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The Fantasy Injury Exam Room - Yelich, Tatis 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 our 2020 MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our draft kit, premium rankings, player projections and outlooks, our top sleepers, dynasty and prospect rankings, 20 preseason and in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research and tools. Sign Up Now!

 

 

A.J. Pollock (OF, LAD)

Pollock landed on the I.L. due to an infection in his right elbow. It’s to the same elbow he previously underwent surgery on in 2016 when he suffered a fracture. Unfortunately, Pollock has had quite a few injury problems since 2016. That year he played just 12 games due to the fracture. He missed nearly 100 games over the following two seasons with a thumb fracture and serious groin strain. Now it’s an infection that will sideline him.

Pollock’s latest infection could be due to injections received to alleviate ongoing pain from the fracture and surgery. Yes, it’s been three years, but players often continue to experience some pain and swelling around the fracture location. While this infection isn’t exactly an injury, it could still lead to a multi-week absence. Many infections take up to 4-6 weeks to heal. This also serves as a warning that he isn’t 100% healthy due to all of his past injuries.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Pollock has been scheduled to undergo an exploratory procedure to further determine the extent of the issue. Surgery is a possibility, according to published reports. If you drafted Pollock, you were well aware of the risk, as it always seems something will shelve him. Hopefully, you prepared adequately and you have another quality option available to start in your OF.

This injury opens up more playing time for Alex Verdugo. He is owned in only 21 percent of Yahoo leagues and is hitting ,333 with four homers and 16 RBI in 69 at-bats. He is a must-add in all formats. Pollock has been scheduled to undergo an exploratory procedure to further determine the extent of the injury.

 

Christian Yelich (OF, MIL)

Yelich has been one of the hottest hitters over the last few seasons, but injuries continue to be a problem. Before the season we warned that his back/core problems could pop up again, because this is a highly recurrent injury. Now we are just a month into the season and Yelich’s back has already acted up. Yelich missed time in 2015 and 2016 with back spasms and a back strain. In 2017, he dealt with hamstring and right hip flexor tightness, which relates to the back. Last season he was sidelined with an oblique strain, also related.

Yelich left Sunday’s game with lower back discomfort and wasn’t in the lineup on Monday. While he is considered day-to-day, this could turn into an I.L. stint. Back problems tend to linger, especially when it’s to a player like Yelich, who has a history of back injuries. This could be a sign of a disc issue that will eventually have to be addressed with surgery. He was an Elevated Injury Risk before this setback, and now he has moved into the High Risk category (36%). His Health Performance Factor (HPF) also dropped to Below Average (46%), indicating that this injury will hurt his performance if he returns before reaching his two-week Optimal Recovery Time.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

Yelich did not play Tuesday and you may have to continue to replace him in your lineups if you have daily moves. If you started him in a weekly league, you are in danger of obviously losing the stats for an extended period and must make contingency plans ASAP. Eric Thames played right field Tuesday night and a Yelich absence could ensure him more playing time as Jesus Aguilar has shown true signs of breaking out of an extended cold streak.

 

Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

Andujar could be cleared to return to the Yankees lineup sometime this week. He suffered a slight labrum tear in his right shoulder a month ago and is aiming to avoid surgery to repair the injury. Andujar looked good at the plate while playing in extended spring training games over the weekend. Making throws from third is the bigger challenge, so he will see how that goes in another rehab game Tuesday. As a third baseman, he will place a lot of stress on that shoulder throughout the season, and it is very possible that he will eventually need surgery.

Hitting does place some stress on the labrum, and this injury could sap his power for a while, but playing the field is the more challenging aspect of overcoming a labral tear. Andujar remains a High Injury Risk (31%), and his HPF is Poor (22%). It could be a while before we see him being a consistent contributor again.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

In the minds of many Fantasy owners, Andujar was expected to be out for a more extensive period, so they may consider it good news. But this detailed report indicates Andujar may not contribute quite as much as expected when he returns. You should keep him reserved until you see signs of significant fantasy production again.

 

 

Clint Frazier (OF, NYY)

Frazier landed on the I.L. a week ago with a sprained ankle, and he is already making good progress in his recovery. Inside Injuries labeled this as a grade 1 (mild) sprain, so his Optimal Recovery Time is just two weeks. Frazier was able to hit and run on the treadmill over the weekend. He does remain a High Injury Risk (34%), but that number will quickly improve once he reaches that two-week mark. His HPF is also Below Average (47%) for now, but that will also see a quick increase.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

This seems like a very positive report, and maybe you should even trade for Frazier knowing that his Injury Risk may decrease once he returns. Don’t make a deal viewing the longer term, though, as his playing time could still be affected when the Yankees have all of their projected starting outfielders back.

 

Chris Archer (SP, PIT)

The Pirates placed Chris Archer on the I.L. over the weekend with inflammation in his right thumb. Archer’s thumb bothered him over his last two starts, and it showed in his performance. An injury like this typically isn’t too serious, but it does need to rest in order to heal. By pitching through it he can make the injury worse and lengthen the recovery time. Right now the Inside Injuries algorithm is showing a 2-3 week Optimal Recovery Time.

Archer won’t throw for at least a few days and could be given an injection to alleviate some of the pain and swelling. Once his thumb improves, he will pick up a baseball again and slowly work his way back.  It’s important to wait to return until his thumb is fully healed before ramping up his activity level. If he returns too soon he will continue to struggle on the mound, and he could cause a more serious injury.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

You will simply have to wait patiently for Archer to get back on to the road to recovery and either swing a mid-level trade or stream starters in his place if you can. Some waiver replacements include Julio Teheran (44 percent owned), Nick Margevicius (22) and John Means (19).

 

Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, SD)

Tatis ended up in a very awkward-looking split as he attempted to stretch for a throw at second in Sunday’s game. He grabbed his hamstring and was forced to leave. Tatis was out of the lineup on Monday and was placed on the I.L. on Tuesday. Unfortunately, hamstring injuries can be very tough to fully recover from, and even a mild strain needs two weeks to fully heal. He’s a High Injury Risk right now as this is an easily aggravated injury. If Tatis plays before it is fully healed, there is a very good chance he makes the injury worse, leading to a lengthy absence.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

This is a frustrating loss for fantasy owners who were enjoying a fine first month from Tatis. Manny Machado could see a lot of starts at shortstop now, and you will also have to keep an eye out for a Luis Urias callup. Free agency seems barren at SS, so you may have to make a mid or lower range trade if you don’t have the proper depth to replace Tatis.

 

Willians Astudillo (C/3B, MIN)

Astudillo landed on the I.L. with a left hamstring strain after getting injured tagging from third base to score on a sac fly. This sounds like a mild strain, so our algorithm has it listed as a Grade 1 injury. Astudillo’s Optimal Recovery Time is two weeks. His Injury Risk falls into the High category right now for the same reasons as Tatis. Hamstring strains are easily aggravated, and once a player suffers a muscular strain like this they are at a higher risk of suffering another lower body muscular strain. That could mean another hamstring strain or a related injury like a hip or quad problem. It’s important to allow the hamstring to fully heal before returning. If he sits a full two weeks, he should be good to go.

Engel’s Fantasy Spin

You will simply have to go the route of picking the best catcher available off the waiver wire because the position is so thin your situation may not warrant making a trade to replace Astudillo in the shorter term. Robinson Chirinos is 37 percent owned and provides quality power and RBI production for the position. Astudillo’s teammate, Mitch Garver, is 35 percent owned and is hitting .348 with five homers. James McCann (19 percent) is hitting .357 and is trying to force his way into more playing time with the White Sox.

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