Fantasy Baseball: Two Top Starting Pitchers Land on the DL

The fantasy baseball world lost two starting pitchers for at least two weeks. Steven Matz and Stephen Strasburg are dealing with separate arm injuries.

The fantasy baseball season is winding down. There are just a few weeks left of the regular season before the fantasy playoffs begin. If you are in the playoff hunt, you are crossing your fingers, holding that lucky rabbit’s foot and carrying around a horseshoe hoping your players don’t get hurt. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, injuries are unavoidable.

Two starting pitchers landed on the disabled list on Monday and will miss at least two weeks. One is New York Mets’ youngster Steven Matz and the other is Washington Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg. If you own either one, this is a big blow as both players are pitching well. How impactful are the injuries and will it affect them in the final month?

Matz is dealing with a mild strain and inflammation of the rotator cuff in his left shoulder. On the bright side, doctors did not find any structural damage, so surgery won’t be necessary. He was placed on the DL Monday afternoon, retroactive to Aug. 15. That means, the earliest he can return on Aug. 30, barring any setbacks. 

He is 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Matz has just under a strikeout per inning while having a 2.1 BB/9 ratio. He would easily be a No. 2 pitcher on the majority of teams, but because of the Mets’ rotation, he is the No. 4 pitcher. Yet, he’s been an important part of the Mets’ season.

I think he will be fine once he returns. Fantasy owners are happy knowing that his DL stint is retroactive back to Aug. 15. Owners will get him back sooner than they will with Strasburg.

Speaking of Strasburg, he was placed on the DL with a sore right elbow. This move is retroactive to Sunday, so his return date will be around Sept. 5. The Nationals called up A.J. Cole to take his place in the rotation.

The bright side to this news is that if we were in the playoffs, Strasburg would pitch through it. This doesn’t sound like a serious injury, but just a precaution as Washington has a 8.5 game lead in the National League East.

Strasburg was in the middle of another good season. He is 15-4 with a 3.59 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 11.1 K/9. His last three starts were a bit disappointing, 19 earned runs in 11.2 innings. This is his second stint on the DL this season, missing some time earlier with a lower back strain.

Both injuries are not significant enough for owners to freak out. Matz will likely be back by the end of the month and Strasburg won’t be too far behind. This does halt the progress owners were making towards the fantasy baseball playoffs.

As for replacements, Chad Green and Reynaldo Lopez are widely available to fill in for a week or two while these two pitchers are out.