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The Fantasy Injury Exam Room - Springer, Bryant, Weaver, Nelson 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. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

Luke Weaver (SP, ARI)

Weaver is getting a second opinion on his pitching arm after being diagnosed with a forearm strain. While the Diamondbacks are hopeful that he won’t be forced to undergo season-ending surgery, it remains a possibility. A forearm strain can often be an early warning sign of a more serious injury such as a UCL tear or other serious elbow injury. Right now Weaver’s Injury Risk is Elevated (22%), but it could get worse as we learn more about the severity of his injury. Even if this is a mild forearm strain, which is the best-case scenario here, the minimum Optimal Recovery Time is three weeks.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Weaver was enjoying a breakthough season and really starting to live up to his potential. He was not drafted for the kind of numbers he was posting, so he was boosting a lot of Fantasy teams into contention. He was turning out to be a terrific value pick, but was not drafted as a top Fantasy starter, so his absence on your Fantasy staff may be easier to compensate for than if you lost a SP with higher appeal coming into the season. You may have to make a trade to replenish your SP depth, but it will not have to be a blockbuster.

 

George Springer (OF, HOU)

In his first game back following a four-game absence due to back tightness, Springer suffered a pretty serious left hamstring strain. An MRI showed that it’s a grade 2 injury, indicating a moderate strain. Springer is on the I.L. and is expected to miss much more than the minimum 10 days. This timeline makes sense, as our algorithm is showing a four week Optimal Recovery Time. Springer’s Overall Injury Risk already fell into the High category due to his lengthy injury history, and now it’s even worse, moving from 34% to 38%. While Springer hasn’t had any past issues with his hamstring, he has a lengthy injury history that includes his back tightness (2019), left quad soreness (2018), left thumb sprain (2018), left quad strain (2017), right wrist fracture (2015), concussion (2015) and right quad strain (2014). Springer really needs to make sure his body is fully recovered before he takes the field again. He’s at a very concerning risk level of suffering a serious injury that could lead to a multi-month absence.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Springer was having a terrific season in terms of every all-around stat except for steals. This situation is not going to be easy to deal with from the Fantasy perspectives, as you will have to make a significant trade to replace Springer’s production or piece together a few players to compensate as best you can until he returns. If he does come back too early, you may want to move him based on the possibility of missing a few months as indicated above. He could bring back a nice return when active and you won’t have to worry about injuries if you can trade him for someone else who can make a significant impact on your fantasy team.

 

Robinson Cano (1B/2B, NYM)

It’s been almost a week since Cano landed on the I.L. with a left quad strain, and while there is no timetable for return, he has done some light jogging and hitting in the cage. Inside Injuries is showing a three week Optimal Recovery Time for a mild strain. Cano also missed time in 2017 with quad and hamstring injuries and hamstring problems again in 2018. These lower body muscular strains are highly recurrent, slow to heal and easily aggravated. That’s a horrible trio for an older player like Cano. His Injury Risk is very High at 41%, and that number isn’t going to improve anytime soon. His Health Performance Factor (HPF) is also Below Average at 44%, indicating he won’t play well if he does return in the next few weeks. Cano shouldn’t return until mid-June at the earliest.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Cano has been a big disappointment for the Mets and Fantasy players so far. Observers have commented that his bat speed has slowed down and he has not adjusted. You can only hope that the time off can clear his head and help him make some adjustments. There’s nothing to do with Cano Fantasy wise except keep him on your IL and see how he performs upon his return.

Brandon Nimmo (OF, NYM)

Nimmo landed on the I.L. with a neck injury and has been diagnosed with inflammation and a bulging cervical disc. The disc is pushing on a nerve in his neck, causing a lot of pain. He was initially hurt in April when he collided with the outfield wall, causing whiplash. Nimmo tried to play through it but the pain lingered and got worse. He is now shut down from all baseball activities until he is pain-free and regains the full range of motion in his neck. WIth a High Injury Risk (39%) and Poor HPF (39%), it could be a while before we see Nimmo healthy and back in the Mets lineup. Our algorithm is showing an Optimal Recovery Time of three weeks.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Nimmo was another Mets disappointment, and his struggles may have been more than injury related. He was very inconsistent last season and wetn through some bad cold stretches. He also opened the 2019 season not performing well at the plate. Nimmo needs to have a better approach more regularly and may still frustrate Fantasy owners when he returns.

