Get used to seeing Hanson clutching his arm
Photo Credit: Chrisjnelson
With football in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to get back to the man’s game: fantasy baseball. Like its real life counterpart, fantasy baseball is a long and grueling season, and injuries are inevitable. Knowing which players to gamble on and which guys to stay away from can make a huge difference come draft day. Luckily for you, that’s where I come in. Welcome to the Don’s Do-Not-Trust List (DDNTL): 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Edition.
I’m going to address a number of players that have injury question marks and give you my take on whether or not you can trust them to stay on the field consistently. If there’s a player you’d like to hear about that I didn’t address here, feel free to drop me an email or leave a question in the comments section. I’ll hook a brother (or sister) up. Pay attention kids, time to be educated.
More after the jump:
Hanson missed the last two months of the regular season in 2011 due to inflammation in his throwing shoulder. MRI reports and a visit to esteemed surgeon Dr. James Andrews revealed that Hanson had a small undersurface rotator cuff tear, but no major structural problems. The Braves flirted with the idea of having Hanson back for a late season or playoff start, but wisely chose to shut him down for the rest of the season and allow him to heal. “Undersurface” rotator cuff tears are typically associated with normal wear and tear of the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint. While Hanson’s MRI results are “clean,” throwing is about as violent an activity as a human can perform with the shoulder and he’s far from being out of the woods.
Undersurface rotator cuff tearing typically occurs as a result of subacromial impingement, which is a fancy way of saying that soft tissue structures (such as the rotator cuff tendons or the subacromial bursa) around the shoulder joint are being pinched repeatedly under the acromion (bone on the shoulder blade that forms the “roof” of the shoulder joint), causing inflammation and/or tearing. It can be caused by muscle imbalances, structural abnormalities or repetitive activities, such as throwing. I’m not a pitching coach or an expert of throwing mechanics by any means, but in watching Hanson throw his elbow rises above the level of his shoulder (termed hyperabduction). This type of movement done repetitively is one of the major risk factors in developing an impingement, and if done long enough and forcefully enough it could result in more significant damage.
Anyone who’s read my material before knows that the two scariest words I ever hear when it comes to a pitcher are “rotator cuff.” While he may not have any major structural damage yet, it could be a matter of time. Even if Hanson makes it through the year without tearing anything significantly, who’s to say he’s able to pitch consistently? Hanson’s throwing mechanics are tailor made for rotator cuff problems, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him develop pain and miss time as the season progresses. Looking for a comparison? Josh Johnson 2011. JJ had the same issues entering the 2011 season, started off great and then eventually broke down. Will the same thing happen to Hanson? Maybe, maybe not, but I’m certainly not paying elite SP prices to find out. Welcome to the DDNTL Tommy.
Strasburg made his return from Tommy John surgery at the conclusion of the 2011 season, and while it wasn’t quite as dazzling as his debut prior to the injury, he still looked awfully impressive and came away healthy. He enters this season healthy and has the kind of once-in-a-generation talent and crazy peripherals that makes fantasy owners salivate.
Can Strasburg stay healthy? That’s the million dollar question. Timeline wise, he’ll be past the 18 month post-operative marker that it typically takes for complete TJ recovery, so no red flags there. Strasburg does have the dreaded “inverted-W” mechanics in this throwing motion, which almost guarantees he’ll break down eventually. I don’t think Strasburg will have any issues with his elbow, TJ surgeries nowadays are solid, but his shoulder is another matter. It might not be this season, but eventually Strasburg is going to hurt his shoulder unless he changes his mechanics. Strasburg has had extensive rehab efforts for his elbow, which also involves beefing up the shoulder musculature, and I anticipate he’ll be good to go for the 2012. Expect a strict innings limit to be in effect here. There’s a precedent in Washington for around 160 innings maximum in the first full year after TJ surgery (see: Jordan Zimmermann last year). I think Strasburg should be able to get through it unscathed and put up elite numbers over this shorter time span. I’d be looking to shop him aggressively however in keeper formats, it’s not a matter of if, but when his shoulder blows out.
