronto.
Yonder Alonso - Alonso goes down with a bone bruise and is awaiting an MRI to see the extent of the damage. Wil Myers will likely move to 1B and Will Venable playing in RF in the short-term. Venable becomes a nice pickup in deep formats.
Yasiel Puig - Puig suffered a setback with a hamstring injury during a rehab game and needs to be re-evaluated. Puig was close to returning and depending the results of the MRI, could be pushed back another week or two. Great news for Andre Ethier owners.
Travis d'Arnaud - d'Arnaud has been cleared for baseball activities and is probably two weeks away from returning from the DL. He fractured a metacarpal in his right pinkie, which is an injury that shouldn't linger for a while. Plawecki has been a serviceable replacement in his debut, but the d'Arnaud will get all the playing time he can handle when he's ready to return.
David Wright - Wright's timetable is a little cloudier. He hasn't been cleared to resume baseball activities and is still getting treatment in Florida. He's probably at least two weeks out from returning. What scares me is that Wright's initial injury was a hamstring injury, and his delay was caused to lower-back pain; both injuries that tend to have lasting effects. Dilson Herrera has come around in the past week and is hitting well, so Wright's delay means a longer look at Herrera. Wright scares me for the rest of the year.
Anthony Rendon - Rendon hit a setback earlier this week and has stopped his rehab due to an oblique strain. The timetable is still up in the air, with a return coming anywhere between two weeks and a month. Danny Espinosa and Yunel Escobar will continue to fill in for the time being. Escobar the better investment of the two if you're looking for infield help.
Justin Verlander - Still a ways away from joining the rotation, Verlander took a big step forward when he was cleared to begin a throwing program. Mid-June is the earliest we may see Verlander, but the timetable is still very unclear.
Patrick Corbin - Corbin is about three weeks away from coming back from his Tommy John Surgery. He'll need to get a few more starts under his belt before I buy in, but keep him on your radar.
Hunter Pence - Pence started his rehab assignment is another week or two out from returning.