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Thursday, January 18, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK WATCH: MICHAEL CONFORTO DOWN/JIMMY NELSON UP

Some key injury issues leading into the first batch of 2018 fantasy baseball drafts need our attention in order to stay on top of the latest news that can move a given player up and down the board.  Two that are currently rehabbing from surgery in New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto and Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson are right a the top of this list with some interesting updates on each worth mentioning.

Michael Conforto:  Speaking with reports on Wednesday, Mets GM Sandy Alderson admitted that he doesn't expect to see Conforto on the field with the team until May 1 due to his very serious surgery last summer after he tore the posterior capsule on a hard swing.  The surgery was expected to keep Conforto down for much of the winter and with February approaching, his timeline has not changed much at all.  That means already Conforto is down one month of prospective fantasy baseball numbers and this is a real shame considering he busted out in a major way in 2017 before getting hurt to the tune of 27 homers, 68 RBI, and a .279 average.  The top outfield prospect really came through on his talent and he would have been an easy call for 30 homers this season if he had not had the surgery.  So what we do have now is a top OF 2 who can be had for the price of an OF 3 as the fantasy baseball community always lets guys who are not going to be ready for Opening Day slide quite a lot in drafts.  Despite the fears of any shoulder injury, we suggest you take advantage of any discount.

Jimmy Nelson:  On the more positive side, 2017 breaking starter Jimmy Nelson is expected to begin a throwing program on Friday which is a good month ahead of time schedule from his shoulder surgery last summer.  Shoulder surgeries for a pitcher are extremely scary and often they don't come back as the same type of player but the fact Nelson is already rehabbing a month ahead of schedule suggests he is feeling good and there are zero complication.  This is a nice development and a potentially exciting one since Nelson really came on last season as he pitched to a 3.49 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and struck out a massive 199 batters in just 175.1 IP as he vastly improved BOTH his control and HR/9.  While there could be some FLUKE involved given the fact Nelson has never approached numbers like this, the guy was always a good strikeout artist in the minors and has talent that made prospect hounds trail after him.  Again, shoulder surgeries are a major deal and it is possible Nelson is lacking some velocity upon his return but his ADP was never expected to go that high anyway so the risk is minimal.  We would be buyers here if Nelson slips to being your SP 4/5.


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