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Despite optimism that his removal from Monday's start was precautionary, an MRI Tuesday confirmed that Jack Flaherty has an oblique strain, an injury that will sideline him for several weeks.

"It's not a minimal situation. It's a real strain, tear," manager Mike Shildt said. "It's gonna be a while." 

Factoring in the necessary ramp-up period, you shouldn't count on seeing Flaherty again before the All-Star break, which makes it a race to see whether he or Mike Trout makes it back first. I have the two right next to each other in my IL stash rankings, both being in the "too valuable to drop, period" category.

  • We talk Jonathan Schoop and Odubel Herrera double dongs, Luis Garcia, the Orioles bullpen and two more injuries on the Fantasy Baseball Today in 5 podcast. You can follow us to get the latest episodes on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Also there is Ke'Bryan Hayes, who's gearing up to return Thursday after injuring his wrist in the second game of the season. Granted, he looked like he was nearing a return at the end of April only to suffer a setback, but this time seems more solid. Given that he was my single favorite player to target drafts and that quality hitters have turned out to be less plentiful than they were then, you bet I'm excited.

Here's some more context for these IL stash rankings:

  • Tony Gonsolin is about a week away from returning from a shoulder injury that's sidelined him since the start of the season, needing just one more rehab start, which is why I've included him in the "too valuable to drop category." He's actually still available in one-third of CBS Sports leagues, so you'll want to do something about that. We weren't sure of his role back in spring training, but we are now. 
  • Zac Gallen's injury is a UCL sprain, and it's still possible it could become a season-ender with a surgical remedy (i.e., Tommy John). But he's throwing bullpens and proceeding as if he's avoided such a serious outcome. This ranking may be a little hopeful, but the bottom line is you can't drop him.
  • Luis Severino will begin the final stage of his recovery from Tommy John surgery when he makes his first rehab start Sunday. It puts him about a month away from returning, probably, which necessitates a big move up the rankings. Keep in mind, though, that Noah Syndergaard suffered a setback on his own rehab assignment for Tommy John and now might not make it back until September.
  • Eloy Jimenez (torn pectoral) and Luis Robert (strained hip flexor) would be the next two on this list if it extended beyond 40. Neither is a certainty to make it back before season's end, but the impact could be significant if either returns for the season's final month. Syndergaard belongs in this category, too.

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 40 injured players.

Too valuable to drop, period
1
Trevor Story Colorado Rockies SS
elbow inflammation
2
Bryce Harper Philadelphia Phillies RF
bruised forearm
3
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Corey Seager Los Angeles Dodgers SS
fractured hand
4
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Byron Buxton Minnesota Twins CF
strained hip
5
Trent Grisham San Diego Padres CF
bruised foot
6
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Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels CF
strained calf
7
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Jack Flaherty St. Louis Cardinals SP
strained oblique
8
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George Springer Toronto Blue Jays DH
strained quadriceps
9
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Lance McCullers Houston Astros SP
sore shoulder
10
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Ramon Laureano Oakland Athletics CF
strained hip
11
Ke'Bryan Hayes Pittsburgh Pirates 3B
sprained wrist
12
Tony Gonsolin Los Angeles Dodgers SP
shoulder inflammation
Maybe in the shallowest leagues
13
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Luke Voit New York Yankees 1B
strained oblique
14
Kenta Maeda Minnesota Twins SP
sore arm
15
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Zac Gallen Arizona Diamondbacks SP
sprained elbow
16
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Luis Severino New York Yankees SP
Tommy John surgery
17
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Carlos Carrasco New York Mets SP
strained hamstring
18
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Michael Conforto New York Mets RF
strained hamstring
19
Michael Brantley Houston Astros LF
strained hamstring
20
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Zach Plesac Cleveland Indians SP
fractured thumb
21
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Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals SP
strained neck
22
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Corey Kluber New York Yankees SP
strained shoulder
If you have to, you have to
23
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Mike Moustakas Cincinnati Reds 3B
bruised heel
24
Cavan Biggio Toronto Blue Jays 3B
sprained neck
25
Jeff McNeil New York Mets 2B
strained hamstring
26
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Danny Duffy Kansas City Royals SP
strained forearm
27
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Franmil Reyes Cleveland Indians DH
strained oblique
28
Kendall Graveman Seattle Mariners RP
undisclosed
29
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Michael Kopech Chicago White Sox RP
strained hamstring
30
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Nico Hoerner Chicago Cubs 2B
strained hamstring
31
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Kyle Lewis Seattle Mariners CF
torn meniscus
Stashing is purely a luxury
32
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Chris Sale Boston Red Sox SP
strained forearm
33
Josh Staumont Kansas City Royals RP
sprained hand
34
Mitch Garver Minnesota Twins C
groin surgery
35
Dylan Moore Seattle Mariners 2B
rib contusion
36
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Didi Gregorius Philadelphia Phillies SS
strained hamstring
37
Paul DeJong St. Louis Cardinals SS
fractured thumb
38
A.J. Pollock Los Angeles Dodgers LF
biceps inflammation
39
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Max Kepler Minnesota Twins RF
strained hamstring
40
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Mike Soroka Atlanta Braves SP
concussion