2015 Fantasy Baseball: It’s Time to Drop These Injured Players
Earlier this week, I discussed the art of stashing players on the DL. I went over the situations where a player merits a stash, as well as the ones where they don’t.
Not all all situations are alike and all fantasy teams have different needs, but when it comes down to it, how you go about using this strategy will have a big effect on the remainder of your 2015 fantasy campaign.
For a more in-depth look, I recommend catching up on my article, but here’s a brief synopsis of the things that should impact your decision most.
- Your place in the standings
- The length of time a player is expected to be on the DL
- How many games will remain after his activation
- Is the particular injury highly susceptible to an aggravation?
- The player’s team’s place in real-life MLB standings
- Was this player even that big of a fantasy asset before his injury?
- Is there a hotter player on the wire now?
These are just some of things to consider when determining whether an injured player is worthy of a roster spot on your team.
Using all of this information, here is a list of players that I believe should be cut in the majority of fantasy baseball formats, as well as some players whom I feel you should replace them with.
Howie Kendrick, Dodgers
The Dodgers acquired Howie Kendrick in the offseason, and he’s done exactly what they got him for: hit well, play good defense and bring veteran leadership to the team. However, the former Angel pulled his hamstring on Sunday and was placed on the DL.
The Dodgers have called up the recently acquired Jose Peraza, and will use him and Enrique Hernandez at the keystone. Justin Turner figures to get some time there was well once he himself is back from the DL. Peraza and Hernandez are fine adds in their own right, but what should owners be doing about Kendrick?
This is a tough one because Kendrick has slashed a more-than-solid .296/.341/.418 with nine home runs, 49 RBI and six stolen bases. These are excellent numbers for a second baseman, but second base is one of the deepest positions in fantasy this year, if not the deepest. Hamstring injuries are very, very tough to gauge when trying to speculate on a return date. We’ve seen time and time again where a player will ramp up his activities, only to aggravate the injury mere days before his expected activation.
I’m not fully suggesting you drop Kendrick. This is a situation that is totally contingent on your place in the standings and whether or not you can stash him in a DL spot. He’ll be eligible to return on August 24, but I can almost guarantee he won’t make that date. I’d guess at the minimum, he would need a total of three weeks to recover. If you’re sitting pretty in your league, he’s worth a hold, but if you have ground to gain, I’d be considering other options. His numbers are very nice, but they’re replaceable, and there are other 2Bs on the waiver wire that can be added in most leagues that can help you now.
Matt Holliday, Cardinals
It’s easy to like Matt Holliday. He plays balls-to-the-wall baseball and has put up fantastic stats for 12 Major League seasons. But all those years have taken a toll on his 35-year-old body, and a quad injury has sidelined the 2007 National League batting champ for 48 games this season.
Holliday initially suffered the injury in early June, only to re-injure it just 11 games after his return. With his age, and the Cardinals stranglehold on the best record in baseball, the team will be extra cautious with their left fielder. There’s no sense in them rushing him back when it’s clear a risk of aggravation already exists.
I’ve seen a lot of fantasy owners struggle with this particular decision — and it’s because they’re going off name recognition — but Matt Holliday is an easy drop for me in every league that doesn’t have an open DL spot to put him in. Sure, his .290 batting average is dandy, but his counting stats have been horrid this year. Even without the injuries, he was on pace to finish with a career low in homers and his second-worst RBI total since his rookie season.
There’s simply no reason for anyone to own Matt Holliday anymore, and there’s 79 percent of you in ESPN leagues who still do.
Steven Souza, Rays
Souza was a very interesting player to own during the early parts of the season. The rookie showed a unique blend of power and speed, hitting 10 homers and swiping seven bags in 46 games through the month of May. But over his next 43 games, the Rays right fielder managed just five home runs and three stolen bases, and dropped his average from .238 all the way down to .214.
Right before the All-Star break, he was hit by a pitch, sending him to the DL for 11 games. Unfortunately, he only lasted 10 games following his activation before another bean ball fractured his hand. Hand injuries, as we have discussed before, are not easy to come back from, especially for a rookie. If you take into account his already declining play prior to the injuries, Souza is not worth holding on to in anything but keeper/dynasty leagues, and I wouldn’t even waste a stash on him even as he gets closer to his expected September return.