There were a lot of top-tier hitters who suffered from season-ending injuries. Some other players underwent surgery in the offseason and are in the rehab process. Without a clean bill of health, it’s hard to judge where these oft-injured players should be drafted. To help you better tweak your rankings, here are the injury updates for those players.
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers
Cabrera had a down year in 2014. After hitting 44 home runs in both 2012 and 2013, he hit just 25 last season. He underwent surgery in October on a bone spur in his right foot. On Feb. 18, he was cleared for non-impact baseball activity and then began hitting on Thursday, feeling no pain afterwards.
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If Cabrera can start the season healthy, where do you draft him? Top 15? 10? It’s hard to use an early first-round pick on a 31-year-old beat up first baseman. If he falls to No. 8 or 9, pick him. Cabrera will be healthy, but for how long is the bigger question.
Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami Marlins
In a freak accident, Stanton took a fastball to the face from Mike Fiers in September. He suffered multiple facial fractures as a result. Before that, hit 37 home runs, tied for career best, and 105 RBI with a .288 average. Stanton is one of the best all-around players in the league.
The bones have healed, but The Marlins and Stanton will still be protective throughout the season. He will wear a face guard to protect the injured area. “There’s no concerns on our part,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. Stanton will be one of the top-five players drafted this season. The injury won’t be an issue.
Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Braun has been dealing with a right thumb injury for almost two seasons. According to Foxsports.com, Braun was feeling discomfort doing the basics. “It would hurt shaking hands, writing, doing regular, every day activities. Now I don’t feel it at all.”
He had surgery on the thumb in October and looks to be ready for April. He felt no pain swinging a bat the day after surgery and has been cleared for all baseball activities. The team is also optimistic of Braun’s progress as they have put no limitations on him this spring. Braun will be a top-30 player entering the 2015 season.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies
Tulowitzki can add hip surgery to his list of procedures. He is one of the most injured players in all of baseball, but fantasy owners continue to draft him in the first two rounds. He hasn’t played more than 150 games since 2009. However, when he is healthy, Tulowitzki can produce.
Things are looking good for Tulo as Opening Day is just over a month away. Rockies manager Walt Weiss says Tulowitzki is ahead of schedule, but will not be rushed at the start of Spring Training. Tulo is still the No. 1 shortstop, but with a list of injuries, you may want to pass on him.
Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers
Lucroy wasn’t getting the amount of mentions he is now this time last year, but his great 2014 season changed that. He hit 53 doubles, 13 home runs and a .301 average. He is currently ranked the No. 2-ranked catcher, but that may change.
Lucroy was dealing with a hamstring injury during the 2014 season. It flared up again a few weeks ago while prepping for Spring Training and was reported that he may miss 4-6 weeks. Last Friday, Lucroy said that the pain has disappeared, but will take it slow during camp.
The injury should be a distant memory come draft time, so take Lucroy in Round 7 with confidence.