We are barely 10 games into the season, and injuries have already reared their ugly head. Scott Sizemore re-tore the ACL that shelved him for all of 2012 and now he is going to miss the rest of 2013. A full offseason of rest did nothing to help Jeff Niemann's shoulder and his 2013 is over before it begins as a shoulder debridement ensures that the big fella's innings pitched total will be fewer than the previous season for five consecutive campaign.
Freddie Freeman injured his oblique and begrudgingly goes to the disabled list. John Lackey was cruising along against the Blue Jays before his biceps tendon decided to cramp on him which knocks him out for four-to-six weeks. Gordon Beckham did fantasy owners a favor by getting injured. Michael Saunders jammed his shoulder trying to make a great play in Seattle, Carlos Santana nearly broke a finger on his throwing hand even though his hand was well hidden, and then we have Zack Greinke.
The elbow issues in the offseason scared people to suppress his value to the point I was able to roster him in a 10-team NL only league, with 23 percent pre-draft inflation, for just $19. I and anyone else who was able to get him cheaply in drafts were enjoying the start of Greinke's season until Carlos Quentin decided to overreact to his 1,234,212th hit by pitch of his career and charge the mound, crushing the pitcher's left collarbone. I have both Greinke and Quentin on the same aforementioned team and one is now on the disabled list while I am very tempted to put the other one on the waiver wire out of pure spite. It is one thing when your hitter hurts your pitcher's ratios with a good game at the plate. It is another thing when he physically harms him like this.
Stepping off of my soapbox, injuries are part of the game. The best leading indicator of an injury is a previous injury. Once a player's health is called into question, it tends to follow them like the dust cloud that followed Pigpen in the Charlie Brown cartoons. There are some players off to hot starts in 2013 that have habitually had trouble answering the bell for even 130 games in a given season. When I was lamenting to Paul Sporer last night on our podcast about having some writer's block, he suggested I do a piece about these fragile types having a good season so this is my all, "Enjoy Them While You Can" offensive team.
Catcher - John Buck: Buck has five home runs and is leading the National League with 15 runs driven in. He is already 25 percent of the way to his career high in home runs and nearly that far toward his career high in runs driven in. Even with the knowledge that the catching position rarely plays more than 130 games in a given season, the fact Buck has played at least 120 games in a season just once is concerning. In his last four seasons, his games played totals are 59, 118, 140, and 106. So far, he has played in nine games for the Metropolitans. I would try to have a backup plan for Buck once he cools off or when he gets hurt because at least one of those outcomes is coming.
First Base - Brandon Moss: Given his rather strong health track record, this one looks like a bit of a reach but bear with me. Moss, like most of his teammates in Oakland, is off to a hot start. Buster Olney tweeted a note out this morning that since June 1st, the A's easily have the best record in baseball at 80-40 and Moss is a big part of that success. Moss is 29 years old but the 84 games he played last season was the second-highest total of his career. It was too crowded in Boston for him to get playing time, so they shipped him off to Pittsburgh. The Pirates gave him 424 plate appearances in 2009, but quickly fell out of favor and Moss then went to the Phillies before landing in Oakland. More of this is due to lack of opportunities than injuries, but I was stunned to see how low Moss' games played totals were when looking them up. His only stint on the disabled list as a major leaguer came after an appendectomy in 2008.
Second Base - Chase Utley: This is a no-brainer choice. Utley is clearly in the phase of the name being more valuable than the actual results. Some Chase Utley facts that people may not be aware of: