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.
Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
After missing 89 games last year and missing a combined 145 games in two years, Matt Kemp has gone from fantasy stud to an unnerving question mark.
Kemp is on target to make it back on Opening Day after ankle and shoulder surgery, but at this moment he is a “little behind schedule.”
If healthy you know what you get with Kemp, as he brings five-tool skills to the table. But is he worth the first-round risk? Well, you have to measure risk vs. reward. The risk may be worth it here, especially since he is probable to start the season this time around.
Just don’t expect him to play in excess of 150 games, but if he can play close to 140 or so, he should put up stats to match his early round status.
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
After experiencing some shoulder tendinitis recently, the Phillies have stated that one of their aces, Cole Hamels, may not be ready by opening day.
As you might expect, the Phillies are playing it cautiously with Hamels. Considering he had some shoulder problems last spring and got off to a horrific start, this latest injury news is a little disconcerting.
While Hamels did finish last season on a good note, this setback is troubling nonetheless. You should drop him down a tad on draft day and consider him as a low-end No. 2 pitcher or a high-end No. 3 for your staff.
Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners
With Hisashi Iwakuma coming off a terrific year in which he went 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 219.7 innings, there was hope he could keep it going and be a top-tier pitcher to target on draft day.
However, news came down this week that he could miss the start of the season with a finger injury, in which he unfortunately caught his finger in a protective screen during a workout. He is likely out for the rest of spring training and he is on pace to miss four-to-six weeks of action.
In his two years in the league, Iwakuma has proven to be a durable pitcher while completing 325 innings (remember he was a relief pitcher for the majority of his rookie season). While he may miss a few starts, Iwakuma could still provide great value in the middle rounds of drafts and once he gets back to full health, he should become a rotation mainstay.