MLB Injuries impact fantasy teams
A week before the 2021 season starts, White Sox's Eloy Jimenez ruptures a pectoral muscle trying to make a catch in the outfield; a 4 Category start is now out probably for the season. For those who haven't drafted their fantasy team yet, you need to drop Eloy from your draft list OR take him in the last rounds as an IR stash in case he can return before the end of the season. A healthy Eloy provides Power with average so HRS, RBIs, Runs and Batting Ave / On-Base Percentage. He didn't steal bases.
Tampa Bay's elite relief pitcher Nick Anderson suffered a partial tear of his elbow ligament and will be sidelined for months if he is able to heal without surgery (the current plan);
Toronto's Kirby Yates - a Closer - underwent Tommy John Surgery so is out for 2021
For those of us who have already drafted one of these players, it is to the waiver wire we must look for answers. I have Eloy in one league and I have Nick Anderson in 1 league. Eloy I chose to drop rather than wait for him to be designated as IR and replace him. I have no faith in his ability to recover this season and return healthy. Nick I am waiting for the Fantasy Team to show him as IR and I will place him on IR to see if he can recover - I'm not holding my breath though.
I never drafted Kirby Yates - I wasn't sold that his skills would let him keep the Closer job in Toronto. Jordon Romano has the skills to take over as Closer though Toronto may use a committee.
Before you replace your injured star, take a look at what your team needs are. Just because Eloy was a power bat and outfield doesn't mean you should replace him with a power bat or outfielder. Look to see where your team, minus the player you are replacing, is weakest. Maybe you need a Starting Pitcher? Or a player to give you Stolen Bases. Evaluate your team before you choose a replacement.
Next, evaluate the players on the waiver wire. Often I will simply look to get the BEST Player Available, regardless of position. Other times I will seek to fill a hole. In the case of Nick Anderson, I have enough Relief Pitching without him. In fact, Diego Castillo may get more save opportunities now since he won't be sharing those with Nick. So for that league I will either take another Starting Pitcher OR a hitter. I'm still evaluating until Nick is listed as IR.
In the league with Eloy, I also drafted NY Mets Starting Pitcher Carlos Carrasco who injured his hamstring. Since he was an early pick as a SP, and not yet designated for IR, I opted to " You have successfully created a waiver claim for Tony Gonsolin dropping Eloy Jiménez" Whenever the League designates Carlos is eligible for IR, I will replace him - maybe with another arm but maybe with another bat.
Whether you chose a "safer" pitcher or hitter off of waivers or take a chance on a younger player with upside, that will depend on the player you lost to injury and the team you have. With the season starting next week, if you have already drafted and are replacing an early round pick such as Eloy, you may want to "swing for the fences" by choosing an unproven player who has the potential to break out this season OR a former elite player who has fallen such as Ranger's Kris Davis - once a 40 HR threat. One potential player that may be on your waiver wire still is Rockies OF/2B Garrett Hampson. In many leagues he went undrafted. He has 20/30 potential and had a very good spring training.