Oh, the pain!

Morales_injury.jpg

By Zach Steinhorn

Injuries. They can mean the difference between a first and
fifth place finish, and the most frustrating thing is that they are totally out
of our control. Sure, we can try to improve our odds of making it through the
fantasy season relatively healthy by avoiding injury-prone players on draft
day, but sometimes it just isn’t meant to be. Here’s a look at five players who
saw their 2010 campaign come to an end under rather fluky circumstances.

 

Kendry Morales  1B  Angels 

Coming off a breakout 2009 campaign, Morales was well on his
way towards establishing himself as one of the game’s elite first basemen
before disaster struck. Only if Kendry’s deep fly ball had not cleared the
fence on the afternoon of May 29, he would still be playing today. Instead, a
walk-off grand slam led to a jubilant celebration which led to a fractured leg
which ended his season. Tough way to lose your fourth round pick. The good news
is that Morales should be 100 percent healthy for the start of 2011 and will be
available at a discount. He’s definitely someone to target.

 

Dustin Pedroia  2B  Red Sox

Make no mistake, getting hit by a pitch hurts. But 95
percent of the time, the batter grimaces for a minute or so, trots to first
base and is later listed as day-to-day. Not in the case of Pedroia, who after
getting plunked on the foot by a Jonathan Sanchez pitch, immediately landed on
the DL. Owners of the scrappy second baseman were all smiles upon his return to
Boston’s lineup
in mid-August, but the good feeling lasted just two games. Back to the DL he
went, and this time it was for good. Elite middle infielders are so hard to
find in fantasy that I don’t see Pedroia falling too much in drafts next year,
but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take him. Just be willing to pay full
price.

 

Jake Peavy  SP  White Sox

After looking like his old dominant self during his three
starts with the South Siders last September, Peavy proved that he was fully
recovered from the ankle injury that sidelined him for a good chunk of the 2009
season. The former Cy Young award winner instantly became a mid-round sleeper
target for 2010. Owners who took a chance on him are surely kicking themselves
now. Not only was he mediocre in 17 starts this year, posting a 7-6 record and
a 4.63 ERA, but in July the injury bug struck yet again as a detached shoulder
muscle ended his season. Peavy says he’ll be ready in time for spring training,
but you’re better off turning to other options next year. Pitchers coming back
from shoulder surgery generally do not make for smart investments.

 

Ricky Nolasco  SP  Marlins

Now this one is flat-out bizarre. Just when Nolasco owners
were starting to gain some confidence that he was finally putting his
early-season inconsistency behind him, having recorded nine quality starts in
his last 12 outings, he suffers a torn meniscus. How, you might ask? While tying
his shoes. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. Sabermetric gurus will once
again be drooling over the K/BB specialist heading into 2011, and I’ll once
again be on the bandwagon. Sooner or later, this guy is bound to live up to his
potential.

 

Francisco Rodriguez  RP  Mets

We’re all taught in kindergarten not to let our anger get
the best of us. Apparently, K-Rod was out sick during that lesson. The Mets’
stopper was in the midst of yet another stellar season before suffering a torn
ligament in his thumb, and he wasn’t even on the mound at the time. Rather, he
sustained the injury when he struck his father-in-law during a heated dispute
in the team’s clubhouse. Rodriguez’s fantasy value should remain unchanged
going into next season, unless of course the Mets decide to cut ties with their
fiery closer.

 

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