As is the case with many fantasy baseball owners, early-season injuries - especially to Ryan Zimmerman and Brett Gardner - have ravaged a few of my squads. Luckily, outside of extremely deep formats and our KFFL-hosted leagues, we have disabled list spots.
Zimm grim again
Even more luckily, some of the bigger industry games have an unlimited amount of DL spots. My Tout Wars mixed squad has five DL inhabitants. My LABR mixed, seven. Not shockingly, I sit in the middle of the pack or worse in both as of today.
We by default look at a player being a 15-day-or-longer observer as a crippling tragedy. When losing big-investment commodities like Zimmerman and Gardner, it makes sense. These are guys you need to carry your team, so any absence is detrimental as, in theory, you'd fall behind the statistical race.
But it's not damning in every way: Especially if those players were struggling, removing them from consideration early in the campaign can actually help you build depth for when (if?) they return. It at least increases the players you get to hold and dissect as you determine your long-term fortunes and strategy.
DL players: Gardner, Zimmerman, Jason Bay, Victor Martinez (added as DL spec anyway), Jorge De La Rosa.
Depth acquired: Henry Rodriguez (JDLR, 4/9), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Gardner, 4/23), Jake Arrieta (V-Mart, 4/23), Matt Thornton (Bay, 4/30) and Jack Hannahan (Zimmerman, 4/30)
Standing: 10th of 15 | Underperforming core players: Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Alexei Ramirez, Jayson Werth, Ike Davis, Tim Lincecum
DL players: Gardner, Zimmerman, De La Rosa, Grady Sizemore, Tim Stauffer, Sergio Santos, Brad Lidge
Depth acquired: Ross Detwiler (JDLR, 4/9), Jason Hammel (Stauffer, 4/9), Michael Saunders (Sizemore, 4/9), Jon Rauch (Santos, 4/23) Pedro Strop (Lidge, 4/30), Jake Westbrook (Zimmerman, 4/30)
Standing: 7th of 15 | Underperforming core players: Joey Votto, Ike Davis, Max Scherzer
(OK, so the likes of Hannahan and Saunders aren't exactly world-beaters. But buoys are useful, too.)
You'd be surprised how often managers with healthy, performing teams find themselves getting complacent early on and don't account for weak spots down the road. Conversely and indirectly, injuries before the summer hits can force action and deeper analysis of your team.
Decisions on who to keep could eventually become difficult, and of course, if some of these injuries drag on, I'll need to take more drastic measures to boost my chances of winning. But when absorbing voluminous medical charts like these, don't write off the benefits of expanding your personnel possibilities for the remainder of the season.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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