Nick Castellanos (3B/OF, Detroit Tigers)
Castellanos returned from a Grade 1 knee sprain and promptly hit is fourth HR of the season. His usual HR production is a bit off from last year, but he is hitting the ball well. However, Inside Injuries is still listing Castellanos as being at High Risk for further injury because he has returned about a week earlier than our algorithm’s Healthy Return Date of May 23. Therefore, Castellanos is carrying a Below Average Health Performance Factor for the time being. Prior to the injury, Castellanos was slashing .321/.379/.500 and he’s doing slightly better than that now. You can put him back in your lineups, but if you picked up another outfielder while he was hurt, you might want to hang onto him in case his knee becomes a problem again.
Ryan Braun (OF, Milwaukee Brewers)
Playing with injuries is par for the course for Braun, and as usual, he’s been doing so for most of the season. He’s had a calf strain and more recently a mid-back strain that has caused him to miss two games already this week. To date, he is batting .222/.368/.413, but his performance has declined in the month of May to .121/.167/.242. However, he’s made the most of his at bats in the clutch, where he is leading the Brewers with a .321 average, four homers and 19 RBIs. Right now, Inside Injuries has Braun listed at a Below Average HPF and at High Risk for further injury. Our algorithm indicates May 21 as his Optimal Return to Health date, so keep him benched until his back issue resolves and he’s back in the lineup regularly.
The Dodgers welcomed the return of Justin Turner, their best hitter of last season. Turner suffered a broken wrist during Spring Training and has missed the first 40 games of the season. While Turner’s return is good news for Fantasy owners, they must temper their expectations. Wrist injuries tend to sap a hitter’s power, even after they’ve reached their Optimal Return to Health date as Turner has. The most recent comparable player to compare to Turner is Atlanta Braves 1B, Freddie Freeman. Last season, Freeman was tearing the cover off the ball at a torrid pace of .341/.361/.748 with 14 HRs in just 165 PA. After his return on July 4, Freeman batted just .292/.375/.515 with another 14 HRs over 349 PA. Therefore, you should expect a reduction in both batting average and power from Turner for several months and possibly the rest of the season.
Yoenis Cespedes (OF, NY Mets)
We hate to say we told you so, but our previous assessment of Cespedes has been spot-on. He is playing through a mild hip flexor strain now. He’s missed several games with the injury in recent days and is only available for pinch-hitting duty and may go on the disabled list if he doesn’t improve soon according to Mets manager Mickey Callaway. To his credit, Cespedes has continued to produce when he plays with a .324/.385/.588 triple slash over 11 May games. You may find it difficult to trade him now that it appears he is headed to the disabled list, but if the opportunity strikes we recommend you get whatever you can for him before it’s too late.