Lost for the majority of the 2011 season after suffering an ugly injury to his left ankle during a collision at home plate, Posey fractured the fibula and tore multiple ankle ligaments. While the specific ligaments torn were not disclosed, Posey required surgery to insert two screws into his ankle to stabilize the bones while the ligaments healed. Once adequately healed, Posey then had a second procedure to remove the screws, and by all reports his recovery has progressed nicely. Posey is back to participating in baseball activities and cardiovascular conditioning, and should be ready to roll come Spring Training.
So what sort of risk does Posey present come draft day this season? Not much more than usual as far as I’m concerned. Posey was very fortunate that it was his ankle and not his knee that was damaged as there’s typically more residual issues with knee injuries vs. ankle injuries. Catchers get beat up and probably have the most injury risk of any non-pitching position, so he’s a risk based on his position, but I don’t think that risk escalates significantly because of the ankle. Posey will likely have some residual flexibility deficits in the ankle as the nature of the surgery and prolonged immobilization post-operatively tend to stiffen the joint structures. Any sort of flexibility deficit or weakness at the ankle can increase risk of injury with activities such as running the bases or repeatedly squatting (catching), but I personally don’t think Posey will be hindered much by this. Feel free to draft him at a discount so long as his Spring Training routine goes without a hitch; he’s more likely to see a performance drop-off due to rust from the long layoff than the actual injury itself.
Morneau is coming off a complete disaster of a season as he dealt with lingering post-concussion symptoms as well as neck, wrist, knee and foot issues. Morneau almost single-handedly kept his surgeon’s office in business as he underwent neck surgery during the season and then three additional surgeries this off-season to fix problems in his troublesome wrist, knee and foot. Morneau should be fully recovered from the neck procedure, and the knee (cyst) and foot (bone spur) surgeries are routine procedures that should have no long-term ramifications. The wrist surgery, described as a “stabilization procedure on the tendon in the back of his left wrist” by former Twins genius GM Bill Smith, appears a bit more involved. While more specifics on what exactly the surgery entailed has not been reported, the fact that he needed to be held in a cast for six weeks tells me it’s not a routine “cleanup” type procedure but more likely a reconstructive procedure, which means months, not weeks, of recovery time. Being held in a cast for such a long time will create a lot of stiffness in the wrist and hand, which can be troublesome given that it’s Morneau’s dominant hand. The good news is that he had this procedure back in September, and even if it requires four-to-six months of recovery, that’s still plenty of time for him to be ready by Spring Training.
Is Morneau someone to target on draft day? Absolutely not, and frankly you shouldn’t need my expert opinion to tell you to stay away from Justin Morneau. If he was still on the board in the last round and you wanted to take a flier, be my guest, as a Twins fan I can try to be optimistic, but there’s no way I’m investing any meaningful draft pick or auction dollars on this man. Morneau is probably the poster child for this year’s DDNTL. If we were dealing with the orthopedic issues alone, injuries and surgeries that have fairly well-understood healing rates and timelines, I would be all over him as a bounce back candidate. Concussions are a whole different matter. There’s no timetable for these sorts of things, and reports indicate that Morneau is still dealing with the effects from the concussion suffered a year and half ago. I’m not gambling, you shouldn’t gamble, and the Twins are screwed.
He hasn’t played in a game since late May 2010 after suffering a nasty broken ankle jumping onto home plate while celebrating a walk-off HR. Morales underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the ankle, and there were hopes he would be ready to go early in the 2011 season. Unfortunately, Morales’ ankle didn’t respond as well as hoped, and continued setbacks and slow recovery led Morales to have a second procedure on the ankle to remove scar tissue and debris, costing him the entire 2011 season. As of this writing, Morales’ rehab is progressing well, he’s been cleared for full running, and a return to baseball activities is expected later this week if he’s able to run pain-free.
