Earlier in the week, we highlighted winners and losers of Spring Training positional battles and discussed the fantasy impact. Now, we turn our attention to the impact key Spring Training injuries will have on the upcoming fantasy baseball season. In this piece, we focus on the hitters with pitchers to follow.
Curtis Granderson OF - Broken Finger, Out 4-6 Weeks
Fantasy Impact - With Granderson missing time, Brandon Inge will assume the starting centerfield duties in Detroit. Inge will likely bat ninth but benefit from the powerful Detroit lineup around him. He should be a fairly productive fantasy option, with decent pop and RBI potential, however, don't expect much in terms of batting average. In addition, Ivan Rodriguez will hit leadoff, improving his fantasy value given the powerful bats behind him.
Scott Rolen 3B - Broken Finger, Out 4-6 Weeks
Fantasy Impact - What a surprise, Rolen's stint in Toronto is on hold before it even began. A broken finger will sideline the injury prone 3B for up to 6 weeks giving Marco Scutaro the starting gig for the time being. Scutaro doesn't do anything particularly well so you can ignore him in fantasy circles.
Moises Alou OF - Hernia, Out 4-6 Weeks. Hopes to be back by the end of April.
Fantasy Impact - At 41, Alou can still rake as evidence by his .341 average in 328 ABs last season. Unfortunately, you can't rely on him for more than 400 ABs. Alou hopes to return by the end of April and is on schedule. He has been cleared to do bike work and should start jogging in early April. In his place, spring sensation Angel Pagan should see ample time in left along with Endy Chavez. Both have little fantasy value but offer some stolen base upside. Pagan has shown some potential and would be the player to watch of the pair. Also keep on a eye out for the Mets adding an outfielder via trade.
Kaz Matsui 2B - Anal Fissures, Out 1-2 Weeks
Fantasy Impact - Kaz is scheduled to return April 5th but could miss an additional week as he recovers from Anal Fissure surgery (ouch). Mark Loretta will start in his place and should only be considered as a spot starter in fantasy in case he comes out of the gate hot.
Eric Chavez 3B - Shoulder, Out Up To a Week
Fantasy Impact - Chavez is eligible to return April 1st in the opener but you can expect Oakland to be careful with the injury prone 3B. We wouldn't be surprised if he is out or misses time over the first week of the season. Jack Hannahan will start in his place and has filled in admirably thus far, homer in the season opener. The 28 year old is a contact hitter with limited value as a spot starter at best.
Wily Mo Pena OF - Torn Left Oblique - Out 4 Weeks
Fantasy Impact - We discussed the impact of Wily Mo's injury in detail in an earlier post. Elijah Dukes will open as the Nationals' left fielder and we are betting he doesn't relinquish that spot upon Pena's return.
Rocco Baldelli OF - Chronic Fatigue, 60 Day DL Out Indefinitely
Fantasy Impact - We described the nature of Rocco Baldelli's rare mitochondrial condition which prevents his body from recovering after a workout or strenuous activity. With Baldelli out indefinitely, the Rays have actively searching for an outfielder on the trade market with Matt Murton being a possibility. In house options include Jonny Gomes and the newly acquired Cliff Floyd. Expect Gomes to play the outfield while injury prone Floyd slides into the DH role. Both are streaky hitters with Gomes having the better upside and fantasy value.
Jose Guillen OF - HGH, 15 Games (Put on hold for 10 days)
Fantasy Impact - Guillen's 15 game suspension has been pushed back 10 days and will now start on April 9th. Guillen should have a nice season in Kansas City providing solid homerun RBI and run numbers while putting up a respectable batting average.
Mike Cameron OF - Stimulants, 25 Games
Fantasy Impact - Cameron will be hitting in a powerful Milwaukee lineup and a more favorable ballpark in 2008. Despite the 25 game suspension a 20+ homer and 15-20 stolen base season is not out of Cameron's reach.
Melky Cabrera OF - Fighting, 3 Games
Fantasy Impact - We love Melky's upside in the potent Yankees offense. He is a legitimate 15-15 candidate and can also help you in runs scored and while putting up a respectable batting average in the .280 - .290 range.