Injured Players to Stash for 2024

Don't let injury scare you away from these players in drafts

It’s not Spring Training without a few injury stories that can dramatically change the fantasy landscape. This spring has been no exception, as there’s a sizable list of injured players who won’t be ready by Opening Day who were expected to be fantasy producers back in the winter.

For those who have already conducted their respective fantasy drafts, many injuries have forced managers to go to the waiver wire before a pitch has even been officially thrown. Managers who haven’t drafted just yet are a bit more fortunate, as they can change their draft strategy, especially if they were initially targeting a player likely to start the season on the IL.

On the other hand, while drafting healthy players is the obvious strategy for managers, especially in the early round, many injured players shouldn’t be ignored in drafts. It’s possible that utilizing a pick or two on an injured player who may not start the season could be an excellent “stash” strategy that could pay dividends later in the season, especially once other injuries pick up.

Below is a list of four tiers of injured pitchers fantasy managers should target in their upcoming drafts as “draft and stash” candidates who could help their respective rosters for the 2024 season.

*All ADP data via Fantasy Pros as of March 18th.


Top Aces On the Shelf to Start the Year (But Should Return)


Gerrit Cole (37.2 ADP), Kevin Gausman (33.4 ADP), and Kodai Senga (151.6 ADP)

Cole, Gausman, and Senga were expected to carry their clubs in 2024 but suffered injuries this spring that will put them on the IL to begin the year. Even though none will be ready by Opening Day, they should return at some point and are likely to produce top pitching value in fantasy.

Cole will likely miss the most time of the pitchers in this tier. However, despite this, he appears to require a significant “investment” in drafts, as evidenced by his 37.2 overall ADP via Fantasy Pros. Granted, his draft stock is plummeting (90 ADP in Fantrax leagues), so he could go much lower in drafts closer to Opening Day.

Gausman and Senga have better shots to return earlier than Cole. Gausman has the best odds of returning soonest of the bunch, especially after a positive report on his progress from Blue Jays MLB.com writer Keegan Matheson).

According to SNY, Senga’s status seems more up in the air, especially after a setback that shut him down from throwing for another 7-10 days. There is still hope that he could be due for a late May return. If that’s the case, he could provide an excellent value around the 151.6 ADP range.


Veteran Aces That Have Been Out and Will Be Back At Some Point


Justin Verlander (134 ADP), Max Scherzer (257.4 ADP), and Jacob deGrom (340.8 ADP)

Father Time most likely will not be on Verlander’s (41), Scherzer’s (39), or deGrom’s (35) side. However, when healthy, all three can carry a fantasy team to a championship.

Verlander has been out since pitchers and catchers reported due to a shoulder issue. He will likely start the year on the IL, but he is reported to begin facing batters in the coming days. A late April return could be in the cards, and if that’s the case, Verlander’s draft value will rise in the coming days. He’s worth investing sooner in drafts than expected, as it will only worsen closer to Opening Day.

Scherzer and deGrom are coming off injuries suffered late in the 2023 season, and they will likely see considerable time on the IL in 2024. They will most likely not have an impact until after the All-Star Break, which can feel like a long time for a fantasy manager to hold a pitcher, especially in redraft leagues.

That said, for teams willing to keep them on the IL for months, they could provide huge boosts during the stretch run of the fantasy season, especially come playoff time.


Young Aces Worth Holding Despite the Injuries


Eury Perez (81.8 ADP), Gavin Williams (189.4 ADP), Kyle Bradish (198.4 ADP), and Taj Bradley (254.2 ADP)

It was bad enough that the Marlins would not have Sandy Alcantara for the entire 2024 season after having Tommy John surgery in October. Now, Perez has been suffering from elbow soreness and will be going to a surgeon for a diagnosis. That is going to scare a lot of fantasy managers in drafts. He may be worth a flier, though, especially if one can get him in the later half of drafts (which is starting to happen).

Cleveland is no stranger to seeing young arms being affected by injury. Last year, it was Triston McKenzie. This year, it is Williams.

The 24-year-old Guardian righty experienced some elbow discomfort this spring and is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day. Pitching coach Carl Willis has been encouraged by his progress this spring, though, so it’s likely that Williams will see more starts than McKenzie did a year ago (four), which makes Williams worth taking around that ADP range.

The news in February seemed depressing with Bradish, as it felt like he would be a candidate for surgery (i.e., be out for the whole season, accordingly). That said, while there was a partial tear in Bradish’s UCL, the Orioles seem optimistic that he can return to Baltimore midseason with a proper recovery.

He should be a key pitcher on the Orioles staff if he can recover. This is especially true with another projected starting pitcher, John Means, likely also to begin the year on the IL.

Lastly, Bradley suffered a pectoral strain, and manager Kevin Cash remarked that Bradley would be shut down from throwing for at least two weeks. That essentially ends any opportunity for Bradley to be ready by Opening Day. On the other hand, Shane Baz also doesn’t seem healthy, and Tyler Glasnow is with the Dodgers now. Taking a flier on Bradley in drafts and being patient with him should be the way to go.


Closers Who Will Have Their Role When They Return


Devin Williams (85 ADP), Jhoan Duran (70.6 ADP), and David Bednar (97.6 ADP)

Williams is dealing with two stress fractures in his back, which essentially put him on the shelf for at least three months. On the other hand, the Brewers don’t have many great closing options right now (I don’t think Joel Payamps or Taylor Clarke are the answers). The candidate with the most upside, Abner Uribe, probably won’t get a chance to pitch often in the ninth to keep his arbitration cost low next off-season. Milwaukee is taking “Moneyball” to new levels.

Duran has a moderate oblique strain, forcing him to start the year on the IL. The Twins lack great options in the ninth, though Griffin Jax could be intriguing. Nonetheless, expect Duran to take the ninth when he returns, even with the unpredictable nature of oblique injuries.

Bednar suffered a lat injury that doesn’t have a clear timetable. The arrival of Aroldis Chapman in Pittsburgh doesn’t help Bednar or fantasy managers who want to draft him.

On the other hand, Bednar has the experience and reputation of owning the ninth in Pittsburgh, and Chapman had trouble bumping off other closers in Kansas City (Scott Barlow) and Texas (José Leclerc) last year. The Pittsburgh native could be a nice pickup after more popular closers get selected, which allows fantasy managers to invest more in starting pitching or hitting earlier in drafts.


Photos courtesy of Icon Sportswire | Designed by Aaron Asbury

Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O'Brien is a high school educator and baseball blogger based in the Kansas City metro area. In addition to writing for Pitcher List, he writes about the Kansas City Royals at his own blog, the Royals Reporter, which can be found at royalsreporter.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login