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2024 Fantasy Baseball Injury Risk – Outfield (Part Two)

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.

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.
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Injury Risk in the Outfield (II)

Here is Part 1 of the Outfield Injury Analysis, and you should also make sure check out the full Injury Risk Series.

26. Jordan Walker – St. Louis Cardinals

Walker has nothing in his Major or Minor League Injury History to consider going forward. He just completed an up-and-down rookie season where he finished with 465 plate appearances and no injuries of which to speak. He should continue to receive everyday at-bats in 2024. Draft with confidence.

27. George Springer – Toronto Blue Jays

Springer is a player who will miss time throughout the season. Over his ten years in the league, he has been on the Injured List ten times for injuries all over his body. Additionally, he has had many minor bumps and bruises that have required days off for maintenance. Ultimately, fantasy owners that draft Springer need to take into consideration the likelihood that he may spend time on the bench for days off or on your team’s Injured List. It never appears to be an overly serious injury, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless. Draft with attention.

28. Esteury Ruiz – Oakland Athletics

Ruiz had a very clean injury history up until he hurt his shoulder this past summer. While sliding into first base, he suffered a shoulder subluxation that resulted in him missing a few weeks. He returned and still stole 24 bases over the final two months of the season. It doesn’t seem like this injury will hinder his output going forward. Draft with confidence.

29. Evan Carter – Texas Rangers

Carter has nothing in his Major or Minor League Injury History to consider going forward. He finished 2023 after getting the call for an injured Adolis Garcia. Combining the regular season and postseason, he accumulated 147 plate appearances. Draft with confidence.

30. Cedric Mullins – Baltimore Orioles

Mullins just finished the most injury-filled season of his career. After back-to-back seasons with almost 1400 total plate appearances, he injured his groin in May and wasn’t the same player after that. He’s someone to keep an eye on this offseason to see how he feels once he reports to camp. It could have been one of those years where a player injured himself and he couldn’t get it healed correctly. Chances are rest in the winter will help him return close to 100% health. Given the fact that his injury history is rather clean, he is someone who is bound to bounce back. Draft with confidence.

31. Jackson Chourio – Milwaukee Brewers

Chourio has nothing in his Major or Minor League Injury History to consider going forward. He signed a huge contract in the offseason and is likely a big piece of the Brewers’ lineup going forward. Draft with confidence.

32. Anthony Santander – Baltimore Orioles

Santander missed a lot of time due to injuries at the early stages of his career. His last trip to the Injured List happened in 2021 when he was placed there three separate times. Since then, he has posted back-to-back seasons in which he recorded at least 650 plate appearances. It’s no coincidence that over those two healthy years, he has posted his two best seasons offensively. Draft with confidence.

33. TJ Friedl – Cincinnati Reds

Friedl had himself a nice season in 2023, as his role was expanded to that of an everyday player. There were some concerning developments, mind you, that came with playing regularly. Over his 138 games played, he still managed to find himself on the Injured List twice for two different body parts. Both of these injuries came early in the season, but also close timeline-wise to his 2022 season-ending injury where he hurt his hamstring. While this can be attributed to getting his body acclimated to having an extended role, it’s something to keep in the back of our minds when drafting. The hope is that his second-half stretch where he remained healthy can continue in 2024. Draft with confidence.

34. Teoscar Hernandez – Los Angeles Dodgers

Hernandez found himself somewhat injury-prone in his final years as a Blue Jay. He suffered an oblique injury that cost him just under one month but struggled to perform after that. He hasn’t been the same player since, though there’s no way to prove that this injury and his performance are linked years later. In 2023, he bounced back by playing in 160 games and found his offensive touch despite playing most games in Seattle. He’s likely to rebound with the Dodgers in 2024, as long as he can stay healthy. Draft with confidence.

35. Ian Happ – Chicago Cubs

Happ has been a relatively steady force for the Cubs. Other than a trip to the Injured List for bruised ribs in 2021, he’s been an everyday player for Chicago. Last season he posted 691 plate appearances over 158 games played. Draft with confidence.

36. 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. It has been reported that he opted for off-season surgery on that wrist to help get it ready for next season. He is still expected to be ready for Spring Training, but wrist injuries can be tricky once playing time resumes. Draft with attention.

37. Jorge Soler – Miami Marlins

Soler has a long track record of injuries that have required extra time from which to heal. Over his ten-year career, he has been placed on the Injured List eleven times, with two of them requiring at least 60 days. All that being said, most of his problems happened at the beginning of his career. In fact, over the last four seasons, he has more than twice the number of at-bats and plate appearances as he did over his first four years. It’s been an incredible resurgence. Keep in mind though, he’s missed time due to injury in every season he’s played excluding the 2019 season. Draft with attention.

