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What to do with players on the disabled list

A look at the players who will start 2017 on the disabled list. Who ranks highest and when do you draft them?

Jason Kipnis has been shut down by the Indians. When can we expect him back and is he worth drafting in fantasy?
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The disabled list is an important part of both real baseball and fantasy baseball. In fantasy baseball, the DL allows owners to stash away an injured player without dropping the player to the waiver wire which would make him available to all owners. By putting a player on the DL, the owner can insert a bench player or add a free agent in order to fill the roster spot. The problem most fantasy owners face is there is typically only one, and sometimes zero, spot on their roster for DL eligible players. If they have two or more players who are on the DL, this can lead to difficult decisions. Do you cut one of them, do you keep both and essentially have a roster spot with zero production, or do you just give up and hide under a rock until football season? This post is here to help so that option three isn’t the one you turn to! I’ll look at players who are expected to start the season on the disabled list, rank those players so you know who to keep around, and give you an overview on how to deal with these players on draft day.

The Best of the Banged Up

Jason Kipnis, 2B Cle

Kipnis appears likely to begin the season on the DL with a shoulder strain. The 4-6 week timetable has been what I’ve seen most often in relation to his recovery. This has optimism for a mid-April return. Kipnis has been plagued by injury for most of the past few seasons it seems. Still a double digit HR and SB guy in a great lineup warrants drafting and stashing on the DL.

J.D. Martinez, OF Det

Martinez sprained his lisfranc ligament back in mid-March. The current projections give a positive outlook of only 3-4 weeks missed for the Tigers slugger. He missed a good portion of last season as well, but he is capable of 30+ HR when healthy. Draft him in the middle of your drafts and stash him for his huge power upside.

David Price, SP Bos

Price began the offseason looking for a bounce back campaign in 2017 (despite still being the 70th overall player in fantasy). Many experts had him inside their top 10 SP going into this year. Price has been dealing with some kind of ELBOW issue and is still unable to throw from distance. He will begin the year on the DL and is still without a clear timetable for return. Most reports have him missing all of April and some cite May as the earliest possible return date. I’ve written about him as a bust and I certainly am not going into draft looking to get Price. That being said, I did draft him recently. It was in the 14th round of a points league with 5 bench spots. This format allows me to keep him on the bench as a flier. If he doesn’t play, I cut him and am really no worse for wear. If he returns in May and is a top 10 SP, he may just win me the league.

Ian Desmond, OF Col

Desmond suffered a fracture in his left hand back in mid-March. Since then, he had surgery to insert a metal plate in his wrist. The optimistic timetable would have Desmond back with the Rockies by the end of April. The problem with this is that seems to be the best case scenario for him. A setback pushes his return back further. The other concern is the nature of the injury itself. Wrist injuries often lead to reduced hitting performances upon return. For a player as streaky as Desmond, coupled with the variety of available lineups the Rockies can trot out on a daily basis, getting off to a poor start could lead to a shaky season for Desmond and his owners.

Draft Me Late, I Can Help

David Dahl, OF Col
Carlos Rodon, SP CWS
Sonny Gray, SP Oak
Didi Gregorius, SS NYY
Wilson Ramos, C TB
Jorge Soler, OF KC
Anthony DeSclafani, SP Cin
Tyson Ross, SP Tex

This next group of players warrant a draft pick at the end of your draft if you have an open spot for a DL eligible player. They all can make great contribution to your fantasy teams when healthy. Some even have potential to be stars. Dahl has 20/20 potential. Rodon has recently been given good news on his health and is a solid option to break out. Gray was a Cy Young candidate in 2015. Gregorius and Ramos were both top 150 overall players last season. Soler has high power upside and should finally see substantial playing time. DeSclafani had a 3.28 ERA in 123 innings last season. Ross was a 3.03ERA 9.4K/9 pitcher over 392 combined innings between 2014 and 2015. All of these players can help your fantasy teams if healthy. If you have an open DL spot on your roster, I’d suggest filling it with one of these guys.

Don’t Forget About Me

Scott Kazmir, SP LAD
Tyler Thornburg, RP Bos
Chris Tillman, SP Bal
Martin Prado, 3B Mia
Alex Dickerson, OF SD
Tom Murphy, C Col
Charlie Tilson, OF CWS
Matt Duffy, 3B TB
Luis Valbuena, 3B LAA
Colby Rasmus, OF TB

This group of players won’t matter in most formats this fantasy season. Deeper league or AL/NL only owners should remember them on draft day though. Especially if you have multiple DL spots on your rosters. Stashing one of these players certainly wouldn’t hurt. All of these players have either been solid fantasy contributors in the past or were projected to do so this season before their injuries.

The Rest

Andrew Susac, C Mil
David Wright, 3B NYM
Andre Ethier, OF LAD
Homer Bailey, SP Cin
Jeff Locke, SP Mia
Chad Bettis, SP Col (GET WELL SOON)
Socrates Brito, OF Ari
Jake Barrett, RP Ari
Glen Perkins, RP Min
Brad Boxberger, RP TB

Out For Season

Cody Anderson, SP Cle
Trevor May, SP Min

Finally, I give you some names for the deepest of league or the leagues with a large number of DL spots. There’s hardly any fantasy relevance here, but here you go.

That wraps up the current list of players who appear to be DL bound to start 2017. Thanks for the read.