Fantasy Baseball: Outlook on injured stars

The 2014 baseball season has not been a kind one. Many players have seen their fair share of injuries, leaving them sidelined for weeks, if not months at a time. Not only have their been more injuries, there have been more season-ending surgeries. The amount of pitchers having Tommy John surgery has left pitching rotations devastated.

In this article, we’ll take a look at two big-name players that are currently on the disabled list, as well as what to expect from them once they return and how to deal with them in a fantasy baseball context.

cincinnati reds

Joey Votto has had a rough 2014 season and his struggles may continue

Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds 1B

Joey Votto is not accustomed to struggling at the plate. In six full years of MLB service, Votto has never posted a batting average below .297. Before straining his quad on May 15, Votto was hitting just .257 with six home runs and 12 RBIs.

The 30-year-old first baseman hoped to return to the Reds’ lineup when first eligible on May 31, but has yet to begin a minor league rehab assignment. Recently, Votto’s rehab has accelerated; it seems his minor league rehab assignment could start at any time. There is still no set date for Votto to return to the Cincinnati lineup, but it should be sometime around June 13.

When Votto does return, what should fantasy owners expect? It seems that Votto could continue to struggle this year, since just a few days ago, Cincinnati Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty stated that there is a “strong possibility” that Votto could play the remainder of the season at less than 100 percent.

[Big bats, low prices]

Looking at Votto’s stats, the only thing that really stands out is that his BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) is lower than in previous years. Through 176 plate appearances in 2014, Votto has posted a .297 BABIP, 63 points below his career average. This could indicate that Votto has been unlucky by hitting the ball to fielders.

Votto owners should carefully consider what to do with their injured first baseman. Trading him is certainly an option to consider. If owners can find a deal that mproves their team, they should not hesitate in pulling the trigger. It may be hard to trade Votto, but it looks like the former MVP is in for a tough season.

carlos gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list on June 5th and may be sidelined for quite some time

Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies OF

Before the start of the regular season, Carlos Gonzalez was a consensus top-10 fantasy draft pick. Over the last three years, Gonzalez has averaged 24 homers, 82 RBIs, 20 stolen bases, all while maintaining a .300 batting average. Like the aforementioned Joey Votto, Gonzalez has struggled so far in his 2014 campaign, hitting just .255 with two stolen bases through 52 games.

Since Gonzalez was recently placed on the disabled list, it is extremely hard to try to predict a timetable for his return. If he returns when he is first eligible, it would be on June 19, but at this point, that date is up in the air. Not that this is any surprise to Gonzalez owners – over the last three seasons, Gonzalez has averaged to play in just 124 games.

[Top non-closer relief pitchers]

It’s hard to say what to expect from Gonzalez once he returns to the Rockies’ lineup. Like Votto, Gonzalez’ BABIP is much lower than it normally has been throughout his career; his ISO is also significantly lower than in years past. A finger injury forced Gonzalez onto the disabled list. These types of injuries can be extremely troublesome to hitters and can completely change the outlook on the rest of their season.

Although there is no definitive date for his return, Gonzalez owners should hold on to the electrifying outfielder, as he is likely to return to form once he is reinstated from the disabled list.

For more opinions and analysis visit our Fantasy Baseball page