As we await word on the severity of Luke Weaver's strained forearm and the chances of Kris Bryant's outfield collision landing him on the IL, the bigger story right now is who's poised to return from injury.
Say I publish these rankings again two weeks from now. As many as half of these names should be gone. Jose Altuve, Charlie Blackmon and James Paxton are the headliners, but also Khris Davis, Nelson Cruz, David Peralta, Dee Gordon, Mitch Garver, Yandy Diaz, Robinson Cano, Jeff McNeil, Willie Calhoun, Pedro Strop and Travis Shaw are in the homestretch of their recoveries.
And those are the more obvious picks — the injuries expected to have short-term absences from the start. Several longer-term rehabilitations are also in their final stages. Scooter Gennett hopes to return to the active roster in a couple weeks. Didi Gregorius is on an honest-to-goodness rehab assignment. Mike Clevinger may be more like a month away, but he's throwing regular bullpen sessions and will begin pitching games in extended spring training. Fernando Tatis is himself making strides in extended spring. Wade Davis and Hunter Strickland could progress quickly once they're back on the mound since they'll only need to work an inning at a time.
Of course, timetable isn't everything when assessing the stashability of an injured player. Here are the three factors I consider, in order of priority:
- How good is the player?
- What's his timetable?
- How likely is the injury to impact his performance?
When these players come off the IL, you'll have to find a spot for them on the active roster, which will presumably be a tighter fit. Where a player ranks here should also give you some idea how to value him when that time comes. I should point out, though, that I couldn't imagine dropping any of the top 21 in even the shallowest of formats.
Jose Altuve Houston Astros 2B
Charlie Blackmon Colorado Rockies RF
George Springer Houston Astros RF
Aaron Judge New York Yankees RF
James Paxton New York Yankees SP
Khris Davis Oakland Athletics DH
Giancarlo Stanton New York Yankees LF
Mike Clevinger Cleveland Indians SP
Tyler Glasnow Tampa Bay Rays SP
Fernando Tatis San Diego Padres SS
Scooter Gennett Cincinnati Reds 2B
Luke Weaver Arizona Diamondbacks SP
Nelson Cruz Minnesota Twins DH
David Peralta Arizona Diamondbacks LF
Didi Gregorius New York Yankees SS
|Tommy John surgery|
Luis Severino New York Yankees SP
Corey Kluber Cleveland Indians SP
Wade Davis Colorado Rockies RP
Dee Gordon Seattle Mariners 2B
Jameson Taillon Pittsburgh Pirates SP
|strained elbow flexor|
Mitch Garver Minnesota Twins C
Yandy Diaz Tampa Bay Rays 3B
Justin Upton Los Angeles Angels LF
A.J. Pollock Los Angeles Dodgers CF
Robinson Cano New York Mets 2B
Jeff McNeil New York Mets 2B
Willie Calhoun Texas Rangers LF
Pedro Strop Chicago Cubs RP
Travis Shaw Milwaukee Brewers 3B
Hunter Strickland Seattle Mariners RP