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The Fantasy Injury Exam Room - Lindor, Senzel & 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!

Francisco Lindor - SS, Cleveland Indians

After over two months of battling injuries, Francisco Lindor is finally cleared for a rehab assignment. Lindor first suffered a left calf strain early at spring training. He returned to the field and was cleared to run but quickly suffered a moderate right ankle sprain. Unfortunately these follow-up injuries are fairly common, and despite being cleared once again it wouldn’t be a surprise if Lindor does pick up another injury at some point this season.

Going forward Lindor should be looked at as a high risk, high reward fantasy player. His Injury Risk moved from High to Elevated (22%), so he is trending in the right direction. His HPF (Health Performance Factor - our metric to predict player performance based on current injuries and other factors) is still Below Average (52%), but it will slowly improve over the next month. It’s important for the Indians to be patient with him right now and give him rest days to keep his legs fresh. Calf strains are easily aggravated, and despite what he may say, Lindor isn’t 100% healthy yet.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

Owners are certainly eager to get Lindor back after spending an early pick on him, but this report is a bit discouraging. Rest days will frustrate you even more in weekly lineup formats, and it’s apparent another injury could happen at any time. If you find another willing owner who will trade you something substantial any time soon for Lindor, you should strongly consider moving him. If you have to wait until he is back in action, do so, but try getting rid of what could continue to be a health headache. The return can be good when he starts to play again, but start exploring scenarios now. Maybe someone else is eager to acquire Lindor now that his return is getting closer.

 

Tyler Skaggs - SP, Los Angeles Angels

The Angels have placed Skaggs on the 10-day injured list after he suffered a left ankle sprain in his last start. The ankle injury itself isn’t too concerning, as it comes with a two week Optimal Recovery Time. His history of other injuries is still a concern, though. Skaggs was a High Injury Risk (38%) even before the ankle sprain. Now he has jumped even higher at 49%. He recently battled arm fatigue throughout spring training. Last year was tough as he missed over a month of the season with a left adductor strain and also had a stint on the DL with a right adductor strain. He just can’t stay healthy, and even when he returns from this ankle sprain another injury will likely be on the way.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

Anyone who took a draft day flier on Skaggs is not surprised by this latest unfortunate piece of news. He was 1-2 with a 4.20 ERA, but he also had nearly a 90 percent strand rate, so he was escaping trouble that produced a 5.14 FIP. Jamie Barria was recalled from the minors and should be added in the interim. Barria did not miss many bats last year but deftly pitched to a 3.41 ERA. The advanced indicators screamed that he could not continue to succeed, but it won’t cost much to add him in case he can continue to pitch respectably as he did for much of 2018. The estimators warn against it, but Barria often was adequate last year when most believed he could not be.

Arodys Vizcaino - RP, Atlanta Braves

Vizcaino is once again out with shoulder pain, and it’s clearly more than just “inflammation.” Unfortunately Vizcaino missed significant time in 2018 with shoulder problems, and they resurfaced again at spring training. He made four appearances this season and hasn’t pitched in over a week. Now he is on the I.L. and is likely looking at a lengthy absence. There has to be a more serious underlying cause of the shoulder pain such as a grade 2 (moderate) rotator cuff strain and/or damage to the labrum. If this progresses to a partial tear of either the labrum or rotator cuff, he could need to undergo season-ending surgery. It’s possible that will a lot of rest and rehab he could return sometime in the next few months, but this isn’t looking good. His Injury Risk has jumped to 50% and HPF sits at 15% (Poor). We can’t expect much from Viz any time before the All-Star break.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

If you were holding onto A.J. Minter you will now get the rewards, as he will step back into the full-time closer role for the Braves. Vizcaino’s owners likely did not spend much on him, so it’s not a huge fantasy loss. Hopefully you have stashed away another lower-level closer. If not, you will have to monitor situations as usual while also trying to swing a deal for a lesser fireman.

