Exploiting Injuries to Build a Dynasty Monster
Injuries are a part of fantasy that everyone anticipates. But they’re not always handled in the best ways by every owner. Today, I’d like to talk about how you can use this mishandling of player injuries to your advantage.
Building a Monster
One of the most critical aspects of dynasty is understanding your competitive window. Either you are competing for the title or your building. If you are in-between or not committed to one or the other, you’re likely spinning your wheels. Injuries and your competing owners’ lack of patience are excellent circumstances to exploit when competing or building. Let’s go over some of the particulars of what it means to be “competing” vs. “building.”
Competing – All In
If competing in ’18, it is more valuable to pick up a hot-hitting Jesus Aguilar than to roster Bo Bichette. Bichette is in Double-A and will be a tremendous player by all accounts, but COMPETING in 2018 means you’re all in. Trade him to the highest bitter and land an ace or proven hitter.
Competing – The minor injury that is perceived as severe
Example: Dee Gordon’s “broken toe” – Diagnosed with a ‘fracture’ in his big toe after hobbling to home plate on Sunday, many may think Gordon will be out 6-8 weeks (typical healing time for a fracture). However, he ran home on Sunday. You can’t run with a true ‘break’ in a bone, so this is more likely a stress injury, which can resolve in as little as two weeks. Granted, Dee Gordon won’t be cheap, but even a slight discount in a competing year may push you over your opponent in the stolen base category. If you’re not sure, hit me on twitter (@DrMikeTanner) or some of the other writers on our team; we’ve got you covered.
Competing – The owner tired of waiting
Examples: Greg Bird & Daniel Murphy. If you follow my writing at all, you’d understand that Murphy would not return until June, but thanks to a GM blowing smoke in spring training many owners hoped he’d be ready in April. Seeing that DL spot clogged up all season as other players go down does something to an owner. It might be mid-June, but he’ll contribute to the 2nd half for your team’s season if you land him now.
Bird probably won’t stay healthy the rest of the season, but a power lefty hitting in a ridiculous lineup in Yankee stadium? Um, yes please, don’t mind if I do. I won’t get emotionally attached to that swing (remember the foot is a time bomb), but I’ll ride the power while it’s available.
Building – Finding your Pearls
When you’re building, remember that you are just sorting clams and not everyone will contain a pearl. You want to lock up a star at each position, not a decent starter, but a real star. Be prepared to cut bait to get a blue chipper when you are entering your competitive window.
Building – The Forgotten Fallen
Examples: A.J. Puk & Julio Urias – If you’re in a 12 or 15-team league and you’re in the building phase, are A.J Puk or Julio Urias sitting on the wire? Puk will be a popular commodity this off-season as he prepares to return. Urias had shoulder surgery (insert scary face here), but the Dodgers have taken it very, very slow and he’s only 21! It seems like he’s been a top prospect forever, but younger kids heal better than the older guys. Brent Honeywell? If your competitive window is 1-2 years out, elite, young pitchers who should be a prime target. What if you had traded for Noah Syndergaard the minute the news came out that he’d miss the rest of the season last year, even if you paid a reasonable price. Teams that are competing may accept a B-level pitcher who is wasting away on your squad in a building year.
Building – Know to Sell Chronic Soft Tissue Injuries
Examples: Clayton Kershaw, Danny Salazar & Daniel Norris. Kershaw peaked two years ago; he won’t be in the top tier next year, get as much value after one of his next good starts. Salazar & Norris are different levels of players but have one thing in common. Their bodies cannot tolerate the physical demands of starting. I love watching Norris pitch, especially when he’s angry & being aggressive, but it always ends the same way: some type of soft tissue injury. The same goes for Salazar, but he teases owners in an almost unforgivable way. He looks like an ace, loses his command and then his health. Find your pearls: don’t miss out on adding a Luis Severino because you are holding an injured Danny Salazar.