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Are you kidding me with this, Byron Buxton? Your third game back from a hip injury that itself sidelined you for more than a month -- third game back! -- and you take a pitch off the left hand, breaking a finger. He's out for at least another month, probably more.

Meanwhile, Adalberto Mondesi, who had already served an IL stint for a strained right oblique, strained his left oblique Sunday. Between the obliques and a strained hamstring, he has played all of 10 games in 2021.

Neither player was a stranger to the IL coming into the year, but it's no less frustrating to see them go back there over and over again after you've already waited so long for a payoff. And the payoff for each should be significant -- less so for Mondesi in a points league, but still. They're worth the wait because of the impact they'll have when healthy, and it's no less true now that the wait is longer.

The good news is that Max Scherzer, Max Muncy and Luke Voit are all expected back from the IL Tuesday, with Kyle Tucker, Cody Bellinger and George Springer right on their heels. By the end of the week, all six should be back and (hopefully) contributing at a high level (make it happen, Bellinger), so naturally, they're all clustered at the top of these rankings, 

Here are some additional thoughts and explanations:

  • Tucker's illness isn't COVID-related but a stomach bug that led to him losing 10 pounds. It's probably not going to impact his production, but he would have a valid excuse if it does.
  • So many have asked if they should drop Tyler Glasnow given the recent news of his UCL tear, but the Rays sound hopeful he can avoid Tommy John surgery and make it back for September, if not some of August. The rest-and-rehabilitation route generally doesn't turn out well for these sorts of injuries, but Glasnow's impact potential is so high that you almost have to wait out unless your IL spots are already star-studded.
  • Franmil Reyes, who has been out since late May with a strained oblique, is set to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday and will be evaluated for a possible activation at the end of the week. It's why he ranks so much higher than someone like Mike Moustakas.
  • Carlos Carrasco's hamstring has responded well to a PRP injection, and he's expected to ramp up in short order rather than beginning a throwing program from scratch. He could still make it back at some point in July.
  • Danny Duffy threw a 40-pitch bullpen session recently, and it sounds like he won't need a lengthy rehab assignment even though he's been sidelined since mid-May.
  • Eloy Jimenez, out with a torn pectoral muscle suffered late in spring training, has already been cleared for baseball activities, which suggests he could be back within a couple weeks of the All-Star break. You couldn't ask for a better outcome than that.
  • Austin Gomber's MRI came back clean, and he's expected to be sidelined only briefly with a strained forearm.

So which of your injured players can you afford to let go? That's what these rankings are designed to help you decide. It comes down to three factors: How good is the player, how much time is he expected to miss, and will there be any lingering effects from the injury?

Having considered those factors in that order, here's how I'd categorize the top 35 injured players.

Too valuable to drop, period
1
Max Scherzer Washington Nationals SP
strained groin
2
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Shane Bieber Cleveland Indians SP
strained shoulder
3
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Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels CF
strained calf
4
Kyle Tucker Houston Astros RF
illness
5
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Corey Seager Los Angeles Dodgers SS
fractured hand
6
Cody Bellinger Los Angeles Dodgers CF
strained hamstring
7
George Springer Toronto Blue Jays DH
strained quadriceps
8
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Alex Bregman Houston Astros 3B
strained quadriceps
9
John Means Baltimore Orioles SP
strained shoulder
10
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Jack Flaherty St. Louis Cardinals SP
torn oblique
11
Max Muncy Los Angeles Dodgers 1B
strained oblique
12
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Luke Voit New York Yankees 1B
strained oblique
13
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Byron Buxton Minnesota Twins CF
fractured finger
Maybe in the shallowest leagues
14
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Adalberto Mondesi Kansas City Royals SS
strained oblique
15
Sonny Gray Cincinnati Reds SP
strained groin
16
Michael Conforto New York Mets RF
strained hamstring
17
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Tyler Glasnow Tampa Bay Rays SP
sprained UCL
18
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Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals SP
strained neck
19
Zach Plesac Cleveland Indians SP
fractured thumb
20
Franmil Reyes Cleveland Indians DH
strained oblique
If you have to, you have to
21
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Carlos Carrasco New York Mets SP
strained hamstring
22
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Luis Severino New York Yankees SP
strained groin, Tommy John surgery
23
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Danny Duffy Kansas City Royals SP
strained forearm
24
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Chris Sale Boston Red Sox SP
Tommy John surgery
25
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Eloy Jimenez Chicago White Sox LF
torn pectoral
Stashing is purely a luxury
26
Nico Hoerner Chicago Cubs 2B
strained hamstring
27
Mitch Garver Minnesota Twins C
groin surgery
28
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Mike Moustakas Cincinnati Reds 3B
bruised heel
29
Jean Segura Philadelphia Phillies 2B
strained groin
30
Michael Pineda Minnesota Twins SP
strained forearm
31
Austin Gomber Colorado Rockies SP
strained forearm
32
Michael Kopech Chicago White Sox RP
strained hamstring
33
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Corey Kluber New York Yankees SP
strained shoulder
34
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Mike Soroka Atlanta Braves SP
ruptured Achilles
35
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Luis Robert Chicago White Sox CF
strained hip