This is the fifth installment of my Help Me Help You blog. Each Friday I will feature one or two fantasy or baseball related questions which I receive via email at email@example.com during the week.
Erik Bedard was supposed to return this week after missing the entire first half of the season with a shoulder injury. He was slated to make two starts, causing many fantasy owners to activate him in their lineups despite the risk of low pitch counts or an injury setback. On Monday, after weekly fantasy lineups were locked, it was announced that Bedard was suffering from shoulder discomfort. Now, he isn't expected to return until after the All-Star Break. Do you think there is ever a situation where an owner can justify immediately starting a proven fantasy contributor like Bedard after such a substantial injury?
In short, yes. However, there are many factors that could play into the fantasy owner's decision. One factor is how good your backup option is. If you had to bench a stud option like Francisco Liriano or Matt Cain for Bedard, then clearly I wouldn't take the risk. But if your best replacement was Gio Gonzalez or Bronson Arroyo, I would put my money on Bedard.
Some other factors are the type of injury and length of layoff a player has sustained. Finally, it comes down to the gut feeling of the owner. Personally, I like to see a pitcher have a good start before reactivating him after a substantial injury. On the other hand, I feel comfortable starting proven position players coming off of the DL. There is no exact science to predicting injury setbacks, but it seems that, at the Major League level, pitchers are plagued by them more often than position players.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with fantasy questions to feature in my weekly Help Me Help You blog.