This year has been an especially bad one for injuries, with some unlucky fantasy managers having already filled all of their IL and bench spots with injured players. The excess of injuries inevitably leads to some tough calls, as managers need to send some talented players to waivers to clear roster space for those needed right now.
Here is my best attempt to rank the current IL players in terms of their stashability (I made that word up)!
TO GOOD TO CUT
The following players do not need explanations. They are studs with estimated return times soon and must be rostered everywhere:
Jacob deGrom, Fernando Tatis Jr., Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Adalberto Mondesi, Cody Bellinger, Anthony Rendon, Byron Buxton, George Springer, Carlos Carrasco, Stephen Strasburg, Zac Gallen, Starling Marte.
A few notes on this group: Gallen may move down several tiers when his elbow strain is reassessed in two weeks. Carrasco is just 75 percent rostered and should be added where available. The two players in this tier who I would be happy to trade away at a discount are Yelich and Strasburg.
SHOULD LIKELY BE KEPT
Ketel Marte (2B/OF, 96 percent)
I’m not the biggest fan of Marte, who posted a .732 OPS last year and has one great season to his credit. Still, he is a good player who should rejoin a productive D-backs lineup in June.
Wil Myers (OF, 89 percent)
Myers was removed Tuesday due to a positive Covid-19 test and should return in approximately 10 days.
Eric Hosmer (1B, 87 percent)
Hosmer is in the same situation as Myers and should be retained in most leagues.
Anthony Santander (OF, 44 percent)
Santander is woefully under-rostered in Yahoo! leagues. The outfielder was terrific last year (.890 OPS) and should return in a couple weeks.
Ian Happ (OF, 41 percent)
Although he was off to a slow start, Happ has considerable talent. He could return from a rib injury this weekend.
Diego Castillo (RP, 78 percent)
I would keep Castillo in most situations, although I know that some points-league managers may have plenty of replacement options.
Framber Valdez (SP, 48 percent)
One of my favorite February sleepers, Valdez should finally make his 2021 debut in June. If fully recovered from a finger injury, Valdez could be a No. 2 mixed-league starter.
Noah Syndergaard (SP, 77 percent)
On the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery, Syndergaard should return to the Mets rotation at some point in June. I expect some bumps in the road when he returns, but the hulking righty is too talented to ignore.
Luis Severino (SP, 44 percent)
Severino is a little bit behind Syndergaard in terms of Tommy John recovery and is likely to debut around the end of June. But like Thor, Severino has too much potential to sit on waivers in most leagues.
Chris Sale (SP, 65 percent)
Sale is also coming back from Tommy John surgery but is a little bit behind Syndergaard and Severino. Still, I give Sale better odds of being a fantasy star when he returns.
Jazz Chisholm (2B, 77 percent)
Chisholm was off to an exciting start (.926 OPS, 7 SB) and should return in the coming days. I’m not sure that he can keep this productivity up, but he is worth the wait.
C.J. Cron (1B, 52 percent)
Losing Cron at the start of a homestand was frustrating, but he should return in May and provide solid production when playing at Coors Field.
ONLY IF YOU HAVE IL ROOM
Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B, 78 percent)
Hayes was surprisingly effective as a rookie last year, but he was not guaranteed to match that performance as a sophomore. The youngster will return from a wrist injury in June and should take up an IL but not a bench spot.
Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF, 47 percent)
Kirilloff has a bright future but also an unknown timetable with a wrist injury. He could be back soon or have surgery, the latter of which would send him to waivers in all leagues.
J.D. Davis (3B, 46 percent)
One of the few Mets who got off to a strong start, Davis should return from a finger injury in the next two weeks.
Jesus Luzardo (SP, 70 percent)
Luzardo is testing our patience after getting off to a slow start and then injuring his hand while playing video games. But a dominant stretch remains among the wide range of options for his summer months.
Elieser Hernandez (SP, 43 percent)
One of my favorite preseason sleepers, Hernandez could return to the rotation by the end of this month.
Tony Gonsolin (SP/RP, 40 percent)
With Dustin May out for the season, the door is wide open for Gonsolin to join the rotation when he returns later this month. And Dodgers starters typically offer plenty of value.
NOT WORTH THE WAIT
Luis Robert (OF, 75 percent)
An elite talent, Robert should miss most of the season with a hip flexor strain.
Colin Moran (1B, 42 percent)
Moran was off to a solid start and may not miss too much time with a groin injury but lacks the upside to be stashed in most circumstances.
Travis d’Arnaud (C, 41 percent)
After undergoing thumb surgery, d’Arnaud will miss most of the season.
Mike Soroka (SP, 60 percent)
Soroka has been delayed in his recovery from shoulder and Achilles injury and is now set for exploratory surgery in the coming days. With no timetable and a lack of elite upside, Soroka can be dropped.
Omar Narvaez (C, 39 percent)
Narvaez was in the midst of a bounce-back season before landing on the IL. His ceiling is too low to stash him in one-catcher leagues.
Eloy Jimenez (OF, 32 percent)
Like his teammate Robert, Jimenez will miss most or all of the season due to injury and should be dropped everywhere.
Marco Gonzales (SP, 50 percent)
Gonzales isn’t a difference-maker and wasn’t off to a great start. He can be cut and reassessed when he returns.