Fantasy owners have some good and bad injury news to digest Thursday morning.
Giancarlo Stanton, who was previously reported to be out for the season with a Grade 3 groin strain he suffered sliding into second base, might be ready to start in the outfield on Friday.
For more than a week, Stanton has been moving around without showing any signs of discomfort in batting practice. He's not only hit, he's running the bases and working on fielding drills in right field.
Stanton was activated last Tuesday but has been limited to pinch hitting without the DH in the National League.
What is in the water in Houston? We found out last week that Carlos Correa's shoulder was bothering him when it caused him to miss a few games. Manager AJ Hinch expanded on the problem yesterday:
Hinch on Correa "he's dealing with a nagging injury. I don't think he will have the same power, explosiveness but he can still contribute"— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) September 14, 2016
Now Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman are banged up. Altuve left yesterday's game with a sore oblique and Bregman left with a sore hamstring. The Astros have an off day tomorrow, but Hinch was not optimistic about either playing on Friday.
It's good to see Stanton back so soon, but I am starting to wonder if he will ever be able to stay healthy for a full season. Since 2012, Stanton is averaging just 113 games played per season, and he hasn't been the same hitter since the hamate injury he suffered in his hand last year. Stanton is having the worst season of his career by wRC+ at 116, which is still above average but not the superstar level we've come to expect. The Marlins may have to consider moving him to a lesser impact position, like first base, to perhaps keep his body a little fresher.
Fantasy playoffs have started in head to head leagues, and it's a really bad time to lose some of these Astros players, especially Bregman, who has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the last month. Bregman is ranked 9th in Yahoo 5x5 over the last 30 days with a .319 BA, 1.001 OPS, 8 HR, 23 R, 28 RBI and 2 SB. He has all the makings of a potential fantasy monster next season hitting 2nd in a strong Astros lineup.
As for Correa, he has a .000 ISO in September with an OPS closing in on .500, and has recorded only one batted ball with an exit velocity of 100+ mph this month. Playing the entire month of September through a nagging shoulder injury may distort Correa's final season line when the season is over, and fantasy owners should keep that in mind when 2017 draft prep rolls along.
Houston is 10.5 games out of the division and 3.5 games out of the Wild Card, and they need to leap frog 4 other teams to get a playoff spot. Keep an eye out for early shut downs if the Astros don't make up ground.
Yulieski Gurriel can pick up the slack in a lot of leagues as he's available in 76% of Yahoo formats and is a very talented hitter that has gone somewhat under the mainstream radar. Gurriel has a strong 137 wRC+, .183 ISO and just a 12% strikeout rate through his first 75 big league plate appearances.