Morales is a tricky player to project. It was rather unexpected that Morales didn’t recover as well as hoped initially, and needing a second procedure to clean out considerable scar tissue and debris (nearly three hours to complete) is a sign that the first surgery was quite extensive. In theory, Morales’ ankle is healed; it’s just a matter of regaining the lost strength, range of motion and functional mobility in the joint. Currently, the Angels are putting no timetable on his return, but if he’s able to return to baseball activities sometime in January, I’d be cautiously optimistic that come Spring Training he could be ready to roll. While I might personally gamble on him if the price is right, Morales is not a player I can recommend you spend meaningful draft day currency on, so he gets a spot on the DDNTL. Even if his ankle is finally healed enough to play, how will the rest of his body respond to such a long layoff? I’m particularly concerned about his knees and feet, having just begun full weight bearing activities recently. How deconditioned have the muscles and ligaments supporting these other areas become? It wouldn’t surprise me to see Morales return and then miss time throughout the season with various nagging lower extremity injuries as he works his way back into game shape. He’ll also have to shake off almost two years worth of rust, and there’s always the chance that the ankle itself flares up. I’d draft him ahead of Morneau, but that’s not saying much. Draft at your own risk.
As we are all aware, Howard suffered a torn left Achilles’ tendon on the final play of the Phillies’ NLDS loss to the Cardinals and underwent reconstructive surgery shortly thereafter. Typical recovery time for an Achilles repair is four-to-six months, with symptoms often lingering up to a year post-operatively. Rehab protocols vary depending on the surgeon and severity of the tear, but typically the patient is immobilized and not allowed to bear weight on the injured limb for four-to-eight weeks, progressing to gradual weight bearing and increased joint ranges. Howard has been weaned off the crutches and walking boot and has begun running and weight training activities; all excellent signs. It’s anticipated he’ll return to baseball activities sometime in mid-to-late February if all goes according to plan. The Phillies are optimistic he’ll be ready to play sometime in May.
Achilles tendon repairs are pretty well understood and predictable in terms of recovery time, so long as the patient is compliant in the rehab and precautions. From what I’m reading, everything is going well and I see no glaring red flags here. I’m sure the Phillies will rest him a little more often initially to ensure he stays healthy, and yes the quick bursts of activity in baseball make his left ankle more prone to re-injury, but I’m buying here. Ryan Howard isn’t a burner, if he happens to lose a little speed or agility on the bases or in the field it won’t affect his performance at the plate. Howard is someone I’ll be looking to target on the cheap come draft day, just be sure you have a decent short-term backup plan and don’t expect true Ryan Howard numbers until June.
Like his teammate Justin Morneau, Mauer dealt with a bevy of injuries during the Twins’ nightmare 2011 season. Neck stiffness, back stiffness, pneumonia and…bilateral leg weakness? I find it depressing as a Twins fan that as a 28 -year-old professional athlete and face of the Twins franchise, Mauer’s injury report reads more like the medical chart of a deteriorating nursing home resident. Mauer missed over two months of the season with the leg weakness issue, allegedly caused by a viral infection. Upon returning from the DL, Mauer’s numbers weren’t very promising and he continued to miss games here and there with nagging soreness. The Twins tried to limit the wear and tear of catching on Mauer by moving him around the diamond, slotting him at DH, 1B and even RF to get his bat in the lineup. Mauer’s bat eventually picked up a bit in the second half. The 2009 power numbers and consistent health never fully surfaced, and many Twins fans and fantasy owners alike wonder if this seemingly injury-prone catcher will ever be worth his huge contract when he’s eventually unable to catch anymore.
