After a week or so of Spring Training in the books, it’s time to monitor the news and notes for fantasy baseball purposes. For this piece, we’ll focus on the injury-related American League news and notes over the past week. With some, like Forrest Whitley and Framber Valdez, we have dreadful and unfortunate updates. Meanwhile, with others, we have teams showing caution for star hitters such as Xander Bogaerts and Alex Bregman.
We’ll keep this relatively brief since there’s quite a bit of news to sort through. Nothing compares to Jeff Zimmerman, who digs even deeper with his Mining the News pieces. That said, the majority of the American League news and notes here will include injury-related information for fantasy-relevant players. Don’t forget to check out the past and recent articles in the FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. Also, fellow FantraxHQ writer Justin Johnson broke down the National League News and Notes.
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American League Injury News & Notes – 3/11/2021
American League East
Outfielder D.J. Stewart could see game action next week after dealing with a hamstring injury. The lefty outfielder projects to platoon against right-handed pitchers, so that makes him a strong side platoon with some power and a weak batting average.
Orioles prospect Heston Kjerstad is dealing with a heart issue and won’t report to Spring Training. The number two overall pick from the 2020 MLB Draft will likely be sent to the alternate site once healthy.
Boston Red Sox
Xander Bogaerts is feeling close to 100-percent after initial reports of a shoulder injury. Bogaerts took batting practice and resumed throwing. Bogaerts will DH on Friday. He’s typically a safe bet at shortstop for a four-category contributor that chips in steals. However, it’s risky to take on an injured player early in drafts. If you draft Bogaerts back him up with the plethora of shortstops available.
Franchy Cordero, who landed on the COVID-19 list, plans to join the team on Thursday. He’s a late-round guy to stash if the tools translate into production.
Remember this guy, Danny Santana? He’s dealing with an elbow injury after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Santana could make an appearance during Spring Training games on Friday. However, the Red Sox added a few utility types and multi-positional guys such as Enrique Hernandez, Marwin Gonzalez, and Santana. Not fantasy relevant unless it’s a deep league with deep benches.
New York Yankees
Zack Britton suffered an elbow injury that will require surgery to remove bone chips next Monday. Put him on the do not draft list if you planned on backing up Aroldis Chapman. Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad noted that this injury could cause Britton to miss 3-4 months.
Yankees pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt suffered an elbow injury and he’ll pause any throwing for now. Initially, one of my dark horse candidates to make the Yankees rotation, this likely reduces his chances with Deivi Garcia and others looming.
Unfortunately, Robinson Chirinos was hit by a pitch on his right hand and left shortly thereafter. On Thursday, he received a CT scan on his hand. The results indicated a fractured wrist.
The Yankees scratched Luke Voit from the lineup on Tuesday with right knee soreness, but the team isn’t overly concerned. He took part in defensive drills on Wednesday. Voit returned at DH on Thursday. A reminder that Voit dealt with a foot injury (plantar fasciitis) towards the end of the 2020 season.
Former ace Luis Severino tossed a 20-pitch bullpen session. That’s his first bullpen session since Tommy John surgery over a year ago in February 2020. Overall, it’s a good first step, but still, a long way to go.
Tampa Bay Rays
Reliever Pete Fairbanks missed time due to food poisoning but should return to game action on Thursday. In the playoffs, Fairbanks recorded three saves. Fairbanks expects to earn some saves since the Rays spread it around. He’s worth a dart throw late in drafts.
Pitcher Brendan McKay should throw off a mound in late March after recovering from surgery to his left shoulder in August 2020. He’s not worth drafting in redraft leagues. Just a name to monitor if healthy during the season.
Kevin Kiermaier made his Spring Training debut on Tuesday after dealing with a hip injury. Kiermaier could be a cheap source of steals late in drafts.
Toronto Blue Jays
George Springer missed Tuesday’s game with left abdominal tightness. He’s currently day-to-day. Monitor his status since abdominal tightness is concerning with swinging a bat. Springer joined team activities on Wednesday. We’ll leave his Statcast data here to remind us why he’s undervalued as a four-category contributor in redraft leagues.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Nate Pearson continues to battle a groin injury. Pearson recently completed a long toss session as he progresses towards game action. Although he struggled in a small 2020 sample, Pearson provides massive upside with that fastball and slider combination when healthy.
Blue Jays reliever Kirby Yates should make his Spring Training debut this week after looking good in live batting practice. I’d still recommend speculating on Jordan Romano later in drafts given Yates dealt with an elbow injury.
American League Central
Chicago White Sox
White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal missed time due to inflammation in his right knee. Grandal recently completed a hitting session over the weekend. On Wednesday, Grandal took some cuts in a simulated game.
Nick Madrigal debuted in Spring Training on Monday after recovering from a shoulder injury that needed surgery in October 2020.
