Fantasy Baseball Injury Updates: Justin Verlander, Aaron Judge on opposite sides of the spectrum

·Yahoo Fantasy Contributor
·6 min read

Most fantasy managers need a quick refresher on the injury situations that were left unresolved in March. The following players had seen their draft pick costs diminish, but many have returned to full health and need to be pushed up draft lists.

Hitters

Giancarlo Stanton, OF, New York Yankees

Stanton suffered a Grade 1 calf strain near the end of February and was questionable for Opening Day. He is now expected to DH at the outset of the season and may be able to play in the outfield. Stanton remains a major injury risk, but he also has the potential to lead the Majors in homers.

[Still time to join or create a fantasy baseball league for the short season]

Eugenio Suarez, 3B, Cincinnati Reds

January shoulder surgery slowed Suarez in Spring Training, but he was completing baseball activities by late March and has been fully recovered for more than a month. Having finished second in homers last season, Suarez warrants a significant draft-day investment.

Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees

Judge was diagnosed with a right rib stress fracture in early March, but the injury had bothered him long before that date. His progress has been slow, and the outfielder may not be ready for the new Opening Day. While Judge himself has stated he’s “game-ready,” he should be downgraded on draft lists, as he seems unable to move past this injury and could be hampered all summer.

Yordan Alvarez, OF, Houston Astros

Alvarez was limited in March by soreness in both knees. While knee soreness at such a young age is concerning for a bigger player, the injury has cleared up now and the 23-year-old can be drafted with confidence.

Yoenis Cespedes, OF, New York Mets

Cespedes was expected to open the season on the IL with ankle and heel injuries, and that still may be the case. The Mets are hopeful that the veteran can return this season, but neither the club nor fantasy managers can put any faith in someone who has appeared in 38 games since September 1, 2017.

Mitch Haniger, OF, Seattle Mariners

Due to core and back injuries, Haniger has already been placed on the 60-day IL and ruled out for 2020.

Aaron Hicks, OF, New York Yankees

Hicks was expected to return in July from October 2019 Tommy John surgery, and his situation remains unchanged. However, the 30-year-old should sit on fantasy waiver wires while serving a backup role in a crowded Yankees outfield.

Trey Mancini, 1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles

Mancini underwent surgery in March to remove a malignant tumor from his colon and announced during the layoff that he will miss all of 2020. Here’s to wishing Trey a safe and speedy recovery!

Pitchers

Justin Verlander, SP, Houston Astros

Originally set to open the season on the IL following mid-March groin surgery, Verlander was throwing off a mound roughly one month ago and should be ready to start the Astros opener. In fact, he is among the top candidates to lead the Majors in innings pitched this season.

Max Scherzer, SP, Washington Nationals

Scherzer was dealing with soreness in his side during March, and he had yet to make a determination about Opening Day. The veteran remains someone to monitor in the coming weeks, but he seems ready to start the abbreviated season.

Mike Clevinger, SP, Cleveland Indians

The oft-injured right-hander was set for another shortened season when he underwent knee surgery in February. The delayed start was great news for Clevinger’s fantasy value, as he is now on the shortlist of American League Cy Young candidates.

Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger #52 of the Cleveland Indians
Mike Clevinger is expected to be ready to blow away the opposition in 2020. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

James Paxton, SP, New York Yankees

Paxton would have missed roughly two months of the regular season after undergoing back surgery in early February. He will now be ready for Opening Day and is the type of boom-or-bust starter that fantasy managers should be seeking during a shortened campaign.

Miles Mikolas, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

Dealing with an elbow strain, Mikolas was going to start playing catch in mid-March and open the season on the IL. But the 31-year-old will now be ready for the initial rotation turn and should be a useful mid-rotation arm in mixed leagues.

Rich Hill, SP, Minnesota Twins

At 40-years-old and coming off elbow surgery, Hill remains a risky proposition. Still, the southpaw should be ready for his first rotation turn, and his results in recent seasons suggest that he ought to be in mixed-league lineups as long as he is on the mound.

Griffin Canning, SP, Los Angeles Angels

Canning dealt with a UCL issue during Spring Training but has not yet needed surgery and should be in the rotation. But between injury, inconsistency, and the likely existence of a six-man Angels rotation, the youngster can go undrafted in mixed leagues.

[Positional Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP]

A.J. Puk, SP, Oakland A’s

Puk was briefly shut down with shoulder soreness in March but has progressed to the point where he has thrown many bullpen sessions. The 25-year-old has exciting skills and could help mixed-league teams in a swingman role.

Tommy John returnees

Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH, Los Angeles Angels

Already expected to DH at least three times per week, Ohtani is now expected to make one start per week this season while the team likely employs a six-man rotation. Between concerns about workload, effectiveness, and injury, the 25-year-old is among this year’s biggest boom-or-bust pitching options.

Lance McCullers, SP, Houston Astros

McCullers would have opened 2020 on the IL but is now more than a year and a half removed from surgery and will be in the opening rotation. The 26-year-old has massive upside but his initial starts could be brief ones.

Jordan Hicks, RP, St. Louis Cardinals

Hicks underwent surgery last June, but relievers can often return in a shorter time frame. The hard-throwing righty won’t be ready for the opener but should return in August and could factor into the closer picture if Giovanny Gallegos falters.

Michael Fulmer, SP, Detroit Tigers

A complete afterthought in March, Fulmer is ready to return from March 2019 surgery. Although he has at times been a ratios asset, the righty lacks swing-and-miss skills and will be limited by his meager supporting cast. He belongs on waivers for now.

Corey Knebel, RP, Milwaukee Brewers

Knebel was looking at a May return but will now be an important asset for the Brewers from Opening Day. The former closer could even pick up some saves if he is in top form and manager Craig Counsell opts to use Josh Hader for some multi-inning appearances.

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