Is Mauer worth the risk drafting in fantasy this season? This might surprise you, but if the price is right, I’m gambling on Mauer this year. Typically I shy away from players with uncertain recovery timelines (concussions for instance, or leg weakness in Mauer’s case), but Mauer appears to be over the viral issue and it’s being reported in early January that he’s 100% healthy. The fact that he’s entering the season healthy is a huge plus as he’ll be able to train normally and go through Spring Training in routine fashion, something Mauer has been unable to do in recent years. I think a lot of Mauer’s nagging issues last season were in part due to his lack of conditioning and game readiness leading into the season, and he shouldn’t have that issue this year. I think Mauer will see plenty of time at varying positions this season, and with Justin Morneau’s health also a question mark, I could see Mauer getting ample time at 1B or DH, which helps get him more ABs and reduces his injury risk. I’m not saying Mauer isn’t an injury risk; he plays the most physically taxing position on the field and has a history of unusual and often nagging injuries. I do think this season sets up better than usual for Mauer in terms of his health and I’m cautiously optimistic Mauer could bounce back and finish as a top five catcher. The key will be getting him at the right price and setting the right expectations. The Twins offense on paper looks weaker than past years which will likely reduce Mauer’s counting stats a bit. However, the man can still hit for an elite BA and I’d expect mid-teens HR totals as well. If I could land him as the sixth or later catcher off the board, that’s a risk worth taking.
Nelson Cruz/Jose Reyes
I’m going to discuss these two guys together because, over the last few years, both players have struggled with the same chronically injured body part – the hamstring. Cruz has been sent to the DL on five separate occasions over the last two seasons with hamstring strains. Reyes, not to be outdone, has played 133 games or fewer for three straight seasons. There’s no denying that both players are elite fantasy producers when healthy, with both ranking among the top players at their respective positions in per game scoring. The problem, of course, is that neither player can stay healthy for a full season. Hamstring injuries (the large muscles on the back of your thigh) are notorious for being easy to re-aggravate. Every time you strain a hamstring the muscle is essentially torn, the severity of which is determined by the grade of the strain. Each tear requires scar tissue to heal, and the scar tissue that forms in the muscle does not have the same tensile strength or “springiness” as the original muscle tissue. This makes the hamstring more susceptible to future injury, and each subsequent injury further increases that risk.
Both players are high-end fantasy commodities and it would be foolish to ignore them in drafts. But because I can’t realistically expect either player to play more than 130 games, both players get a spot on the DDNTL. Again, at the right price they are risks that I could see taking, but for where I’d expect both players to go in drafts, you might be better off letting another owner deal with the day-to -day injury headaches both guys will inevitably create.
I’ve had a few people email me about Tulo and whether he’s worth a first round pick this year with his injury history. In reviewing Tulo’s injury history, he seems to get bitten with a significant injury every other year since 2008. In 2008, Tulo tore a quad tendon and suffered a hand laceration on a broken bat, playing a total of 101 games. He followed that up with a full (and probably his best) season in 2009. Then in 2010, he suffered a fractured wrist and was limited to 122 games. Tulo returned from the wrist injury in strong fashion at the end of 2010 season and was able to stay relatively healthy for the majority of 2011, playing in 143 games. So you can see a pattern here: 2008 injured, 2009 healthy, 2010 injured, 2011 healthy…2012?
Unless you’re overly superstitious, there’s no reason to shy away from Tulowitzki in drafts this year. While he did miss close to 20 games last year with various nagging ailments (quad, hip), both issues appear to be routine wear-and-tear type injuries. The quad ailment Tulo dealt with last year was not to the same leg as his 2008 tear, and the hip bursitis suffered at the end of the season was likely a secondary injury due to compensating for the quad injury. With a full offseason to rest and rehab, Tulo should enter 2012 without any residual issues or glaring red flags. Draft away.
HanRam struggled in 2011, playing in just 92 games and missing the last two months of the season with recurring left shoulder problems. Ramirez had surgery on this same shoulder in 2007. Under the skillful hands of Dr. James Andrews, Hanley underwent an “open repair” of his left shoulder, with an estimated recovery time of four-to-eight months. The Marlins have been very secretive about revealing the details of the surgery, but the organization expects Ramirez to be ready to play come Opening Day. “Open repair” is an incredibly broad description of the surgery as there’s a multitude of shoulder conditions that could require it. “Open” refers to a larger surgical incision, which gives better access and visualization of the shoulder joint than its arthroscopic (smaller holes) counterpart. Unfortunately, the larger incision means more (healthy) tissue will be cut vs. arthroscopic incisions. It’s not rocket science – the more tissue you cut, the more tissue there is to heal and therefore the greater risk for complications. It will be difficult to project what to expect in terms of recovery time and performance without knowing definitively what structures in the shoulder were involved.
