Help Needed: Hitters Who Played Through a 2018 Injury

When I hear or read about a hitter playing through an injury my interest perks up and he becomes an immediate draft target. Standard projections have no idea these players played hurt and the lower production keeps down future estimations. Savvy owners can give these players a small talent bump and reap some nice rewards. My current request to create a detailed list of hitters playing through injuries for 2019 preseason research and to test after next season.

A perfect example from last season was Xander Bogaerts who dealt with the “… challenge of playing through the second half of this season with an injured right hand.” Our preseason Depth Chart projection put his triple slash line at: .287/.350/.439. In a previous study, I found playing through an injury costs a hitter some power but by the next season, the effects are gone. Bogaerts did exactly as expected slashing .288/.360/.522 beating his power projection by 80 points.

Here the hitters who have been documented as playing through an injury during the 2018 season (2017 list).

Played Through an Injury

Name: Injury (article link)

When it comes to hitter injuries, the hitters bounce back to being productive unless the injury becomes chronic (i.e. persisting for a long time or constantly recurring). Some recent examples are Prince Fielder’s neck forcing him out of the game and David Wright’s back keeping him in constant rehab. Like with the hitters who played through injury, I asked my Twitter followers for suggestions and will gladly take more in the comments.

For some hitters, the injury is well documented and the chronic label can be given. For others, the label may not stick. Miguel Cabrera was in this middling state coming into 2018. Was he going to get healthy or head back to the DL? He and his bum back headed to the DL.

For those with persistent issues, they should be acquired at a steep discount and have quite a bit of replacement value baked into his value. Besides those with known issues, I’ve included some hitters who need a clean 2019 to keep from joining the chronic crew.

Chronic Injuries

Well documented

Not 100% sure

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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CC AFCmember
4 years ago

Gleyber! First when on the DL in July with a hip injury, then missed some games in September with “tightness” in the “groin/hip” area. Sounds likely to be related, even if not connected publicly.

Side note: for the sake of the man’s family, Tulowitzki should be given Injured Person Emeritus status and be allowed to live out his days in peace. Bless you, Troy, and your gloriously kick ass, injury ridden career. As Neil Young said “It’s better to burn out than fade away”