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The Fantasy Injury Exam Room - Jose Altuve, Tyler Glasnow and More


In our 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!

 

 

Jose Altuve (2B, HOU)

Altuve was pulled from Friday's game due to left hamstring discomfort. The Astros initially said it was precautionary, but it was clear this was more than some soreness when he landed on the I.L. Inside Injuries’ algorithm is showing a grade 1 (mild) hamstring strain, which comes with a two week Optimal Recovery Time. He doesn't have a history of hamstring problems, but was an Elevated Injury Risk entering the season due to left side soreness during Spring Training and October surgery to address an avulsion fracture in his right knee. Now he is a High Injury Risk (47%), and his HPF (Health Performance Factor) is Poor. This injury may come with a relatively short ORT, but it could be awhile before he is performing well again.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Before he was injured, Altuve was rediscovering his power stroke to the tune of nine home runs and a ,229 ISO, which was surely going to fall, but his rebound in the HR department was very impressive. He was also providing ample production in runs scored and RBI, with 21 in each category in 39 games played. His ,243 BA was due to rise when you consider his .234 BABIP. RotoBaller had Altuve ranked in the No. 1 tier by himself in the May ROS rankings. You will simply have to ride this absence out, because you will not get proper return in a trade right now. Once he is back, it is understandable if his recent injury history concerns you and then you deal him when you can get the proper package back. But keeping him could be a key to a championship, so I would not give him up unless I received a stellar offer in return.

 

Nelson Cruz (OF, MIN)

Cruz was sent for an MRI after he injured his left wrist on a swing during Sunday’s game. It came back negative, and he is expected to avoid a stint on the 10-day I.L. This decision makes sense, as we are showing a one week Optimal Recovery Time. He’s likely dealing with some soreness and swelling that should subside with rest after a few days. Cruz may need another week or two to get his power back to where it was before the injury, but this isn’t a long-term concern. Cruz now has a Below Average HPF (54%), although that should improve significantly within a week.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

If you play in leagues with daily moves, you are simply going to have to check the lineup cards every day. Cruz was slumping before he was injured, hitting .125 with no homers and one RBI in 24 at-bats before he went down. The combination of the cold streak and the HPF makes him a risky play for the first few days when he returns. But you just cannot leave a power bat like that out of your lineup once he becomes available again.

 

Tyler Glasnow (SP, TB)

Glasnow was sent for an MRI last week after experiencing discomfort in his forearm. It showed a “mild” forearm strain, but he is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Our algorithm has classified this as a grade 2 strain. A mild strain wouldn’t need up to six weeks to heal, so this is clearly more of a moderate strain. This injury comes with a five week Optimal Recovery Time. That’s just for the strain to heal - he could need another week or two to build up his arm strength and return to the Rays rotation. This is a pretty serious injury as a pitcher, so it’s no surprise that his Injury Risk is now High.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

This was a real punch to the gut for Glasnow’s fantasy owners, as he was apparently on his way to a true breakthrough campaign. The one positive item is that at least he is not lost for the season. Don’t cut him if your league does not use an Injured List. He could certainly return and help your team in the second half of the year. In the meantime, try to acquire a John Means or Brad Peacock to fill the spot if you can.

 

Anthony Rizzo (1B, CHC)

If it seems like Anthony Rizzo deals with back problems every year. We have calculated four separate back injuries over the last three seasons. Back problems are highly recurrent, even when they are mild. Rizzo hasn’t played since Saturday due to “tightness.” Once again this doesn’t appear to be a more serious long-term injury, but it still comes with a 1-2 week Optimal Recovery Time according to our algorithm. His Injury Risk is now Elevated (20%), and his HPF is Below Average (59%). Give him a week and these numbers should improve, but for now he needs more time to rest and allow his back to calm down.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

The Cubs are seemingly going to give Rizzo a few days to rest, and it is possible he could return for a weekend series against Washington. These back issues appear to be something you may have to live with as a Rizzo owner, so continue to have contingency plans in place at corner infield.

 

Eloy Jimenez (OF, CHW)

It’s been almost three weeks since Jimenez landed on the I.L. after suffering a high ankle sprain. Inside Injuries gave him a four week Optimal Recovery Time for a grade 2 injury, and he appears to be right on track based on this timeline. Jimenez ran the bases over the weekend and has been cleared to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday. His Injury Risk is 13%, right on the border of Low and Elevated. His HPF is also back in the Peak category (82%), so expect Jimenez to return to top form pretty quickly after he is activated.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Jimenez was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday, so he is indeed close to returning. You may be able to get him back into your lineup for next week. Ultimately, Jimenez should continue to be a good source of power with a respectable batting average.

 

Andrew Heaney (SP, LAA)

Heaney has been battling elbow problems since mid-March and experienced a setback a few weeks later. He required a cortisone injection and was diagnosed with “chronic changes” in his elbow. That likely means there wasn’t a ligament tear, but there could be cartilage damage or spurs in his elbow that are causing pain. After taking a few weeks to rest, he resumed throwing last month and has progressed to throwing a simulated game. Now Heaney will be sent on a rehab assignment and could rejoin the Angels rotation within the next few weeks. While his HPF has improved significantly and is now Above Average (71%), his Injury Risk is very High (44%). As long as he can stay healthy he should pitch well, but expect another problem with his pitching arm at some point.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

There is certainly optimism for Heaney when he returns after what we saw of him last year. Health is the obvious concern for him, but he can bolster your fantasy staff at least when he is available. You have waited patiently for Heaney to return, so take what you can from him while you can get it and keep availability expectations low.

 

Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, SD)

Tatis injured his left hamstring two and a half weeks ago, and he is not yet running at full speed. This is clearly more than just a mild strain. Inside Injuries is showing a grade 2 injury, which comes with a 4 week Optimal Recovery Time. Hamstrings can be very slow to heal, and it can quickly become a frustrating rehab process. It’s important to be very patient, as it’s easily aggravated. Expect Tatis to miss at least another week of action, and likely more. He remains a High Injury Risk.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

We needed to get you an update here, and there are no positive reassurances yet. This an obviously a more significant hamstring issue. By now you have already made plans to fill in for Tatis, you will have to continue with that for now and the near future. Hopefully he will be able to return to your fantasy lineup in June.

 

David Robertson (RP, PHI)

Robertson landed on the I.L. one month ago with a grade 1 flexor strain in his right arm, but our injury algorithm is showing this is was really a moderate (grade 2) strain. Because this was actually a more serious injury, it’s no surprise that Robertson experienced a setback when he resumed throwing last week. He went for a visit to Dr. James Andrews and will now be shut down from throwing for three more weeks. Flexor strains are very difficult injuries for a pitcher to overcome, which is why we are now showing a new 5 week Optimal Recovery Time. It’s possible we don’t see Robertson back in the bullpen until sometime around the All- Star break.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

So you should continue to roster Hector Neris for awhile, but as we have seen in the past, his hold on the closer role is certainly not firm. Seranthony Dominguez and Pat Neshek may continue to earn some saves as well. You can also continue to chase some saves on the waiver wire, as the next Hansel Robles could be an injury or a blown save or two away.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice