Fantasy Baseball: Best DL Stashes

(Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Maximizing the use of DL spots is a key aspect of roster management that gets routinely overlooked in fantasy baseball. Seeing those two red letters next to a player’s name is a scary sight for many owners – almost like a warning sign telling them to stay away. However, the reality is that there is actually a great deal of value to be gained from acquiring as many injured assets, as your league format will allow.

While some may choose to wait until one of their own players gets hurt before utilizing an available DL spot, the far more optimal strategy is to always have all of these slots filled with already injured players from the waiver wire. Remember, these are essentially free roster spots that allow you to hold players at no cost. And if while doing this one of your current starters does happen to get hurt, you can easily make the switch and release one of the guys you’ve been stashing.

Another important element of using the DL is that it allows you a trial period to see how players perform after returning from injury. Now in most leagues once a player you have slotted on the DL gets activated, you have to move him to your lineup prior to being able to make any additional roster moves. However, the trick is that you can still make daily sit/start changes after this occurs so as long as you’re not trying to add new players, you can keep that guy on the DL and see how he does in his first few games back.

Related to this, a strategy that I’ve been using in recent drafts is to simply draft a guy I want to stash with my last pick. This way once he gets officially placed on the DL I can slide him into that slot and pick up any additional injured guys I want to hold. It also then frees up an additional bench spot for your team. Remember, most sites/leagues require you to have an open spot on your roster in order to pick up a player even if he’s going directly to your DL spot so using this tip will prevent you from having to make a drop.

Anyways, the point is here are six injured players going largely undrafted who I believe are worth stashing. For reference, each of these guys is currently available in at least 60% of Yahoo leagues.

Jarrod Dyson (KC) – OF: Dyson generated a lot of excitement this spring when it was widely believed that he would finally be given the chance to be an everyday player. Unfortunately, an oblique injury is now expected to keep him sidelined for the first couple weeks of the season. That said, he comes at virtually no cost (current ADP is 306.4) and has massive stolen base upside – he’s stolen 30+ bases in three of the past four seasons despite not reaching 300 at bats in any of those years. Even with the missed time, Dyson could easily swipe 45 bags in 2016.

Why take Billy Hamilton in the 10th round when you can have this guy for free? (Image Source: Getty/Kyle Rivas)

Why take Billy Hamilton in the 10th round when you can have this guy for free? (Image Source: Getty/Kyle Rivas)

Devon Travis (TOR) – 2B: A serious shoulder injury derailed what was an extremely promising rookie campaign for Travis in 2015. Despite playing in only 62 games, he managed to hit 8 home runs and drive in 35 runs while hitting a robust .304. Travis won’t be cleared to resume baseball activities until April, which likely makes a late May return the best-case scenario, but that’s still good enough for me. The possibility of him hitting atop that Blue Jay lineup could lead to some great fantasy production in the second half of the season.

Jhonny Peralta (STL) – SS: Peralta was a top 10 option at the position prior to suffering a thumb injury in early March and while his exact recovery timetable is still unclear, conservative estimates don’t have him returning until sometime around the All-Star break. I get that he’s an older player and you never know how a hitter is going to rebound after a hand injury, but I still feel that there’s some value here. There are only a handful of shortstops who can match his power and run production and thus he’s someone to keep on your radar even if he ends up only giving you 2-3 useful months.

Alex Cobb (TB) – SP: It’s easy to forget that at the start of last season many fantasy experts had Cobb ranked as a top 25 pitcher and potential breakout candidate. And while Tommy John surgery is not something to be taken lightly, both Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez recently showed us that returning to form after the injury is entirely possible. If Cobb can avoid any setbacks during his recovery he should be back sometime after the All-Star break and could certainly provide some fantasy production over the final two months of the season.

Remember how much we all liked this guy last spring? (Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Remember how much we all liked this guy last spring? (Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Zach Wheeler (NYM) – SP: Wheeler is also coming off TJ surgery and although he doesn’t have the same upside as Cobb, he is returning to the friendly confines of the light hitting NL East. Having Harvey around to give advice on the rehab process should be of benefit and a mid July return to the rotation has the potential to make Wheeler an intriguing streaming option down the stretch.

Homer Bailey (CIN) – SP: Bailey is clearly the least appealing fantasy option out of these three pitchers, but he’s also likely the first to make his return. I don’t like his team or home ballpark, though he’s given us serviceable seasons in the past. I’m keeping my expectations low, but it’s better to take a flier on Bailey than leave that DL spot unused.

In addition to these players there are obviously a handful of bigger names who will also begin the season on the DL. I chose not to include them since they’re still being drafted in virtually every league and should only miss a couple weeks at most. That said, I’ve listed them below in the rare instance that you play in a league where they are still available in which case I would make them your top priority. Also, I believe that injury concerns have depressed the ADP of these players to a point where I think they are all legitimate values and I wouldn’t hesitate to draft any of them.

Michael Brantley (CLE) – OF

Jung Ho Kang (PIT) – 3B, SS

Yu Darvish (TEX) – SP

Lance McCullers (HOU) – SP

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