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The Fantasy Injury Exam Room - Dahl, Folty & More


In our new weekly feature in collaboration with Inside Injuries, we take a comprehensive look into major injuries and their Fantasy implications.

The medical team at Inside Injuries breaks down each player’s outlook from physical perspectives. RotoBaller then provides in-depth fantasy recommendations based on the impact of every injury breakdown. It’s an unrivaled combination of medical and fantasy expertise, designed to help you gain a true advantage in your roster management.

Inside Injuries predicts the impact of injuries on player performance by using data analytics, medical expertise and statistical modeling.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Mike Foltynewicz (SP, ATL)

The Braves are one step closer to getting their ace back in the rotation. Mike Foltynewicz will make a second rehab start after missing most of spring training with a sore elbow. In his first rehab start, he threw 56 pitches over five near-perfect innings. If that goes well, he could be back in Atlanta within the next week or two. It’s always a concern when a top pitcher is slowed by arm problems, but Folty’s issues seem relatively minor. There was no structural damage, and inflammation was likely the cause of his soreness. With enough rest and rehab, this shouldn’t become a lingering problem He has improved from High Risk to Elevated (18%), and his HPF (Health Performance Factor) is back at Above Average (74%). Foltynewicz isn’t quite healthy enough to be the All Star he was in 2018, but he’s making steady progress and could get back to being one of the league’s top pitchers by May.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

Noting the HPF above, you may want to wait a start or two and let Foltynewicz get back into his better form before you lock him into your lineup. If you have the luxury of another starter with a friendly matchup, maybe you can hold him out for a start or two when he makes it back. His return could end the tenure of Kyle Wright or Max Fried in the Atlanta rotation. The next turns for each of those guys is going to be pivotal to them possibly staying in the starting mix. The Braves recently welcomed Kevin Gausman back, so the Atlanta staff is nearly complete again. There really isn’t any apparent reason to not expect Foltynewicz to build on the success of his breakout season of 2018. It seemed to take awhile to happen, but now he can really help your team from May onward.

 

Mike Clevinger (SP, CLE)

A brilliant start ended with an early exit on Sunday for Clevinger. He was forced out of the game due to back tightness despite throwing five scoreless innings and just 75 pitches. Clevinger did not have any health concerns entering the season and doesn’t have a history of back problems, both of which should help him in his recovery. If there’s any concern that Clevinger is dealing with a strain or disc issue, they will send him for an MRI. If it was more of a precautionary move and there’s no underlying cause. His next start could be pushed back but he shouldn’t miss much time. Right now our algorithm is saying that he’s more than likely just dealing with some tightness that should heal in a week or two. Clevinger’s IRC (Injury Risk) did jump to High, but it should improve quickly once he gets closer to reaching his two-week Optimal Recovery Time.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

Clevinger did tell reporters he will make his next scheduled start, but there are no full reassurances here. The outlook seems mostly positive. but nothing is guaranteed in the short term. If you had weekly lineup moves you obviously had to take the risk, but if you have daily transactions, thankfully you can wait and see on his status leading up to his next turn. That will not come at least until the weekend in Kansas City. On some sites like FanTrax, you can revise your starters before the weekend, so you will have some time to let him go through his needed rest there, too. Clevinger has a very tasty matchup next if he gets Kanas City, but we will have to wait and see if he can make it through that assignment.

 

David Dahl (OF, COL)

David Dahl could be looking at a lengthy absence. Dahl already has a concerning injury history, and he left Sunday’s game after injuring his oblique on a swing. Inside Injuries already had Dahl as a High Injury Risk despite a healthy start to the season. Dahl played 77 games in 2018 due to a right foot fracture. 2017 was a lost season, as he was limited to 19 minor league rehab games due to a stress reaction in the upper backside of his rib cage and then more back problems after his return. While that isn’t the same injury he is dealing with now, it could be in a similar area. Oblique/back injuries can be incredibly tricky, and they are often slow to heal and linger for months. Dahl knows that all too well after his 2017 injury. The Rockies will send him for an MRI to determine the severity of his latest injury. Even if it’s a mild strain, the Optimal Recovery Time is still three weeks. A more severe strain could sideline him for months.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

This is very frustrating, as Dahl was off to a good start, hitting .343 with a .385 OBP, two homers and six RBI. The loss of Dahl once again opens the door for Ramiel Tapia to get into the Colorado lineup and hopefully finally build on the power/speed promise he has shown in the minor leagues. He hit .302 with 11 home runs and 21 steals in 105 games at Triple-A last year. He has spent enough time at that level and now he gets the opportunity to show he can do much of the same things in MLB. If you already added Tapia, there’s considerable promise in his abilities and obviously the home park.

 

Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, COL)

The Rockies placed McMahon on the I.L. after suffering a left elbow strain. He was injured in a collision at first base on Friday night that caused his elbow to hyperextend. McMahon underwent an MRI that showed a strain, but this one is considered relatively mild. While our algorithm is now showing that his HPF is Below Average (55%), his IRC is just 12%, which is Low Risk. McMahon should need around two weeks for his elbow to heal. Because he is right-handed, this injury shouldn’t affect him in the field when he is activated but could have a slight impact at the plate in his first week back.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

This is key news for owners of Garrett Hampson, who should now see a clear path to playing time for a few weeks. When Daniel Murphy first went down, we thought that McMahon and Hampson would man one side of the infield together. Alas, the Rockies have continued their love affair with Mark Reynolds and he seemed to get in the way of Hampson playing regularly. Now you can safely lock in Hampson for awhile while McMahon heals. Reynolds still has good power and is now even more of a viable corner infield option. You did not likely spend much for McMahon on draft day, so it is not a huge loss. He was hitting .310, but he only had a .280 SLG and one RBI.

 

Joey Wendle (2B/3B/SS/OF, TB)

Wendle landed on the I.L. on April 1 after suffering a left hamstring strain and won’t be activated when first eligible. This isn’t a surprise, as even a mild hamstring strain needs 2-3 weeks to heal. His Injury Risk outlook is slowly improving, but it remains in the Elevated Category at 15%. Hamstring strains are highly recurrent, and especially at this point in the season it’s important to allow enough time for it to fully heal, so an aggravation doesn’t occur. If Wendle did return too soon and suffered a new strain, he would be looking at a much lengthier absence. Right now it is realistic to expect Wendle to return before the end of the month, but it’s no guarantee. He has yet to resume any “major baseball activities” but could in the next few days. Until he tests out his hamstring with running and hitting, we won’t really know how it’s going to respond.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

This was not a headlining loss by any means, but Wendle was one of my favorite later picks for a nice bonus combo of speed and a little power. There is really no one of major significance to step forward and impact your fantasy lineup. You should have simply been able to go to free agency to get an adequate replacement. Freddy Galvis (13 percent owned in Yahoo leagues), Hampson (32 percent) and Jeff McNeil (24) are some other options that may be still available to plug remaining middle infield holes you may have.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice