Five outfielders with injury concerns to watch for Fantasy Baseball

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Kyle Schwarber can hit anywhere. (Getty Images/Elsa)
Kyle Schwarber can hit anywhere. (Getty Images/Elsa)

With spring training in full swing, we examine five outfielders with injury questions and what you can expect from them in 2017.

Special to Yahoo Sports
Virginia Zakas, Inside Injuries

[Other injury previews: Pitchers | Infielders]

[For more on the latest injury information for fantasy players, visit Inside Injuries]

1. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals: shoulder injury

Harper was able to play in 147 games last year despite battling wrist, neck, thumb, knee and shoulder injuries throughout the season. He hit just .243, almost a 90-point drop from his impressive 2015 season, and lost a lot of his power. The shoulder injury was perhaps the most significant problem he faced that can explain a lot of his hitting troubles, but he says that is now behind him.

The Nationals need Harper to bounce back if they want to make a push for the World Series, but if he can’t stay healthy he will have a hard time being an offensive weapon. Of course we hope Harper avoids a serious injury in 2017, but they are piling up. Proceed with caution before drafting him.

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2. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins: groin strain

Giancarlo Stanton is an injury-prone slugger who could be one of the league’s best players if he could just stay healthy. Unfortunately, he’s had to deal with a hamate bone fracture to his left hand, a facial fracture, a serious hamstring strain, loose bodies in his knee and a serious groin strain in the last five seasons. Stanton has missed a staggering 131 games over the last two seasons.

Heading into the 2017 season, Stanton is reportedly healthy and has had a quiet, normal offseason. These are all good signs, but it’s hard to forget his struggles over the last two years. He has a very high ceiling, he’s just a major risk and a guy who never makes it through a full season injury-free.

3. Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox: right knee surgery

At the end of the 2016 season, Betts underwent a right knee arthroscopy, chondroplasty and loose body removal. While this isn’t a major surgery, we will need to see how he is does in spring training. The biggest test will be making it through the grind of the regular season without dealing with a major setback or too much soreness and swelling.

It’s been three months since surgery, which is past the Optimal Recovery Time according to the Inside Injuries algorithm. Expect more great things from the 24-year-old and top fantasy pick.

4. Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs: torn ACL and LCL

After tearing his ACL and LCL just three games into the season, Schwarber made an incredible comeback in time for some crucial at-bats in the Cubs’ World Series win. Now nine months removed from surgery, Schwarber has been cleared to catch again. Catching is incredibly tough on the knees, so it’s good news that he may only be used as Chicago’s third catcher this season and will spend most of his time in left field.

Schwarber could end up dealing with some soreness and swelling throughout the season, but if he can avoid too much time behind the plate then this isn’t a major concern. Expect a great comeback season from Schwarber.

5. Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds: oblique strain

Hamilton is an exciting young player with incredible speed, but his health is a major concern. His OBP improved to .321 last year, and he made progress at the plate, but he still has a ways to go if he is going to be a good major league hitter. Hamilton underwent shoulder surgery after the 2015 season and then missed time in 2016 with a concussion and then an oblique strain. By December Hamilton claimed he was healthy, but he always seems to be picking up new injuries.

When healthy, Hamilton is without a doubt one of the best base stealers in the game, and that can be incredibly valuable for his fantasy owners. But he is a hard guy to trust. Hamilton made solid progress in 2016, and if he can stay on the field he should continue to improve in 2017, but right now that’s a big if.