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Fantasy Baseball Stars on the DL: Who to Keep, Who to Dump


With the fantasy playoffs right around the corner, there seems to be an abundance of star power sitting on your DL. The recent news of Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole and Wil Myers coming off the disabled list is surely encouraging, but there are still plenty of guys you might be stashing, hoping they'll be your team’s savior. While you might be sitting on edge waiting for updates on your impact players, they might not be your best options heading into the most important month of fantasy baseball. I’ll be looking at some of the biggest names that are hurt, and examine whether or not you should be looking in a different direction.

 

Joey Votto - 1B, CIN

By Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsOn Sunday, Joey Votto was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. While it was just a team move in order to make room on the 40-man roster, Votto will now not be able to return until at least the second week in September. He has yet to resume baseball activities, but he is close. With that in mind, I would expect him back right around when he is first eligible.

Before he was hurt, Votto was batting .255 with six HR in 220 plate appearances. That’s way below his 2013 numbers of .305 and 24 in 581 at-bats. I’m mostly concerned about the drop in OPS, which currently sits at .799 compared to .926 a year ago. It's extra disappointing for his fantasy owners, who are waiting for an elite player to come back when he was underperforming to begin with.

If you're still stashing Votto, he has some value, especially in keeper formats. But he might well continue to underperform in the two weeks or so worth of playing time when he does come back. He should be held on a tight leash.

 

Yu Darvish - SP, TEX

The Rangers announced on Tuesday that Yu Darvish will not come off the DL when first eligible on August 25th. With Texas out of the playoff hunt, it is smart of them to not rush their ace pitcher back. They'll be waiting until he is 100% healthy and ready to go before activating him.

That said, I am giving a rough estimate of September 1st as a potential return date for Darvish. With that in mind, when he is ready to go, you can expect that he'll be back to being the Yu Darvish that we all know and love-- a must-start option upon his return.

 

Yadier Molina - C, STL

By User shgmom56 on Flickr (Original version) User UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsOn Wednesday, Molina took swings for the first time since injuring his thumb. He has been doing work in the bullpen and other drills, and the general idea is that he’ll be back by the second week in September.

With AJ Pierzynski and Tony Cruz struggling, once Molina comes back there will be no argument that he will be taking over the everyday duties behind the plate.

He is absolutely worth holding on to at s thin position, and he'll be a great addition for your fantasy playoffs or stretch run.

 

Ryan Zimmerman - 3B/1B, WAS

This cord should have probably been cut long ago. All Zimmerman is doing at this point is underwater running, and there's no timetable for him to begin baseball activities.

It seems as if late September is going to be his best-case scenario for his return to Washington’s lineup. Once he is back, you’ll likely be towards the end of your playoffs.

He isn’t worth the risk that he'll underperform out of the gate and mess up your week. Even if he is just stashed on your DL, he should probably just be outright dropped. There isn’t too much of an upside to holding on to him as the year comes to a close.

 

Anibal Sanchez - SP, DET

fantasy-baseball-advice-anibal-sanchezAnibal Sanchez is currently in physical therapy, and he won’t begin throwing for at least two more weeks. Much like Zimmerman, Sanchez is looking at middle-to-late September as a return timetable.

With Detroit looking at October for Sanchez, once he is back, he will likely not get stretched out too much. Also, Sanchez's ERA took a hit as he allowed four runs or more in four of his last five starts before hitting the shelf.

Once he is back, he might be too much of a risk to start, even with a decent matchup.

 

Masahiro Tanaka - SP, NYY

Masahiro Tanaka threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday and reported no signs of discomfort. He is still owned in 89% of leagues, so there is clearly support among his fantasy owners that he is worth stashing until he comes off the DL. However, I can’t see him being back to 100% before the fantasy playoffs are over.

Even if he is given the green light to go ahead, I see this happening more like Stephen Strasburg where the Yankees will use the regular season as a warm-up. In this case, Tanaka will be warming up to October and the possibility of New York in the playoffs. All that said, I don’t expect Tanaka to be worth using down the stretch, despite his potential upside.

 

When it comes to the stretch run and the playoffs, everything is about risks. You want to minimize your risks, and try not to take too many chances that may come around and bite you in the ass, ruining all your hard work. If a player has carried you this year and happened to get hurt, like an Andrew McCutchen or Yu Darvish, he might be worth taking a risk on. But if you have a star who hasn’t played that well and now he's on the shelf, you shouldn’t put too many eggs in his basket. Stay with what got you to the dance. Don’t be that dick who goes with one girl but leaves her for somebody else. Nobody likes that guy.