In Major League Baseball’s first full season since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, the first two months of the 2021 season have seen a rash of injuries, greatly depriving many of some of the game’s brightest stars.
The goal here is simple: construct a 26-man roster of injured players in the National League East, encompassing the All-Injured Team.
The rules here are simple: a player has to currently be on a 40-man roster of a team in the NL East and must be serving a stint on the injured list.
Despite the senior circuit playing under older rules that mandate pitchers hit, our starting lineup includes a designated hitter, partially out of hope that the new collective bargaining agreement makes the DH a league-wide mandate.
SP: Max Scherzer, WSN (10-Day IL, Groin inflammation)
Not sure what happened but Max Scherzer has left this one early. pic.twitter.com/Bas81EL1C0— Justin Groc (@jgroc) June 11, 2021
- The 3-time Cy Young Award winner and future Hall of Famer is set to be the piece-de-resistance at this year’s trade deadline, but questions now exist considering he’s 36 and dealing with a groin issue that caused him to leave his last start after just 12 pitches.
SP: Mike Soroka, ATL (Achilles tendon - 60-Day IL)
- The first 37 starts of Soroka’s career have seen him pitch to a sterling 2.86 ERA (163 ERA+), so being deprived of him in 2021 has been a misfortune to say the least.
SP: Sixto Sánchez, MIA (Right shoulder soreness - 60-Day IL)
- Considered the crown jewel of the Marlins’ ongoing rebuild Sánchez has yet to pitch in 2021, but that hasn’t stopped many from anticipating his return to the Marlins’ rotation once healthy.
SP: Stephen Strasburg, WSN (Strained neck)
Stephen Strasburg, Wicked 87mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/OgKYedVx7u— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 22, 2021
- Were we sit and list all of Strasburg’s injuries since debuting in 2010, it’d make for a tale as sprawling as a Pink Floyd epic. With that said, the 2019 World Series MVP’s 7-year/$245M deal he signed following that terrific playoff run has looked ugly, to put it mildly.
SP: Carlos Carrasco, NYM (60-Day IL, Strained hamstring/elbow soreness)
- The way the Mets have managed to stay afloat amidst their slew of injuries, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say they may be alright without Carrasco in 2021. Regardless, the complementary piece in the Francisco Lindor trade makes for one of the more steady arms in the sport when healthy.
C: Travis d’Arnaud, ATL (60-Day IL, Thumb surgery)
- Other than being Adam Duvall’s doppelganger, d’Arnaud is less than a year removed from a career-best 137 OPS+, albeit in just 44 games. It doesn’t hurt either that Braves’ pitchers have lauded pitching to him in big moments.
C: Alex Jackson, ATL (10-Day IL, Strained hamstring)
- Each roster needs two catchers, right? Slim pickings here.
1B: Garrett Cooper, MIA (10 Day-IL, Strained back)
- Cooper’s experience at first base, as well as frequent visits to the injured list over the course of his career call for his placing here. Prior to landing on the injured list, Cooper had slashed .339/.414/.581 over his last 18 games.
2B: Jeff McNeil, NYM (10-Day IL, Strained hamstring)
- McNeil owns a 135 OPS+ since debuting in 2017, all while striking out just 11.6-percent of the time. Him possessing the ability to play multiple positions doesn’t hurt either, but given his prowess with the bat, and his role as the Mets’ primary second basemen, he gets that slot here as well.
3B: J.D. Davis, NYM (10-Day IL, Sprained left middle finger)
- While he may not be Nolan Arenado with the glove, Davis has quietly been among the better offensive third baseman in baseball, posting a 127 OPS+ in 70 games since 2020.
SS: Didi Gregorius, PHI (10-Day IL, Elbow impingement)
Didi Gregorius just, unofficially, became the first player in MLB history to hit a home run while wearing a mask.— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) July 18, 2020
Can’t imagine how hard it is to go all the way into a store and buy groceries with one... pic.twitter.com/Fvhz7gZhUN
- The once-heir apparent to current Marlins’ CEO Derek Jeter in New York, Gregorius transitioned nicely when going over to the Phillies, posting a .488 slugging percentage in 2020.
UTL: Miguel Rojas, MIA (10-Day IL, Left Index Finger dislocation)
- Before he was the Marlins’ everyday shortstop, Rojas saw time all over the infield, appearing in games at first, second, and third base. A 127 OPS+ since 2020 has shown the bat as having come to life of late as well.
LF: Corey Dickerson, MIA (10 Day IL, Foot Contusion)
- Should the Marlins continue to bury themselves in the NL East, several teams will be inquiring on Dickerson’s services come the trade deadline.
CF: Brandon Nimmo, NYM (10-Day IL, Bone bruise on finger)
- An on-base machine, Nimmo ranks 5th among outfielders with at least 280 games played with a .396 OBP since 2018. Factor in that with the idea that Nimmo should grow more into hitting for power, and you have a true-blue star in the making.
RF: Michael Conforto, NYM (10 Day IL, Strained hamstring)
CONFORTO IN THE NINTH THE METS OFFENSE IS DOING SOMETHING pic.twitter.com/9ixaTksqbQ— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) May 2, 2021
- It isn’t out of the realm of possibility for Conforto to be seen as a perennial 30-35 home run hitter. Should the hamstring not be an issue later this season, expect the right fielder to receive a handsome payday as he enters free agency.
