Mike Trout (OF, Angels) – (Start)
Trout was activated from the DL, played all three weekend games and went 6-for-11 (.545) with a triple and four runs scored. The triple is a good sign that his wrist is improving and closer to fully healed. He is still at High Risk for injury, but his Health Performance Factor (HPF) is Above Average. Eric Young Jr., who’s been playing centerfield in Trout’s absence, will stay in the lineup and move to left field for the injured Justin Upton, who was placed on the DL over the weekend with a lacerated finger.
George Springer (OF, Astros) – (Cautious Start)
Springer sat out his sixth consecutive game on Sunday but Astros manager AJ Hinch told reporters that Springer is expected to be in the starting lineup on Monday when they face Oakland. Springer is dealing with a quadriceps injury, but he is not expected to need a trip to the disabled list. Inside Injuries calculated an August 27 return to health date, so he should be ready to play. Still, Springer’s Injury Risk remains High as he also recently came back from a thumb sprain.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (SS, Blue Jays) – (Start)
Prior to going on the disabled list at the end of July with a ankle and knee injuries, Gurriel was in the midst of an incredible stretch of hitting in which he batted .423 with four home runs, 14 RBI and nine runs scored. He had 11 consecutive multi-hit games and a hit in every game he started among the 17 games played. The lone game with no hit was one in which he made only a pinch-hit appearance. According to Inside Injuries’ algorithm, Gurriel’s had ample time to heal and is currently an Elevated Risk for injury with a Peak HPF. It’s a very safe bet that the Blue Jays will have his bat in the lineup going forward. Aledmys Diaz will cede the starting SS job to Gurriel and Devon Travis could lose some playing time at second base, as he will likely platoon with Diaz there.
Mark Trumbo (DH, Orioles) – (Sit)
Trumbo missed his sixth consecutive game with a right knee injury that has troubled him for a good portion of the season. Since the Orioles are on a pace to lose upwards of 110 games, Trumbo is expected to opt for surgery that will end his misery season. Sit Trumbo until his decision is finalized, then be ready to drop and replace him.
Tommy Pham (OF, Rays) – (Cautious Start)
Pham was activated from the disabled list on Saturday and immediately made his impact felt with a seventh inning home run in a victory over the Red Sox. He contributed another pair of hits on Sunday. Pham has battled several foot and ankle injuries this season, and he recently missed three games with a dislocated finger. Inside Injuries’ algorithm calculated a September 11 return to health date, so Pham’s early return could impact his performance, thus his HPF is currently Poor and his Overall Injury Risk remains High. If you’re starting Pham on your fantasy squad, be advised to have a backup plan in place.
Joey Gallo (OF/3B, Rangers) – (Cautious Start)
Gallo rolled his ankle during last Friday’s game and was expected to sit out Saturday’s game. However, he made a pinch-hit appearance Saturday and started Sunday. Inside Injuries calculated a September 7 Return to Health date for the slugger, so his early return dictates caution going forward. Gallo is at High Risk for injury and is carrying a Poor HPF going forward. At the very least, Gallo fantasy owners should have a backup plan in place
Aaron Judge (OF, Yankees) – (Sit)
We are already more than four weeks into what was supposed to be a three-to-four-week healing process for Judge’s wrist fracture. However, Judge is still experiencing pain in the wrist and is unable to resume swinging a bat or participate in fielding drills. It’s exactly what Inside Injuries initially said would happen – he has an Optimal Recovery Time of seven weeks. Unfortunately, Judge appears to be on a pace to return to the Yankees during the final week of regular season play or the first week of the playoffs. Regardless of when Judge returns, he will likely struggle to hit for power. Wrist injuries are notorious for sapping a hitter’s power, and it can take several months to completely heal and allow a player to return to previous production levels.
