Hold or Drop? Breaking Down Injuries to MLB Players on the DL

April 13, 2018 | insideinjuries | No Comments

Every few weeks, Inside Injuries will provide an update on players that have landed on the DL with analysis on who to hold and who to drop. It’s been a tough few weeks to start the season, but we will be here along the way to provide analysis on everyone in the league who hits the DL.

HOLD (no matter what)

This is, unfortunately, a very long list. But these guys are worth holding onto even if it means a few weeks of playing a man down. Their injuries are going to hurt, but their long-term value is too high to drop for a short-term replacement.

Christian Yelich– oblique strain

Yelich hoped to avoid a stint on the DL after suffering an oblique strain last week, but we have said from the beginning that he needs at least 2 weeks to recover, even if it’s a mild strain. Sure enough he landed on the DL just a few days later. Any core injury is tricky for a hitter, and they tend to pop back up even if a player is feeling 100%. Yelich needs to rest for at least a week before trying any baseball activities. Then he needs another week or two if there is no longer any pain. Even so, he is worth holding onto. His ceiling is far too high.

Xander Bogaerts– ankle fracture

Scans on Bogaert’s injured ankle showed a small fracture to the talus bone (located where the foot meets the ankle). He landed on the DL but has already shed his walking boot. The Red Sox only expect to see him sidelined for two weeks, but our analysis shows he needs much longer than that (6-8 week Optimal Recovery Time). There is also likely some ligament damage in addition to the fracture. With an ankle injury like this, it’s important to take a long-term view and take the time to heal now. There’s no point in returning too early and playing sub par baseball for months just to get back on the field more quickly. Despite the potentially lengthy absence, Bogaerts is a must hold. When healthy, he’s one of the game’s best shortstops.

Wil Myers– triceps nerve irritation & back soreness

When Myers was diagnosed with nerve irritation in his triceps, he hoped a short 10 days on the DL would be enough time for him to recover. We kept saying that wouldn’t be the case, and unfortunately we were right. Myers still isn’t ready to pick up a bat or throw a baseball. While he could be ready to return in a week or two, nerve issues don’t just go away. The time off will lead to short-term improvements, but the nerve could be easily irritated again later in the season. Despite all of this, his power/speed combo is too good to give up. Keep holding onto him and hope it isn’t something that’s going to ruin his season. He’s going to have some bad weeks, but it shouldn’t be devastating for the rest of the year.

Nelson Cruz– right ankle sprain

Cruz continues to recover from a right ankle sprain but should be close to a return. We initially gave him a two week Optimal Recovery Time, and he is on track to return within that timeframe. He resumed running on Wednesday and could be back in the lineup as soon as this weekend. While his Injury Risk is still High, he has an Above Average HPF (Health Performance Factor), so his performance shouldn’t suffer due to the injury.

Anthony Rizzo– back tightness

Before the season we warned of Rizzo’s history of back injuries. Typically they pop up later in the season, but this time he blamed a hotel bed for his stint on the DL. It isn’t a serious issue, but this is something that could continue to reappear. Be prepared for him to miss a few more games later in the year with the same issue, but he’s still worth starting in all leagues whenever he is in the lineup. He’s been one of the most reliable fantasy players over the last five years.

Adam Eaton– left ankle sprain

When Eaton injured his left leg on a slide into home last week, it was a big scare because of his 2017 injury that included a torn ACL and meniscus in his knee in addition to a high ankle sprain. His latest injury is a bone bruise in his ankle, so it is unrelated. This is a painful injury to play through, so it’s no surprise that the Nationals decided to place him on the DL. They also want to be extra cautious with him as he is just a year removed from the injury. We are giving him a 2-3 week Optimal Recovery Time, so he should be back in your lineups in no time.


Hold (unless you’re desperate for their roster spot)

Rougned Odor– hamstring strain

Odor tweaked his hamstring last week and tried to play through it. As many have done before him, he quickly re-injured it and is now looking at a 3 week absence according to reports. Our analytics show a four week Optimal Recovery Time. This is a tricky injury, especially for a player like Odor. Large muscle injuries are highly recurrent, so he needs to take a month off now to ensure that he is healthy the rest of the season. He’s worth holding onto unless it’s going to leave you with a glaring hole on your roster until May.

Corey Knebel– hamstring tear

Ordinarily Knebel would be on our “hold no matter what” list, but he could be sidelined until close to the All Star break. It’s tough to hold onto a player for that long, although Knebel is worth it unless you’re totally desperate. Knebel suffered a partial hamstring tear while delivering a pitch last week. This is a very tough injury, and it will cause him to miss at least six weeks according to reports. Try to hold onto him- when he is healthy he can provide plenty of saves and strikeouts.

Drew Pomeranz– left forearm flexor strain

Pomeranz is making good progress in his recovery from a flexor strain in his left forearm. He will make his second rehab start on Friday and could rejoin the Red Sox rotation next week. Unless he suffers an unexpected setback, he should be rostered in most leagues. While his Injury Risk remains High, he will be good for quite a few wins if he can avoid another injury. Know that the risk is there, but there’s plenty of upside too.


DROP (unless you have an open DL spot)

Mark Melancon– right elbow flexor strain

Melancon still isn’t throwing and has a lengthy list of arm troubles in the last year. Don’t waste a roster spot on him. Even if he does return in a few months, his Injury Risk will remain incredibly high.

Steven Souza– pectoral strain

Souza was fortunate to escape with a pectoral strain and not a season-ending shoulder injury when he was hurt last month, but he still has a long way to go. Souza advanced to throwing at 150 feet and taking some swings in the cage, but he continues to deal with soreness. The longer he is out, the more likely a rehab assignment becomes. Sure, he’s good for home runs and steals if that’s what you need, but he isn’t worth holding onto at this point unless you’re fortunate enough to have a DL spot open.

Greg Bird– ankle surgery

We’ve heard this one before. Greg Bird is out following ankle surgery to remove a bone spur. There’s no telling when he will be back in the lineup, but even when he is back his ankle will remain a serious concern. The Yankees gave him a 6-8 week timeline. Ours is a bit longer due to his 2017 ankle problems. He’s a risky guy to waste a roster spot on.


Quick Hits: players who started the year on the DL

Madison Bumgarner: Hold (no matter what)

Daniel Murphy: Hold (no matter what)

Salvador Perez: Hold (no matter what)

Jake Lamb: Hold

Drew Pomeranz: Hold (unless you’re desperate for his roster spot)

Zach Britton: Drop (and try to pick back up in June)

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