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The Fantasy Injury Exam Room - deGrom, Gallo 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!

 

Andrew McCutchen

The Phillies have lost Andrew McCutchen for the season. The outfielder got caught in a rundown and just took a wrong step, leading to the non-contact knee injury. An MRI on Tuesday confirmed an ACL tear that will require season-ending surgery. McCutchen knew something was wrong right away as he wasn’t able to put much weight on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches. He hoped that he avoided ligament damage and had something more minor like a meniscus tear, but that wasn’t the case. He now faces a roughly nine month recovery but should be ready at the start of the 2020 season.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Top prospect Adam Haseley was expected to refine his game more at Triple-A in preparation for a possible promotion later this year. But he has already been inserted as the replacement starter in center field for the Phillies. He has the potential to hit for a respectable average with some pop and speed, but he hardly spent any time at Triple-A and was not quite ready to be pushed to the Majors yet. He is only an add in NL monoleagues right now. Bryce Harper is not an option to play CF and we will have to see if the Phillies acquire another outfielder to plug their hole at the position the rest of the way. Haseley is the future, but could be overmatched in the present. Fantasy owners were getting fine OF production from McCutchen and will likely now have to make a trade to compensate in the lineup unless the roster depth is good enough to overcome the loss.

 

Carlos Correa

The strangest injury so far this season was suffered by Carlos Correa. He suffered a rib fracture while getting a massage in his home last week and has been placed on the I.L. Correa said that he felt a crack and had pain when doing simple everyday things like breathing and walking. He told the team and was sent for scans. An MRI showed the fracture. Now Correa is expected to miss four to six weeks, which is in line with our five week Optimal Recovery Time.

Even before this rib injury, our algorithm had Correa in the High Injury Risk Category (IRC). He played 110 games last season and 109 the season before due to lower back and oblique tightness (2018), a torn left thumb ligament (2017), and a right hand contusion (2017). His back continued to be a major concern heading into the season, and it’s possible he had some weakness around his ribs already that lead to his latest problem. Correa needs to very slowly work his way back once his rib is pain-free. He could cause a more serious injury such as an oblique strain if he tries to return before his rib is fully healed.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Jack Mayfield was called up from the minors as a plug-in for the injury-depleted Astros. At best, Mayfield will hit for a respectable average and can offer some occasional power. But replacing Correa via any free agency move is simply not going to cut it, obviously. If you can plug and play overall offensively, even at other positions, for the month-plus Correa is gone, you can stay afloat in your standings until he returns.

 

Hunter Dozier

The Royals placed Dozier on the I.L. with thorax tightness in his right side. He hasn’t played since last Thursday and is eligible to return on June 10. The good news here is that while his Injury Risk did increase, he is now Elevated (19%), not High Risk. His Health Performance Factor (HPF) is Below Average (60%) but should improve pretty quickly over the next week. Thorax tightness is really chest tightness to the pecs or lat muscles, so there is likely a mild strain that needs a week or two to heal. Unless there’s something more serious going on that the Royals haven’t revealed, this shouldn’t be a long-term concern.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Dozier had been operating as a terrific corner infield value before his injury. This report indicates he won’t be out for too long, and even if his batting average regresses some, he should continue to be a quality source of power and run production. Dozier is showing why he was a former high MLB draft choice and is erasing considerable doubts that existed about him before the 2019 season.

 

 

Jacob deGrom

deGrom exited his last start on Saturday night early due to a hip cramp. He had thrown just 66 pitches heading into the seventh inning but ended the night with 89 pitches through 6.2 innings. deGrom said he incurred a hip cramp on his right side as he was arising from a squat but was fine to continue despite being evaluated briefly by the Mets medical staff. The discomfort lingered and eventually forced him to leave the game. Fortunately this seemed like a precautionary move as the Mets wanted to protect their ace. Our algorithm is showing a soft tissue injury, which is the most minor classification. This one comes with a one week Optimal Recovery Time. It makes sense for the Mets to push his next start back a day or two to give his hip a few extra days to calm down, but this isn’t a serious concern going forward. Right now deGrom has an Elevated (20%) Injury Risk and an Above Average (68%) Health Performance Factor. These numbers should significantly improve if he waits to return until the weekend.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

deGrom has not been as dominant as he was last season, and some of his struggles at times have been attributed to mechanical issues. If this issue does affect his mechanics or approach, he could possibly be headed for a bumpy outing in his next turn. This does not sound like a major problem overall, but could still potentially lead to some performance concerns.

