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2024 Fantasy Baseball: Injury Risk at Shortstop

When assessing the future stats of a player, it’s imperative to consider player health and injury risk when speculating on playing time. After all, getting onto the field and being given a chance to succeed only happens if the player is healthy enough. That’s why looking at a player’s track record of health gives credence to whether someone is worth drafting. A fantasy team could have all the talent in the world, but if they’re on your Injured List or bench, they lose a ton of value.

We are moving toward draft season, and all eyes will be on the top players at each position. Knowing of any inherent risk to drafting someone can help teams in the long run. That’s why today will be a part of positional examinations of injury risk. I will be going through the Injury History of the top players at every position and making notes of their healthy or troubled pasts. Seeing trends in their health could help determine any future problems.

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The players listed below will be separated into one of three categories: red light, yellow light, green light. The timeframe that will be examined will primarily be from 2021 to 2023, though looking into the distant past might also take place.

Red Light: any players listed here have an extensive and/or concerning injury history that seems likely to come into play in the future. The potential for injury outweighs their production on the field and their selection could lead to roster problems down the line. The reoccurrence of a particular injury or multiple injuries also creates the need for a red light. Fantasy owners should be wary of drafting these players because the risk for injury is high.

Yellow Light: any players listed here have had their injury problems before, but they’re not necessarily prone to injury. These players here have situations to monitor, especially during the off-season and Spring Training, but it’s not necessarily as bleak as it could be. The types of injuries could also be freakish or due to bad luck with events leading to it being out of the ordinary. Fantasy owners should be aware of the injury history, but know the possibility for health is there too.

Green Light: any players listed here have had minimal problems and their future doesn’t appear to be in any jeopardy. There is nothing from their past that would indicate an injury-prone future. While injuries could happen at any time, there are no red flags in this player’s history to suggest it will lead to another one. Fantasy owners can feel safe in drafting these players.

Things to remember

  1. The players listed are in the general order of how they’re being drafted.
  2. The level of confidence has to do with their health and nothing to do with their abilities on the field.

Shortstop Injury Risk for 2024 Fantasy Baseball Drafts

Make sure to check out the full Injury Risk Series so you can be as ready for your draft as possible.

1. Bobby Witt Jr. – Kansas City Royals

Witt Jr. played through various minor ailments throughout the 2022 season. He bounced back in a big way in 2023, playing in 158 games and leading all shortstops in plate appearances. He’s a stud on the field and has no injury concerns heading into next season. Draft with confidence.

2. Trea Turner – Philadelphia Phillies

Turner’s injury concerns happened many years ago. He began his career with three separate injuries over multiple seasons that included a fractured wrist and a fractured finger. Since the start of the pandemic season, he has been relatively healthy with only minor blemishes on his record. In fact, he has not missed a game in the last two seasons due to anything other than rest. Draft with confidence.

3. Corey Seager – Texas Rangers

Seager is someone who is borderline injury-prone. On the one hand, some of his injuries are worrisome, such as his UCL sprain and his left hamstring strain that has now popped up twice in his career. On the other hand, some of his injuries have been freakish, and the result of pure bad luck. Whatever the case may be, he’s elite at the plate when he does play, so he’s someone who needs to be drafted early. Just be prepared for some time off, because chances are that happens. Draft with attention.

4. Elly De La Cruz – Cincinnati Reds

De La Cruz accumulated 427 plate appearances this past season, despite not getting the call up until June. He should play every day when he is up with the team, though there is some concern about playing due to a crowded clubhouse. His only real injury concern took place while he was still in the minor leagues when a hamstring injury took away some time. Otherwise, when he was with the Reds he had no worries whatsoever. Draft with confidence.

5. Francisco Lindor – New York Mets

Lindor is one of the most under-appreciated players in the game. He does his job well and doesn’t complain. He has missed three games in total over the past two years, despite playing through an injury throughout the 2023 season. After having a bone spur removed in the off-season, he is fully expected to be ready for Spring Training. Draft with confidence.

6. Gunnar Henderson – Baltimore Orioles

Henderson had a successful first full season with Baltimore where he logged 622 plate appearances. His only blemish was missing a handful of games due to lower back pain twice. Otherwise, he has a history of long seasons in the minors too, where he accumulated almost 1000 plate appearances in two developmental seasons. Draft with confidence.

7. CJ Abrams – Washington Nationals

Abrams broke out this season and became an everyday player for the Nationals. His injury history is quite minuscule, though in the minor leagues, he did get hurt and miss some time. Late in 2021 he collided with a teammate and fractured his left tibia while spraining his MCL. Other than that, his bumps and bruises are minor and typical of playing in the middle infield. Draft with confidence.

8. Bo Bichette – Toronto Blue Jays

Bichette had himself a rough 2023 season. He had a major scare in August when he suffered patellar tendinitis, but the belief at the time was that it was a much more significant ailment. Later in the month, he suffered through tightness in his quadriceps and missed some time there too. Outside of this, he did play 159 games in each of the two seasons prior, so he has shown an ability to stay healthy and in the lineup. Draft with confidence.

9. Matt McLain – Cincinnati Reds

McLain was called up to the Reds in May and played almost every day until his season-ending injury. He is expected to be fully healthy for Spring Training and will likely be the team’s everyday second baseman. Draft with confidence.

10. Nico Hoerner – Chicago Cubs

Hoerner has been a mainstay in the Cubs’ lineup for three years now, but his injury history is quite extensive. In fact, over the last three seasons, he has been on the Injured List seven times for five different body parts. While none have lasted much longer than the minimum, it’s still noteworthy in that there’s a decent chance it will happen again in 2024. Draft with attention.

