With baseball’s new 10-day disabled list, players are hitting the DL nine percent more frequently so far this season.
As of Monday evening, there were 153 10-day DL stints compared with 140 15-day DL stints in the same time frame last season.
In the last decade, disabled list stays have grown tremendously. In 2006, 347 players wound up on the disabled list for 22,472 total days. Last season, a record 478 players spent 31,329 days on the DL. The implication is that could increase with the new rule.
In the first few weeks of the season, players with minor injuries have found themselves on the shelf when in the past they likely would’ve just been day-to-day.
The Nationals placed star shortstop Trea Turner on the 10-day disabled list on April 10 (retroactive to April 9) with a mild right hamstring strain. He was activated on April 21. Had the 15-day disabled list been in effect, Turner likely would have avoided the disabled list entirely.
Turner, who’s ADP was 16.0 in Yahoo! leagues and 17.7 in ESPN leagues, was a no-brainer to stash on the DL in fantasy leagues. And even if owners didn’t have a DL slot for him, they weren’t dropping him for whatever second-rate backup shortstop was available knowing he wouldn’t be on the shelf for long.
Big names such Turner, Josh Donaldson and Miguel Cabrera, all of whom have been on the 10-day DL this season, are always worth stashing, barring a season-ending injury in a non-keeper league. But with a player such as Red Sox utility man Brock Holt, who was placed on the 10-day DL with vertigo on April 21, it’s tough to justify using a DL spot in most formats because he doesn’t play every day. Aside from AL-only leagues, Holt was droppable, especially in ESPN standard leagues, which have just one DL slot.
The 10-day DL particularly benefits starting pitchers because, depending on their team’s schedule, they could potentially miss just one start.
Take Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz. Boston put him on the DL on March 30, before the start of the regular season, with a left forearm flexor strain. The Red Sox activated him on April 11, which pushed back his first scheduled start by just two days.
That may have hurt owners in head-to-head formats in the first week of the season because Pomeranz was due to make his first start on the final Sunday of the first week, but instead he made two starts in Week 2, earning a win and striking out 16. Pomeranz’s DL stint also allowed owners to stream another starter in Week 1.
According to ESPN’s Ron Shandler, an average of 10 to 12 players per fantasy team land on the DL throughout the course of the 162-game season.
The bottom line — expect to see more players accumulate more days on the disabled list, and prepare accordingly.