Hitter Injury Risks for 2024

Hitters with significant injury concerns heading into 2024.

There are three types of risk you have to manage when building your roster:

  1. Performance risk, where the player has a skill set that may lead to underperformance,
  2. Playing time risk, where the player sits on the bench or winds up in the minors often due to being in a platoon or being on a crowded roster, and
  3. Injury risk, where the player has a history of injuries or has circumstances that increase their risk of injury.

The focus of this article, as you have likely deduced, is players who fall into that third category. Injuries are often unpredictable and unfair in sports. They tend to happen at the worst possible time and generally make baseball a less fun place.

Before I get too deep, there’s one saying I use frequently that is worth mentioning here that deals with the fickle nature of injuries, and it’s that “players are considered to be injury-prone until they aren’t anymore.” What I mean by that is we don’t have a true measure of what makes someone “injury prone” nor do we have any real data-driven way to determine how long a player should continue to be considered “injury prone” after recovering. All we can do is keep a player’s history in mind and try to make the best risk assessment we can.

This list won’t necessarily focus on the specific injuries of each player but instead will be a compilation of players, listed in order of where they fall on my Top 300 Hitters for 2024, that I would consider injury risks in 2024. I’ve already adjusted for this in their ranks, but it’s worth noting these players as having too many of them on a single roster is incredibly difficult to manage and makes the path to a championship much trickier to see.

As a bonus, the end of the article will include two players I’ve ranked who are projected to miss the start of the season but who may be worth stashing in some formats,


Players with Elevated Risk


7. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY) – If Judge plays 140 games, he’s going to hit 45 home runs or more. It’s a given at this point, considering he walloped 37 of them in just 106 games in 2023. The only real concern with Judge is the health, which is a bummer after he spent all of 2021 and 2022 in the lineup. That said, ranking Judge eighth is only happening because of that risk, so don’t take the bait of a “double penalty” and drop him out of this tier in your ranks. The upside is way too high to make that kind of blunder, as there is no better bet to lead the American League (and all of baseball) in home runs than a healthy Aaron Judge.

The addition of Soto to the lineup should also mean more counting stats as the 2023 Yankees were simply dying for a hitter other than Judge (and to a lesser extent, Torres) to help carry their offense.

9. Shohei Ohtani (UT, LAD) – His elbow surgery shouldn’t scare you too much—Ohtani played nearly every game in 2019 after he returned to the lineup in May, and his surgery was so early that he should be ready to go for Spring Training in the batter’s box. Now that Ohtani is a Dodger, I feel comfortable penciling in 38 or more home runs and an obscene number of runs and RBI—both Betts and Freeman had over 230 combined runs and RBI and even if you see a bit of dilution with Ohtani being added, all three are sure to clear 200 with upside for much more.

13. Yordan Alvarez (OF, HOU) – Talent isn’t the issue here—his career-to-date 162-game average is 43 home runs, 109 runs scored, 128 RBI, and a .295/.390/.588 line. Even with no stolen bases, that’s a Tier 1 player. The issue, of course, is that 162 games is a tall order for a guy with two bum knees. Alvarez managed just 114 games in 2023, though he still managed to hit 31 home runs and drive in 97 runners. You might move him slightly down your board if you took Judge in the first round (yes, you should consider adjusting your board even after your very first pick as you’re no longer “in a vacuum”), or if you’re in a deeper format like the NFBC where the replacement level is very low, but in shallower standard formats you needn’t hesitate to scoop up this husky slugger.

15. Corey Seager (SS, TEX) – A return to a batting average north of .300 and once again clearing the 30 home run mark was no surprise, but the fact that Seager did it in just 119 games was quite eye-opening. Injuries have always been a factor with Seager as he’s played in just 66% of his team’s games since the start of the 2018 season (which is roughly 107 games in a 162-game season). In a 140-game season, I’d look for Seager to hit 35-40 home runs with high ratios and 200 or more combined runs and RBI. In fact, on a per-game basis, Seager was the fourth-best fantasy hitter among players with at least 250 plate appearances behind Acuna, Ohtani, and Carroll. Assuming you can work around the potential missed time and the lack of steals, there’s a lot to like here with Seager.

32. Royce Lewis (3B, MIN) – Injuries are impossible to ignore when talking about Royce Lewis’s career. He missed all of 2020 and 2021 with injuries and appeared between the majors and minors in just 118 games over the last two seasons. The production has been outstanding when Lewis has been on the field since his return to the field in 2022, and the charts below are good signs of how he’s adapting to the majors. That said, his small major league sample size and extensive injury history make Lewis an extreme risk-reward play. The charts are INCREDIBLY promising, though. I mean, look at these beauties.



38. Jazz Chisholm Jr. (OF, MIA) – If healthy, Jazz could be a 30-30 type of player and could also give us improved counting stats if the Marlins continue to find good pieces for their lineup. Of course, health has been quite fleeting for the shortstop-turned-outfielder as he’s missed 205 games over the last three seasons. In addition, Jazz has a troubling 29.2% career strikeout rate and hasn’t given us any signs that it will change. The upside is indisputable, but the floor is incredibly low.

