Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Injuries, serious season-ending injuries, are the bane of fantasy owners everywhere. It doesn't matter which sport, football, basketball, hockey or in this case baseball.
Below are 15 fantasy-worthy players who had their 2010 season cut short by injuries. Let's see how they are progressing and whether they should be on your fantasy radar screen when it's time for your draft.
Carlos Beltran, New York Mets - Beltran was only healthy enough for 220 at- bats last season, his fewest since 1998, and he didn't do much with them batting just .255 with seven homers and 27 RBIs. Given that he's played just 145 games over the past two seasons, anyone who plans on drafting Beltran as an integral part of their 2011 strategy is crazy.
Chipper Jones, Atlanta - Many people expected that they wouldn't see Jones in a baseball uniform again after tearing his ACL in August, but it appears that he'll try to return this spring. Since the Braves obtained Dan Uggla to play second and allow Martin Prado to move to third base, there doesn't appear to be a position for Jones to get many at-bats. I wouldn't even take a late-round flier on Jones at this point.
Kendry Morales, LA Angels - In 2009, Morales was a top fantasy first baseman and was headed for another solid year in 2010 before a freak accident at home plate cost him and fantasy owners dearly. This could be one of those times where "out of sight, out of mind" means you can get him for a bargain as other fantasy owners skim over his 11 HR, 39 RBI season and forget he hit 34 HR and knocked in 108 in 2009. Reports have Morales "a little bit ahead of schedule" which means you should target him.
Justin Morneau, Minnesota - The knee to the head didn't seem that serious at the time, but Morneau's last at-bat was July 7th. He still hasn't begun to swing as of January 25th. He was in the midst of a "monster" season batting .345 with 18 HR, 56 RBI and an OPS of 1.055. Morneau was a fourth rounder last spring, but this injury scare might keep people from picking him that high. If he looks healthy come spring training, he might be a bargain.
Joe Nathan, Minnesota - All indications are that Nathan will be 100-percent by spring training. He missed the entire 2010 season after Tommy John surgery, but should be an elite closer once again - think 246 saves over his last six seasons. The Twins did pick up Matt Capps who could steal some saves, but barring a physical problem you shouldn't worry about Nathan's fantasy production.
Magglio Ordonez, Detroit - The last game for "Mags" was on July 24th after an ankle injury sidelined him for the season. He's still a 20-HR, 80-RBI type hitter, but given his lack of speed and the Tigers' lineup he's a mid-rounder at best.
Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox - Peavy is not expected to be ready for the start of the 2011 season after July shoulder surgery. Even when he does return, likely a month into the season, he'll likely be the White Sox No.5 starter. This is a high-risk, low-reward pick which should be avoided.
Dustin Pedroia, Boston - Pedroia underwent season-ending foot surgery in September which was supposed to have him healthy in three months. From early reports he appears to be on schedule and will be 100-percent by the start of training camp. The additions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez plus the return of Kevin Youkilis make the Red Sox lineup as potent as any team in baseball and Pedroia's value should be as high as ever. Just remember that he's not a power guy, but he should net you 100-plus runs, 15 HR, 80 RBI and 20-plus steals. Given the second base position, he's at least in the top-five.
Brian Roberts, Baltimore - Roberts has always been a solid fantasy second baseman with 100-plus run potential and 30-plus steals. However, 2010 was a "lost season" for Roberts and fantasy owners after back and headaches only allowed him to play 59 games. He's a starting fantasy second basemen when healthy who will be the only holdover among the Orioles infield. With newcomers Derrek Lee, J.J. Hardy and Mark Reynolds and rumors of Vladimir Guerrero, the Orioles lineup could be much improved and allow Roberts to thrive. He's a low-end starter for now, but with a high upside.
Carlos Santana, Cleveland - The rookie was having a solid year after his June 11th call up, posting an OPS of 0.868 through 46 games before a knee injury sidelined him for the season. He's a top prospect who should be ready for spring training. However, unless Grady Sizemore comes back as well, the Indians are a bit weak offensively which will limit his production in 2011. He's a low end starter, but in keeper leagues should be drafted as high as fifth among catchers.
Johan Santana, New York Mets - Santana isn't expected back from his season- ending shoulder injury until late June or early July. Given that he might only get 10-12 starts, he'll have limited fantasy value in 2011 and at best should be a late-round flier.
Grady Sizemore, Cleveland - Sizemore is trying to return from microfracture surgery on his left knee. He's targeting Opening Day, but he's a high-risk gamble. His game involved speed as well as power, but nobody knows how healthy he'll be at this point. After two injury-filled seasons there are simply too many question marks to be anything other than a late-round selection.
Stephen Strasburg, Washington - Although Strasburg will likely be healthy by the end of the summer, it's also likely that the team won't let him pitch at all this year given that they won't be in a pennant race. He's probably still on a roster in keeper leagues and has little value anywhere else.
Brandon Webb, Texas - Webb didn't pitch at all in 2010 and only four innings in 2009. With two seasons off, it's impossible to tell what he could do, but it's a low-risk, high-reward proposition since you wouldn't have to select him before the last few rounds. Still, I think he'll more likely be a free agent, and if he actually produces you will have an opportunity to pick him up at that time.
Kevin Youkilis, Boston - Youkilis missed the final two months with a thumb injury, but should be ready to go on Opening Day. He's been a solid fantasy first basemen, but will man the hot corner in 2011 with the Red Sox getting Adrian Gonzalez, and at third base he has even more value. Youkilis should be a top-five third base selection because he's averaged 28 HR, 104 RBI and a .309 batting average over his last two full seasons.
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