Francisco Lindor Injury Reaction: How far does he slide down Fantasy rankings?

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Spring training hasn't even started yet, and already injuries are rearranging draft boards.

Today's victim: Francisco Lindor, who strained his calf working out.

How'd that work out?

It may not seem like a big deal on the surface, with Opening Day nearly two months away, but that's roughly the timetable for Lindor's recovery. The Indians expect him to miss 7-9 weeks.

And it's not as simple as him hitting the ground running March 28. In fact, beat writer Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer thinks a best-case scenario would be Lindor missing the first week of the season .

If they're bringing in veterans, it means they're preparing for the worst-case scenario, which would be a less-than-straightforward recovery. Lingering pain, stilted rehab assignments, indefinite timetables and a world of hurt. Anytime you have a muscle strain so severe it requires months of rehabilitation, there's no telling how long the recovery will take, not to mention what kind of everyday activities might interfere with it. And this isn't just any muscle strain. As Jimmy Rollins once semi-famously said, "calves are tricky cats."

Maybe Lindor, ball of energy that he is, gets impatient and pushes himself too far, suffering a setback. When a first-round pick is at stake, we have to entertain those what-ifs. Nothing will derail a Fantasy season faster than blowing it at the beginning.

There's one negative outcome that I'd consider a virtual guarantee. Part of what has positioned Lindor among the uber elite, going off the board just after Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Jose Ramirez on average, is his sudden stolen base prowess. His 25 steals last year ranked 15th in the majors and topped his previous high by six.

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Francisco Lindor CLE • SS • 12
2018 season

Most of the projected first-rounders contribute something worthwhile in that scarcest of categories, and the ones that don't, like J.D. Martinez and Nolan Arenado, at least stand out in batting average. Lindor's fourth overall ranking kind of depended on him remaining a factor on the base paths, but now, why would he? Why risk it with a newly healed calf, knowing that aggravating it could potentially sideline him another two months?

Forget him repeating those 25 steals. I'm thinking he runs less than ever.

What does it mean for his actual draft value, the prospect of him being sidelined for who knows how long and the expectation of him providing next to nothing in the stolen base category? Well, it lowers it, that's for sure.

How much is a fair question to ask but an uncomfortable one to answer this far out. For now, I'm taking an optimistic stance and lowering him only four spots, behind not just Trout, Betts and Ramirez but also Arenado, Jose Altuve, Martinez and Max Scherzer. He's still the top shortstop — his power alone grants him that — and the fact No. 2 shortstop Alex Bregman is also coming back from injury (loose bodies in his elbow) doesn't hurt the cause.

But the ultimate outcome of Lindor's injury isn't as predictable to me as Bregman's. If we're not hearing one positive report after another as spring training progresses, I reserve the right to downgrade him further.

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Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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