Don Brown is willing to take Peds
Photo Credit: Keith Allison
Diehard players know that among all the fantasy sports, baseball is the true test of an owner's skill and dedication. Whether it’s the long season, huge player pool or myriad of stats to pore through, fantasy baseball rewards knowledge and preparation. Some of the most difficult things to prepare for are injuries, and the more knowledge you have, the better prepared you will be. Injuries WILL play a major role in the success of real and fantasy teams alike.
Not all injuries are created equal. Knowing which players are worth the risk can pay huge dividends on draft day. As a practicing physical therapist with extensive experience in orthopedic rehabilitation (and a fellow fantasy nutjob), I have the skill-set to steer you in the right direction. I’ll be discussing a number of players with injury concerns entering the season and whether or not I “trust” them to stay healthy and/or produce at expected levels. Basically, will you get what you pay for on draft day? Players I don’t trust get a spot on Don’s Do Not Trust List (DDNTL). If there’s a player I didn’t address that you want to read about, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment. I’m here for you.
All ADP data courtesy of MockDraftCentral.com (MDC) and rankings courtesy of Yahoo! default ranks, current as of this writing.
More after the jump:
Players with injury questions I DO Trust
Latos had his best season to date last year and underwent surgery in October to remove bone spurs in his pitching elbow. This is a minor procedure that pitchers frequently have and is not cause for significant concern. Latos then gave the Reds a scare in mid-February when he slipped while throwing and injured his left knee. Latos suffered a meniscus tear during the slip but it was determined to be a minor tear and he underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean out the knee. It was reported that Latos was able to throw a mere five days after surgery and was expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the season. Both surgical procedures Latos underwent are of the minor variety, and as long as he doesn’t rush himself and aggravate something, I think he’s safe to draft. This guy has made at least 31 starts for four straight seasons and is still just 26 years old; if there’s any discount at the draft table, take it and run.
Jeter only managed to play in seventeen games in 2013 as he struggled to recover from surgery to repair a badly broken ankle. By all accounts, Jeter is healthy and participating fully in spring activities as he prepares for his final season in the big leagues. Jeter was on my list last year, but this year I think he’s safe to draft. Of course, we’re talking about a 40-year-old shortstop with middling power and diminished speed at this stage of his career; keep your expectations low. As the 23rd shortstop off the board around pick 282, he won’t cost you much, but he’s essentially a two category asset (BA and runs) who might be rested more than usual; unless you believe in the mystique of Jeter, I don’t see much upside worth drafting here.
He dealt with forearm tightness last season that appears to be corrected by bone spur removal surgery in October. Strasburg is having a normal spring and reports feeling better this year than last (typical spring training optimism). He's well worth the top five SP price tag if you’re the type to draft pitching early.
Parker came away with a clean MRI after forearm tightness in ALDS and he added muscle this offseason to improve his stamina. If a normal spring training ensues, I would be comfortable drafting him.
Full disclosure: I’m a huge Twins fan. The move to first base should reduce wear and tear in a big way and he should have more AB’s then he’s ever had (and could push for top overall catcher status with his elite BA contributions). Concussion symptoms are impossible to predict, but the rest of his body should be in good working order.
He underwent wrist surgery in the offseason, but just for scar tissue and cartilage cleanup, no reconstruction. By all accounts, Encarnacion is healed and ready for a normal spring, so he should be good to go.
Youth is on his side and after offseason surgery to address a balky knee, Harper should be ready to roll this spring. The biggest risk is his hard-nosed playing style. If he can reel it in a bit and protect himself, the sky’s the limit.
Pedroia played through a thumb injury (UCL tear) last year and had surgery this offseason to correct it. If not for the fact that he played well through the injury last season I’d be leery, but given his history, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.