Ranking Top DL Stashes: Boxberger, Travis inching closer

Brantley’s return to the DL is without a clear timetable — and you never like to see a player suffer a setback after surgery — but the MRI on his shoulder came back clean. Nothing seems to be wrong, objectively speaking. He just needs more time. But, you know, Yu Darvish’s return from Tommy John surgery doesn’t come with any assurances either, even three starts into his rehab assignment, so I’m not sure either scenario is better than the other. It all comes back to how good the player is. I would have drafted Brantley ahead of Darvish if both were healthy from the start, though they’re obviously both elite when at full strength.

Choo is probably the highest-ranked player you’d consider dropping in a shallow league, though to do so now, with him just beginning a rehab assignment, would be kind of silly. The real tempters will be d’Arnaud and Ross. Neither has a clear timetable to return, and both are recovering from vague shoulder issues. Of course, when healthy, both are better than anything you’ll find at either of those positions on the waiver wire. Catcher especially is a pit of despair.

Boxberger has made a big jump from last time, mostly because manager Kevin Cash recently implied that the right-hander would reclaim the closer role from Alex Colome when he returns from the DL. And hey, he’s coming closer to that, having thrown a scoreless inning for high Class A Charlotte Sunday. It’s true Boxberger was unreliable in the second half last year, but you can never have too many saves in a Rotisserie league. His situation is at least better than that of Perkins, who’s still a couple weeks from throwing bullpen sessions, much less beginning a rehab assignment. (And he’s contending with one of those vague shoulder issues — oy.)

You may have forgotten that before landing on the DL with a shoulder injury last year, Devon Travis was kind of a big deal, averaging the sixth-most Head-to-Head points per game among second basemen — and that was with him playing through the injury in the final two-thirds of his at-bats. So his rehab assignment with high Class A Dunedin is genuine cause for excitement in Fantasy, especially if you lost, say, a Logan Forsythe, who may be in for a lengthy recovery after fracturing his shoulder blade.

What’s interesting about Severino’s placement on this list is that I was on the verge of dropping him in standard mixed leagues even before word of his injury, which should tell you just how replaceable those in his vicinity are. He actually became more roster-able with the injury, at least in those leagues where my DL spots weren’t already filled, but there’s a good chance I drop him as soon as I’m forced to activate him. He is 0-6 with a 7.46 ERA, after all, and while I still like his potential, I could say the same for probably half a dozen pitchers on the waiver wire in those same leagues.

The horde of pitchers coming back from surgeries (with the exception of Darvish, of course) begins with Ryu at No. 17, who has stormed to the front of this group with a strong rehab appearance wherein he threw 19 of his 22 pitches for strikes. But if he’s highest ranked despite coming off the same injury that sidetracked Michael Pineda for two years, you can be sure we’re playing with house money at this point. At least in standard mixed leagues, these DL stashes shouldn’t be spilling onto your bench because the chance of things going wrong are way too high. Just look at what happened to Homer Bailey. He was supposed to be the first one back, and now he’s a month away from beginning a rehab assignment.

The one we may be sleeping on is Minor. He’s recovering from an injury much like Ryu’s but is reported to be throwing in the mid-90s — something he wasn’t doing consistently before the injury — and has a clear path to a rotation spot with the Royals. He was emerging as a front-line starter for the Braves back in 2013, remember.

There is no way to sugarcoat it: the 2015 season was a huge disappointment for theTigers. The club won four straight AL Central titles from 2011-14, but they struggled so much in the first half of 2015 that they traded away David Price and Yoenis Cespedes at the deadline. They finished the year at 74-87 and in last place.

Rather than take a step back and rebuild, the Tigers went for it again over the winter, most notably signing Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton as free agents. They also added Mike Pelfrey, Cameron Maybin, Justin Wilson, Mark Lowe, Francisco Rodriguez, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Tigers are trying to contend again in 2016.

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