 

Kris Bryant (3B/OF, CHC)

Bryant was involved in an outfield collision with Jason Heyward on Sunday, leaving him with a neck/head injury. There have been no indications that he was diagnosed with a concussion, but his neck is still a concern. He is missing a second straight game on Tuesday and there is no timetable to return. The good news here is that our algorithm is showing a short one week Optimal Recovery Time. His Injury Risk is High (30%), as neck injuries are always a serious concern, but that number should improve pretty quickly over the next week.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Fortunately, it does not seem like Fantasy owners will be without Kris Bryant for very long, and may have to take a streaming approach towards replacing him in their lineups for now. Consider him day to day in your perspective and be ready to pop him back into your lineup any time in the next week or so.

 

Tim Anderson (SS, CHW)

Anderson hasn’t been in the lineup since getting hit on the wrist by a pitch Friday night. While there doesn’t appear to be a fracture or any significant damage, there’s likely soreness and inflammation that needs time to calm down. Even very mild wrist injuries are tough to play through, as they impact both hitting and fielding. If Anderson returns before the swelling has subsided it will be very painful and could temporarily sap his power. Right now Anderson’s HPF is Below Average (45%), but it will see a huge improvement once he hits his June 1 Healthy to Return Date.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Anderson’s Healthy To Return date is not far away, but with every game he misses, the anxiety increases for his Fantasy owners. The White Sox do not seem like they will rush him back early here, and appear to be playing it cautious. So when Anderson returns, you should feel relieved and comfortable using him.

 

Charlie Blackmon (OF, COL)

The Rockies placed Blackmon on the I.L. on Monday after the outfielder suffered a right calf injury last Thursday. While they hoped it would improve in a few days, the training staff correctly advised that this "isn't the kind of thing you want to take lightly." Calf injuries are very slow to heal and are easily aggravated, so it’s important to take the time to heal 100% so the injury doesn’t get worse. It’s no surprise that he’s High Risk (25%), and his Health Performance Factor is Below Average (43%). Mid-June is the earliest he should return to the Rockies lineup.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Blackmon was enjoying a very good month of May after he started slowly, quickly re-instilling Fantasy faith in him. This is certainly an unwelcome interruption to his momentum. It’s unclear when Blackmon may return in the shorter term, but as long as the Rockies take the cautionary approach, you can look forward to Blackmon helping your Fantasy team in a big way during the second half of the season. You will just have to patch that big hole in your lineup for a few weeks as best you can.

 

Yandy Diaz (3B, TB)

Diaz suffered a left hand contusion when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday. The Rays ultimately decided to place him on the I.L. a few days later when he continued to experience discomfort when trying to swing the bat. The good news here is that the injury to Diaz comes with a short one week Optimal Recovery Time. His Injury Risk is 13%, right on the border of Low and Elevated. His HPF is still Below Average (59%), but if he returns in 10 days it should move back into the Above Average or Peak category.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Diaz was a revelation and a waiver wire darling in April, but he had cooled off considerably in May. Once he returns, he will have to re-adjust to whatever holes opposing pitchers found in his approach recently, or he could find himself back on Fantasy free agent lists as another guy who simply teased us early and flamed out too quickly.

 

Jimmy Nelson (SP, MIL)

After missing all of the 2018 season and the start of 2019 due to various injuries, the Brewers have finally cleared Nelson to return. He underwent shoulder surgery over 18 month ago to repair his rotator cuff, anterior labrum and capsule. Nelson felt good entering spring training but quickly experienced elbow problems. He received a cortisone injection in March and has had a very slow recovery ever since. A setback like this is very common when recovering from such a serious surgery. It may not have been to the same body part, but injuries to the shoulder and elbow are often correlated when pitchers get hurt.

Now, Nelson has been activated from the I.L. but the Brewers optioned him to Triple-A so he can get a little sharper before returning to the majors. Because he has had two serious injuries to his pitching arm, his Injury Risk remains High at 28%, but his HPF has improved to Above Average (75%). As long as he can stay healthy he should pitch pretty well.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

The Brewers are being extra careful with their former top starter. There is no announced timetable for his return to the Majors, but you can feel confident that when he does finally come back, it won’t be before he is ready to contribute. You may just have to give him a start or two to truly recapture a good chunk of his past form,

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