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Finding Fantasy Baseball Value on Disabled List

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Finding Value on the Disabled List

Rick Scuteri-USA Today Sports

The Disabled List is a funny thing. Intrinsically speaking, it’s a sign of disaster. There’s not much worse than when one of your early draft picks pulls up lame with a tweaked hammy. I would know: I picked Jacoby Ellsbury in the first round last year.

But metaphorically — and optimistically — speaking, the DL can symbolize hope. Or if not, at least it can serve as a valid excuse for your terrible fantasy team. “Hey, once Ellsbury returns I’ll be golden,” I heard myself saying on numerous occasions last year. However, I did have a point: once he came back, I made a quick streamline to the playoffs

As long as your league has a DL spot — I’m not too sure why it wouldn’t — there is a lot of value to be had by picking up and storing the right guy and unleashing an ace-in-the-hole and opening a can of whoop-ace.

So, while everyone else is caught in Opening Week hype (and rightfully so), let’s set our sights forward six weeks and establish the ace-in-the-hole worth having. To keep the list reasonable (and under 750 words), we’ll exclude those guys expected back soon as well as those guys you probably shouldn’t have on your roster in the first place (sorry, but if they don’t appear, you can ignore them). All we can do currently is look at each injured player objectively and forecast how long it’ll take him to get back on the field and how his respective injury might affect his performance upon return.

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Derek Jeter

capt jeets
Derick Hingle-USA Today Sports

No living organism is impervious to that inevitable effect of time. I understand it was a pretty freaky accident when Jeter hurt his ankle, but that’s because he was nursing a prior injury—a situation he’s not unfamiliar with. ESPN’s Stephania Bell says that even when Jeter returns, he won’t feel comfortable for at least eight weeks. The potential lingering, tied to his age, has me suspicious of a continued resurgence. And trust me, this hurts, I’m a Yankee fan.

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Adam Eaton

Kelley C. Cox-USA Today Sports

It seemed oddly forward for Arizona to bail on the stud Justin Upton like they did, but the move attests to team’s faith in the 24-year-old. Eaton’s main tool is speed, but that unfortunately hasn’t been translating to consistent success on MLB basepaths. Despite a respectable 76 percent (78-for-103) success rate stealing bases in the Minors from 2011-12, Eaton was only 2-for-5 during his brief stint with Arizona last year, and was only 3-for-7 in spring training before his UCL sprain. This injury could linger, but various reports say Eaton is healing faster than initially presumed and some have him pegged for a return as early as mid-April. He might be a cheap source of speed and batting average once he returns, especially if he can fix his base-stealing woes. Your best option for speed.

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Mark Teixeira

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

If there is one law about injuries, it’s that wrist injuries sap power. And when the power is sapped from a guy who had his lowest HR% (HR/total at-bats) since 2007, it has the potential to be unsightly. Teixeira also has the longest timetable to return on this list, so it’s safe to say I’m not too high on him this season.

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Curtis Granderson

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

Granderson has a fracture in his forearm, and it happened all the way back during his first at-bat of spring. There are no joints or muscles to worry about, so once Granderson is back, he’ll be back as the regular Curtis Granderson. If you need power, try and grab Granderson from your wire or from some impatient Mets-fan owner. Just be ready to eat some batting average. Your best option for power and speed.

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David Freese

Jeff Curry-USA Today Sports

They should name it Freese List.

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Logan Morrison

Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

I hate to end today’s column negatively, but I hate Logan Morrison’s Twitter account. Something about it makes me think he had some rough high school years and is just getting used to people not hating him all the time. Ironically, that’s what makes me hate him. Morrison’s another one who just can’t consistently stay on the field, but I’ll like him once he’s healthy because I’m almost 100 percent positive that he’s available for free on your league’s waiver wire. Once he’s back, pick him up for some cheap power and a batting average that won’t make you cry and plot to kill me. Just don’t follow him on Twitter.