Morneau Leads the Best DL Players

If your DL is overloaded and are searching for the right guy to cut, perhaps this list will help.

1. Justin Morneau – He is getting closer to returning to the Twins. Concussions are nothing new for Morneau which is obviously concerning, but he is making progress. Morneau has always been a better first half player, so the time on the DL is doubly bad news for his owners. Still, he was an MVP candidate prior to going on the DL and a bad half for him is a good half for many.

2. Dustin Pedroia – Pedroia will be arriving soon for the Red Sox and before his injury was starting to crush the ball. Relative to the other players on the list, his injury shouldn’t linger. He will only get better each day.

3. Shin-Soo Choo – Choo is back today. Choo joins the likes of Chase Utley and VMart with a thumb injury. He should be a safe option for the rest of the season to play to his potential.

4. Mat Latos – Latos will be back on the mound Saturday (assuming nothing goes wrong between now and then). His injury was not arm related unlike so many of the other pitchers on this list, so as far as pitchers go, he’s a safe option. The Padres may watch his innings depending on where they are in the playoff race.

5. Troy Tulowitzki – Historically when players suffer wrist injuries, they are not the same player they were before the injury. Players like Derrek Lee and Nomar Garciaparra come to mind. Tulo was having another top 40 season before the injury and plays a desirable position. The Rockies would like to have Tulo back on July 28th.

6. Brian Roberts – Roberts is expected back by the end of the month and possibly in a matter of days. Given that he hasn’t played since April, the beginning of his time back will almost be like spring training all over again and there is a risk for aggravating the back injury, so he likely won’t be out there every day for the Orioles.

7. Victor Martinez – The Red Sox might not even send VMart on a rehab assignment once he’s ready to go, but the problem is there isn’t a clear date as to when he will be ready to go. He has taken batting practice which is a positive, but it sounds like it didn’t go all too well.

8. Josh Beckett – Beckett is coming back today. Good, but how good is he when he’s not on the DL? During the two seasons he has won a World Series, Beckett has been nearly untouchable. His ERA over the last three seasons has been over 4.00.

9. Jacoby Ellsbury – Nobody’s stock has dipped more since the start of the season than this guy. He stole 70 bases last year, but has been injured and whining this year. There is still doubt as to when he’s going to return, but he has made a little progress in the last ten days or so. Let’s say Ellsbury gets back in mid-August. That will give him time for about 15 steals if he is running at the rate he was last season. Of course it’s quite an assumption to think that Ellsbury will be running as wild as he was last year.

10. Chase Utley – Utley will be in good shape when he comes back in terms of his legs and his overall body strength. That does not necessarily mean that Utley will step right into the player we are used to seeing. The thumb injury obviously has meant that he cannot hit, so getting his timing back will be an issue and gripping the bat could be an issue. Considering that he won’t be back until early September, he needs to be downgraded from where other middle infielders are, but he’s impossible to drop in head to head leagues.

11. Brett Anderson - He’s likely to return at the end of the month, but has last rehab start was not too encouraging. Anderson began the year right where he had left off in the second half of 2009, but his elbow has put a halt to him taking the next step into becoming an elite starting pitcher. If he does return, in all likelihood he does not return to who he was at the start of the season and/or he will be shut down for good.

12. Ryan Ludwick – Given that the Cardinals almost never placed him on the disabled list, it’s surprising to see that Ludwick is not no the Cardinals roster right now. He is rehabbing and if there are no setbacks will rejoin the team. Given how hot Matt Holliday has been of late, Ludwick could see an increase in his value if he hits second in the order.

13. Manny Ramirez – Manny is going to be out three weeks with his third stint to the disabled list this year. My guess (it’s just a random guess) is that he’s back on August 13 for the Dodgers series against the Braves. That would mean that the Dodgers would have 47 games left on the year at that point. Bear in mind how often Manny needs days off. Even if he goes on a hot streak how much is he worth at this point?

14. Andy Pettitte – Pettitte is trying to make his stay on the disabled list shorter than it is supposed to be which risks that he will not be healthy when he retakes the mound. The Yankees might overrule Pettitte’s will. In any event, Pettitte was enjoying a terrific season, but his FIP is only two-tenths of a run better than where it was last year. He was due to come down to earth at any moment.

15. Brandon Webb – Webb hopes to make six starts this season which essentially would mean that he needs to return by late August. As a former Cy Young winner, he is obviously still someone worth stashing, but there is much more to be pessimistic about than there is to be optimistic about.

16. Jordan Zimmerman – Zimmerman is on pace for a September return, but the slightest set back would cancel that possibility. The Nationals have no reason to rush him, so if he is called upon he would be a safe bet and a solid option for strikeouts.

17. Kerry Wood – Wood was not having a good season before he was injured and will likely not be back with the Indians next year. It’s a possibility that once Wood comes back from his blister problem that he won’t be given the closer job. Indians relievers this year are among the lowest in the MLB in total saves.

18. Erik Bedard – Bedard’s season is likely over. There’s no reason to keep him rostered unless you are in a league that allows for unlimited DL stashes.<-->