Another week closer to the regular season and a few more significant injuries to monitor from the weekend of Spring Training action. Some injuries are not super severe, but all worth monitoring. In today’s blurb, I will give some quick thoughts on some fantasy-relevant players who have suffered injuries over the weekend and how I am approaching them in upcoming fantasy drafts.
Trent Grisham– Grisham pulled up lame running out a groundball on Thursday and was removed from the game. On Friday, Grisham reports feeling ok and moving fine, but the Padres said they would be taking it easy with their young centerfielder. Grisham was diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain and hoped to return to action within a week. If he returns to action in that time, then there should not be much to worry about, but hamstring injuries are a bit of a concern, and for that, I am moving Grisham down a bit in drafts. He is not a complete avoid, but he needs to fall a round or two from his current NFBC ADP of 67. For example, I would be drafting Austin Meadows over Grisham right now, and maybe for the rest of the draft season.
Stephen Strasburg- Strasburg left Sunday’s start after throwing 45 pitches with a calf injury. Reports after the game said it was a minor calf strain, and Strasburg even said he would have kept pitching if it was a regular-season game. We can either believe Strasburg and keep drafting him as usual, if you already were drafting him or full avoid. Strasburg is already coming off a lost 2020 after he suffered a nerve injury in his hand. He is supposedly healthy entering 2021, but it is always something with Strasburg, and this early injury can’t make Strasburg believers feel great. I will continue to avoid Strasburg in drafts altogether.
Austin Nola– Rough news for Nola on Sunday as he was diagnosed with a fractured middle finger on his catching hand. This is rough news as he obviously will have to take some time to let it heal and possibly take a little longer as it is his catching hand. Nola was being drafted as the ninth catcher off the board around pick 180 in NFBC drafts. He should be dropping quite a bit, and a complete fade is totally fine. If he falls a lot, he may be worth a look but holding a roster spot (if you do not have an IL spot) on an injured catcher is not great. Victor Caratini should be sliding into the starting catcher duties and becomes a nice, late-round target if waiting on the catcher. Caratini brings a solid OBP base with a little bit of power as well.
Sonny Gray- Gray was scratched from his scheduled start over the weekend due to back spasms. The Reds and Gray do not seem too concerned as they feel that the issue is easily treatable, and Gray should be good to go by opening day. Still, keep an eye on the situation as back issues can pop up from time to time for someone that has already had the problem. For now, I am still drafting Gray as usual but realize there may be a slight risk.
Brendan Rodgers- Rodgers left Saturday’s Catcus League game with a hamstring injury after attempting to steal second base. Early reports out of Rockies camp seem optimistic that the damage is minor, and he may even be ready for opening day. This is good news, if true, as it appeared Rodgers was winning out as the everyday 2B for the Rockies. Garrett Hampson and Raimel Tapia have been platooning in the outfield, with Sam Hilliard playing pretty much every day. Rodgers is currently the 31st-second baseman off the board at pick 328 in recent NFBC drafts. He is still worth the draft price just for the chance he starts every day for the Rockies.
Hunter Harvey– Harvey was in the mix for saves in Baltimore, but that is now put on hold after leaving Friday’s appearance after just one pitch. Harvey was diagnosed with a left oblique injury, and more tests will be run. Oblique injuries are not suitable for anyone. There is no clear timetable for recovery, making Harvey’s decisions from a fantasy perspective difficult for some. The decision is not difficult for me as I will be a complete fade of Harvey for the rest of the draft season. I have already been taking late-round chances on Tanner Scott, and I feel much better about that now. The lefty Scott had a 1.31 ERA last season to go with a near 27% K%. In 2018 and 2019, Scott had a K% over 30%. Cesar Valdez is also in the mix for saves making Valdez and Scott late targets in drafts with NFBC ADPs of 359 and 351.