Impact of the Madison Bumgarner-Jeff Samardzija Injuries

by Christopher T. Luft
Madison Bumgarner-Jeff Samardzija Injuries

With one-week left until the start of the 2018 Fantasy Baseball season, it is hard enough keeping track of the off-season acquisitions and trades in the MLB, let alone spring training injuries and fill-in players stepping up.

One team most notably has felt the injury bug hard recently, and that is the San Francisco Giants.

This article discusses recent injuries to Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija, their outlook, and potential fill-in players to hold over your rotations.

Madison Bumgarner-Jeff Samardzija Injuries

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Madison Bumgarner

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Mad Bum suffered a broken pinky knuckle on his throwing hand after being hit in Friday’s spring training game against the Royals in Cactus League play.  Team doctors inserted three pins during surgery Saturday, according to Sporting News.

Bumgarner will be sidelined until the screws come out, and his rehab is completed. We are looking at around two months for him to be out…this is very difficult to replace in the world of fantasy sports.

Unlike Samardzija, Bumgarner only threw 111 innings in the 2017 season, but still recorded over 100 strikeouts. Prior to that, he had thrown over 200 innings in each season dating back to 2011, with 200+ strikeouts in his last three full seasons (2014-2016).

Okay, so whom do we get to replace a guy who was a top 6-8 pitcher on every site?

If you are still drafting, I think it is worth the chance to still draft Bumgarner, though clearly at a heavy discount. If he is someone you were considering drafting, I’d wait about two to three rounds before pulling the trigger on him.

Up until this point, I would load up on corner infield spots to bolster your hitting. Keeping a strong core of hitters is imperative to a prosperous season of Fantasy Baseball and this injury will allow you to still buy, at a discount.

Streaming starters is a viable fantasy option, with proven success.

Already Drafted Mad Bum?

It is close to impossible to find someone on the wire that can match what Bumgarner would have, but let us dive into some analytics and try to see who can come close:

In his last full season (2016) he had a 9.38 K/9, 1.97 BB/9, and a 3.54 xFIP, making his strong case for a top 15 starting pitcher in the MLB. We may not be able to find ONE player to fill this void, but we may find a couple players who can put up similar numbers.

Relief pitchers with good peripherals will help fill the void in his absence. Pitchers with solid K/9 and BB/9 rates, especially in the national league, could be a cheap source of wins and saves in addition to ERA and WHIP. Sometimes you have to get creative and try to plug in some guys like Brent Suter and Bud Norris who will give you replacement stats in the meantime.

Jeff Samardzija

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Currently, he is listed as day-to-day with a shoulder injury he sustained during a minor league outing on Wednesday, March 21. The MRI showed a “strained pectoral muscle”, which will most likely have him start the season on the DL.

Yahoo reported that manager Bruce Bochy said he would keep the veteran righty sidelined for one week without throwing, then pick up the recovery process; missing about 3-5 weeks of action.

This is the first DL stint for Samardzija, who led the National League in innings pitched last season, while recording his second season in his career with over 200 strikeouts.

The current ADP for Jeff Samardzija is around SP 61 and Fantasy Pros has him at SP 40. Around those positions, I find it tough to give up an NL starter and substitute an AL starter. The Giants also play in the ballpark that takes away the long ball arguably the most in the MLB.

If you are still drafting

A guy I like this year pitches in a similarly difficult park for hitters and is also in the National League is Jameson Taillon for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He is currently listed as the Fantasy Pros SP 43. Taillon is dripping with talent but hasn’t exactly lived up to his hype…yet. I think it is worth a chance to see if he can be a potential top 20 starter this year at his current value draft price.

If you need a little waiver help post-draft, here are a couple of guys to consider stashing in replacement:

Trevor Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates & Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres

Okay, well this article gave away my love for some of the Pirates potential rotation for this year, but with good reason. Trevor Williams just struck out eight through 5 1/3 innings in his last spring training start. He is especially valuable in NL-only leagues, but is absolutely someone to monitor for his upside.

Dinelson Lamet is a strikeout monster. His appeal to me comes from his ability to get to two strikes quickly, along with his 11/3 K to BB ratio this spring. If he has not been drafted yet and is sitting on the wire, grab him now.

Staying local

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The Giants rotation to start the year was going to look something like this:

  1. Bumgarner
  2. Cueto
  3. Samardzija
  4. Stratton
  5. Blach

Fantasy Pros and Yahoo both ranked them, in that order.

Now, with the loss of the two key pieces, the Giants will look to fill in with some second-tier players. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Derek Holland will be the likely replacement for the start of the 2018 season. I am a fan of lefties, but Holland is a guy that gives up too many home-runs and base runners. I am avoiding Holland as my fantasy replacement.

As we look at the minor league organization for the Giants, there are some interesting names that could provide viable in most leagues.   Tyler Beede, a right-hander out of Vanderbilt, may get a look a little sooner than expected. His spring training was not the best, but he has the potential strikeout and command tools to pitch well at a major league level. Garrett Williams and Stephen Woods are also interesting names to look out for. They are both pitching well and could potentially get the call up to provide help, even out of the bullpen.

I think my favorite Giants starter worthy of a fantasy roster spot is Chris Stratton. He came on in relief last year, but also started ten games, finishing with a 3.68 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched. He has not been a shining star in Cactus league play 2018, but he has the potential to be a valid option in the meantime.

Hopefully, this helped ease the pain a little bit. Until next time everyone!

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