Josh Hamilton's fantasy baseball value teetering after injury

      April 9, 2014 @ 17:37:12 PDT

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim OF Josh Hamilton
Hamilton now toeing slippery slope

Josh Hamilton already on the DL? You heard it right, folks:

Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton will be sidelined for six to eight weeks because of a torn ligament in his left thumb.

I feel your pain if you're a Hamilton owner, but you had to know he'd likely land on the DL at some point based on his history. Specifically, he suffered a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and capsule in his left thumb, and although it's not totally official yet, he's expected to need surgery.

J.B. Shuck and Collin Cowgill will platoon in left field for at least the time being. Shuck is a slappy speed guy that surprisingly registered 478 plate appearances and a .293 AVG in 2013. Target him in deep mixed and AL-only leagues, but know that the average is due to come down with more playing time.

Hamilton's slash line of .444/.545/.741 with two homers in 27 at-bats was great news, but his six walks were perhaps the most encouraging. Believe it or not, Hamilton was taking a more patient approach (by his standards) and looked to be very comfortable at the dish.

Now, he won't be back until sometime in June. He'll still have at least half a season to make an impact for fantasy owners, but how realistic is it that he'll return and pick up where he left off?

In my opinion, it's highly unlikely. Thumb, wrist and hand injuries for sluggers like Hamilton that rely on quick hands to generate most of their power can typically debilitate a swing over the course of an entire season. Just look at the recent cases of Mark Teixeira and Josh Reddick, among others.

Dropping Hamilton outright probably isn't wise, but I can see the case for it if you're playing in a shallow mixed league and don't have the roster space to take this kind of hit. But count me as one of those not optimistic that Hamilton will make any kind of significant impact for the rest of 2014.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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