The 2014 baseball season has been extremely unkind to many players, forcing some to the disabled list for an extended period of time. In this article, I’ll be covering some players currently injured who could have a big impact on the rest of the fantasy baseball season when they return.
A.J. Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks OF
A.J. Pollock suffered a broken hand and had to undergo surgery back in early June to fix the damages. In 52 games before breaking his hand, Pollock hit .316 with 6 home runs, 15 RBIs, and 8 steals. Assuming he played at a consistent level for an entire season, those numbers would project to 19 home runs, 47 RBIs, and 25 steals.
Pollock is on a rehab assignment at AAA, meaning that he should return to the big leagues soon. However, in his first three games in AAA, Pollock was just 1-for-15. The Diamondbacks likely won’t activate Pollock until he shows he can play well in AAA.
In roto leagues, Pollock could prove to be very valuable down the stretch. His potential to get on base (.366 OBP) and steal bases at a consistent rate could be big for fantasy teams as the playoffs draw near. Pollock is owned in 5.1% of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues. Expect him to return next week, most likely around August 14.
Andrew Cashner – San Diego Padres SP
Andrew Cashner was sidelined with a shoulder injury in June. The former first round pick was pitching like an ace before hitting the disabled list, sporting a 2.36 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 12 starts.
Cashner pitched two scoreless innings at the A+ level on Friday, August 8 marking the first time he’s pitched in a game since his injury back on June 20. The next step for Cashner is AAA; he’ll pitch there on Wednesday. Before being promoted back to the MLB squad, Cashner will have to raise his pitch count and show the Padres he can pitch deep into games.
As soon as Cashner is off the disabled list he can impact a fantasy team. His 2.36 ERA will be useful in both points and roto leagues. The biggest downside to Cashner is that he doesn’t strike out many batters. This season, Cashner has struck out just 6.96 batters per nine innings.
In ESPN leagues, Cashner’s ownership has fallen to 58.4%. For fantasy teams struggling with their pitching, it would be wise to pick him up and store him on the DL until he returns. If all things go as planned, Cashner could be activated on August 23.
Michael Cuddyer – Colorado Rockies OF
In early June, Michael Cuddyer suffered a fracture in his left shoulder. Originally, it seemed that Cuddyer may have to sit out the rest of 2014, but he has progressed much better than first expected.
Cuddyer is a proven veteran player that can help any fantasy team regardless of format. The 2013 National League batting champion has played in 31 games this year, compiling a .317/.366/.500 slash line with five long balls and 16 RBIs.
Recently, Cuddyer started his rehab assignment at the Rookie level; in his first two games, he went 5-for-7 with three doubles and three RBIs. He’ll have to prove he can hit well at a higher level than Rookie league before he makes his return to the Rockies outfield. This rehab assignment should last about seven more games.
If a fantasy team has an open spot on their DL, picking up Cuddyer is a must. It’s not very often that a fantasy owner has a chance to add the reigning NL batting champion to their roster. Owned in 32.1% of ESPN fantasy leagues, Cuddyer could be back with the Rockies as early as August 15.
For more opinions and analysis, visit our Fantasy Baseball page.