38. Chas McCormick – Houston Astros

McCormick broke out in a big way this season. His ability to stay on the field remains questionable though, as he found himself with a back injury that lingered all season long. He missed about three weeks on the Injured List with back pain and then almost immediately was DTD with a sore back right afterward. By the end of the season, the pain returned. While this isn’t something to worry about just yet, it’s an issue that could resurface at some point next season. For now, he gets the green light, but it’s getting ready to turn yellow. Draft with confidence.

39. Masataka Yoshida – Boston Red Sox

Yoshida had a successful debut with the Red Sox as he had 580 plate appearances over 140 games played. His only ailments cost him a handful of days here and there throughout the season. They can likely be attributed to him getting used to playing at the Major League level. Draft with confidence.

40. Riley Greene – Detroit Tigers

Greene has been with the Tigers for two seasons, but it is his 2023 season that caused some major concern. He missed time for a stress fracture in his fibula and also elbow inflammation that turned out to be his need for Tommy John Surgery. He had the surgery performed in the middle of September and is expected to be ready for Spring Training. That being said, it remains to be seen if that will happen in a limited capacity because of the fragility and seriousness of the injury sustained. He is a big part of their future and there is no need to rush him back into anything. Draft with attention.

41. Jarren Duran – Boston Red Sox

Duran had himself a breakout season of sorts in 2023 before injuring his big left toe. He ended up missing the final two months of the season and needing flexor tendon surgery to repair the toe. He has already begun working on his conditioning and balance with various strength-training exercises and is fully expected to be ready for Spring Training. Draft with confidence.

42. James Outman – Los Angeles Dodgers

Outman has nothing in his Major or Minor League Injury History to consider going forward. He is expected to be the everyday center fielder for the Dodgers in 2024. Draft with confidence.

43. Brandon Nimmo – New York Mets

Nimmo has suffered many injuries over the years, yet he’s also had many plate appearances. Over his eight seasons, he has been placed on the Injured List eight times for ailments all over his body. The good news is, however, over the past three seasons, most of those Injured List designations have been short. He’s missed just 80 days over his last four trips to the Injured List, with none of them affecting his gameplay. He just finished with a career-high in home runs and matched his 2022 numbers in batting average. He will move to left field in 2024, so he may become less of an injury risk. Draft with confidence.

44. Lars Nootbaar – St. Louis Cardinals

Nootbaar had a difficult 2023 season, as he went to the Injured List three times. He lost time to bruises all over his body, including a very painful abdomen ailment that was quite unlucky. Despite all of that, he still managed 503 plate appearances last season. The hope is that luck will turn itself around and be a benefactor to Nootbaar going forward. Draft with confidence.

45. Christopher Morel – Chicago Cubs

Morel has remained relatively healthy over his shortened career with the Cubs. Draft with confidence.

46. Steven Kwan – Cleveland Guardians

Kwan finished 8th in all of baseball last season with 718 plate appearances over 158 games played. His only blemishes were when he suffered minor day-to-day ailments in 2022, but he was able to return and perform well. Since his debut in 2022, he ranked 13th overall with 1356 plate appearances, which is impressive considering the lineup in which he plays. He is projected to do the same as a reliable source of playing time in 2024. Draft with confidence.

47. Daulton Varsho – Toronto Blue Jays

Varsho has had two minor ailments over his career that required short time off. That said, neither of these issues required a trip to the Injured List. Since arriving in Toronto, he has missed just fourteen games. His move away from the catcher position and into the outfield may have helped him remain more durable than ever. Draft with confidence.

48. Kerry Carpenter – Detroit Tigers

Carpenter has had two short stints on the Injured List over his one-and-a-half seasons as a Detroit Tiger. Both have resulted in minimal time away and have not taken away from his offensive output. He remains on track to be a breakout candidate in 2024. Draft with confidence.

49. Taylor Ward – Los Angeles Angels

Ward was having his best year to date in 2023 before a major injury cost him his season. He was hit in the face by a pitch which resulted in several broken bones. He needed emergency surgery on his nose and his orbital bone and is still recovering. It is hopeful that he will be ready for Spring Training. While his health and well-being are the most important, from a fantasy perspective it’s important to see how he feels in the spring. Until we know more, there are too many red flags standing in the way. That said, he is wished the best in his recovery. Draft with caution.

50. Jarred Kelenic – Atlanta Braves

Kelenic had himself an up-and-down season in 2023. He missed some time because of a fractured foot that was sustained from kicking a water cooler in July. He would return much later in the year and took a foul ball off of his right foot. This “on-again/off-again” season didn’t help him produce in the way that everyone hoped he would. He was traded in the offseason and will now get a chance to develop in Atlanta. 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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