2012 Fantasy Baseball | Buy or Sell These Injured Stars

Carl Crawford

When will Carl Crawford return from off-season surgery on his injured left wrist?

It seems the first question asked when a star player hits the disabled list is not, “how bad was the injury?” but rather “how long will he be out of my lineup?”.  Yes you can blame fantasy baseball owners for this, after all we have daily and weekly fantasy baseball games to play, we need to know! Thanks to the endless amount of information you can find on the internet, especially social media giants like Twitter, it’s easier than ever to get breaking news reports about your players.  While MLB teams usually have a good idea how long a player may be on the shelf, they may not necessarily disclose that information to the public.  This leaves owners scrambling for scraps of info to help with their lineup decisions,  but ultimately the plan on how you should act going forward comes down to a gut call.  Some owners may have lost a key member of their team to a spring training injury after already completing their draft. There’s also some big name players who are rehabbing injuries from last year, and  many owners may have taken a risk with them on draft day hoping for a bargain buy.  Trust your instincts when it comes to injured stars but if you need some advice,  here’s my recommendations on whether you should buy or sell these banged up stars.

Carl Crawford, Red Sox (left wrist surgery, expected activation early May)

Reports from Boston are that Crawford is recovering nicely from surgery on his injured left wrist.  Just as he was getting ready to start his rehab assignment, Crawford began to suffer from elbow soreness.  This will cause a setback in his progression and it may push back his timetable for return to the lineup.

Recommendation – Sell;  Crawford will be back by early June at the latest, but I don’t trust him on my team this year.  The injury is supposedly healing well, but we won’t know for sure until he’s gotten several ab’s.  If you can find someone in your league who wants Crawford for his big name and potential, and would be willing to trade a guy like Carlos Beltran or Drew Stubbs for him, do it.  Season Projections; .273 avg. 6 hr. 44 rbi. 56 r. 12 sb.

Josh Johnson, Marlins (missed last season with shoulder inflammation)

Johnson was ready to go by Opening Day, but there are still doubts that the problems with his shoulder are in the past.  He says he’s healthy but it may be too early to tell for sure.  His rocky outings in his first two starts don’t help matters either.

Recommendation – Buy; Do I think his early season struggles have anything to do with his injury? Doubtful,  I feel it has more to do with the fact that these are his first two regular season games since he went down with the injury last summer.  He had a good spring training, but it may take a few  more games to dust off the cobwebs.  Ultimately I think he’s healthy, so expect a great season from here on out. Season Projections; 28 Games Started, 16 w. 170 k’s. 3.15 era. 1.20 whip.

Ryan Howard, Phillies (torn achilles in playoffs last season)

Howard injured his achilles on the last play of the NLDS last season and had to get off-season surgery.  Although Howard was recovering nicely, an infection was discovered in the repaired area during spring training.  He is still scheduled to come back mid-May but it could be pushed back a bit if the infection doesn’t clear out.

Recommendation – Sell;  Howard’s power stats have diminished over the last few seasons and he’s not the feared hitter he was five years ago.  Howard still has some in the tank don’t get me wrong, but I’m not convinced he makes it back before the All-Star break.  He isn’t even doing baseball activities yet and we’re already a week into the season.  Grab a guy who’s playing everyday, and let somebody else burn the roster spot on Howard. Season Projections; .252 avg. 15 hr. 51 rbi. 44 r.

Chris Carpenter, Cardinals (nerve issues in the neck/shoulder, expected back mid-May)

Carpenter is currently going through tests to determine if the nerve problems he’s suffering from are healed enough to begin throwing.  The Cardinals organization doesn’t have a timetable for his return as of yet.  Once they clear him for baseball activities, Carpenter will still have a minor league rehab assignment ahead of him.

Recommendation – Buy;  To be safe, I wouldn’t expect more than half a season out of Carpenter.  Having said that, I think there’s potential for a real fantasy sleeper here if the nerve problems subside.  Carpenter is an elite pitcher when he’s healthy, so I don’t mind grabbing guys off the waiver wire to fill in for him until he’s back.  Half a season from a free-agent pickup (guys like Gavin Floyd, Kyle Lohse) plus half a season from Carpenter still equals a top 40 pitcher. Season Projections; 18 Games Started, 10 w. 101k’s. 3.40 era. 1.24 whip.

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