2023 Fantasy Baseball: Trust level with players returning from injury
Some big names are coming back from injury-plagued 2022 seasons and could dramatically alter the fantasy landscape this year.
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Each man detailed below still has a premium skill set but is going to cause managers some sleepless nights until we see him on the field for an extended period of time. Let’s take a look:
Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, San Diego Padres)
Tatis missed all of 2022 due to a combination of injuries and suspension, and he will open this season in the same fashion. But when his suspension concludes in late April, the 24-year-old could immediately return to being a top-five overall fantasy asset. Still, the shoulder and wrist surgeries Tatis underwent last fall add a layer of concern that he won’t immediately put his best foot forward. The San Diego star needs to hit the ground running in order to justify his current Yahoo ADP of 22.5.
Jazz Chisholm (2B, Miami Marlins)
Chisholm showed exciting potential across 60 games last year (.860 OPS, 14 HR, 12 SB) before he was knocked out for the remainder of the season by a stress fracture in his lower back. The 25-year-old could be a 30-30 player across a full campaign this year, and he has switched positions to the outfield, which will soon make him a multi-position asset.
In short, I love the idea of drafting Chisholm at his current Yahoo ADP (51.9).
Ozzie Albies (2B, Atlanta Braves)
Albies couldn’t stay healthy last year, as he missed three months due to a fractured foot before suffering a fractured pinky finger in just his second game back in a September return. His performance had dipped prior to the foot injury, as his final 2022 OPS (.703) was the lowest of his six-year career. To make matters more complicated, the infielder is returning from October shoulder surgery.
Additionally, Albies' role is a source of concern. The 26-year-old has spent most of his career hitting out of a premium lineup spot, but the Braves have other good candidates to fill those roles this season. Overall, there are too many risk factors for me to draft Albies at his current Yahoo ADP (50.9).
Tim Anderson (SS, Chicago White Sox)
A top-50 pick in recent years, Anderson has dipped to a current Yahoo ADP of 73.8 after missing nearly a month last season due to a right groin strain and the final two months due to a torn tendon in his left middle finger. Anderson is still on the right side of 30, but he has never been a durable player, having missed 32% of his team’s games the past four seasons. Still, I like the idea of drafting the 29-year-old at his depreciated draft cost.
Tyler O’Neill (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)
O’Neill is coming off a season in which nothing went right. His injuries began in late May with a right shoulder impingement, and by the end of the campaign, he had also missed time due to injuries to both hamstrings. Unsurprisingly, the native Canadian saw his year-over-year OPS drop more than 200 points, which has ruined all the buzz he created in his breakout 2021 campaign (34 HR, 15 SB, .912 OPS).
Overall, I think O’Neill offers fair value at his current Yahoo ADP (105.1), and I hope to have him on some of my 2023 rosters.
Brandon Lowe (2B, Tampa Bay Rays)
Although a triceps contusion caused Lowe to miss a few 2022 games, his lower back was the major reason he participated in just 65 contests. The 28-year-old finished the season with a .691 OPS, which was the first time his final mark was below .850 since his rookie year in 2018, and he is now being plucked in Yahoo drafts at pick 153.5, on average. A healthy Lowe profiles as someone who will hit 35 homers, which makes me excited to take a chance on him in the middle rounds this year.
Freddy Peralta (SP, Milwaukee Brewers)
One of the breakout starters of 2021, Peralta missed roughly 2.5 months last season due to a right lat strain before spending a couple of weeks on the IL in September due to right shoulder fatigue. He returned at the end of the campaign to throw 7.2 innings across three appearances, which was certainly not enough to prove he can be a reliable starter this year. I’m fine with drafting Peralta, but I would want a slight discount on his current Yahoo ADP (pick 137.0).
Chris Sale (SP, Boston Red Sox)
Sale’s career has gone far off the rails in recent years. The lanky lefty missed all of 2020 and most of 2021 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Expected to be healthy last year, he instead missed the first half of the season due to a stress fracture in his rib cage, and after returning for two starts (one of which lasted less than an inning), he fell off his bike and suffered a fractured wrist that ended his season.
With less than 50 innings to his credit the past three years, Sale has given managers plenty of reason to worry that he might not be the ace (career 3.03 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) he once was. I’ll pass on drafting the 34-year-old at his current Yahoo ADP of pick 161.1.
Adalberto Mondesi (SS, Boston Red Sox)
The ultimate boom-or-bust player, Mondesi appeared in just 15 games last season before suffering a torn ACL that required season-ending surgery. The Royals were vocal in their frustration about the infielder’s inability to stay healthy, which was likely the driving factor behind their decision to trade him to Boston. Mondesi is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day and has played in just 50 games the past two years, but he remains a good option to open the season in fantasy IL slots due to his ability to rack up steals totals when healthy. His current Yahoo ADP of pick 216.4 feels fair.