Injury Report – Dynasty Implications: Danny Salazar, Carlos Rodon, Kevin Kiermaier, and Steven Matz
Dismissed from the Doctor’s office – Players I am giving up on
The first report of problems came in February when it was divulged that Salazar experienced shoulder pain in January. He has progressed as planned through a throwing program but has only increased his pitch-count to 20 as of last week. I think Salazar gets one more shot in the rotation in 2018 and then we can all come to terms with the fact that he’s a reliever with shaky command.
Shoulder injuries in MLB pitchers are worrisome, and rotator cuff strains re-occur with repetitive use athletes. I would estimate that if he pitches 80-100 innings in 2019, the Indians will consider it a successful return (as a starter). Salazar missed most of June & July of 2017 with right shoulder soreness. For those keeping track, Salazar pitched 103 innings in ’17 and 137.3 in 2016. The bullpen is paging, and it won’t be long before he answers the call full-time. Instead, target a young A’s pitcher that will become a fantasy ace (details here).
Few players pitch near the max velocity as often as Steven Matz. To add insult to injury, his ‘max velocity’ keeps declining. I know he is young–he’ll turn 27 in late May–but two elbow surgeries, declining velocity, and a 5.46 FIP in his first five starts tell the story. Yes, we only have a small sample size in 2018, but I believe the 132.3 innings pitched in 2016 will be the most Matz even tallies in a season.
His fastball hasn’t graded out as a plus pitch since ’16, and he’s completely ditched his slider in ’18. Maybe he can regain form and contribute as a reliever, but even that may be a stretch. Not all surgeries are successful. Wheeler’s TJ has required two years to heal, and Matz’s elbow may never be strong enough to pitch to his full potential. I cut Matz in a very competitive 12-team before the season. Call it confirmation bias if you want, but I don’t see the skills he once had.
I know the skills have BRIEFLY flashed here and there, but in dynasty formats, it’s time to look for speed elsewhere. For the third year in a row, Kiermaier won’t log 500 plate appearances. Hand, thumb, foot, hip, and neck injuries have slowed him down at different points in his career. This story is beginning to sound like-gulp-Troy Tulowitzki. There, I said it.
He’s a marginal player, on a terrible team, in a terrible ballpark.* Another player who flirted with what could have been, but stop hanging onto this dream.
*Ed. Note- the views of Dr. Mike Tanner on the merits of Tropicana Field do not necessarily reflect those of his editor, who lives in Tampa and on whom the Trop has grown. They probably reflect the views of the rest of The Dynasty Guru and moste of baseball, though.
Last Chance to Buy – Medical Clearance Coming Soon!
After being coddled by the White Sox all off-season, Rodon’s rehab outcomes are excellent. Quiet, progressive, and without setbacks. Rodon’s profiled a lot another young lefty who lacked a little command early in his career, Clayton Kershaw. The skills are there, the injury was minor, and the team has played their hand correctly. If the White Sox were competing, my guess is Rodon would be pitching already. The offseason surgery did not repair anything, and many pitchers return to spring training with similar injuries. Instead, management took a very, very conservative route and Rodon should be fully tuned up when he returns.