IF/OF: Brian Anderson, MIA (60-Day IL, Left Shoulder subluxation)
- Were it not for J.D. Davis, the Marlins’ 3rd baseman would be at his primary position, but his experience in right field merits his placement here. While Anderson hasn’t hit to the standard of previous seasons (91 OPS+), Miami will benefit once his glove and bat return to the starting lineup.
OF: Roman Quinn, PHI (60-Day IL, Ruptured Achilles’ tendon)
- The former 2nd round pick most certainly fits the description of a draft bust. That said, his career 0.9 rWAR is best served as a backup outfielder.
RP: Will Harris, WSN (60-Day IL, Thoracic outlet syndrome surgery)
Will Harris has the 3rd-lowest ERA among relief pitchers since 2015.— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) January 3, 2020
1. Zack Britton: 1.89
2. Aroldis Chapman: 2.16
3. Will Harris: 2.36
4. Kenley Jansen: 2.44
5. Dellin Betances
(*min. 100 games pitched)
Great signing by the Nationals.
- Before joining the Nationals on a three-year deal prior to the 2020 season, Harris quietly put together a five-year run in Houston where he pitched to a 2.36 ERA from 2015-2019, winning a World Series in the process. Blood clots in his throwing arm have limited his time in the Nation’s capital thus far, but one can’t deny his recent brilliance as one of the sport’s better late-inning arms.
RP: Jordan Holloway, MIA (10-Day IL, Strained groin)
- A guy manager Don Mattingly has given a couple of turns to in a battered Marlins’ starting rotation, Holloway has been a welcome surprise when on the mound. He’s only 18 innings into his career, but Miami has to be pleased with his 2.50 ERA (3.44 FIP). The walks are a concern early and could relegate him to the pen longterm if not sorted out, but if and when healthy, Holloway will continue to get turns at Major League level.
RP: Dellin Betances, NYM (60-Day IL, Shoulder Impingement)
Betances first batter of the season and the strike 3 pitch is a beaut. pic.twitter.com/5wRNL81J40— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) September 15, 2019
- From 2014-2018, Dellin Betances was among the inner circle when it came to the sport’s best relievers, posting a 2.22 ERA while averaging 75 innings a season. The heavy workload out of the Yankees’ pen appears to be catching up to him, though, as the New York-native has thrown just 13.1 innings since 2019.
RP: Daniel Castano, MIA (10-Day IL, Shoulder impingement)
- While Castano’s 3.03 ERA in 29.2 innings last season provided the Marlins a sense of encouragement, his struggles in 2021 to the tune of a 5.19 ERA (5.64 FIP) and subpar fastball velocity have done quite the opposite. With the Marlins’ continuing to slide back in the NL East, though, a healthy Castano should still see big league time this season at the least.
RP: Jeff Brigham, MIA (60-Day IL, Undisclosed)
- Another instance of slim pickings. All that can be said is whatever may be plaguing Brigham, the hope is he can return to full health relatively soon.
RP: Noah Syndergaard, NYM (60-Day IL, Tommy John Surgery)
Syndergaard throwing from the stadium mound today: pic.twitter.com/FXNm2wOIPi— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) March 18, 2021
- Seeing Syndergaard here may confuse you, but consider the fact that the fire-baller was recently shut down for 6 weeks following right elbow inflammation. Should the pending free agent pitch again this year, his last before entering free agency, the pen may be the safest bet for the Mets to salvage any value of him.
RP: Seranthony Dominguez, PHI (60-Day IL, Tommy John Surgery)
Seranthony Dominguez fools Miguel Rojas into swinging at this putrid, 90 mph Slider. pic.twitter.com/ZZpVsfbWiM— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) September 6, 2018
- For a Phillies bullpen with a bottom-third ERA, manager Joe Girardi is still hoping to see the former closer in action. Unfortunately, Dominguez hasn’t pitched since 2019, making his future in the city of Brotherly Love uncertain.
RP: Brandon Kintzler, PHI (10-Day IL, Strained neck)
Come for Difo's HR, stay for Kintzler's catch. pic.twitter.com/Ve78nxkOw5— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 5, 2018
- The Marlins closer last season in their run to their first postseason appearance since 2003, Kintzler’s 8.50 ERA and 1.94 WHIP thus far in Philadelphia starkly contrast his 2.55 ERA he put up between 2019-20.
CP: Daniel Hudson, WSN (10-Day IL, Elbow inflammation)
Daniel Hudson came up big when we needed him most last season.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) January 14, 2020
Never forget he closed BOTH games of a September doubleheader against the Phillies to help us clinch the Wild Card. pic.twitter.com/Awzehkwjc1
- The closer for the 2019 World Series champions, Hudson has been relegated to set up duties with the addition of Brad Hand. However, a 2.59 ERA and 12.9 K/9 are encouraging signs following a 6.10 ERA in 2020.
- McNeil - 2B
- Nimmo - CF
- Conforto - RF
- Davis - 3B
- Gregorius - SS
- Cooper - 1B
- Anderson - DH
- Dickerson - LF
- d’Arnaud - C
Scherzer - SP