As a physical therapist that happens to specialize in post-operative shoulder rehab, one thing I can say definitively is that open shoulder surgery is a somewhat antiquated technique for most routine procedures. Dr. Andrews is arguably the best orthopedic surgeon in the country, if he decided that an open incision was necessary than it’s a good bet that Hanley had some significant damage that required extensive reconstruction. Rotator cuff, labrum, ligamentous repairs, bone transfers… the list of nasty shoulder surgeries could go on and on. The timeline of four-to-eight months is likely an accurate projection as most shoulder reconstructions require four-to-six months for a return to activity and six-to-12 months for maximal recovery. Ramirez is a young, healthy professional athlete with the best medical care at his disposal; it’s not unreasonable to think he could be at or near 100% in time for opening day (~six months post-op).
Unfortunately, I’m not trusting Ramirez this year at his current price (ADP 19.60 per Mock Draft Central), and therefore he gets a spot on the DDNTL. It’s well documented that Ramirez has a reputation for dogging it and relying on his natural ability to carry him. How will that lack of work ethic and drive affect his rehab efforts? Looking at HanRam’s swing, his follow through is one-handed and extends high behind him, placing a lot of strain on the shoulder. If he’s rushed back too soon or doesn’t remain diligent in his ongoing shoulder rehab, Ramirez could easily re-injure his shoulder taking a bad swing. Another concern is whether or not Hanley will trust the shoulder enough to swing naturally. While Hanley’s natural swing style is tough on the shoulder, altering his swing could result in excess strain elsewhere or negatively affect his performance. The rigors of rehab, a long layoff from baseball activities, altered off-season and Spring Training preparation, and a position change to third base all make Hanley too big a risk for me in 2012. You have my blessing if you can land him as a third rounder or later based on his position eligibility, but no way am I investing a top 20 pick on this guy.
Davis appeared in just 36 games last season after suffering a bone bruise rolling his left ankle. It was later revealed via MRI that Davis has cartilage damage in his ankle joint and there was talk of the dreaded “microfracture” procedure being needed as pain and swelling continued to linger and did not allow Davis to progress in his recovery. Luckily for Davis, the pain and swelling settled down and he was able to progress his rehab to the point where surgery was no longer required. Davis has been participating in baseball activities and by all reports has been extremely committed to his rehab efforts. Reports indicate that Davis will enter Spring Training 100% healthy, but I beg to differ. Davis will never be 100% healthy – he has documented cartilage damage and cartilage doesn’t heal. The swelling and pain may be gone for now and his extensive rehab program will have built up the musculature supporting the ankle joint, but it’s a matter of time before the ankle causes him problems again. Honestly I’m on the fence about Davis, but he’s still a young man and I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt here and project him to survive the balance of the season. If his current ADP (181.15) holds and you can land him after the likes of Justin Morneau, I think he’s worth the gamble. Just be aware that there’s a legitimate risk here.
Crawford is coming off the worst season of his career after signing a mega-deal with the Boston Red Sox and entering the 2011 season with lofty real-life and fantasy expectations. For the Sox and fantasy owners alike, there was hope that an uneventful offseason (and “first year in Boston” jitters out of his system) would allow Crawford to return to form in 2012, providing a nice buy-low opportunity in drafts. Unfortunately, Crawford’s wrist is not cooperating. He underwent surgery to remove cartilage from his left wrist roughly two weeks ago after experiencing pain while swinging a bat. This was a surprising development considering Crawford had no significant symptoms at the conclusion of the 2011 season.
The surgery is being reported as an “arthroscopic debridement of the triangular fibrocartilage” in Crawford’s left wrist. What the hell is that? Well the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) refers to a group of ligaments and joints stabilizing structures on the ulnar (pinky) side of the wrist. The TFCC stabilizes the joints where your ulna (pinky side lower arm bone) connects to your hand bones as well as to the radius (thumb side lower arm bone). A debridement refers to shaving down small tears or cleaning out fragments of debris from the area and is not reconstructive in nature. Activities that are likely to stress this area include repetitive or forceful forearm rotation (swinging a bat or using a screwdriver) or falling/loading the wrist while it’s extended backwards (such as pushing yourself up off the ground).
