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Friday, February 21, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: JESSE CRAIN DIAGNOSED WITH CALF STRAIN, WELCOME BACK CHAD QUALLS TO THE CLOSER WORLD

                                                      

The biggest injury news on a slow fantasy baseball day on Thursday was the MRI results of Houston Astros closer favorite Jesse Crain being diagnosed with a calf strain.  Crain suffered the calf strain earlier this past week when camp first opened for Houston which goes on top of he biceps surgery he had during the offseason.  Crain was already going to miss Opening Day due to being behind after the surgery and now the calf strain further complicates his status and certainly means someone else will be gathering saves for the team in April.  Crain will be placed on the 15-day DL once the season gets underway and that means old friend Chad Qualls is back into the ninth inning picture.  A former solid closer for the Arizona Diamondbacks after a string of very good setup seasons for the Astros who he began his career with, Qualls fell on some rough times that eventually led to him pitching for three different teams in 2012 with horrible results in all three locales.  Given one last chance by the Miami Marlins prior to 2013, Qualls saves his career by pitching very well almost all season to the tune of a 2.61 ERA and 1.23 WHIP while punching out 49 guys in 62 innings.  While Qualls has lost zip off his fastball which in turn has sank his K rate, he did enough good things in 2013 to be given the nod for saves in Crain's place.  Of course Qualls should be drafted as one of the last closers off the board due to his volatility and short leash since Crain hopefully will be back for May.  Crain meanwhile can be drafted in one of the last few rounds as many won't even bother looking in his direction due to the fact he pitches for the woeful Astros and now is injured.  The fact of the matter however is that Crain was a strikeout machine the last few seasons in setup and has the tools to be a very good closer.  Pick him up late and stash him,  Saves are saves after all and making speculative grabs is always a good way to stay near the top of that category.

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