Fantasy Baseball Injury Update: Ranking the top 30 IL stashes as long-term cases like Justin Upton, Mike Clevinger and Giancarlo Stanton make their way back
Several high-profile players are gearing up to return from lengthy IL stints, which could make for some painful roster decisions, according to Scott White.
If my goal is to go 30 deep with these rankings, now may be my last chance for a while. Things are suddenly looking a whole lot healthier.
Suggesting as much may reveal some level of naivete. The resolution of past injuries doesn't put a moratorium on future ones, after all. But it just so happens that nearly a dozen impact players, including several we've been waiting all season to see, are making their way back at about the same time, perhaps as early as this week.
In fact, two, Mike Clevinger and Justin Upton, already came off the IL in time for Monday's game. Giancarlo Stanton is expected to follow Tuesday. Clevinger, you may remember, was doing superhuman things before straining his back in mid-April, building off last year's breakout with even better velocity this year. With reliable starting pitching being so difficult to find, his return couldn't come fast enough, and it's worth pointing out he'd be third on this list if he still qualified.
Upton means a great deal to a great number of Fantasy GMs as well, and it's hard to imagine a scenario in which he wouldn't be of some use to everyone. But in his absence, the player pool has become all the more replete with power hitters in what's shaping up to be another record-breaking season, to the point that another 30-homer guy with strikeout problems and a middling batting average won't necessarily be reshaping the standings. He might rank only 18th on this list, if he still qualified, and it's possible, at least in a three-outfielder league, that whoever stashed him away all this time may not have a spot available for him now.
And therein lies the downside to a returning IL stash: It presents you with an immediate roster complication. You have to find some fat to trim somewhere, and in leagues where less than 300 players are rostered, it can be especially painful. I'd say each of the top 23 here will be must-own when healthy, so stashing them is a no-brainer if you have the IL spots to use. But the Upton Line — right around 20th, let's say — is where you might have to punt if you don't.
Fortunately, among the others gearing up to return this week, there's little reason for debate. Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge are already on rehab assignments. Scooter Gennett, out since spring training, is set to begin one. Joey Gallo and Hunter Dozier could return as soon as this weekend, and Noah Syndergaard and Caleb Smith figure to miss only one or two turns in the rotation. In each of those cases, whatever you've used as a replacement almost certainly doesn't compare in terms of upside, and so carving out a spot on your active roster doesn't require a second thought.
Jose Altuve Houston Astros 2B
Aaron Judge New York Yankees RF
George Springer Houston Astros RF
Noah Syndergaard New York Mets SP
Joey Gallo Texas Rangers CF
Giancarlo Stanton New York Yankees LF
Carlos Correa Houston Astros SS
Luis Severino New York Yankees SP
Tyler Glasnow Tampa Bay Rays SP
Hunter Dozier Kansas City Royals 3B
Scooter Gennett Cincinnati Reds 2B
Corey Seager Los Angeles Dodgers SS
Caleb Smith Miami Marlins SP
Kyle Hendricks Chicago Cubs SP
Carlos Carrasco Cleveland Indians SP
Corey Kluber Cleveland Indians SP
Ken Giles Toronto Blue Jays RP
Domingo German New York Yankees SP
|strained hip flexor|
Jameson Taillon Pittsburgh Pirates SP
|strained elbow flexor|
Luke Weaver Arizona Diamondbacks SP
Hunter Pence Texas Rangers DH
A.J. Pollock Los Angeles Dodgers CF
Mitch Haniger Seattle Mariners RF
Andrelton Simmons Los Angeles Angels SS
Jon Duplantier Arizona Diamondbacks RP
Jordan Lyles Pittsburgh Pirates SP
Alex Wood Cincinnati Reds SP
Sean Manaea Oakland Athletics SP
|torn labrum in shoulder|
Nathan Eovaldi Boston Red Sox SP
|loose bodies in elbow|
Hunter Strickland Seattle Mariners RP
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