Fantasy Baseball 2017: Top 5 Pitching Injury Updates

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In just two months, there have been a lot of pitcher injuries. With little depth on the waiver, it’s important to see when they will be back from injury.

You could make two All-Star teams with the number of players listed on the DL. Hitters, relievers and starting pitchers. No one has been safe from the injury bug. And, unfortunately, not all of them have happened on the baseball field.

Fantasy owners have been digging through the waiver wire, trying to find a viable replacement for a couple of weeks or, in some cases, a couple of months. This is where streaming and playing the matchups comes into effect. Knowing when to add a pitcher and, just as important, knowing when to drop them is key to staying afloat in the pitching categories.

The same can be said for closers. Two of the top three drafted closers are currently on the DL. You have the option to add their respective setup man, but all it takes is one owner to add him before you do.

Two of the top-five starting pitchers drafted are on the 60-day DL. There is still at least six more weeks before either player returns to action.

Investing an early-round pick on a pitcher is risky but it could have happened to a hitter. It’s all part of the game.

In this list, I will give injury updates on some of the more important pitchers in fantasy baseball for the majority of owners. So, pitchers like Scott Kazmir and Tyler Thornburg won’t get another mention for the rest of the post.

Danny Duffy was placed on the 10-day DL and will be out six to eight weeks, dating back to May 28. You can read more of that here.

Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are surprising everyone this season. The offense is crushing the ball and the rotation is doing just enough. However, not having Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning is a big blow to this team.

Chapman hasn’t played since May 12 with inflammation in the rotator cuff of his left shoulder. According to Zach Braziller of the New York Post, Chapman was able to play catch over the Memorial Day weekend.After successful

After successful rehab, reports state that Champman is on track for a June 15 return. Dellin Betances has pitched well in the ninth inning, something he didn’t do in the second half of 2016. Though, I think Betances and the rest of the Yankees staff would rather have the triple-digit throwing Chapman back as the closer.

While you will not be likely to pick him up, I would see if the Chapman owner would be willing to trade him away. Maybe play up any insecurities he may have of the injury flaring up again. This is a good sign to get one of the best closers in the game back on the mound.

Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Staying with the American League East, Baltimore Orioles have been without their star closer for a while. Zach Britton hasn’t pitched in a month while dealing with a left forearm strain. It was then reported that Britton will miss 45-60 days. That seems a little vague, but it’s more accurate than the typical six to eight weeks.

Doing the math, 45 days from his placement on the DL points to a June 20 return. Going with the 60-day absence, Britton could be back by July 5. Either way, that is a long time to be without your top closer.

Britton was drafted in the seventh round in ESPN leagues. After the season he had in 2016, that doesn’t surprise me. Though, I preached all year not to reach for a closer. Not because injuries occur but because that stat line was not repeatable.

Britton is available in about 22 percent of ESPN leagues. Those are likely 10-team leagues where replacement-level closers are pretty good. If you need closer help for the second half of the season, stash Britton.

Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers can fill two five-man rotations with the number of pitchers they have on their 40-man roster. The Dodgers have constantly dealt with injuries to their pitchers. The most recent injured pitcher is Alex Wood.

Luckily, Wood isn’t expected to miss more than the minimum 10 days as he deals with an inflammation in his left SC joint. Andy McCullough of the LA Times tweeted that Wood should only miss one start but it looks like it turned to two.

He was scheduled to pitch on May 30 on a normal five day’s rest. His next start won’t be until the June 9-11 series against the Cincinnati Reds, not a bad team to make his first start against.

Wood won five straight games before landing on the DL with a 1.69 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He’s available in 15 percent of ESPN leagues. I don’t think his owner will give him up easily, but if you need starting pitching help, you will have to buy high.

Mandatory Credit: Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

Eduardo Rodriguez has been on a tear, pitching seven straight quality starts from April 23 to May 26. His most recent start started off great, retiring 15 of the first 19 batters he faced. He just gave up too many home runs.

It was then reported that Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list after suffering a knee injury when he slipped during warm-ups before his Thursday start. Maybe that’s why he gave up the long balls. Or, it could have just been the pitch location.

Regardless, Rodriguez was placed on the DL and will visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday. If you’re not familiar with Andrews, he is an infamous surgeon that has worked on a lot of star athletes, including Peyton Manning and Hulk Hogan.

He has a history of partially dislocated kneecaps, missing two months at the start of last season with a right knee subluxation. Though, the Red Sox are saying this injury is less serious.

I owned Rodriguez and decided to drop him. I found a decent replacement on my waiver wire and you should be able to, too. The news of the second opinion has me worried that he’ll be out even longer.

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Madison Bumgarner was placed on the DL after suffering a number of injuries during a dirtbike accident. Since then, he’s been taking part in throwing sessions to prepare him for a comeback.

MadBum moved his throwing session up from Friday to Tuesday because he said he was feeling good. And, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC, he looked good doing it.

The plan is to have him back in the Giants rotation in mid-to-late July. There is still a lot for him to do before then but the progress looks good.

He’s still owned in over 96 percent of ESPN leagues, so his owners are waiting patiently. If you can afford to trade for and stash MadBum, I would. His owners probably have other injured players the way this season is going and can’t have them all taking up bench spots.

It stinks to have your second-round pick injured, especially in an off-day accident, but it happens. You now either hold onto or move on from him. I chose the latter. Can you afford to wait until six weeks minimum before he’s back in your starting lineup?

Mandatory Credit: Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of other pitchers I could have talked about here. Noah Syndergaard won’t be back until late July. Veterans Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez are still rehabbing, hoping to get back on the mound shortly. The list goes on and on.

A couple of these pitchers will be returning shortly, giving their fantasy owners a nice boost for the summer. The others will be out a while longer but they are still worth holding onto for the final months.

Though, if you are in a “win now” mode, trade one of your injured players for someone healthy. That’s what I did. I gave up Bumgarner and Michael Brantley for Justin Verlander. With enough outfielders and a pitcher ready to go, I couldn’t afford to wait for MadBum to return.

It’s all about your position and what you think you need to do in order to win.