As you prepare for fantasy baseball drafts you, of course, have to study the injury report to see which certain stars are ready to roll for the regular season and which ones who could be sidelined a little longer.
There are obviously some risks and pitfalls when relying on players coming off injuries. But like each snowflake, each injury is unique, as some injuries can debilitate one person while the next person can shake it off in no time. The severity of each injury and the prognosis for recovery is vital to know before drafting.
That all said, let’s examine some players who will have injuries to overcome prior to the start of the 2014 season. In each column, we will study some new players each week. So be sure to check back every week.
While the players mentioned in this column will not be staples of your fantasy teams, they deserve to be on your radar on draft day. So, let’s look at another trio of pitchers to monitor this spring.
Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays
The terribly inconsistent Jeremy Hellickson recently had to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow after a bullpen session in mid-January revealed some soreness and discomfort.
The early prognosis for recovery is that Hellickson will be back in early-to-mid May.
Even if he wasn’t injured, Hellickson doesn’t possess much of a high ceiling with a floor consisting of a high 3+ ERA and a pedestrian K/9 ratio (his career K/9 ratio is 6.4). So, with the news of this injury, drop Hellickson down a peg and think of him as nothing more than rotational filler.
Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers
After a sterling 2012 campaign, 2013 was a disaster from the get go for Rangers’ lefty Matt Harrison.
After two atrocious outings early on, it was learned that Harrison had a herniated disc. After trying to come back mid-season, Harrison needed surgery to correct his thoracic outlet syndrome and had to be shut down permanently.
The thinking here is that while playing it safe and cautious last year and having practically a full year off, Harrison will come back refreshed in 2014.
That may be true, but Harrison is still questionable to start the season healthy and there is not much upside to work with. With a low K/9 ratio, Harrison will need to garner a lot of wins (which very will may happen in Texas) to have any relevant fantasy appeal. Be cautious when thinking about drafting Harrison this year.
Tim Hudson, San Francisco Giants
After suffering a terrible ankle injury last July when the Mets Eric Young Jr. stepped on his foot awkwardly, Hudson may not be 100 percent for the start of the season.
While the Giants have hope that Hudson can rebound and be a force in their rotation for this season, you should take the cautious approach. With diminishing skills (his 2013 ERA of 3.97 being just average) and Hudson getting up there in age, he can’t be relied on to be a major factor on your fantasy team.
While pitching in AT&T Park is nice and all, Hudson still possess limited strikeout potential and he, like Harrison, will be dependent on wins for much of his fantasy value.
This injury could be a detriment and you should monitor how Hudson performs in the spring before drafting him.