 

David Robertson - RP, Philadelphia Phillies

Robertson landed on the 10 day I.L. this week with a sore right elbow. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI after experiencing soreness on and off recently. If this is a grade 1 (mild) elbow strain, the injury comes with a three week Optimal Recovery Time. In 6 ⅔ innings this season, Robertson posted a 5.40 ERA, 2.10 WHIP, and 6/6 K/BB. An elbow injury would explain his early struggles, but now we have to hope it’s a minor injury that will heal with a few weeks of rest. Until we know the MRI results, it’s hard to speculate what exactly is going on. For now we will go with what our algorithm is projecting, a grade 1 elbow injury. If there is some inflammation he could receive an injection to speed up the healing process.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

Robertson got off to a rough start in Philadelphia but had shown recent signs of gaining his better form. Now we will have to wait and see if anyone emerges from a true committee situation. We’ve been through experiments with Seranthony Dominguez and Hector Neris. Pat Neshek and Jose Alvarez could also be in the mix. Neris did get a save on Sunday, but the situation still must work itself it. Monitor it closely and pounce accordingly when it seems any seem to gain momentum.

 

Miguel Andujar - 3B, New York Yankees

It’s been just over two weeks since Andujar suffered a slight labrum tear on a dive back to third. He opted to avoid surgery (for now) and go the rest and rehab route. Andujar has already started playing catch and was cleared to take some swings. These are baby steps, and the Yankees are very slowly testing out his shoulder as he ramps up his workout routine. Because there is a partial tear, Inside Injuries has classified Andujar’s injury as a grade 3. That means a lengthy 8 week Optimal Recovery Time. He remains a very High Injury Risk (36%) and needs to be careful as he works his way back. It wouldn’t take much to make the tear worse, requiring season-ending surgery.

When Andujar is cleared for a rehab assignment, which is likely weeks away, he will remain a High Risk. This is something that could be aggravated at any point in the season. Even if he returns in a month or two and looks healthy, he will be at a much higher risk of a serious shoulder injury going forward. His shoulder isn’t going to get back to 100%, even with plenty of rest and rehab.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

If your league does not have a DL spot and you are in a roster crunch, cutting Andujar has been a strong consideration. Even with this dim outlook reminder, he still could come back at some point this season and help your team, and maybe even as a trade chip later in the year. He’s not done for the season yet, so hold onto him if you can.

 

Nick Senzel - OF, Cincinnati Reds

It’s been three weeks since Nick Senzel suffered a left ankle sprain, and he was just cleared to play in an extended spring training game. Inside Injuries algorithm determined that this was a grade 2 (moderate) sprain, which comes with a four week Optimal Recovery Time. He remains a High Injury Risk as he hasn’t hit his Healthy to Return Date yet. If he can make it through the next few weeks without aggravating the injury, he should make it back to that Low Injury Risk category, but for now it won’t take much to suffer a setback.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

Once Senzel is ready for action again, he could head back to Triple A for a bit before he possibly joins the Reds in May. None of the Reds’ primary outfielders are hitting .200 yet, so the carpet is being vacuumed for the top prospect’s eventual arrival. It’s just a matter of time now before Senzel takes over in center field for Cincinnati, so you can keep him stashed with anticipation.

 

Shohei Ohtani - DH, Los Angeles Angels

Ohtani was just sent for another checkup and is cleared to face live pitching in around a week. Ohtani won’t pitch at all this season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, but he is expected to serve as the Angels DH at some point. He has been hitting on a live pitching machine, and as long as he avoids any sort of setback he will progress to the final stage of his rehab program as a hitter. He could return to the Angels lineup by early May.

Balancing Ohtani’s progress as a hitter with his rehab program as a pitcher is going to continue to be very complicated. Recovery from Tommy John surgery is a grueling, frustrating process for pitchers, and setbacks along the way are common. By hitting he is going to place added stress on his elbow as it continues to heal, which could complicate his throwing program. If there is ever the slightest bit of pain or anything more than mild soreness, they need to shut him down. He could easily cause more damage to his elbow or to another part of his arm because he tries to overcompensate.

Engel's Fantasy Spin:

Focusing on hitting exclusively could lead to a boon in production for Ohtani, according to some scouts. Ohtani has also said he is concerned he could have more weaknesses exposed in such a scenario. There is some upside even as he continues to recover, so plug him in right away when he returns.

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