All right ... next year, the standard for DL slots in Fantasy Baseball leagues is four. I'm leading the charge.

Two just isn't cutting it anymore.

Granted, it's not the most formal of guidelines, so maybe your league offers more. But then again, maybe it offers none at all, which means it's conceivable your entire bench is consumed by players on the DL. Yes, we've seen that many -- and we're talking genuine Fantasy mainstays -- go on it already.

It's one of the unintended (but not altogether unpredictable) side effects of reducing the DL from 15 days to 10. Teams have an easier time committing to that length of time to make sure their star player is right, and then once he's on it, it's all too easy for that stint to extend a few days beyond the minimum -- you know, just out of an abundance of caution.

And so we wind up here, where 30 isn't deep enough to include every player who would be rostered if completely healthy.

So in creating these rankings, I had to ask some of the tough questions you're asking yourself. "I like this player, but can I afford to wait for him? And what am I giving up in the meantime?"

Here's to priorities.

Top 30 DL stashes
1
strained calf
2
Corey Kluber Cleveland SP
stiff back
3
strained elbow
4
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James Paxton Seattle SP
strained forearm
5
sprained foot
6
cracked fingernail
7
Yoenis Cespedes N.Y. Mets LF
strained hamstring
8
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Zach Britton Baltimore RP
strained forearm
9
strained calf
10
torn lat
11
Madison Bumgarner San Francisco SP
sprained shoulder
12
strained oblique
13
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Mitch Haniger Seattle RF
strained oblique
14
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Stephen Piscotty St. Louis RF
strained hamstring
15
Rich Hill L.A. Dodgers SP
blister
16
J.A. Happ Toronto SP
elbow inflammation
17
Sean Manaea Oakland SP
shoulder tightness
18
Aaron Nola Philadelphia SP
strained back
19
strained hamstring
20
Ian Kennedy Kansas City SP
strained hamstring
21
Jon Gray Colorado SP
fractured foot
22
shoulder bursitis
23
Carlos Rodon Chi. White Sox SP
tight biceps
24
Steven Matz N.Y. Mets SP
strained elbow
25
Jameson Taillon Pittsburgh SP
testicular cancer
26
Shawn Kelley Washington RP
strained back
27
Cam Bedrosian L.A. Angels RP
strained groin
28
Brandon Finnegan Cincinnati SP
strained shoulder
29
Jason Heyward Chi. Cubs RF
sprained finger
30
Garrett Richards L.A. Angels SP
nerve irritation in biceps
  • Corey Kluber's and James Paxton's injuries don't sound like they'll extend too far beyond the minimum 10 days, which is why they're both top five even though they just suffered those injuries. Well, that and the fact that legitimately high-end starting pitchers are maybe the most valuable commodity in Fantasy Baseball today.
  • Speaking of such pitchers, David Price is showing his first signs of returning since his spring training Tommy John scare, ramping up his rehab to the point he could return before the end of the month. I honestly think now is a good time to buy him in Fantasy, his owner having gotten used to life without him and perhaps forgotten just what kind of impact he can make.
  • Adrian Beltre's return is still more theoretical than projectable at this stage, which makes him difficult to rank. Compounding the issue is the fact that he's 38 and perpetually on the verge of collapse. There's a good chance he beats Yoenis Cespedes back and is more productive on a per-game basis, but the unknowns drop him lower in the rankings.
  • No clue how long Zach Britton is out with this second iteration of his forearm strain, but you have to assume it'll be longer than the first. Since he's of course an elite closer when healthy, I'm giving him priority over Shawn Kelley and Cam Bedrosian even if those two figure to return first. The concern, though, particularly in light of Britton's struggles, is that this lingering issue is a precursor to something worse.
  • You see the value of a high-end starting pitcher in my ranking of Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner and Cole Hamels, whose absences figure to measure in months. I don't know what you could reasonably get back in a trade for one of them seeing as they're nothing but dead weight in the meantime, but their potential when they do return makes them too valuable to give away.
  • That trio of aces may be the last players who I would assign the "do not drop" label across all formats, though if your league is at least 10 teams deep and offers any number of DL spots, I imagine you would be motivated to stash at least through No. 18, Aaron Nola, who completes a foursome of second-tier pitchers who still offer far more upside than anything you could find on waivers. Plus, none of their injuries are considered long-term (fingers crossed on Rich Hill).
  • Jon Gray, Felix Hernandez, Carlos Rodon, Steven Matz and Jameson Taillon are theoretically part of that same tier, but their injuries are harder to predict. Gray may be the closest to returning, but then he has Coors Field to worry about.
  • The near misses for this list include Greg BirdDavid Dahl, Logan Forsythe, Wilson Ramos, Brandon Crawford and Russell Martin, with Bird, Dahl and Ramos being the upside stashes, and the other three being steady but unspectacular contributors at weak positions. Adrian Gonzalez is surprisingly far down the list. I'm not confident he'll have a job when he gets back.