Fantasy Baseball: Mets get more bad news on Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard injuries

Thought this season couldn't get worse for the Mets?

Think again. The Mets, who have dealt with absences from -- among others -- Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas DudaSteven Matz, and Travis d'Arnaud, received more bad news Thursday. The team announced Matt Harvey (shoulder) and Neil Walker (hamstring) will be out at least several weeks as a result of injuries suffered during Wednesday's game.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the team also announced Syndergaard will not throw for at least another four weeks, as he continues to work his way back from a strained lat. With the team four games under .500 and 8.5 games out of a playoff spot, this only makes a steep climb even tougher. And for Fantasy owners, it means three potential difference makers won't be available for a while. Let's break down what each piece of news means.

Harvey diagnosed with scapular stress injury

Something clearly wasn't right with Harvey on Wednesday, and we know what that was. He hasn't been effective in his return from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery, but Harvey was still averaging between 94 and 95 mph with his fastball this season, in line with where he spent his 2016 campaign. However, Wednesday, his average velocity dipped to 91.8 mph, and he didn't even reach 92 on the gun after the second inning.

In all honesty, this injury should come as something of a blessing for Harvey owners. Harvey is still 85 percent owned in CBSSports.com leagues as of Thursday, despite a 5.25 ERA in his first 70 1/3 innings of work. Given his history as a legitimate ace-level pitcher, holding on and hoping for better times made some sense, except that Harvey also struggled last season, giving him a 5.02 ERA in 163 innings dating back to the start of last season.

You were probably waiting for something that just wasn't going to happen with Harvey, who ended Wednesday's start with the second-worst FIP in baseball. Harvey's days as an ace looked numbered last year, but the injury he suffered at least offered a potential explanation for that. Now, after watching him for nearly a year – and seeing his body break down yet again – it seems safe to give up on Harvey.

If he comes back from this injury in August throwing 97 again, feel free to pick him up. But, injuries appear to have sapped one of baseball's most electric young pitchers of what made him special, and it just doesn't look like it's coming back.

Syndergaard not cleared to throw

Syndergaard told reporters he wasn't close to throwing earlier this week, so this just puts a timetable on what we already feared. Syndergaard was initially given a timetable that stopped him from throwing for at least six weeks, a deadline that was coming up Friday. Now, it looks like he'll sail right past that, and likely won't pick up a baseball again until after the All-Star break.

Part of me wants to say, "Well, you're already pot-committed, you can't cut bait now." But, we're looking at an absence that could now extend into September before we see Syndergaard on a mount in the majors again. Though his injury was of a different nature, David Price was cleared to throw in late March, and wasn't back in the Red Sox rotation for nine weeks.

Syndergaard's timetable might not be that long, but we're actually starting to run out of time here either way. Week 12 of the Fantasy season starts next Monday, and many playoffs begin as early as Week 19, so we're not as far off as you might think. If he is cleared to throw in four weeks, that would give him just five weeks to get back before the playoffs.

If you're 8-2 or 7-3, you can certainly afford to keep stashing Syndergaard, in the hopes that, if nothing else, he can give you a boost when it really matters. However, if you need the help right now – and you haven't been able to scoop up someone like Jeff Samardzija, Luis Severino, or Drew Pomeranz who might be able to make a difference off waivers – it's tough to justify continuing to hold onto Syndergaard at this point. Difference-makers at pitcher are tough to come by, but two months of Jacob Faria or Sean Newcomb might be worth more than whatever Syndergaard can give you the rest of the season.

Walker diagnosed with torn hamstring

Like Harvey, we didn't get much more on Walker than that he will miss "several weeks." Walker is a useful Fantasy option, probably even an underrated one, who is enjoying another fine season. He clubbed 23 homers while hitting .282 last season, and is on pace for a nearly identical season, except that he was on pace to soar past his RBI total of 53, with 33 in 60 games.

Unfortunately, this sounds like an injury that could keep him out through August. As useful as Walker is, he probably isn't worth stashing through this injury, so feel free to cut him loose for the likes of 2B-eligible players like Wilmer Flores, Jonathan Schoop or Jed Lowrie.

One player you won't be adding to replace Walker is Amed Rosario, the Mets' 21-year-old middle infield prospect currently tearing up Triple-A. Rosario has built on his breakout age-26 season by hitting .333/.374/.496 at Las Vegas, with seven homers, 12 steals, and a more than respectable 15.4 percent strikeout rate. Unfortunately, the Mets seem to be in no hurry to call him up.

Rosario has all the makings of an impact Fantasy player, and if you want to stash him, go ahead. But Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters he doesn't want to call Rosario up until he's ready to stay up for good, and the team doesn't seem to consider him ready yet. That seems to be a curious decision from a distance, but the Mets know better than we do, right?

Either way, Walker's injury – and Asdrubal Cabrera's before it – doesn't seem to be enough to move the Mets to call up Rosario. So, the wait continues. And the Mets' losing continues. These things probably aren't related at all!

Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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