Justin Turner will be out about six weeks with a broken wrist. How does his absence affect the Dodgers and fantasy baseball?
The Los Angeles Dodgers were entering this season as the favorites to win the division. Despite the other NL West teams making improvements, the Dodgers have the best overall team. However, with nine days before Opening Day, the Dodgers will be without third baseman Justin Turner to start the season
Turner was diagnosed with a broken wrist after being hit by a pitch in Monday’s spring training game. Pedro Moura of The Athletic tweeted that it’s a small, non-displaced fracture and Turner has not seen a specialist yet. Until then, the estimated recovery time is about six weeks, based on similar past injuries.
Turner hasn’t been the poster boy for staying healthy, played over 130 games just once in his career. Yet, when he does play, Turner contributes to all statistics for fantasy owners. In 130 games last year, he hit .322 with 21 home runs, 71 RBIs and 72 runs scored. He also added seven steals to his stat line.
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Turner made great improvements at the plate, lowering his strikeout rate and raising his walk rate. He also put the ball in the air more as his fly ball rate rose 7.8 percent from 2016 to 2017. Turner doesn’t swing at a lot of pitches, career 45.1 swing rate, but when he does, he makes contact 85.9 percent of the time. If only Yasiel Puig can learn from Turner.
Entering this season, the Dodgers had one of the best lineups in baseball. With the youngsters in Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager and veterans Logan Forsythe and Puig, Turner was going to have a lot of opportunities to drive in and score runs.
Instead of playing second base, the Dodgers will move Forsythe over to third base and have the silver fox Chase Utley play second. Austin Barnes and Enrique Hernandez will also factor into the infield playing time, giving Utley a rest day or two. I wouldn’t want to draft any of those players for my team. There are too many players fighting for two jobs. And whoever does play, they won’t be productive enough to warrant a roster spot.
Turner’s loss removes one of the better second-tier options from the third baseman pool. Fantasy owners were drafting Turner in the sixth round in 12-team leagues. There are still some names to be found before Round 10, like Rafael Devers (94.0 ADP), Travis Shaw (87.0) and Nicholas Castellanos (112.0) just to name a few.
If we use the six-week return time, Turner should be back around the beginning of May. That still leaves about 133 games left in the season. This injury will cause his ADP to fall, making hima great value pick. If you can stash Turner on your DL as a 12th round pick, you have a top-10 third baseman just waiting for you.