The 2014 baseball season has given fantasy owners a lot of questions and very little answers. Can Prince Fielder get back to superstar status now that he’s in Texas? Who is the No. 2 second baseman? Are any New York Yankees hitters (beside Jacoby Ellsbury) worth drafting? All of these and more have fantasy players searching the Internet far and wide for the right answer.
However, there is a bigger question left unanswered. How will the players who have been known to be injury prone fair in the 2014 season? Will they be able to play 158-160 games or will most of their time be spent in the trainer’s room? The only way to find out is to watch this season play out. But here are three players that have owners concerned leading up to the 2014 draft.
Troy Tulowitzki: In his eight-year career, Tulowitzki has not played over 160 games; his highest was 155 in 2007. Over the last five years, Tulo has suffered from some high-impact injuries. Not impactful because contact was made, but because the injuries impacted the Colorado Rockies and fantasy teams alike. In 2008, he tore his left quad and played in 101 games. Four years later, he suffered a left groin injury and played in just 47 games. Last season, he fractured a right rib and missed four weeks.
Tulo was playing well in the early part of the 2013 season, but the injury lingered for the rest of the season. He had long stretches of games without a home run or RBI. Because of the lack of depth at the shortstop position, Tulo is still at the top of the list. If you end up drafting him, just know that you can get either 50 or 130 games from him. A full season of play is very unlikely.
Matt Kemp: Kemp has also been around for eight seasons. However, he’s played in a lot more games that Tulowitzki. From 2008 to 2011, Kemp missed only 11 total games. He played in all 162 games not that long ago (2010). But what is just four years ago seems like forever. Due to various injuries, he has missed 145 games in the last two seasons combined. In 2013, Kemp suffered from an ankle injury. What was supposed to be a short-term injury kept Kemp out of the playoffs. He also missed time with a hamstring injury early in the season
Kemp is on the decline as far as his stats go, and a lot of that has to do with the lack of playing time. In a dangerous Los Angeles Dodgers lineup, Kemp can still provide the power numbers, but that’s all he is. He’s still a top-20 outfielder, so he’s draftable. But just like with Tulo, Kemp’s season can be over in a blink of an eye. I would pass on Kemp and draft Starling Marte or Wil Myers as a No. 2 outfielder.
Stephen Strasburg: Strasburg was supposed to take the MLB by storm. No player has received as much hype as he did leading up to his debut. His rookie season was cut way too short after being placed on the DL with an inflamed shoulder in July 2010. He returned, but it didn’t last long as it was revealed he would require Tommy John Surgery. Strasburg came back in September of 2011. He then had an excellent 2012 season, but the innings limit kept Strasburg’s outings to six or seven innings.
While Strasburg is a couple of years removed from surgery, there is always the risk of his arm acting up again. When healthy, Strasburg can be the most dangerous pitcher in the game. He’s a top-10 fantasy pitcher and should be drafted as one. However, if you do draft him, make sure you have good depth because he could easily take residence in your DL slot.