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Thursday, February 25, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: RYAN BRAUN, ANIBAL SANCHEZ, MATT CAIN

It was a day filled with injury news and notes as spring training is now in full swing across baseball.  As always let's dig in on these items and see how they impact 2016 fantasy baseball.

Matt Cain:  Already well past his prime as a Cy Young-caliber starter, San Francisco Giants veteran Matt Cain continues to be plagued by injury troubles.  The last three years have seen Cain lose more than a little of his stuff, namely a vast decrease in his velocity which can be blamed on some crazy inning totals during deep playoff run seasons for the Giants early in his career.  Injuries are also a big problem for Cain, with the latest news being the fact he had a cyst removed from his right arm Thursday.  Cain was not able to throw his bullpen session as scheduled Thursday but GM Bobby Evans said he should be back throwing on a mound in 7-10 days.  Even then, Cain still only has SP 5 fantasy baseball value at best given his ratios going in the wrong direction, his leaking velocity, and now his fragile health.  We will say it again that Cain is the poster child for how a career can be derailed early if the hallowed Verducci Rules get violated. 

Anibal Sanchez:  Another veteran starter who simply can't stay healthy is the Detroit Tigers' Anibal Sanchez.  Like with Matt Cain, Sanchez has seen his velocity dip and in turn seen his ERA and WHIP rise due to being much more hittable.  Ill health has been the main issue here as Sanchez endured a horrific 2015 on that front and already this spring he is dealing with swelling in his right triceps.  While there is no concrete plan yet regarding the injury, Sanchez could be shut down for 10-14 days which already will call into question his availability for Opening Day.  Like with Cain, Sanchez is nothing but an SP 5 who has more name brand than actual production. 

Ryan Braun:  On the brighter side, new Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell spoke about how he expected outfielder Ryan Braun to be ready to go for Opening Day.  Braun has been taking it slow early in spring training due to his recovery from last October's back surgery but he is expected to start increasing his work over the next week.  Thus barring any setbacks, Braun should be good to go for the start of the season.  Coming off a terrific comeback campaign in 2015, Braun can be graded as a low-end outfielder 1 but who continues to carry risk due to his fragility. 

 

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