RotoWire's Bobby Colton is playing in the LABR Mixed League that drafted back in February. He'll give us a monthly look at what's going on in the league.
There's nothing worse in fantasy sports than losing a player to an injury. It's the one thing you really can't account for. Sure, you can assume that some guys will get nicked up and miss some time here and there, but you just can't account for losing your players for long stretches.
The same is true in the LABR Mixed League this season, where injury trouble becomes even more of an issue due to our early draft date. Already this season we've seen an inordinate quantity of injuries—specifically to pitchers—and it's sure to take a toll on teams. At this early stage of the season, just two weeks in, teams are already averaging 2.9 players on the DL, with Mastersball's Todd Zola suffering a league-leading eight injuries.
Here's a look at some of the most painful injuries (from the owner's point of view) suffered this season.
Clayton Kershaw, Rd 1: Obviously the biggest name on the list, Kershaw was taken with the fifth overall pick by Steve Gardner of USA Today. You can guarantee that pick is hurting him right about now. The Dodgers' ace threw 6.2 innings of one-run ball in his season debut, but has been shelved since with a balky back. Kershaw has resumed throwing, but losing a month of your top pick is no way to start the season.
Jose Reyes, Rd 3: Reyes is one of the guys I mentioned earlier when I said you could expect nagging injuries to plague certain players. The writing was on the wall for Reyes when he missed time late in spring training for a hamstring injury. The shortstop made it back into the lineup for Opening Day, but lasted just one inning before getting the hook and being placed on the disabled list. The loss of Reyes has been mitigated for Todd Zola due to the production of Kelly Johnson and Chris Owings in the middle infield, but needless to say there were safer options with the first pick in the third round.
Cole Hamels, Rd 4: Shortly after the draft I found out that Hamels would miss time with biceps tendinitis. Not exactly the news you're looking for right after picking your team. The lefty should rejoin the rotation at some point this month, but losing starts from the guy you tabbed as your ace is a tough pill to swallow. It's made even harder when you look at the guys taken right after Hamels: David Price and Zack Greinke. It's made hardest when…
Mike Minor, Rd 5: When the pitcher I took right after Hamels to help anchor the staff winds up on the DL right next to him. Yup, back-to-back picks on the pine. The next starter, Matt Cain, didn't go for 14 picks, though he and Jordan Zimmermann, who was picked shortly after Cain, haven't exactly had strong starts to the season. Nonetheless, they are getting their kinks worked out in the Majors while Minor is just now starting a rehab assignment for his ailing shoulder. The bright side is that he should return sooner rather than later.
Aroldis Chapman, Rd 5: Chapman was a very difficult injury for an owner to come to terms with considering it wasn't even a baseball injury. The Reds' dominant closer was struck in the face with a comebacker and needed to undergo facial surgery. Chapman should miss the first two months of the season, but at least he's on the sidelines instead of hurting owners in the lineup the way Joe Nathan (round seven) and Jim Johnson (round 10) have been. Of course, passing up on the likes of Greinke, David Ortiz, Kenley Jansen and Greg Holland for an abridged season of Chapman isn't ideal either.
Mat Latos, Rd 6: Latos had meniscus surgery before the season started, then was scratched from a rehab start due to an elbow issue. Not exactly the start to the season Latos owners were hoping for. Gio Gonzalez, who was taken one pick after Gonzalez, has allowed just one run and struck out 11 in his first 12 innings of work this season.
David Robertson, Rd 6: Robertson started the season red-hot with three scoreless innings, but now is on the DL with a groin injury. Mariano Rivera's successor should be back in the next few weeks, but losing time from your closer is never fun, especially when he is your team's only closer as is the case with team Mastersball.
Josh Hamilton, Rd 8: Hamilton landed on the DL this week by diving headfirst into first base, which should always be a no-no. Now, the Angels' slugger is going to be sidelined for the next 6-to-8 weeks, much to the chagrin of RotoWire's Jeff Erickson. Hamilton was finally re-finding his Texas form this year, hitting .444 with a pair of homers through his first 27 at bats. Replacing Hamilton on the waiver wire is a must, as Robbie Grossman likely won't to cut it as a replacement.
Hisashi Iwakuma, Rd 8: Iwakuma, like Hamels, Minor and Latos, landed on the DL before the season started with a strained tendon in his finger. Considering Anibal Sanchez, James Shields and Julio Teheran were the pitcher taken after him, Fangraphs' Mike Podhorzer was looking for big things out of Iwakuma to help anchor his staff with ace Madison Bumgarner.
Kris Medlen, Rd 8: The Medlen pick is a real killer for Todd Zola, who made Medlen his first starting pitcher in round eight. After back-to-back strong years, he should have been a reliable starter this season. Teheran, Michael Wacha and Masahiro Tanaka were all pitchers taken in the next round that should have big production this year.
Wilson Ramos, Rd 10: Ramos lasted a whole three at bats before suffering a broken hamate bone that landed him on the DL for what will be 4-to-8 weeks. This injury too stung team Mastersball, as it is now starting just Carlos Ruiz at catcher, leaving the other spot open. He could have waited on catchers too, as the next backstop selected didn't go for another round and a half.
Matt Moore, Rd 11: Moore will probably miss the remainder of the season after it was revealed he might need Tommy John surgery. Never posting an ERA worse than 3.81, Moore's loss will be felt, but team Baseball Prospectus may have the talent to withstand the loss thanks to Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller and Alex Cobb.
Doug Fister, Rd 11: Fister is yet another player from Todd Zola's team on the DL. A back injury landed Fister on the DL before the season started, though he should return at some point early next month. For team Mastersball, the loss of Fister and Medlen means relying on the arms of David Hale, Hector Santiago and Tom Koehler in the early going.
Jurickson Profar, Rd 12: Profar injured himself in spring training and will miss around two months with a shoulder injury. Profar has promise and plays a position of scarcity, but missing significant time like that can't help but make owners wish they had made a different choice, especially when it happens in the first-half of the draft.
Patrick Corbin, Rd 13: Corbin is another Tommy John casualty, needing the surgery before the start of the season. The third starter taken by Bloomberg Sports' Craig Glaser, there is a hole in his starting rotation—at least early in the season. Six of the next 21 picks were starting pitchers, showing there were considerable other options aside from Corbin at that point in the draft.
Bobby Parnell, Rd 14: Parnell was a risk due to his neck issues, then his velocity was down in spring training. One blown save later and it was found that he too needed Tommy John surgery. With closers a scarce resource and ones with job security even scarcer, losing a closer for the entirety of the season is a major blow. Joakim Soria is now the only closer on the KFFL roster.
Avisail Garcia, Rd 17: Garcia's season ended this week after he tore his labrum in the outfield. What could have been a big year for the 22-year-old ends after just eight games, in which he hit two home runs. Taken in the 17th round, Garcia wasn't as vital to team Mastersball as some of the other players lost to injury, but when there are that many injuries on a single team every one counts.
Jarrod Parker, Rd 17: Yet another Tommy John case. Parker never took the field this season, needing surgery in mid-March. After posting a sub-4.00 ERA each of the past two seasons, the 25-year-old was supposed to be a reliable arm this season. With Gio Gonzalez and Sonny Gray to prop up Steve Gardner's rotation even with Kershaw down, the Parker loss won't be insurmountable.
Brandon Beachy, Rd 17: And again, another Tommy John victim. Beachy made five starts in 2013 coming back from his first Tommy John surgery, making him primed for a big season in his second year back from the surgery. But now, Beachy will miss yet another season due to his elbow woes. Doug Anderson misses out on a potential late-round steal with Beachy's departure.