Fantasy owners can only hope the DL stint is the minimum 15-day variety, but often times that isn’t the case and players end up having to get dropped because they can’t afford to wait for Player X to recover. Some fantasy leagues don’t offer a DL slot for some strange reasons and/or the DL spots are filled with players out for a lesser amount of time.
The following players have been out for some time but will soon be making their return to the field and should be returning to fantasy rosters.
Michael Pineda, NYY SP
Pineda began pitching in simulated games recently and should be back in the Yankees’ rotation later this month. The 24-year old was traded from Seattle to New York for Jesus Montero in January of last season and hasn’t been able to provide the Yankees much of a return given his lengthy stint on the DL. Pineda was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA for the Mariners as a rookie in 2011 and offers some promise for fantasy teams that may be in need of some pitching help.
There aren’t many lines of work in which you can get away with missing time because of a broken fingernail, but Pineda left his first simulated game early for that reason. Pineda was the No. 2 guy in Seattle behind King Felix and will most likely find himself pitching against the No. 3 or No. 4 guys for the Yankees. I don’t expect Pineda to quickly adjust after missing so much time, but he shouldn’t be a guy left on waivers when New York decided to start him. I’d expect a record around .500 with a strikeout total on par with his innings pitched.
Corey Hart, Mil 1B/OF
The Brewers first baseman may have the same rehabilitation trainer as Derrick Rose, but the slow recovery from a knee injury has been a steady one for Hart. He’s missed all of 2013 and should be back in action later this month. Hart is now at the point in the recovery process that he could begin his minor-league rehab assignment as early as next week. With that said, the veteran could be in the Brewers’ lineup mid-June. If he’s available, put him on your roster before someone else does.
In the last three seasons Hart has averaged a .279 batting average, 29 home runs and over 80 runs and runs batted in. With plenty of season left and a healthy knee, Hart should be able to hit around that average while hitting 19 or 20 homers and 50-60 runs and RBIs the rest of the way. He may have already been picked him up in some leagues given the information above, but if you search your waiver wire and find him, you should definitely take advantage of the situation. I’d position Hart above guys like Melky Cabrera, Vernon Wells, Angel Pagan and Nick Swisher for those wondering who to drop for him.
Brandon Beachy, Atl SP
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez recently set the timeline for Beachy’s return (June 18) for mid-June and he’s available in a third of fantasy leagues right now. In 2010 and 2011, Beachy was the hottest pitching prospect in Atlanta besides closer Craig Kimbrel. Beachy struck hitters out as often as the earth rotated on it’s axis, but his 2012 season was ended early by a torn UCL and Tommy John surgery. In the 13 starts he had in 2012 he finished with a 5-5 record to go along with his 2.00 ERA.
Beachy is expected to pitch two or three more times at the minor league level before returning to the Atlanta rotation and you shouldn’t wait too long for the 26-year old pitcher to produce. Beachy will be pitching for an even better offense than he did two seasons ago and given his age, the recovery would be that of Tim Hudson and not Mike Hampton when they went through similar injuries. He’s my favorite guy on this list and before you read this article my waiver claim on him will have hopefully gone through.
Derek Jeter, NYY SS
Given the recent news of Jeter being allowed to play catch, he is much further away from starting at this point. Although he is 38, the shortstop is a position of weakness among most rosters and adding him sooner rather than later would be in the best interest of most teams seeking a guy in six-spot.
Jeter has been recovering from an ankle injury that is thought to keep him out until July so you don’t necessarily need to pick him up now. If you have the free DL spot and you’re stuck with guys like Yunel Escobar, Brandon Crawford, Jimmy Rollins or Elvis Andrus at short stop take advantage of your DL.
Josh Johnson, Tor SP
Johnson is set to return from the DL on Tuesday and will be offering his owners a pair of starts this week. Many teams will already have him stashed on their roster but for those who couldn’t wait, a portion of leagues may be able to find him on the waiver wire. His first four starts of the season weren’t pretty and the only way he can go is up given his 0-1 record and 6.86 ERA.
Have any questions or disagree with my take? Let me know. You can reach me on Twitter @ThisJustM or leave a comment below.