Two of the top rookies of the 2013 season arrived back from the disabled list Thursday after missing an extended period of time. Rays outfielder Wil Myers, the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year, hasn't played since May 30 after suffering a stress fracture in his right wrist. Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole has made just two starts since June 3 while spending two different stints on the disabled list with shoulder and lat issues. Are either of these guys worth trusting in Fantasy lineups immediately?
Cole made four rehab starts with Triple-A Indianapolis while working his way back. He prevented the opposition from scoring in three of those outings, but he's managed just three strikeouts in each of his last three rehab starts as his velocity has been slow to come back around. Should this give Fantasy owners cause for concern?
As recently as a week ago, it looked like Cole's return offered a soft landing in the form of a lagging Braves offense, but that was before Atlanta rattled off five straight wins, including a sweep of a great A's squad. He'll likely follow up his matchup with the Braves with two starts against the Cardinals, two more against the Cubs, one against the Red Sox and another against the Braves. None of those offenses rank in the top half of the majors in OPS vs. righties, which is a good sign that Cole can contribute quality Fantasy numbers over the remainder of the year, even if he isn't at peak form.
While Cole was in the midst of a solid season before his injuries, the same can't be said for Myers. The Rays outfielder managed just a .227/.313/.354 line with only five home runs and 25 RBI in 198 at-bats. We know that Myers has a high power upside, as is evidenced from his 37 minor-league homers in 2012. Will that power be on display in the season's last few weeks?
My guess is no. It's tricky for hitters to come off wrist injuries and immediately start mashing, and Myers doesn't exactly have a lot of time to get into a groove before the season ends. While he did hit two home runs in seven games during his rehab assignment, I'm more intrigued by his seven walks. If he continues to see the ball well at the major-league level, he may be able to provide some batting-average upside and help offset his current .227 season mark.
If Myers does struggle over the rest of the 2014 season, Fantasy owners should be all in on a potential bounceback in 2015. The former elite prospect has the potential to ascend the outfielder rankings quickly once he hits his stride, and his down season this year may provide those willing to invest with an ample buy-low opportunity in 2015 drafts and auctions.