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Monday, March 08, 2010

Fantastic Thoughts: QuickNotes on Spring Training Injuries

Russell Martin - Los Angeles Dodgers - Catcher

It may sound odd, but I actually think this is good news.  It was clear that Trane was struggling with a lingering injury throughout 2009.  Obviously, he's probably the league's premier "gamer," a Charlie Hustle-type who resists taking even routine days off (he's average 150 games a season over the last three years, easily tops at his position).  As a result, his offensive production has suffered in the second half, even in his best seasons ('07 & '08).  If this injury allows Joe Torre to give him more frequent rest in April and May, I think fantasy owners will see dividends in his overall production.  Russell's definitely getting drafted like a top five catcher, despite his off year in '09.  Hopefully this news will push him down a rung, behind guys like Miguel Montero, Kurt Suzuki, and Mike Napoli.  At that price, I'd draft him with gusto.

Alex Gordon - Kansas City Royals - Third Base

Gordon was a tempting "sleeper" pick at a shallow position prior to breaking his thumb.  Now, he won't find his way onto any of my teams.  Hand injuries have lingering effects on production, even once the player is deemed fully healthy.  The upside for fantasy owners, especially in deep leagues, is that this assures that both Josh Fields and Alberto Callaspo get regular at-bats.  Callaspo was K.C.'s second most productive hitter in '09 (which is, granted, like being the second best show on TNT).  He's got multiple position eligibility and thankfully, in fantasy, the fact that he makes Skip Schumaker look like a natural infielder doesn't effect you.

Josh Hamilton - Texas Rangers - Outfield

Hamilton's shoulder issues are definitely driving down his price in many leagues.  I think you've got to treat him as you would Carlos Beltran, a guy who's likely to miss as much as half of the season, but who could provide elite production for an extended stretch.  I wouldn't be surprised if both Hamilton and Beltran make at least 120 starts.  If either of these guys is available 100 picks into your draft (or for $12-$15 in a standard auction), it's well worth the gamble, just make sure sure you also select a solid sixth outfielder.

Jose Reyes - New York Mets - Shortstop

If you were willing to gamble on Reyes last Friday, no reason to change your mind based on the recent news.  His thyroid condition, whatever it is, is highly unlikely to have any effect on his career, outside costing him a few Spring Training games.  You can only hope that it drives some other owner to caution and provides a small discount.  For my, personally, I wasn't willing to pay the premium on Reyes last week and unless he drops dramatically, I'll still be hesitant.

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