What a week.
Oh, and some baseball news happened, too. Pardon my opening with some light-hearted humor; it was a less pleasant week on the injury front. All those ailments have an impact upon our rankings, though, so let's get you caught up:
• Marcus Stroman (out of the top 600 overall): In the week's most distressing injury development, Stroman is out for the 2015 season after tearing his left ACL on March 10, his ranking plummeting to the "undraftable in redraft yet relevant in dynasty" range. (I will point out, however, that Yovani Gallardo was able to miraculously return from an ACL surgery in only 144 days in 2008. Emphasis on the word miraculously.)
How Stroman's Toronto Blue Jays compensate will swing their compelling position battles at fifth starter and closer, with a common competitor for either role, Aaron Sanchez (up to No. 198 overall, No. 54 SP), now perhaps more likely headed for the rotation. Sanchez was already being stretched out as a starter, and while saves would shrink his downside, there's little doubt that a fully adjusted Sanchez would have greater upside as a starter. Daniel Norris (up to No. 434 overall, No. 135 SP) also received an incremental boost, with two rotation spots now potentially up for grabs.
As for the closer hopefuls, besides Sanchez, Brett Cecil (up to No. 304 overall, No. 44 RP) and Aaron Loup (up to No. 498 overall, No. 71 RP) each gained slightly. Cecil's value might have soared as the team's most logical choice, but rotator cuff inflammation has cost him some time. Remember, Rafael Soriano remains a free agent, while Jonathan Papelbon trade rumors swirl, so there is no shortage of "experienced" alternatives.
• Yu Darvish (out of the top 600 overall): Here we are again on a Friday, discussing Darvish's elbow injury and its effect upon his ranking. This week, however, we have definitive word on his prognosis: He'll undergo Tommy John surgery, performed by Dr. James Andrews, on Tuesday and miss the entire 2015 season. His ranking has been adjusted accordingly, though like Stroman, Darvish remains dynasty draft-worthy.
• Cliff Lee (down to No. 513 overall, No. 158 SP): A March 10 MRI review of Lee's left elbow by Dr. Andrews confirmed that the tear in his common flexor tendon showed no major change after he experienced recent discomfort; that also hints that not much has improved with the injury that cost him a chunk of 2014. While the left-hander hopes to pitch through the injury, season-ending surgery beckons. At age 36 and facing a reoccurrence of his 2013 ailment, Lee's career might be in jeopardy, though he dropped only as far as the low-end NL-only flier class until an official determination is made.
• Denard Span (down to No. 256 overall, No. 65 OF): Surgery on March 9 to repair a right core muscle injury will cost Span four to six weeks, meaning he might miss the entire month of April; don't forget that he was also recovering from Dec. 2 sports hernia surgery (it's unclear whether the injuries were related). While Span heals, Michael Taylor (up to No. 529 overall, No. 121 OF) is expected to get the bulk of the playing time in center field, putting the 22-homer, 34-steal Double-A performer in 2014 in the late-round NL-only mix.
• Gavin Floyd (out of the top 600 overall): He was only a fringe AL-only pick to begin with, most of that due to the Cleveland Indians' insistence that he would start the season their fourth starter. Following news March 10 that Floyd suffered a re-injury of the stress fracture in his right elbow, however, he's off all fantasy radars, his spot now up for grabs amongst a competition featuring Danny Salazar (no change) and T.J. House (up to No. 288 overall, No. 82 SP) as its most fantasy-relevant options. You can read more about why I consider House an AL-only sleeper here.
Keeper Top 250
The three starting pitcher injuries -- Stroman, Darvish and Lee -- caused significant movement in my dynasty rankings. Addressing those:
Stroman (down to No. 203): An entire lost season puts a significant dent upon a five-year projection, considering it's the first such year in the calculation, followed by the risk of the player failing to return to pre-injury form in Year No. 2. Still, a missed 2015 shouldn't condemn Stroman in keeper leagues, especially since his wasn't an arm injury. A year from now, he might make a compelling case for a top-50-starter ranking in redraft leagues.
Darvish (down to No. 230): I'm more concerned about his dynasty-league appeal being that he has also had back problems, plus Tommy John surgery could diminish the usefulness of his 2016; he might begin the year on the DL or take as much as a season to recapture full effectiveness. At 28 years old, though, he has plenty of time to restore his career once healthy.
Lee (out of the top 250): Even in the best-case scenario that he's capable of pitching several weeks into the season, Lee isn't a dynasty draft consideration at 36 years old. His chances of offering even two more seasons of production have decreased dramatically.
Scooter Gennett (up to No. 250): He joins the list thanks to Lee falling out, though Gennett's prospects of a full-timer's role actually did increase his stock as well, earning him the place. Eric Karabell closely examined Gennett's fantasy prospects as an everyday player in his March 7 camp tour column.