Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Fickle Injuries

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Fickle Injuries

This article is part of our Fantasy Baseball Injury Report series.

Bryce Harper
Harper has been one of the most exciting young players in baseball. The only thing that has prevented him from becoming a megastar has been his health. After a stellar rookie season, surgeries to address reoccurring bursitis in his knee and a torn ligament in his thumb derailed the following two seasons. The injury bug appeared to strike again Thursday when Harper slipped while making a throw from the outfield. He was diagnosed with a strained left hamstring but returned to the lineup just two days later. He impressed over the weekend by hitting a home run Saturday in Max Scherzer's no-hitter and another Sunday.

I continually remind fantasy owners that hamstring injuries are fickle ones that often take a considerable amount of time to heal. They are even more problematic for explosive athletes, sapping an injured player of their speed. Factor in Harper's previous surgery on the same leg and it's easy to understand why the Nationals could opt to give Harper the occasional day off over the next few weeks, even with his success over the weekend.

Jose Altuve
Those looking for evidence of the problems created by a "minor" hamstring injury should consider Altuve's current state. The Astros second baseman was removed from a game on June 12 with discomfort in his right hamstring. He did not play for three consecutive games before getting back on the field, but his return lasted fewer than two games before he was once again taken out of

Bryce Harper
Harper has been one of the most exciting young players in baseball. The only thing that has prevented him from becoming a megastar has been his health. After a stellar rookie season, surgeries to address reoccurring bursitis in his knee and a torn ligament in his thumb derailed the following two seasons. The injury bug appeared to strike again Thursday when Harper slipped while making a throw from the outfield. He was diagnosed with a strained left hamstring but returned to the lineup just two days later. He impressed over the weekend by hitting a home run Saturday in Max Scherzer's no-hitter and another Sunday.

I continually remind fantasy owners that hamstring injuries are fickle ones that often take a considerable amount of time to heal. They are even more problematic for explosive athletes, sapping an injured player of their speed. Factor in Harper's previous surgery on the same leg and it's easy to understand why the Nationals could opt to give Harper the occasional day off over the next few weeks, even with his success over the weekend.

Jose Altuve
Those looking for evidence of the problems created by a "minor" hamstring injury should consider Altuve's current state. The Astros second baseman was removed from a game on June 12 with discomfort in his right hamstring. He did not play for three consecutive games before getting back on the field, but his return lasted fewer than two games before he was once again taken out of the lineup with renewed discomfort. Altuve has not played since and admitted he is only "slightly better than 80 percent." While the Astros have not said a trip to the disabled list will be necessary, a forced two weeks of rest could prove more beneficial. If he does play without a DL stint, expect him to remain limited on the base paths and his stolen-base opportunities to decline. The fact that Altuve actively asked to be moved down in the lineup simply increases the likelihood of that happening.

Cole Hamels
Pitchers aren't immune to suffering hamstring injuries either, as the Phillies' ace succumbed to the injury, missing his last start. Hamels does not anticipate the injury will force him to miss any additional time and is preparing to return Wednesday against the Yankees. However, just like with Harper and Altuve, a quick return could have damaging long-term effects.

Hamels' strain is to the hamstring on his lead leg. The hamstring on the lead leg is most active, as the leg makes contact with the ground prior to the acceleration phase of throwing. As the pitcher continues through his delivery, his momentum shifts from his back leg to the lead leg. The lead leg begins to act as a lever arm, aiding in the transfer of the violent amounts of force placed on the arm and body.

A strained hamstring would potentially alter this fluidity and cause problems throughout the kinetic chain, even into the upper extremity. The diverted stress could easily be redirected through the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the elbow as well as the muscles of the shoulder and possibly result in a more significant injury. 

The Phillies will thoroughly examine Hamels' mechanics prior to granting clearance to resuming activity but fantasy owners should have a contingency plan readily available should the situation sour quickly.

Check Swings

Corey Dickerson
Dickerson's return from plantar fasciitis lasted just five games and the Rockies outfielder is back on the DL. His value for the remainder of the season will remain diminished and those in yearly leagues should consider other alternatives if stashing Dickerson is not an option.

Carlos Gonzalez
CarGo suffered a left hand sprain over the weekend following a collision with the right field wall. He is considered day-to-day but it's worth mentioning that this is the same hand that required surgery last season. It's likely a mild injury, but given Gonzalez's track record, there's some reason for mild concern as well.

Derek Holland
Holland has finally received a bit of good news in his attempt to return from a left shoulder strain sustained in early April. A positive MRI report has cleared the left-hander to begin a two-week throwing program, and he will undergo a subsequent MRI after completing the protocol. If that report comes back clean, he can then move onto throwing off a mound. Given that a rehab assignment seems likely, don't expect to see Holland for at least four more weeks but progress at this point is a step in the right direction.

Devin Mesoraco
After exhausting every conservative option at his disposal and contemplating a shift to the outfield, Mesoraco will undergo season-ending surgery to address an impingement issue in his left hip. Surgery is slated for June 29 and the recovery process should not carry over into next season, allowing him to complete his normal offseason routine. However, it should be noted a hip impingement is a highly invasive procedure and carries a risk of re-operation. Don't be surprised if the team revisits the idea of moving Mesoraco from behind the plate when he is cleared to return.

Wil Myers
The Padres' outfielder is back on the DL with a wrist injury after missing a month with tendinitis in the same area. However, there is a tiny silver lining this time around as the source of the problem has been surgically excised. Myers underwent surgery to remove a bone spur in his left wrist and is not expected to resume baseball-related activities for at least eight weeks. The timeline suggests an early to mid-September return.

Matt Moore
The Rays' left-hander continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. He struck out seven batters while allowing three runs over 5.1 innings in Sunday's rehab start with Triple-A Durham. He appears set to return following one or two additional games with Durham, putting him in line to rejoin the lineup before the All-Star break. Grab him if he's still available, as the potential upside is too high to ignore.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Stotts
Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.
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