Injury Impacts on the DFS Landscape
Nearly two months into the season, the disabled list is beginning to fill up. Starting players who go down open up spots for bench players and minor league call-ups to fill in and make an impact. Also, those who have suffered early season injuries are primed to return and will retake their spot in the everyday lineup or rotation. Both of these situations offer DFS players different choices and the opportunity to input new players into their lineups. With movement on rosters all throughout baseball, let's take a look at a few position players and pitchers who will have the opportunity to make an impact over the next few weeks.
Shin Soo Choo and Drew Stubbs (OF, Texas Rangers)
Choo is a repeat addition to the DL, as he only played three innings in his return from a calf injury before going down with a strained hamstring. The more unfortunate aspect for the Rangers is that Stubbs went down the same day with a sprained toe, leaving their outfield wide open. Therefore, the Rangers called up prized prospect Joey Gallo. Gallo started off hot last season when he was called up as a rookie but struggled towards the end of the season. He seems to be back on track this year in AAA for the Rangers, as he's hit eight home runs in just 24 games, to go along with 22 walks and 20 RBIs. Gallo is hitting just .265, but has an OBP of .415 and is slugging .639. Look for him to have an impact at the major league level with this extended opportunity.
Kevin Kiermaier (CF, Tampa Bay Rays)
Kiermaier is likely to be on the DL for the next couple months after surgery on his left hand, so the Rays have lost their everyday center fielder. With Kiermaier going down, it opens up the opportunity for Mikie Mahtook to get more at bats, as well as solidifies Brandon Guyer as an everyday option in the outfield for the Rays. Mahtook hasn't played much this season, but hit .295 last year with nine homers in just 41 games. Guyer has been a force already this year for the Rays, hitting .327 with an OBP of .410 in 29 of their games. He's mainly been in the leadoff spot, but has added five homers as well. Look for these two to be in the lineup consistently for the next few months.
Josh Reddick (RF, Oakland Athletics)
Reddick finds himself on the DL after breaking his thumb on a head first slide last week. With Reddick going down, it offers an opportunity for Coco Crisp and Jake Smolinski to get more at bats. Crisp hasn't been much of an offensive force in a few years, but he offers power and speed to the A's lineup. As a switch hitter, Crisp has been more successful on the right side of the plate, hitting 20 points higher, but has provided more pop from the left side, hitting three of four home runs against righties. Smolinski doesn't seem to be a great option fantasy wise when replacing Reddick, but will get more opportunities to prove something over the next few weeks.
Lucas Duda (1B, New York Mets)
Duda finds himself sidelined with a stress fracture in his back, and is expected to be out until at least July. Duda leaves a hole at first that is likely to be filled everyday by Eric Campbell, who has platooned with Duda a little this season. Campbell is only batting .204 on the year, but was able to hit his first home run yesterday. Other than that, Campbell has been pretty awful so far this year, striking out in 30% of his at bats, so look for the Mets to experiment with their lineups and try out some new players at first base.
Jhonny Peralta (SS, St. Louis Cardinals)
Peralta has been on the DL since spring training with a thumb injury. Peralta has played in three games so far on his rehab stint, and is expected to make it back to the majors within the next week. Peralta's return offers an interesting dilemma for Mike Matheny and the Cardinals, as Aledmys Diaz has taken a stranglehold of the shortstop position, hitting .345 with six homers and an OPS near 1.000. It will be interesting to see who ends up with more playing time, as both offer an above average impact on the offensive side. Last year, Peralta hit 17 homers for the Cardinals, and hit .275 in the middle of St. Louis' lineup. Let's hope both can still be productive when splitting at bats.
Yu Darvish (RHP, Texas Rangers)
Darvish is set to make his season debut this Saturday against Pittsburgh after not pitching in the majors since 2014. Darvish was a force in his first three years for the Rangers, including striking out nearly 300 batters in 2013. In a shortened 2014, Darvish had a 3.06 ERA with 182 strikeouts in 144 innings, which equals 11.35 strikeouts per nine innings. Look for Darvish to return to his stellar form as he's had 14 months to rehab his surgically repaired elbow. Darvish is expected to have a pitch limit in his first couple starts, but after that should be cleared to return to his All-Star form in Texas.
Carlos Carrasco (RHP, Cleveland Indians)
Carrasco went down with a hamstring injury after four starts this season. He's likely to return in early June and is looking to build off his early success after posting a 2.45 ERA and a WHIP of 0.95 in those four starts, including a 2-0 record. Carrasco will look to keep his strikeout numbers up as well, as he sent down 20 batters in 22 innings via the strikeout. Be sure to keep him in mind whenever he takes the rubber.
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