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The past week brought its usual onslaught of injuries, from the short-term (Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, David Price) to the kind that will likely extend beyond a month (James Paxton, Jameson Taillon, A.J. Pollock).
And then there's those players on the verge of coming off the IL. Rendon (already?) and Matt Olson, yes, but there's one particular long-term stash who may be on the verge of paying off.
Emphasis on the "may."
We really don't know what to expect from Shohei Ohtani, do we? It's true he may be activated as early as Tuesday, and it's true that swinging a bat doesn't require as lengthy of a recovery from Tommy John surgery as throwing or certainly pitching does. And swinging the bat is all he's expected to do in 2019, spending all of his time at DH.
But as with every aspect of being a two-way player in the modern game, it's uncharted territory. Ohtani's future is still on the mound, so of course he'll continue to rehabilitate the arm while he's swinging the bat. Might he need to take some occasional time off from swinging the bat to do so? It stands to reason. Back when he was pitching once a week, he needed the day before and after most every start off, severely limiting his impact as a hitter.
Then again, there was that month-long stretch at the end of last season when he knew he needed Tommy John surgery and had already stopped pitching but continued to DH — and did so every day. He hit .310 with seven homers, four steals and a 1.003 OPS during that time.
So we already know he can be an impact hitter when he's in the lineup, bringing top-shelf power and underrated speed, but how often will he be in the lineup and will the bat be impacted in some way by the recovery? Both fair questions for which I don't have an answer.
I'm exercising the same standard for his activation off the IL as I would for a top prospect call-up, though: I want to make sure I'm the one who finds out. Slotting Ohtani ahead of Eloy Jimenez on this list should drive home the point that he needs to be rostered, regardless of whether it's in an IL spot. I'd say the same is true for at least the top 20.
Anthony Rendon Washington Nationals 3B
Juan Soto Washington Nationals LF
Trea Turner Washington Nationals SS
Giancarlo Stanton New York Yankees LF
James Paxton New York Yankees SP
Fernando Tatis San Diego Padres SS
Aaron Judge New York Yankees RF
David Price Boston Red Sox SP
Chris Archer Pittsburgh Pirates SP
Jameson Taillon Pittsburgh Pirates SP
|strained elbow flexor|
Austin Meadows Tampa Bay Rays RF
Mike Clevinger Cleveland Indians SP
Corey Kluber Cleveland Indians SP
Aaron Hicks New York Yankees CF
Matt Olson Oakland Athletics 1B
Luis Severino New York Yankees SP
Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Angels SP
|Tommy John surgery|
Eloy Jimenez Chicago White Sox LF
Scooter Gennett Cincinnati Reds 2B
Didi Gregorius New York Yankees SS
|Tommy John surgery|
Justin Upton Los Angeles Angels LF
A.J. Pollock Los Angeles Dodgers CF
Jimmy Nelson Milwaukee Brewers SP
|torn rotator cuff|
Willians Astudillo Minnesota Twins C
Cody Allen Los Angeles Angels RP
Jed Lowrie New York Mets 3B
Miguel Sano Minnesota Twins 3B
Andrew Heaney Los Angeles Angels SP
Alex Wood Cincinnati Reds SP
Hunter Strickland Seattle Mariners RP