Gary Sanchez (C, Yankees) – (Sit)
Yankees manager Aaron Boone delivered the bad news about Aaron Judge but was more optimistic about the potential for Gary Sanchez to return. Sanchez has been taking dry swings. “His conditioning is as good as it’s been all season,” Boone said. He won’t be back this week, but he could be close, and his injury numbers (IRC & HPF) are slowly improving as he approaches his Optimal Recovery Time.
Aaron Sanchez (SP, Blue Jays) – (Start)
Sanchez was activated Saturday and pitched that night against the Philadelphia Phillies. He allowed six earned runs on 10 hits with a pair each of walks and strikeouts. Toronto ended up winning the game, but Sanchez didn’t figure in the decision. Although it was not a strong outing it appears that Sanchez didn’t suffer any setbacks or reoccurrence of the blister problems on his finger. Sanchez is scheduled to take his regular turn later this week and will remain in the starting rotation. Jaime Garcia was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays to create a roster spot for Sanchez.
Marcus Stroman (SP, Yankees) – (Start)
Stroman has been sidelined by a blister issue on his pitching hand, a problem he dealt with at the beginning of the season. Inside Injuries calculated an August 28 Return to Health date for him with a corresponding Below Average HPF. He will remain at High Risk for Injury. Stroman is expected to return to his previous levels of productivity in short order, but the recurrence of blisters could happen at any time.
Michael Fulmer (SP, Tigers) – (Start)
Fulmer was activated from the disabled list Friday and started the night game against the Chicago White Sox. Fulmer gave Detroit 4.2 solid innings of two-hit ball with four strikeouts and a walk after spending the better part of a month on the DL with an oblique strain. Although he is still a High Risk for injury (oblique strains are highly recurrent), Inside Injuries’ algorithm calculates an Above Average HPF for Fulmer going forward. Fulmer has a 4.32 ERA for the season with a strikeout rate of 7.5 K/9, so fantasy owners in need of strikeouts with league average ratio stats can find value in the 25-year-old Tigers hurler.
Eduardo Rodriguez (SP, Red Sox) – (Cautious Start)
Rodriguez (ankle) is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for the Red Sox’ Double-A Portland affiliate Monday. Pending the results of that outing, Rodriguez will likely pitch next on September 1, when the Red Sox face the Chicago White Sox. Fantasy owners should monitor this rehab start and activate Rodriguez if the Red Sox follow through with their plan. The southpaw has a record of 11-3 with a 3.44 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 9.46 K/9 with opponents batting just .235 off him this season, making him a solid pitcher to acquire for the final month of the season.
Tyler O’Neill (OF, Cardinals) – (Start)
The loss of Marcell Ozuna has created space in the Cardinals’ outfield for O’Neill to be the everyday left fielder. For the season, O’Neill is batting .282/.315/.529 with six home runs, 15 RBI, 19 Runs, and a pair of stolen bases in just 92 PA. Yairo Munoz may occasionally play left but he is primarily an infielder, and O’Neill is the better all-around prospect in terms of raw hitting ability and power. O’Neill has fantasy value in NL-only and deeper mixed formats.
Wilson Ramos (C, Phillies) – (Cautious Start)
Ramos returned to the Phillies’ lineup after just a few days off to rest his injured hand. Inside Injuries’ algorithm calculated a August 29 Return to Health date for Ramos, which means he remains at High Risk for injury with a Poor HPF but will quickly improve in the next few days. Since the trade that brought him to Philadelphia, Ramos has been scorching hot at the plate, batting .480/.462/.880 in his first 26 PA. Ramos owners will want him active, but be advised that his current success could be short-lived.
Jay Bruce (OF, Mets) – (Start)
The injury to Brandon Nimmo has yielded playing time to Jay Bruce, who was activated from the disabled list on August 24 after more than two months sidelined by a hamstring injury. Bruce has three hits in 11 PA thus far with a double and a home run. It appears that Bruce will be splitting the right field duty with Jose Bautista, which greatly diminishes the fantasy value of both players. Fantasy owners should act accordingly.
*By Tim McCullough