2022 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Early-season IL stash rankings for Ronald Acuña, Jacob deGrom, others

When it comes to spring training, obviously we want to see guys display new skills as they get ready for the start of the season, and it’s those players who tend to rise in the rankings leading up to the start of the Fantasy Baseball season. But, what we really want to see more than anything during the exhibition schedule is for everyone to stay healthy.

That’s never going to happen, of course. Every baseball game presents a new opportunity for a player to get hurt, and especially when players are getting back into shape coming from the offseason, injuries are inevitable. Hopefully, they’ll just be short-term things that lead to little or no risk of real missed time – Max Scherzer’s hamstring and Ke’Bryan Hayes’ ankle seem to fall under this heading from recent days – but there will always be injuries that linger into the start of the regular season.

And then, of course, there are those injuries players are still recovering from last season, like Ronald Acuña’s torn ACL. Or the injuries they entered spring training with, like Jack Flaherty’s shoulder. Add it all up, and it’s hard to go into the season with a fully healthy roster, even if you tried to avoid injuries.

How you deal with those injuries will depend on your league settings. If you’re in a league with unlimited IL spots, you don’t really have to worry about it – you can go on waivers and just add every injured player to stash until they are healthy. If you’re in a league with no IL spots then you’ve got some really, really tough decisions ahead of you.

Here’s some help. I’ve gone through every relevant player who has either been placed on the IL or is expected to be in the coming days to rank them in terms of roster priority, from the guys you’re stashing even if you don’t have an IL spot the guys who are only relevant if you have unlimited spots.

Note, this doesn’t include prospects like Adley Rutschman and Riley Greene, who might have snagged in drafts. You’ll have to stash them on your bench for however long they’re out since both are expected to be on the Triple-A IL despite suffering their injuries in big-league camp. In Rutschman’s case, that absence may not be long, as his triceps injury is nearly in the rearview mirror. He will likely play for a few weeks at Triple-A before getting the call and belongs in the top tier of stashes. He’ll be a top-12 catcher whenever he gets called up.

Greene is tougher to justify stashing, and I lean toward letting him go. He fractured his right foot and is going to miss 6-8 weeks before restarting baseball activities, meaning he is probably at least two months away from playing in games. He had a chance to break camp before the injury, but I would be surprised if the Tigers called him straight up to the majors off a spring training injury. He’s looking more like a mid-season callup at this point, though he’ll be worth rostering the closer we get to that point, certainly.

Anyone not listed here is probably only worth stashing if you’ve got unlimited IL spots:

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