Nic Civale is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and former NCAA Division I Baseball player. He combines his knowledge of anatomy and physiology with that of baseball mechanics to provide expectations for injured players. Utilize The MLB Injury Report to make the most of your fantasy season.
AL East MLB Injury Report
The most fantasy notable players are likely to start the 2022 season healthy for the Orioles. The players garnering the most concern with injuries that missed time last season include Austin Hays, OF, and Tanner Scott, RP. Hays was limited to 488 ABs last year due to multiple hamstring injuries early in the season, but he did produce 22 home runs and 73 and 71 runs and RBIs respectively with a .256 average and 4 steals. Projected out to 600 AB’s, that’s a healthy 89 R, 27 HR, 87 RBI, and 5 steals. I think it would be a bit optimistic to think Hays is likely to finish the season without any time spent on the bench. He hasn’t played more than 133 professional games in a season (2021). However, with a Fantrax ADP of 206, Hays is undervalued for his potential output. Tanner Scott suffered a sprained left knee in September, but we should fully expect him to return as a fully healthy reliever for Baltimore. Scott had a poor 517 ERA last year but did strike out 70 hitters in 54.0 innings last year.
Boston Red Sox
James Paxton, SP
Paxton had Tommy John surgery in April, 2021, and is expected to return early in the second half of the season for the Red Sox, who’ve rolled the dice on the once-dominant lefty. Don’t expect Paxton back until July, 2022.
Chris Sale, SP
Chris Sale had his own Tommy John Surgery in March of 2020 and made his return to the mound late last season. He compiled a strong 3.16 ERA, with 52 strikeouts in 42.2 innings. He raised concerns with some short outings, (3.2 innings 9/6/21, 2.1 innings 10/3/21, but Sale should be expected to improve on that in 2022. My projections for Sale in 5×5 category leagues are 12 W, 0 SV, 204 K, 3.39 ERA, 1.24 WHIP (165 IP).
New York Yankees
Aaron Hicks, OF
Aaron Hicks is playing in the Dominican Winter League this off-season. He isn’t the fantasy asset he used to be. He is unlikely to eclipse 500 ABs due to the talent in the Yankees lineup, and the fact that he’s only eclipsed 90 games played once since 2017.
D.J. Had core surgery in October, and is expected to be completely healthy by February and ready to begin training with the team whenever the lockout is lifted. I have no concerns about LeMahieu repeating his numbers from last year, but a 33-year-old coming off of any surgery is not the key to success for a power bounce-back similar to his 2019-2020 seasons.
Luke Voit, 1B
Voit is a huge target of mine this year in fantasy baseball. He’s only one year removed from back to back impressive seasons, including leading MLB in home runs in 2020. His ADP has plummeted to 257 on Fantrax this season. He will be only 31 years old entering the 2022 season, and is expected to begin the year completely healthy. Players are skeptical of Voit’s playing time with Anthony Rizzo on the Yankees roster, but they won’t soon forget he was arguably their most valuable player for about 50% of the last 3 seasons.
Jamison Taillon, SP
Taillon underwent surgery in October, 2021, for a torn tendon in his right ankle. He has been rehabbing this offseason but has been unable to train with team staff and health care professionals. For any player who has had a late-season surgery requiring extensive rehab and monitoring, I’d be concerned with their ability to meet their marks as far as recovery time goes. This will be a theme throughout the article. Taillon is expected back in April-May, but I wouldn’t be surprised with a June return.
Tampa Bay Rays
Brandon McKay, SP
McKay debuted in 2020, the multi-talented athlete spent some years in the minor league system as both a pitcher and hitter. His most recent injury required thoracic outlet decompression surgery. The thoracic outlet is a region in the lateral chest that houses several major nerves that run from the neck to the distal arm. His expectation is to resume throwing in early February, but expectations need to continue to be tempered for the young talent. He has had injury concerns his entire career, and the Rays aren’t likely to push him into much more than 100 IP this year.
Tyler Glasnow, SP
Glasnow is expected to miss the entire year recovering from his Tommy John Surgery, performed in August, 2021. He should be ready to start the 2023 season without limitations.
Nick Anderson, RP
The strikeout master has undergone a surgery fairly similar to Tommy John surgery this past fall. Instead of repairing or replacing the damaged Ulnar Collateral Ligament, this surgery involves bracing the ligament with an artificial collagen-coated tape. There is a shorter recovery time but it only works with partially torn ligaments. The hope is that Anderson returns in July, 2022. He has a very high upside for strikeouts (14.1 K/9 over his MLB career) with the chance to collect a few saves in the Rays’ crazy bullpen.
Toronto Blue Jays
Nate Pearson, P
Pearson was limited towards the end of last season with a sports hernia, that held him out of a significant chunk of the 2021 season. A sports hernia is a tear in the abdominal muscle, that if untreated, can result in an inguinal hernia. The inguinal hernia is the more commonly known affliction, where the intestines can protrude through the abdominal wall and create a visible bulge. Pearson’s sports hernia didn’t reach that severity. He had a surgical repair in the off-season. Many remain hesitant with his history of elbow soreness and injury, but we should not be concerned going into 2022 with this particular injury.
Good roundup, thanks – one note, Rizzo no longer is on the Yankees’ roster, he’s a free agent. So Voit should have the inside track on the 1B job unless someone else is brought in (which would not be at all surprising).
Thanks! Yes, good point!