Franmil Reyes and Jose Ramirez re-joined the team after violating COVID-19 protocols.
Outfielder Daz Cameron took live batting practice after dealing with an elbow injury that started before Spring Training. He’s making good progress, but Cameron is more of a platoon bench bat for the Tigers. Cameron struggled in his MLB debut with zero home runs and one steal with a .193 batting average. However, at Triple-A in 2019, Cameron hit 13 home runs with 17 steals yet only a .214 batting average.
Kansas City Royals
One knock on Royals speedster Adalberto Mondesi involves his injury history and a recent foot injury adds to that. He debuted last Friday with a double and an RBI. Arguably the highest risk/reward pick in fantasy baseball leagues, yet he boasts league-winning potential at his 95th-percentile outcome.
After testing positive for COVID-19, starting pitcher J.A. Happ threw two innings during live batting practice. Happ should be ready for the start of the season. He’s a boring starter that’s worth taking late in 15- team leagues.
Baseball players seem to suffer the oddest injuries. Unfortunately for Byron Buxton, he broke a tooth while eating a steak. This is not a joke.
Outfielder Max Kepler left Thursday’s game with a thigh injury. He fouled a ball off his left thigh. It sounds like he’ll be fine.
American League West
Alex Bregman is dealing with a hamstring injury that’s held him out of game action. The Astros seem to be taking it slow with one of their core players in Bregman, as he’s not near game action.
After videos from the offseason where Yordan Alvarez ran on a treadmill, recent reports indicate Alvarez could play in Spring Training games next week. It appears the Astros plan to slowly ramp up his work towards game action.
Astros' Yordan Alvarez closer to returning than Alex Bregman https://t.co/8DBe7sShAu
— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) March 9, 2021
Astros pitching prospect Forrest Whitley received recommendations to undergo Tommy John surgery. After speculation that maybe he would receive a call-up due to the Framber Valdez injury, it looks all but assured Whitley’s 2021 season is over. In dynasty leagues, consider holding to selling low at this point.
–Update: Forrest Whitley will have Tommy John surgery.
After initial reports indicating Framber Valdez needed season-ending surgery on his left ring finger, recent reports noted that he’s seeking a second opinion in hopes of avoiding surgery. In the meantime, the Astros signed Jake Odorizzi to presumably fill his spot in the Astros rotation. Valdez is one to avoid in redraft leagues.
Veteran catcher Jason Castro is still dealing with an oblique strain from March 2nd.
Los Angeles Angels
Angels outfield prospect Brandon Marsh is dealing with an arm injury. Before his injury, Marsh felt like a name to monitor in redraft leagues with his power/speed potential. He started a throwing program, but this likely delays his MLB call-up.
Reliever Trevor Rosenthal suffered a groin strain that sounds minor. In the meantime, go ahead and stash Jake Diekman who projected as the Athletics closer before Rosenthal signed with the A’s. Diekman added over seven inches of horizontal movement on his slider in 2020 that likely contributed to his success.
A baker's dozen of Jake Diekman slider whiffs from 2020! 🔥
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) January 18, 2021
Catcher Sean Murphy required a couple of surgeries related to a collapsed lung in February 2021. He’s gradually worked up to participating in batting practice. However, when he’ll return is still unknown. In two catcher leagues, it’s difficult to fade any catchers. However, in one catcher leagues, Murphy lands on the do not draft list until more positive reports surface.
Frankie Montas is slowly ramping up his workout and throwing after battling COVID-19. He threw in a simulated game this week. Montas should be ready to start the season.
Electric lefty A.J. Puk is also throwing in simulated games for the Athletics after suffering a shoulder injury that needed surgery in 2020. At this point, Puk projects more in a reliever role and workload.
Shed Long had surgery on his right shin and recently encountered inflammation on his right shin, meaning his progress stalled a bit. That clears a bit of a log jam at second base for 2020 breakout player Dylan Moore.
Mariners’ top prospect Jarred Kelenic suffered a Grade 2 adductor muscle injury. The adductor muscles are inside of the thigh near the groin area. Kelenic hopes to return within a week, but the Mariners could use this as a reason to keep him down to start the season. Recent reports from GM Jerry Dipoto indicate Kelenic is attempting to recover quickly.
Willie Calhoun is dealing with groin tightness and will miss a couple of days. Monitor his status, but he’s only a deep-league platoon bat at this point. Over the past couple of weeks, Calhoun’s ADP beyond pick 400 makes him a low-risk draft target. However, he’s not someone I’m actively targeting in drafts.
Unfortunately, reliever Jonathan Hernandez suffered a UCL injury, meaning he won’t throw for at least a month. After rumors of him and Jose Leclerc battling for the Rangers’ closer job, well, that’s not Leclerc’s job to lose.
For more great rankings, strategy, and analysis check out the 2021 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We’ll be adding more content from now right up until Opening Day!
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