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We are almost two weeks into the 2022 season, and already there have been a plethora of injuries around Major League Baseball. Teams everywhere are not only assessing the landscape of their own injuries, but they are also scrambling to find a suitable replacement in the meantime. It’s been a whirlwind of ups and downs for everyone, but where exactly should we stand as fantasy owners? Here are the latest updates, in order to help you make the right decisions for your teams.

Note: Confidence Level indicates my personal confidence in how quickly a player will be back to full health.

The Good

 

Ronald Acuña Jr.

We begin with some positive news out of Atlanta, where it was reported that superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. is on track to begin a rehab assignment within the next week. This is fantastic news for anyone who rosters him, as he has targeted the first week of May as a potential time to return to the Braves.

It is unknown yet when he will be inserted into the outfield, but it has been speculated that he will probably see some time exclusively as the designated hitter first since that will eliminate some running in the outfield.

With regard to the injury itself, the late April – early May return date puts him in line with the standard timeline of returning from an ACL injury in baseball. While it’s fair to expect either some decline in speed upon his return, one would have to think that once he feels comfortable playing again, he should in turn steal some bases and become one of the best in the game as he was previously. Confidence Level: high

Fernando Tatis Jr.

More great news here, as it would seem that Tatis Jr. is ahead of schedule after having surgery for a fractured wrist back in March. This is good news on two fronts: first, the fact that he is healing and feeling better means that the surgery was a success and that he is on the right track for a recovery. Second, he seems to be doing even better than expected, which could mean that he will have extra time to ramp up and prepare for his eventual debut (which can be no sooner than June 7).

He has shown a propensity to heal quite quickly in the past, as all of his stints on the Injured List in 2022 were minimal in length, so it would seem logical that this has the possibility to be minimal as well. The extra worry that should be in the back of everyone’s minds is that of his shoulder problems and how they will translate into a healthy 2022 season. That may be his ultimate downfall this season, but for now, things look good. Confidence Level: medium

Jon Gray

Very good news as the Rangers look to be getting their ace back into their rotation early this upcoming week. This is something that Texas desperately needs, since starting pitching is not their forte in 2022.

Gray signed a four-year, $56 million contract with the team in the offseason and looked good in his season debut against the Blue Jays. Despite surrendering three earned runs in four innings of work, Gray struck out four and got a lot of movement on his slider, which generated a 53.8% Whiff Rate. He maintained his velocity throughout and should be a nice option for fantasy owners this season. While blisters can be tedious to get rid of, they’re more of an annoyance than a long-term problem, and Gray should be ready to go upon his return. Confidence Level: high

A.J. Pollock

The White Sox have had their fair share of injuries to start the season, but for now, it would seem that Pollock’s ailing hamstring isn’t overly concerning. The veteran slugger was brought to the team in an effort to solidify the outfield, as the contending White Sox looked for someone with experience to man right field.

While Pollock certainly fits the bill when healthy, he hasn’t always been the bastion of health, especially over the past three seasons, where he has had multiple trips to the Injured List for both hamstrings. While the repetitive nature of this injury is a bit concerning, it seems likely that he will return before the month is over, though that will depend on the results of his tests. Confidence Level: high

The Bad

 

John Means

Definitely bad news with the possibility of turning ugly, John Means is heading to the IL for forearm tightness and an elbow strain which could be a precursor for much more. The uncomfortable feeling started on Opening Day but apparently got better in the days that followed. It was when he threw a curveball later in his second game that the injury re-occurred and Means was lifted for precautionary reasons as a result.

It’s too early to speculate on what it is and what it could be, but most often these injuries lead to Tommy John Surgery being the endgame. That said, if we look at the injury for what it is now, it is a strain and he will be out for quite some time. Confidence Level: low

Blake Snell

This has the chance to be quite significant, but for now, it will remain as something rather bad. Snell missed the end of the 2021 season due to abductor tightness, and it’s concerning that he will miss time with the same type of injury here. This may have something to do with the lockout preventing injured players from receiving the best medical assistance possible, and also the shortening of Spring Training.

Either way, he will miss some time here, though he has been upfront in saying that this injury is way more minor than his previous ailments. While time will tell how bad this injury is, it needs to be noted that this is a reoccurring injury and that those are often the most concerning and definitely something of which to take note of. Confidence Level: medium

Teoscar Hernandez

Hernandez appeared to injure himself while swinging, and after trying to stay in the game and play through it, he was ultimately pulled and subsequently placed on the Injured List last week.

Oblique strains can be a tricky injury from which to recover because they can come and go without warning. The one positive to attribute here is that there is a distinct possibility that this is just rust due to a shortened Spring Training and that he will be fine in the short term. Look for more updates as they become available. Confidence Level: medium

The Ugly

 

Luis Patiño

This one is just awful, as the highly touted young pitcher will miss significant time with this injury. Originally regarded as only a 10-day stint, Patiño was later transferred over to the 60-day Injured List for roster manipulation purposes and for the fact that the injury was more serious than anticipated.

With the Rays not yet revealing the severity, one has to assume that it’s a major injury in that he will need to wait until at least June in order to get back onto the field. Until then, he’s a pitcher to monitor with regards to progress, because oblique injuries in pitchers can be even trickier than the aforementioned injury in batters, due to the fact that they throw so hard. Either way, it’s a big and unfortunate blow. Confidence Level: medium

Alex Kirilloff

Kirilloff went to the Injured List as his previously injured wrist started aggravating him to the point where he couldn’t play through it yet again. Similar to last season, it is to the point where he couldn’t tolerate the pain anymore and has since received a cortisone injection to help ease the pain. His manager even admitted that this could be something that might require some maintenance every now and then in order to continue playing.

The injury is a bit surprising, in that he underwent surgery last year and missed a huge chunk of playing time. The fact that it is reoccurring is concerning. It’s hard to say what the future holds for the talented batter, but one thing is for certain: this is far from over for him. That said, at the outset of this particular injury, his time away from the team has been rumored to be minimal, but reoccurring injuries are always concerning in their own right. Confidence Level: medium

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Dave Funnell (@sportz_nutt51)

Dave Funnell (@sportz_nutt51)

Father, Teacher, Sports Fan. Follow me, Dave Funnell, on Twitter @sportz_nutt51

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