What are the fantasy ramifications here for Crawford and his wrist? Well he’s fortunate that the injury only required a debridement and not a repair. Typically there’s about two weeks of protecting the surgical site with splinting and gentle stretches and gradually incorporating more aggressive stretching and strengthening around four-to-six weeks. After six weeks, the athlete’s range of motion, strength, and pain levels will dictate how quickly they can return to higher level activities, such as baseball. Six weeks will put Crawford right around late February/early March, so there’s a reasonable chance he’ll be able to participate in Spring Training activities. Whether Crawford will be ready to go by Opening Day is too speculative to guess at this point (although Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is already declaring that Crawford will begin the season on the DL). What we do know about Crawford is that he started off extremely slow last season and would have benefited from an early start this off-season to find his timing and rhythm at the plate sooner. Health-wise, his wrist shouldn’t be too big an issue so long as he’s compliant with the rehab and takes measures to protect it during the season. Performance-wise, I see another down year from Crawford as he’ll likely either start off the season on the DL and/or start off slow. His numbers may be further hindered by the fact that wrist injuries are notorious for sapping a player's power until they fully trust it. I’m not going to put him on my list as I think his wrist will hold up medically, but I’m not taking him in the late second or early third round as his current ADP (39.08) suggests; I just don't think he'll be worth it.
Josh Hamilton: He has a history of both fluky and chronic injury issues. Recurring back problems could have led to his sports hernia injury and resulting offseason surgery, which could become a lingering issue. Long-term ramifications of drug abuse on his body are difficult to predict and always a factor. Hamilton has a history of wearing down in the second half of seasons and hasn’t played more than 133 games since 2008. Hamilton gets a spot on the DDNTL. You would need to see a cheap price tag to draft him with confidence.
Kevin Youkilis: Another guy who has missed significant time in each of the last three seasons with injury problems. A tear in his thumb requiring surgery was somewhat fluky in 2010, but Youk’ dealt with nagging back problems throughout 2011 and eventually succumbed to a sports hernia, which required surgery. Back problems can be lingering issues, and Youk’s “grinder” style of play makes him more prone to both nagging and traumatic/fluky injuries. Youkilis also gamely plays through injuries, often to his own detriment as his performance suffers and he prolongs the recovery time. Third base is relatively thin, but I’m not paying the going rate for Youk’; welcome to the DDNTL.
Josh Johnson: We all know the story, JJ was the best pitcher in baseball for the first two months of the 2011 season, then the shoulder problem that shut him down at the end of the 2010 season reared its ugly head again and JJ didn’t make another start all year. JJ is currently throwing on flat ground and expects to begin throwing off the mound soon; expectations are for 100% health entering the 2011 season. While I’m actually more optimistic than last year as far as Johnson’s health outlook, I’d be crazy to recommend you draft him expecting a full season. JJ gets a spot on the DDNTL, but he’s the kind of guy who might be worth a flier if you can land him late.
Alex Rodriguez: A-Rod saw his health and productivity decline significantly in the 2011 season, and he underwent procedures to both his knee and shoulder this past off-season. A-Rod hasn’t played more than 138 games since 2007, and even the most ardent A-Rod supporter must admit he’s in decline at the age of 36. If you draft A-Rod and expect more than 130 games, you’re fooling yourself. Expect him to miss time with nagging injuries and for the Yankees to give him more frequent time off to avoid the injury issues that plagued him last season. I trust A-Rod to have above-average production for 120 games, but since baseball is 162 games, A-Rod gets a spot on the DDNTL.
Carlos Beltran: Beltran surprised many, myself included, by playing (and being fairly productive) in 142 games last season despite coming off the often career-threatening microfracture knee surgery in 2010. Now with the Cardinals, some are predicting a Lance Berkman-like rise from the ashes. Not me. Beltran is 35 years old, has chronic degenerative knee problems, and despite a successful microfracture procedure, Beltran began having knee symptoms towards the end of 2011. I think he’ll be fine to start the year, but I doubt he flirts with 142 games ever again. He easily makes the list.
