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.
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Trevor Story Colorado Rockies SS
Bryce Harper Philadelphia Phillies RF
Corey Seager Los Angeles Dodgers SS
Byron Buxton Minnesota Twins CF
Trent Grisham San Diego Padres CF
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels CF
Jack Flaherty St. Louis Cardinals SP
George Springer Toronto Blue Jays DH
Lance McCullers Houston Astros SP
Ramon Laureano Oakland Athletics CF
Ke'Bryan Hayes Pittsburgh Pirates 3B
Tony Gonsolin Los Angeles Dodgers SP
Luke Voit New York Yankees 1B
Kenta Maeda Minnesota Twins SP
Zac Gallen Arizona Diamondbacks SP
Luis Severino New York Yankees SP
|Tommy John surgery|
Carlos Carrasco New York Mets SP
Michael Conforto New York Mets RF
Michael Brantley Houston Astros LF
Zach Plesac Cleveland Indians SP
Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals SP
Corey Kluber New York Yankees SP
Mike Moustakas Cincinnati Reds 3B
Cavan Biggio Toronto Blue Jays 3B
Jeff McNeil New York Mets 2B
Danny Duffy Kansas City Royals SP
Franmil Reyes Cleveland Indians DH
Kendall Graveman Seattle Mariners RP
Michael Kopech Chicago White Sox RP
Nico Hoerner Chicago Cubs 2B
Kyle Lewis Seattle Mariners CF
Chris Sale Boston Red Sox SP
Josh Staumont Kansas City Royals RP
Mitch Garver Minnesota Twins C
Dylan Moore Seattle Mariners 2B
Didi Gregorius Philadelphia Phillies SS
Paul DeJong St. Louis Cardinals SS
A.J. Pollock Los Angeles Dodgers LF
Max Kepler Minnesota Twins RF
Mike Soroka Atlanta Braves SP