 

Aaron Judge

It’s been six weeks since Judge landed on the I.L. with a significant oblique strain, and he finally seems to be making some progress. When he initially got hurt we warned that this is a very slow injury to heal and the recovery is tricky. It doesn’t take much to aggravate an oblique injury. That’s why he was given a 5-7 week Optimal Recovery Time, and then after hitting this mark it takes a few additional weeks to ramp up baseball activities and go on a rehab assignment. Judge has progressed to hitting in the cage but doesn’t seem to be doing anything at full speed just yet. The Yankees haven’t provided a clear timeline to return, but if all goes well it could be before the All Star break. Our algorithm is still showing a very concerning IRC of 53%, so he needs to make sure he doesn’t do too much too fast. Swinging the bat places a lot of stress on the oblique, so with the slightest bit of tightness or pain he would need to shut things down again. By slowly ramping up his activities he should be able to avoid a setback because his oblique should be close to fully healed at this point.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Judge’s return does not seem imminent, but this latest report seems encouraging for him helping your Fantasy team during the second half of the season. The indication that he is not likely to suffer another setback should be reassuring for the longer term.

Joey Gallo

Gallo landed on the I.L. this week after suffering an oblique strain during an at-bat on Saturday. While the team hasn’t reported the severity of the strain, oblique strains are tough injuries to recover from in just a few weeks, even the minor ones. In the case of Judge, there was no indication early on that his absence would approach two months, but here we are at that point. Right now we are showing a three week Optimal Recovery Time for a mild strain, but Gallo’s ORT jumps to five weeks if it’s a more serious strain. Because of how easy it is to aggravate the oblique, his Injury Risk is High (35%). Don’t expect him back after the minimum 10 days, and if he somehow returns that quickly it won’t take much for him to get hurt again.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

The Gallo owner may have to now take the uncomfortable mental approach that Judge’s did when he went down. You cannot expect to see him back in action any time soon and must at least take solace in the fact he can return to help your team at some point later this season. In the interim, Gallo is so tough to replace as he was coming through with the best season of his career so far. You will have to possibly compensate with more than one significant roster move (such as tradew) to replace a good chunk of his power.

 

Zach Eflin

Eflin was placed on the I.L. after lasting just 3 2/3 innings during his last start. He is dealing with mid-back tightness, a new problem for the starting pitcher. Eflin started to experience tightness and mild spasms earlier in the week and tried to pitch through it. That was not a good idea, especially for a pitcher who was placing a lot of stress on the back every time he delivered a pitch.

Right now our algorithm is showing a two week Optimal Recovery Time, so Eflin may only need to miss a start or two as he recovers. If Eflin did happen to cause a strain by playing through the initial tightness, his ORT would jump to four weeks. Right now there’s no indication that this is a more serious injury, though, and by taking the time now to rest he should be able to avoid a setback like this. The tightness leads to spasms, which are painful and difficult to play through. Rest will solve the problem as long as there isn’t an underlying disc issue.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

Eflin was contributing as a serviceable Fantasy option before he was injured, but advanced statistical indicators seemed to point to regression soon. You obviously did not invest much in Eflin, so he should not be difficult to replace on your Fantasy staff while he is out. If he continues to overachieve when he returns, take what you can get from him while you can.

 

Dee Gordon

Gordon hasn’t played since May 20 due to a deep bone bruise in his right wrist. He was initially hurt when he was hit by a pitch on May 9th, and it didn’t get better as he tried to play through it. This injury is less severe than a fracture, but it still needs multiple weeks to heal. The Inside Injuries algorithm classified this as a grade 2 injury that comes with a three week Optimal Recovery Time. Because Gordon tried to play through it, this 3 week timeline didn’t begin when he was hurt in the first place. It starts on May 20 when he was shut down, so his Healthy to Return Date is June 10. Gordon’s HPF is still Below Average at 59% and his strength will continue to be a concern over the next few weeks, but he should be back at Above Average pretty soon. He has been taking grounders and hitting in the batting cage, so he could be cleared for a short rehab assignment later in the week. Gordon is right on track.

Engel’s Fantasy Analysis

You apparently will not be without Gordon for much longer. In the meantime, teammate Mallex Smith may be available as a free agent and can fill the speed need at least temporarily. Smith should improve too, after some early struggles, and having the duo of him and Gordon could really boost you in the stolen base department overall.

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