Shortened spring training? Bad luck? Whatever the reason, injuries are piling up across Major League Baseball at an alarming rate. Here is what’s known about some of the star players who are currently on the mend
Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago White Sox
Jimenez, who played just 55 games last season due to injuries, will miss the next six-to-eight weeks after going down in a heap with a significant right hamstring strain Saturday. On Sunday, Andrew Vaughn took Jimenez’s spot in left field while Gavin Sheets, who can also play in the outfield, started at first base. Vaughn is off to a nice start this season with three homers and a .939 OPS. He ranks in the 90th percentile or better in hard-hit rate (54.5%) and expected slugging percentage (.691). He should be written in ink into every White Sox lineup moving forward and needs to be owned in all fantasy leagues. He’s currently available in a little less than half of all ESPN leagues.
Sheets is more of a deep-league add, but he could earn more consistent at-bats for as long as Eloy is out. He bashed 11 homers in 160 at-bats last year. He has just one HR in 37 at-bats this year, but he is 6-for-13 at the plate over his past four games. He’s widely available in ESPN formats. Of course, his playing time may be impacted by the next player in the rundown.
Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox
No team has been hit harder by injuries than Chicago’s South Siders — Eloy, Lance Lynn, Yoan Moncada, Joe Kelly, etc. — but there may be some good news on the horizon. The hope is Robert will return from his minor groin strain for Tuesday’s game versus the Royals. With AJ Pollock also back (at least until he inevitably gets injured again), that could make things a little crowded in the outfield for the likes of Adam Engel, Adam Haseley and Sheets, but the White Sox really should find a way to get the latter into their lineup every day because he carries the biggest impact bat, by far, among those other options.
J.D. Martinez, DH, Boston Red Sox
Here’s some good news that just came across the wire:
Some good news for the Red Sox in Toronto. J.D. is "a go" for tonight according to Will Venable.— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) April 25, 2022
Martinez had been absent from the Red Sox’s lineup since suffering a groin injury Wednesday. While the Red Sox haven’t yet released their lineup for tonight’s game in Toronto as of this writing, it looks like fantasy managers can slot the slugger back into their lineups. He has one homer and an .818 OPS in 41 at-bats this season.
Steven Kwan, OF, Cleveland Guardians
Kwan left Sunday’s game against the Yankees with right hamstring tightness. Although manager Terry Francona didn’t sound concerned about Kwan’s long-term status, those injuries can nag and linger. Kwan was one of baseball’s best stories in the season’s first week, but he is just 5-for-29 in his past nine games. He still has incredible strike-zone judgment, but he’s a very limited fantasy asset. He doesn’t run much for a player with a top-notch sprint speed, and he hits the ball with very little authority. Unless you really need OBP help and really love singles, the window to sell here is closing fast.
Ryan Pressly, RP, Houston Astros
Pressly, one of the best closers in baseball, has been on the IL since April 16 because of right knee inflammation, but it looks like he’ll be coming back very soon. He threw a live batting practice session Sunday, and his velocity — which has noticeably dipped this year — was good, according to manager Dusty Baker. Pressly should be activated at some point this week and immediately reclaim his role in the ninth inning, which is currently being filled by Hector Neris.
Mike Clevinger, SP, San Diego Padres
Clevinger has yet to pitch this season as he is making his way back from Tommy John surgery and a right knee strain. However, we could be just days away from Clevinger’s first game on an MLB mound since 2020. He is scheduled to make a third and final rehab start at Triple-A on Tuesday. After that, the Padres could insert him back into their rotation. Clevinger logged a 2.96 ERA and a 10.3 strikeout-per-nine rate across more than 400 innings from 2017-19 with Cleveland. He needs to be rostered in all leagues, but is still available in about 30 percent of ESPN leagues.