39. Mike Trout (OF, LAA) – He’s still Mike Trout, folks. Yes, he’s missed a lot of time over the past three seasons and wasn’t exactly a picture of health before then either, but his 134 wRC+ over 82 games in 2023 was the lowest single-season mark he’s posted in the big leagues since his 40-game campaign in 2011 (his rookie season). Being 34% better than average is bad for Mike Trout. Let that sink in. If I already had steals wrapped up with earlier picks, I might consider moving Trout up over guys like Jazz and Hoerner.

70. George Springer (OF, TOR) – Springer just put up his first ever 20-20 season at age 33, and while durability and age are negative factors to his value, he did put up a second consecutive season with at least 133 games and has at least 20 home runs in each of his last seven full seasons (even his injury-shortened 78-game season in 2021). Springer will be on top of a Blue Jays lineup that disappointed in 2023 and should rebound in 2024. 25 home runs, 15 stolen bases, and a .250-.260 batting average feel like a good baseline if he plays a full season, despite his advanced age.

84. Max Muncy (3B, LAD) – 2023 was the first time Muncy drove in over 100 runners, and his 36 home runs tied a career high he had set in 2021. The batting average will always stink and his OBP is more neutral than it is positive these days, but another year as the primary third baseman for the Dodgers gives Muncy a top 50 upside. Being 33 years old and never having played in more than 144 games in a season is a bit of a bummer, as is losing the first and second base eligibility he’s had in years past. That said, the replacement level in standard leagues should make covering the 20-30 games he misses a breeze.

99. Eloy Jiménez (OF, CWS) – Health continues to evade Eloy as he played in just 120 games in 2023. From a talent perspective, he should be a .280+ hitter who hits 30 home runs and drives in 90 runners regularly, but the sheer number of injuries he’s suffered over the last three seasons makes that kind of projection much harder to imagine. Jiménez’s upside keeps him in my preseason top 100, but I’d need to feel pretty good about my power and consistency in the outfield to consider drafting him where he’ll likely be going.

116.  J.D. Martinez (UT, FA) – J.D. found his power again last season for the Dodgers, hitting 33 home runs in just 113 games and driving in 103 runners. He’d deserve a higher ranking than this if we knew he’d be heading back to LA, but he’s definitely not headed back there and there’s plenty of uncertainty on his landing spot, so we have to hedge our bets a bit for now.

121. Taylor Ward (OF, LAA) – The decision-making went from average to incredible in 2023, and Ward showcased a strong ability to make contact with flashes of above-average power. Injuries and inconsistency foiled him for a second consecutive season, but like Vaughn, I’m willing to get back on the saddle one more time to see if we can get a .275 average with 25 home runs along with 160 combined runs and RBI. I think the ceiling is as good or better than Vaughn’s, but I also admit that the floor is lower.

127. Carlos Correa (SS, MIN) – Believe it or not, this was the fourth consecutive season that Correa appeared in over 80% of his team’s games, though unlike the two previous campaigns, it was not considered a success. Correa fell flat in almost every category, and one explanation could be the plantar fasciitis he battled throughout the season. Assuming Correa finds a way to manage the condition over the offseason (it doesn’t require surgery), he could certainly recapture his 2021 or 2022 form and put up 22-25 home runs with solid counting stats and a .280 or better batting average. The floor is particularly low for the former first-overall pick, but there’s enough ceiling here that someone should probably draft him in your league.

132. Starling Marte (OF, NYM) – Injuries loom large for Marte as he enters his age-35 season but in just 86 games he managed to steal 24 bases in the new environment for the Mets. I’d advise against projecting Marte for more than 110-120 games, but the upside even in that short time could be 10-15 home runs and over 30 steals. That kind of upside is hard to come by at this stage, and in shallow leagues, it makes Marte worth scooping up near the end of the draft.

141. Byron Buxton (UT, MIN) – 2017 stands alone as the sole season where Buxton played at least 100 major league games as he found his way into just 85 of them in 2023 before hitting the IL. The Twins still expect him to be their starting centerfielder, and we saw enough to still project Buxton for 30 home runs if he somehow plays in 140 games and could also steal 15 bases. We also saw enough to know that Buxton’s ratios are probably going to stay low due to his extreme flyball tendencies, but if you want to pick up a lottery ticket, Buxton still fits the bill.

143. Tyler O’Neill (OF, BOS) – Another year, another rash of injuries and poor performance from O’Neill despite possessing plus power and speed. O’Neill enters 2024 as hyped as he’s ever been now that he’s been traded to a Red Sox team that doesn’t have any significant threat to his playing time (other than O’Neill’s own body). Fenway could be a boon to O’Neill’s power numbers as it provides an even greater incentive to pull the ball. Additionally, the chart below shows growth in his decision-making that could help him keep that double-digit walk rate and lowered strikeout rate in 2024. The extreme injury risk and erratic performance in the last few seasons make it hard to rank him higher, but if you want potential, there’s evidence there to support its existence.

