Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hanley Ramirez and Other Fantasy Baseball Injuries

posted by Jon Williams

Hanley Ramirez: Torn Ligament in Right Thumb

Hanley Ramirez tore a ligament in his right thumb during the final game of the World Baseball Classic. The Dodgers expect him to miss at least eight weeks. A mid-May return is probably the best we can expect for Ramirez who had been playing very well this spring. This obviously has a huge impact on his Draft Day cost and 2013 value. He loses nearly a third of his potential playing time. If you had him as a 40-45 dollar player he looks more like a 27-30 player.

The biggest playing time beneficiary should be last year's shortstop Dee Gordon. Gordon has had a impressive spring to date with an On-Base Percentage around .400 just as manager Don Mattingly requested. In a full season Gordon was already capable of a 50-steal season. If he maintains this level of patience (which isn't far off his minor league levels) over a full season he could easily swipe 70 bases. Few expect Luis Cruz to be successful as the starting Third Baseman so there is a natural roster development (Hanley Ramirez moving back to third base) if Gordon is playing well. In addition, Mark Ellis has been injury prone in the past and Gordon could quickly transition there as well. At Gordon's current ADP he must be considered an excellent sleeper source for steals from the shortstop position.

Tommy Hanson: Triceps Tightness in Right Arm

Tommy Hanson was pulled from Wednesday's start against the Cleveland Indians after complaining of triceps stiffness while warming up for the fourth inning. Hanson (as the Angels should be well aware) has a history of battling through injuries to pitch even to his long-term detriment. So, when catcher Chris Ianetta spotted Hanson shaking his arm he confronted him about it. Hanson insisted he was fine and prepared to pitch. He even said after the game that there was no chance he would miss his next start. Hanson had been pitching fairly well until his removal with four strikeouts to just one walk through three innings. His velocity was in his normal range. The Angels confirmed they pulled him just to be safe.

If something does develop right-handers Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams would be the leading candidates (neither can be recommended as more than a late/reserve rounds flyer) to replace Hanson in the rotation. Hanson has been a late round draft pick in most leagues and little more than that even in Al-Only. Hanson was very effective in the first half of the 2012 season before descending into wretchedness in the second half. No injury was reported. It is very possible that Hanson merely tired down the stretch after missing half of the 2011 season.

Pablo Sandoval: Right Elbow Ulnar Neuritis

As fantasy owners we crucify guys like Evan Longoria for being injury prone. Somehow Pablo Sandoval who is at least as bad if not much worse has escaped the label. Sandoval has had a bone spur in the same elbow the last few years (since 2009) but supposedly it has not been a problem only causing him to miss a few days during the 2009 season. The current injury has been diagnosed as Ulnar Neuritis which is of the Ulnar Nerve. Sandoval has been suspended indefinitely from all baseball activities. There is no schedule for his return but the Giants believe he will be ready to start the regular season.

The Giants do not really have a back-up plan if the Panda goes down to injury. They traded away their most advanced third base prospect - Conor Gillaspie. Marco Scutaro is locked in at second base. That leaves Joaquin Arias as the most likely replacement. Sandoval owners will want to draft the best possible reserve at third base as Sandoval could be in and out of the lineup all year.





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