Injury Report: Filling the DL Spots Part 3

 

Today I conclude the Injury Report series and add a few more names to the list of injured players worth stashing in various fantasy leagues. Part one and part two of the series can be found by clicking on the hyperlinks.

Danny Duffy

Injury: Torn UCL

Surgery Date: June 13, 2012

Anticipated Return: Most likely June as a year is standard recovery time from Tommy John surgery, but Duffy believes he's ahead of schedule and is shooting for a mid-May return.

Duffy became the first of the Royals recent crop of highly touted pitching prospects to reach the show when he debuted on May 18, 2011. He had an up and down rookie season, flashing exciting stuff in some starts, while struggling in others, and that resulted in a mediocre overall line. However, because he's a young southpaw with a plus fastball and a track record of success in the minors, he went into last season with some breakout potential. Unfortunately, Duffy's season was cut short as a result of his elbow injury. He made six starts last year and struck out better than a batter per inning (9.11 K/9), but he struggled with control (5.86 BB/9). His ability to miss bats makes him an intriguing arm worth stashing in dynasty leagues, but he's unlikely to help owners in yearly leagues.

Relevant Leagues: Dynasty leagues with DL spots.

Andrew Cashner

Injury: Lacerated tendon in his thumb.

Surgery Date: December 2012.

Anticipated Return: The recovery time is three months, and he's expected to start the year on the DL.

A hunting accident resulted in Cashner's right thumb being cut by a friend. The injury isn't expected to have any long-term consequences, but it will delay the start of his season. Cashner began last year working in relief for the Padres, but was sent down to the minors in June so that he could get stretched out and work as a starter. He made five starts for the Padres, but missed time with a lat injury. Questions about Cashner's ability to stay healthy make his future role murky, but whether he starts or works at the back of a bullpen, he's an exciting young pitcher. He throws an upper-90s fastball that can hit triple digits and backs it with a slider and changeup that also get empty swings at an above average rate according to Brooks Baseball. When batters do make contact with his pitches, they often punch them into the ground (he had a 56 percent groundball rate according to Baseball Prospectus). For a cherry on top, he also calls PETCO Park home. Cashner is not only an excellent DL stash choice in long-term keeper leagues, but one that can payoff in yearly leagues as well.

Relevant Leagues: All but shallow leagues as long as there are DL spots or a large bench.

Scott Baker

Injury: Torn UCL

Surgery Date: April 17, 2012

Anticipated Return: Spring training

I'm cheating a bit on this one. Cubs general manager Theo Epstein has stated that Baker's rehab has gone according to plan, and Baker hopes to jump into the throwing program in spring training. If things go smoothly, he'll open the year in the Cubs rotation, but even a minor setback could land him on the DL to start the year and that's why he's included here. Baker lives in the strike zone, rarely walking batters (2.10 BB/9 for his career). He also uses a deep pitch repertoire that includes three fastballs (fourseam, sinker, and cutter), two breaking balls (slider and curveball), and a changeup to get opposing batters out. He's not a big strikeout pitcher, but in his last healthy season (2011) he finished with the best strikeout rate of his career (8.22 K/9). It wasn't just his strikeout rate that was a career best mark, he also finished with his best ERA (3.14) and WHIP (1.17), and the advanced metrics liked his work as well (3.45 FIP, 3.61 xFIP, 3.77 tERA, and 3.44 SIERA). Expecting him to repeat a career year while also coming back from major surgery would be foolish, but he doesn't need to repeat his best work to be helpful to fantasy teams. Baker will be aided by moving from the American League to the National League. Keep Baker's name in mind in the last few rounds of drafts.

Relevant Leagues: All but shallow leagues as long as there are DL spots or a large bench.