Rickie Weeks: The majority of Weeks’ injury issues over his career are of the fluky variety, but last season Weeks dealt with an ankle sprain that required two months of recovery, suggesting a significant injury. While the loss of Prince Fielder and early suspension of Ryan Braun will hurt Weeks in terms of lineup protection and counting stats, he’s expected to be moved down in the order. Hitting in the middle of the order means he’ll probably run less, which will lessen his SB totals, but also lessen his injury risk. I think Weeks is safe to draft this year as far as health is concerned (though keep an eye on the health of his ankle).
Carlos Quentin: Quentin is another player who’s suffered some fluky injuries in his day, but last year’s injuries are of the red flag variety. Lingering shoulder and plantar fasciitis issues limited Quentin to 118 games, and for his career he’s never played more than 131 in a season. Plantar fasciitis in particular can be a recurring injury that often never truly heals – just ask Antonio Gates. Now Quentin moves to spacious San Diego where he’s expected to be the regular LF and adjust to the National League style of play. His injury history, playing everyday in the outfield, and a poor hitter’s park make me want to shy away from Quentin this season. Welcome to the DDNTL.
There you have it, use this information wisely kids as I’m right more often than not. Again, if there’s a player not mentioned here that you’d like to know about, drop me a line and we’ll figure it out. Good luck in your drafts this year; you’re going to need it.
MDS, I'm not too concerned about Wainwright as far as his elbow is concerned. TJ surgery is borderline routine at this point. He'll be roughly 13 months postop on opening day, which is well within the safe timeline for a return to the mound. Pitchers typically don't get 100% maximal recovery and effectiveness until 18 months post-op, however, so I'd temper expectations that the "ace" ability will be there right out of the gate. I'd expect a bit of a slow start and it wouldn't surprise me if the Cards limited his innings a bit as well. Wainwright's throwing mechanics, like Strasburg's, will make him prone to injury not just at the elbow but the shoulder as well. Wouldn't surprise me to see him mess up his shoulder at some point, but I don't expect it to happen this year.
Santana is definitely DDNTL worthy. It's been 16 months since he had surgery to fix the anterior capsule of his shoulder (ligaments on the front side of the shoulder joint) and he's still recovering. In most cases the player returns in 4-6 months from this type of surgery, up to 12 months for full recovery. Either the Mets aren't telling us something in regards to the procedure or Santana just may never be the same. Either way, he's hard to trust. Is he worth a late round flier? Sure, but I'm afraid the Santana we once knew is gone.
Anderson is also coming off TJ surgery this past July, so it's certainly reasonable to think he'll make his return to the mound sometime later this summer. It's too early to say for sure but given the reliability of TJ surgery I trust his health to be fine, but I don't trust his performance to be there. Again 18 months is the usual for max recovery, and I'm not sure you'll get meaningful innings late in the season from him. Wainwright is different because he's further along in his recovery and if he struggles for a month or two out of the gate you can still potentially get another 3-4 months of goodness out of him. A couple months of a less than fully recovered Brett Anderson doesn't make my loins tingle. As a last round pick in a deep league with ample DL spots, he's fine.
@donnypump Holy crap, great comment! You are like the resident Will Carroll here. So much info in this post.
Now I feel VERY glad about having traded Johan *and* Quentin in a huge deal a few weeks ago! It was for my 20 team Keeper Dynasty League, and I gotta say I love it now.
@donnypump Holding onto Anderson for a few months and then getting mediocre stats would suck! I had only Wainwright, Johan, Johnson, Hanson, Liriano, Anderson left for my SP projections. Thanks Don!
Don, whatcha think of Wainwright and Johan? Sounds like Wainwright might be ready for the start of the season. How about throwing a last round flier on Brett Anderson? He went in the last round of the FSTA league in Vegas (Rd 25, 13 teams I believe).