Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Injuries are always a part of the game, but if your top pick or ace gets lost for an extended amount of time — even the whole season — what are you to do? These guys are either currently injured, set to return on Opening Day this year, or returned from injury late last season.As always, keep an eye on spring training status. sometimes the injury is just temporary, but  in some cases i lingers for the rest of the player’s career.Honorable Mention: John Danks, SP, CHW; Neftali Feliz, SP/RP, TEX; Daniel Hudson, SP, ARI; Victor Martinez, C/1B, DET; Chris Young, OF, OAK; John Lackey, SP, BOS10. Carl Crawford, OF, LADMaybe some people in Los Angeles missed Crawford more than those in Beantown. Crawford only played from July 16 to August 19 last year, suffering from a wrist injury before needing Tommy John surgery. That’s a lethal combo of surgeries, and Crawford already proved that he clammed up under the pressure of a big market. How will he do once he returns for the stacked Dodgers?9. Cory Luebke, SP, SDLuebke was a player I targeted in all my drafts as a sleeper after pick 120. He panned out, too. In five starts before we lost him to Tommy John surgery in May, Luebke was 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. He could have become the staff ace, but we’ll have to wait until late April or even closer to mid-season to find out.8. Michael Pineda, SP, NYYPineda was a piece that I thought would put the Yankees over the top again. Now New York will have to wait even longer as he’s rumored to possibly return from surgery on ahisright anterior labral tear around mid-season. He was a fire-baller before, so how big an impact will the surgery have on his power arm?7. Will Middlebrooks, 3B, BOSMiddlebrooks was one of the most promising rookies to hit MLB last year, and he was also one of the few bright spots in Boston. He had 15 homer, 54 RBI, and a .288 average before disaster struck — he suffered a broken right wrist on August 11 and was lost for the season. He should be good to go on Opening Day, and the Sox will need him to be.6. Colby Lewis, SP, TEXLewis might give up the most homers in the league, but he was one of the better pitchers for Texas last year. Lewis was 6-6 with 93 strikeouts and only 14 walks, and thanks to his insane K:BB ratio, his WHIP was just 1.08. He’s still recovering from right elbow surgery suffered last July, and he’s slated to be back around June of this year.5. Corey Hart, 1B/OF, MILAs the season wears on and on, many players opt to plod through injury and have surgery once the season ends. Hart –- 30 homers, 83 RBIs, 90 runs — falls into this category. The tall slugger had right knee surgery on January 25 and is slated to return around late May. The Brewers were able to weather the loss of one slugger (Prince Fielder) but might have trouble doing without another key hitter.4. Brandon Beachy, SP, ATLThe man from a little place called Kokomo, Indiana was another popular sleeper I took in any league in which I could snatch him. He was setting the league on fire (again), leading the league with a 2.00 ERA while also posting a 0.96 WHIP before being lost for the year. Beachy had Tommy John surgery in June 2012, and he’s due back in late June, 2013. Beware and stash, particularly in deep keeper leagues or NL-only formats.3. Brian McCann, C, ATLMcCann falls on the list because of the scarcity of studs at catcher. Like Hart, he opted for off-season surgery to repair his right shoulder on October 16. He had a down year in terms of average (.230) but still managed to hit 20 homers and drive in over 65 runs. With another name off the draft board for catchers, it’ll be hard to find many safe options in 2013.2. Jose Bautista, 3B/OF, TORJoey Bats got hurt on July 17 and was out until August 23 with a wrist injury. He returned on August 24 but re-aggravated his wrist injury and was lost for the year. He’s clearly one of the best power hitters when he’s healthy, so his status is huge for Toronto. Couple that with the offseason additions of Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera to an already potent lineup, and Bautista has to be clamoring to get back ASAP.1. Matt Kemp, OF, LADLike Bautista, Kemp is one of the best players in fantasy when healthy. He battled a couple ailments during 2012 but opted for surgery on his left shoulder on October 12. He should be back by April, but you just never know nowadays. I’d still peg him as a top-10 pick regardless of whether he’s ready for Opening Day.
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