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Injured players often represent buy-low opportunities, and at this point in the season, there’s an injured All-Star at each position. If you can pry them away from the owner or add them outright, each one could offer a real boost later in the season.

Madison Bumgarner and Corey Seager are notably absent from this list. Bumgarner has started throwing off the mound again, and owners who drafted him are probably too encouraged by his progress to sell him at a discount. Seager is out for the season and only makes sense in a dynasty format, where owners are unlikely to trade him. You probably can’t get these guys for pennies on the dollar, but if the owner is selling, they should be available for at least a 2-3 round discount.

Let's look at some players currently on the disabled list who could represent bargains in the trade market.

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Buy-Low Opportunities for High Profile Players

C: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

Returns early June from groin surgery after a being hit by a foul tip.

Molina was the fourth-ranked fantasy catcher when he went down, but there are plenty of owners who see catcher as a streaming position, which means he could be available on the waiver wire despite his short four-week DL stint. The concern becomes Molina’s age (35) and low OBP, which limits his run production. Moreover, the Cardinals will give him extra rest and may choose to keep Carson Kelly on the roster even after Molina returns. Kelly is the fourth-best prospect in the Cardinals organization, and he projects as an above-average catcher who could be worth a roster spot of his own if he gets hot during his call-up.

1B: Greg Bird, New York Yankees

Returns in May from his second ankle surgery, this one to correct a bone spur.

Bird started his rehab stint on Thursday, May 9, at High-A Tampa, and he’s likely to need either a lengthy rehab period or will deal with a period of rust. However, even the conservative Steamer projections still predict Bird will put up an .800 OPS rest of season. He currently owns a .250 ISO mark and should be good for 20 home runs if he can play 100 games this year. Plus Bird will hit in the middle of a Yankees lineup that should also provide him with plenty of runs and RBI.

2B: Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals

Returns late May or early June from microfracture surgery on his knee.

Two weeks ago Murphy was cleared to resume baseball activities. Last week, he reported he was experiencing pain when running. The team maintains that Murphy’s knee itself has healed and Murphy now needs to rebuild the muscles around the knee. The part about the knee being healed has gone under-reported in the fantasy community. Murphy has been a top-tier contributor the last two years, but there have to be managers who are getting nervous about the indefinite nature of his DL stint. For the rest of the season, Steamer still projects him as the second-best second baseman, even though it expects him to get 50 fewer at-bats than the players around him.

3B: Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins

Returns in May from a strained hamstring.

Sano is eligible to come back now, but the Twins haven’t set a firm schedule for him, and hamstring injuries have a tendency to linger. Despite that concern and his 40% K-rate, he could easily eclipse his performance from last year when he put up a 75/28/77 stat line in only 114 games. Also encouraging, Sano’s batting average of .264 and his .859 OPS closely reflect his work in the minors, so it’s reasonable to think he could maintain those all year. His current owners may be concerned enough about his reputation as a high-K, low-average player and the injury that they’re looking to move him for the right price.

3B: Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks

Eligible to return from sprained shoulder, date TBD.

The Diamondbacks have been conservative about Lamb’s return from a sprained shoulder and elbow. At one point, the team thought he would rejoin them in April, but Lamb suffered a setback and remains shut down for now. Manager Torey Lovullo indicated Lamb would definitely be heading out on a rehab assignment, which means late May is the soonest he would rejoin the team. Lamb improved his BB-rate, K-rate, and plate discipline in 2017, while managing to maintain his power output. Between the return of Lamb and Steven Souza, the Diamondbacks offense should be above average, allowing Lamb to rack up the counting stats.

SS: Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers

Returns in June from a fractured elbow.

Andrus enjoyed a breakout last year when he hit 20 HRs with a power surge backed up by his batted ball profile. In his 61 plate appearances this year, his walk-rate had also spiked while his strikeout rate had dropped. If you can pry him away from his owner, he could rival the production of early-round, top-tier shortstops.

OF: Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

Activated on May 10 from a fractured toe.

Buxton is no longer on the DL, but he is fresh off a month-long absence and only has 54 plate appearances to his credit this season. He also represents the biggest boom-or-bust player on this list. Despite his cold start and inconsistency, he went 40/11/35/13 with a .300 BA last year after the All-Star break. That type of production would be second-round value if he comes out of his funk, but with Buxton there’s no certainty about when or if that will happen.

OF: Wil Myers, San Diego Padres

Return should be mid-May from a mild oblique strain.

Myers has already done one stint on the DL for a nerve issue in his elbow and then suffered the oblique strain. Fantasy owners are likely shell-shocked by the combination. If the Myers owner in your league has used up their DL spots, the repeated injury and the total time on the DL has probably soured them on Myers, who has a reputation for inconsistency. That reputation ignores the fact Myers has played at least 155 games, hit 28 HR, and stolen 20 bases the last two years. Oblique injuries can linger though, and it’s possible that Myers will still be on the DL three weeks from now, which could be a positive or a negative depending on whether you wait that long to buy him on the cheap or have already traded for him and are still waiting for his return.

SP: Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers

Returns in July from shoulder surgery.

Reports have Nelson way ahead of schedule, and he’s an absolute buy-low given that he’s owned in only 13% of leagues. It makes sense to count on some rebound time and shaky starts early on, but for head-to-head leagues where managers can more easily absorb poor performances as Nelson regains his 2017 form, he might represent the greatest value here.

SP: Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins

Returns mid-June from surgery on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

Santana likely would have been the Twins opening day starter after a 3.28 ERA in 2017 and a 3.38 ERA in 2016. Santana is 35, so Steamer projects him for a 4.70 ERA in 131 innings this year. However, he’s been one of the best value buys the last four seasons, averaging 174 IP, a 7.45 K/9, and a 3.60 ERA since 2014. The injury is on his throwing hand, so like Bumgarner, his ability to recapture his touch will impact his overall recovery time.

SP: Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals

Returns in June from a lat strain.

When healthy, Martinez slots in as a top-tier SP2. He hasn’t demonstrated the upside of legitimate aces like Scherzer, Severino, or Syndergaard, but he’s only 26 and has averaged an 8.7 K/9 rate and a 3.30 ERA. Opposing owners bought Martinez early, so he won’t come cheaply, but if you aren’t a believer in Trevor Bauer or Lance McCullers, you might be able to convince the C-Mart owner in your league to flip him.


More 2018 MLB Advice and Analysis