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When is Lane Thomas Coming Back? Fantasy Baseball Injury Return Update

Lane Thomas - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Washington Nationals outfielder Lane Thomas was a fairly surprising breakout fantasy contributor in the 2023 season, just his second full season in the big leagues at age 27.

The former fifth-round pick hit .268 with 28 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 101 runs, 86 RBI, and a .783 OPS across 157 games and a hefty 682 plate appearances. That doesn't mean there weren't flaws to his profile considering a tiny 5.3% BB% and an elevated 25.8% K%, but his counting stats were a major boon to managers that scooped him up off the waiver wire early in the season.

A sluggish start to the 2024 season was followed by an MCL sprain in his left knee and a spot on the injured list three weeks ago. Let's check in on his current status and see if fantasy managers can expect a bounce back at the plate upon his return to action.

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Lane Thomas Injury Update for Fantasy Baseball

The good news is that Thomas ran the bases for the first time since suffering his knee injury on Wednesday (May 15) and has seemingly come out of the session without issue. He has been hitting off a tee and taking batting practice prior to Wednesday's encouraging step in his rehab. He was reportedly running nearly at 100 percent.

A return doesn't appear to be too far off. He will likely need to continue running without issue before going down for a few rehab games but Thomas should be able to return within the next week or 10 days.

Lane Thomas Fantasy Baseball Outlook

Following his breakout 2023 campaign, Thomas has struggled mightily out of the gate this time around. The 28-year-old is hitting just .184 with a pair of homers and a .483 OPS across 96 trips to the plate. He has provided value with his legs by way of 11 stolen bases in just 22 games and both his walk and strikeout rates have improved, but that type of production has fallen on deaf ears for fantasy managers who invested in Thomas' 2023 breakout in drafts this spring.

If you're looking for a silver lining, it's that Thomas should at least see some positive regression when he returns. After all, his .212 BABIP is miles below his .297 career mark and his .280 xwOBA is well above his .232 wOBA, even if the former still ranks in the league's 16th percentile, as per Statcast.

He remains worthy of a stash considering his return shouldn't be too far down the road but fantasy managers will want to see some production off the hop or they will be forced to swallow a tough pill and cut bait on a player who has only contributed in the stolen base department this season.



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