As a caveat, those in deeper formats who can’t easily replace an outfielder should move O’Neill down your list by at least one or two tiers, if not more. This ranking only works in standard 12-teamers because whiffing on an outfielder at this stage of the draft doesn’t do any long-term damage.


157. Brandon Lowe (2B, TBR) – Lowe has the pop to hit 30 home runs, but injuries, inconsistency, and platoon splits continue to hold him back. If you’re desperate for power late in the draft, Lowe is a gamble worth considering, but at this point, it’s just a gamble.

160. Kris Bryant (OF, COL) – Over his first 32 games, Bryant hit .300/.387/.467 with five home runs and things looked like they’d finally work out for him in Colorado. Unfortunately, nothing went right for Bryant after that as he had two IL stints that lasted over a month each and posted a pitiful 40 wRC+ in the games he did play in over the rest of the season. Entering his third year of a seven-year deal, Bryant has only appeared in 122 games, but the first chunk of 2023 combined with his short yet strong 2022 still leaves a tiny morsel of hope that he could be a top 40 outfielder, though it comes with huge injury and performance risk.

162. Giancarlo Stanton (OF, NYY) – Stanton hits the ball unbelievably hard and misses a lot of games. It was true before, and it’s true now. The only real change in his game is that between the strikeouts, the fly-ball-heavy approach, and the loss of speed, Stanton is an extreme drag on your batting average and OBP. He only needs about 110 games to hit 30 home runs, but even getting that many will take some luck.

184. Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF, MIN) – Kirilloff’s hit tool and power could make him a valuable first baseman or outfielder in fantasy, but the injuries have never stopped piling up, allowing other players to get a chance to steal his spot in the lineup. If given the chance to play 120-140 games, Kirilloff could provide a .270 batting average with 17-19 home runs and decent RBI totals, but between a roster logjam and ever-present injury concerns, it’s hard to imagine Kirilloff getting that chance.

193.  Jose Siri (OF, TBR) – Injuries and roster shuffling will keep his total plate appearances down, but Siri has an elite combination of power and speed that will be relevant to us at various points in the season. He strikes out way too much and goes through long cold spells multiple times a season, but Siri is always worth keeping on your watch list when you require home runs or steals and don’t care about the ratios.

197.  Andrew McCutchen (OF, PIT) – If your league has swagger as a category, move Cutch up several tiers. Few players in baseball are as fun to root for as McCutchen, and while he doesn’t have the speed or power he did in his prime, his elite decision-making skills and a chance to play almost every day in the heart of a lineup means there are a lot of ways Cutch finishes in the top-175 hitters, if not the top-150.

211. Charlie Blackmon (OF, COL) – He only played in 96 games last year, but Blackmon still showed the ability to provide solid ratios (.279/.363/.440) with 15 home run pop (8 in just over half a season). There’s nothing too exciting here, and I’m not sure I start him on the road, but Blackmon remains a streamable option in most formats.

260. Kevin Kiermaier (OF, TOR) – His fantastic glove will keep Kiermaier in the lineup when he’s healthy, as infrequent as that may be. While he’s in there, he should also hit around .250 with a bit of pop and speed, but be ready for the inevitable trip to the IL while making another highlight reel diving catch.

286. Avisaíl García (OF, MIA) – Health has always been a problem for the 6’4 outfielder, but García’s power and playing time provide just enough upside to a possible 17 home run season while hitting .240-.250.


Players to Stash


85. Jasson Domínguez (OF, NYY) – Dominguez was another Yankee prospect who got a chance to make his major league debut last season. His major league career started with a bang as Domínguez hit four home runs in his first eight games. Unfortunately, Domínguez tore the UCL in his right elbow and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. Domínguez is unlikely to return until after the All-Star Break pushing him down this ranking list. For leagues with multiple IL slots, he could be a sneaky draft and stash option.

Here is what Martin wrote about Domínguez last November:

“After undergoing Tommy John surgery, we will not likely see Domínguez back in the major leagues until the middle of 2024. However, the upside he flashed in his first stint is indicative of the kind of potential he has. Domiíguez is an excellent athlete with the power and speed to be a big-time fantasy asset.”

208. Stone Garrett (OF, WSH) – Garrett won’t be ready to go on Opening Day, but his .271/.335/.477 line in 116 career games is worth waiting for in deep leagues as it comes with 17-20 home run upside if he plays in 130 games. He’s struck out a lot (30.7% of the time), but he seemed to get better at making stronger decisions as 2023 progressed.

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Scott Chu

Scott Chu is a Senior Fantasy Analyst here bat Pitcher List and has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. He's also the inventor and mascot for Fantasy Curling (as seen the Wall Street Journal) and a 3x FSWA Award Finalist. In addition to being a fantasy analyst, he's a dad, animal lover, Simpsons fanatic, cartoon connoisseur, amateur curler, a CODA, and an attorney.

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