With just over two months left in the season, a new challenge presents itself for fantasy baseball owners in contention for the league title: long-term injuries. If there are only nine weeks left in the season, is it worth hanging on to injured players?
It really depends on the situation. First, any pitcher with any kind of arm trouble—shoulder, elbow, etc.—is not going to make a full, effective recovery at this point to be of any use to you down the stretch. Second, any hitter with any kind of hand/wrist injury falls into the same category, and the subset of any base stealer with a hamstring/groin injury is part of this discussion as well.
If the injury is mild, and only a two-week stay on the disabled list is expected, then keep the player. But even stars with major injuries at this point are not worth keeping on your bench when you need all the roster flexibility possible heading into September.
Players to Get on Your Team Now
1. Jorge Soler, OF, Kansas City Royals: Isn’t this always the way it goes? At age 27, this former top prospect is finally delivering. There’s a 50 percent chance he’s available in your online league, too, with 27 home runs and 72 RBI under his belt. The .243 average isn’t much to look at, yet there are sluggers with less power and lesser averages.
2. Wade Miley, SP, Houston Astros: Your odds of grabbing Miley now are slightly lower than grabbing Soler, but you might as well check. He has been solid all year (3.18 ERA), and July has been his best month (2.42 ERA). His strikeouts aren’t stellar, yet they are not bad, either. With so many SPs going down with injuries, he can help your team.
3. Anthony Santander, OF, Baltimore Orioles: Through 43 games and almost 200 plate appearances, this youngster is hitting the ball well—while flying under the fantasy radar. The .304 average comes with decent power (eight HRs) and solid RBI numbers (30) on a bad team. He should be available in your league, too.
4. Zach Plesac, SP, Cleveland Indians: Look, he’s not going to get you a lot of strikeouts. He has posted just 12 Ks in the month of July over a combined 18 2/3 innings. However, during that span, Plesac has given up just five earned runs. So you take the good (wins, ERA) and you tolerate the bad (minimal Ks). The pickings are slim this late in the season.
Players to Drop to Waivers Now
1. Brandon Woodruff, SP, Milwaukee Brewers: Oblique injuries fall into that tricky category noted above at this point in the season, but if you grabbed him early like we suggested, then you got a lot of production out of him this year (11 wins, 136 Ks in less than 118 IP). But he may not return in the regular season now.
2. Yandy Díaz, UTL, Tampa Bay Rays: With 14 HRs in 78 games this year, he’s been a nice roster addition if you’ve had him. Now he has a foot injury, though, and hitters have a hard time coming back from a stability issue like this. His .823 OPS in 2019 bodes well for a nice fantasy role in 2020, however.
3. Andrew Cashner, SP, Boston Red Sox: He wasn’t that great to begin with, yet a lot of people probably grabbed him after his trade to Boston. That 9-3 record with the Orioles earlier, however, came with minimal strikeouts and stress. He now has a 6.11 ERA in three starts with the Red Sox, and he’s showing he’s not ready for prime time.
4. C.J. Cron, 1B, Minnesota Twins: He is on the DL for the second time with a thumb injury, and at this point, there’s no guarantee his power is going to be restored for the remainder of the season. With 18 HRs and 55 RBI in just 83 games, Cron basically replicated his effectiveness from 2018, so look for him as a sleeper pick in 2020.