A spate of injuries Wednesday put a dent in the Fantasy hopes of many. Here are some of the most notable players who went on the IL:
Marcell Ozuna Atlanta Braves LF
|fractured fingers, out at least six weeks|
Luke Voit New York Yankees 1B
Corey Kluber New York Yankees SP
|strained shoulder, out 6-8 weeks|
Lance McCullers Houston Astros SP
In the case of Marcell Ozuna and Luke Voit, there aren't any silver linings -- no top prospects waiting in the wings, no talented reserves champing at the bit. The Corey Kluber and Lance McCullers injuries, however, create some openings for some old friends.
- We talk Luis Garcia, James Kaprielian, Merrill Kelly, bullpens and injuries on the Fantasy Baseball Today in 5 podcast. You can follow us to get the latest episodes on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
HOU Houston • #59 • Age: 27
Yes, it's happening. The long-awaited return of Framber Valdez from a finger injury once feared to be a season-ender is set to go down Friday, not that it really depended on McCullers' injury. The left-hander doesn't have a lengthy track record, of course, but he was legitimately a must-start pitcher last year, leading the majors in ground-ball rate and tying Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks for most starts of seven innings or more. His final line: a 3.57 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 9.7 K/9. That'll play.
Deivi Garcia SP
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #83 • Age: 22
Deivi Garcia has had two terrific starts sandwiched in between two terrible starts at Triple-A, the terrible ones accounting for 10 of his 12 walks. After the second of the good ones, director of pitching Sam Briend talked like the Yankees had straightened him out, helping him get his "delivery back under him." They probably weren't as eager to call him up after his latest outing, but the Kluber injury demands he take a turn this weekend. He's still a solid prospect who impressed last September and nearly beat out Domingo German for a job this spring.
Josh Rojas RF
ARI Arizona • #10 • Age: 26
Josh Rojas just continues to hit, with an additional three Wednesday bringing his batting average to .299, up from .108 on April 21. From April 22 on, he's the No. 7 second baseman, the No. 11 shortstop and the No. 24 outfielder, so it's a little puzzling why he's still so available, particularly with that kind of eligibility.
Tommy Pham LF
SD San Diego • #28 • Age: 33
Another stolen base Wednesday gives Tommy Pham three in his past six games and six overall, and of course, getting on base is required for stealing bases. Fittingly, he's batting .286 (6 for 21) with a home run, two triples and a .483 on-base percentage during that six-game stretch. It may not seem like much, but he had been a total non-factor at the plate prior to it even though his Statcast measurements look pretty strong. Someone in your league may have given up on the 33-year-old too soon.
Luis Garcia SP
HOU Houston • #77 • Age: 24
Valdez isn't the only injured Astros pitcher set to return to the starting rotation but also Jose Urquidy and Jake Odorizzi, which would seem like bad news for Luis Garcia. But instead (and quite surprisingly), manager Dusty Baker is sending Cristian Javier to the bullpen, allowing the 24-year-old Garcia to continue pitching every fifth day. He celebrated by two-hitting the Dodgers over six innings Wednesday, his longest and arguably most impressive start so far.
OAK Oakland • #32 • Age: 27
On the one hand, how could you not be impressed by this performance, particularly after James Kaprielian struck out nine over 5 2/3 innings in his last start and allowed one earned run over five in the one before it. But the season-low four strikeouts against the Mariners raise some concerns, as do the four swinging strikes and the 1.5 mph dip in velocity. I'll choose to see the glass half full for a pitcher who's 3 for 3 in terms of success rate and is clearly winning the confidence of his manager. "He keeps pitching like this, we'll find a spot for him," Bob Melvin said.