11. Ha-Seong Kim – San Diego Padres

Kim has yet to be placed on the Injured List over his three seasons as a Padres player. Two of his injuries this year (knee and shoulder) were both thought to have been more serious than they ended up being. Perhaps that’s a testament to his strength and durability. Draft with confidence.

12. Oneil Cruz – Pittsburgh Pirates

Cruz has had a tumultuous career in baseball. He missed most of the 2023 season with a broken ankle that wound up being season-ending in nature. Looking deeper into his history, he had to be pulled on two separate occasions in 2022 with ankle injuries that were considered minor. He also suffered a forearm strain while playing in Double-A. All of this leads to the belief that he could be injury-prone, but most of these injuries were the result of how he plays and some bad luck. Placing the label of being prone to injury seems a bit unfair at this point, but it can’t be ignored either. Draft with attention.

13. Xander Bogaerts – San Diego Padres

Bogaerts has only hit the Injured List once in the last five seasons, and that was because of Covid-19. While that looks promising, some underlying issues need to be addressed. He has missed games four different times over the last three seasons due to a lingering wrist injury. It is something that is an ongoing issue that has required the use of a cortisone shot. His play, as a result, worsened over time with his wrist injury being the main culprit. Whether or not this continues to be the norm remains to be seen, but he’s been dealing with this issue for years now. The Padres themselves have discussed moving him into a new position, so perhaps that will help him stay healthy. Draft with attention.

14. Dansby Swanson – Chicago Cubs

Swanson has had a relatively quiet three-year span concerning injuries. His only real concern in 2023 came with a bruised heel that cost him almost two weeks on the Injured List. Otherwise, he led the National League in games played for both the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He did have injury problems earlier in his career, but for now, they seem to be in the past. Draft with confidence.

15. Anthony Volpe – New York Yankees

Volpe has nothing in his Major or Minor League Injury History to consider going forward. Draft with confidence.

16. Thairo Estrada – San Francisco Giants

Estrada had a rough 2023 season that left him with only 120 games played. He suffered a sprained left wrist and a fractured left hand that hindered any progression he was hoping to make this season. His two seasons prior to this were littered with minor injuries that don’t leave a cause for concern going forward. Draft with confidence.

17. Tommy Edman – St. Louis Cardinals

Edman has been relatively healthy throughout his short career. It’s quite encouraging because he plays all around the diamond almost every day. He’s been “penciled in” as the team’s primary outfielder next season. His only stint on the Injured List was due to wrist inflammation that hindered his play for weeks before heading to the Injured List. Upon his return, he hit well for power and average. It was revealed that he had surgery for this wrist ailment in the offseason, but he is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Draft with attention.

18. Trevor Story – Boston Red Sox

Story started his career on a very healthy trajectory. As a member of the Rockies, he played in 86% of his team’s games with only four trips to the Injured List in six seasons. Since then, he has been an injury concern as a member of the Red Sox. He missed 70 games in 2022 with various bruised body parts, followed by an off-season modified Tommy John procedure that cost him more than half of the 2023 season. Even upon his return in August, he struggled mightily and finished with a batting average of more than 30 points lower than his career low. He hopes to be back to his normal self in 2024, but the fact remains that he’s been Rendon-like since leaving his first team. Draft with attention.

19. Willy Adames – Milwaukee Brewers

Adames has missed some time while a member of the Brewers due to a multitude of injuries big and small. Two of his bigger ailments happened to his lower body where he suffered a strained quadriceps muscle and a sprained ankle. He also got a concussion last season that looked worse than it was. Regardless, he’s someone who will play every day and should remain relatively healthy, despite his checkered past. He has posted back-to-back seasons of at least 600 plate appearances and is on track to do it again. Draft with confidence.

20. Ezequiel Tovar – Colorado Rockies

Tovar had a healthy run in the second half of the 2023 season. In the Minor Leagues, he had a slight vision problem and a minor groin issue in 2022. Both of these were corrected quickly without any lingering effects. Draft with confidence.

21. Jackson Holliday – Baltimore Orioles

Holliday has nothing in his Minor League Injury History to consider going forward. Draft with confidence.

22. Jeremy Peña – Houston Astros

Peña has only played two seasons and has compiled just under 1200 plate appearances as a result. Still, despite playing a lot, he has missed time due to minor ailments all over his body, including his neck and head. None of these have translated into extended time away other than a short trip to the Injured List. These are all things to keep in the back of your head when drafting, but for now, everything seems to be okay. Draft with confidence.

23. Carlos Correa – Minnesota Twins

Correa had himself a disastrous season where he was playing through injury. His bout with planta fasciitis this year wouldn’t go away, yet he continued to play through it. This issue, compounded with last year’s contract fiasco, led to a concerning development for a player who will be 30 years old later in the 2024 season. He’s missed only 69 games since the start of the 2020 season, but it’s a very worrisome profile. Draft with caution.

24. J.P. Crawford – Seattle Mariners

Crawford just finished his second back-to-back season of 145 games played for the Mariners. This, coupled with the fact that he played in 160 games in 2021, should lead to a convincing argument that he is a relatively safe choice when drafting. While his production and draft position may attract people to select him, it needs to be remembered that he has missed time for various ailments all over his body. The biggest red flag here is that he has missed time due to injuries on both knees since September of 2022. This isn’t something that should be magnified to the point of not drafting Crawford, but rather it is something to keep in the back of your mind in case this happens again and is more serious than before. Draft with attention.

25. Luis Rengifo – Los Angeles Angels

Rengifo showed some consistency in 2023, by posting almost identical numbers to his 2022 season. This showed some promise for growth that ended too quickly last September. He ruptured his biceps tendon and missed the final month of the season. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Draft with confidence.

For more of the great fantasy baseball rankings and analysis you’ve come to expect from FantraxHQ, check out our full 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit! We’re here for you all the way up until Opening Day and then on into your championship run.

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