Will Injury Woes Hurt Aaron Judge's Fantasy Baseball Season?

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The MLB season was supposed to start on March 26th but the coronavirus delayed the start of the season several months with the new expected opening day now set for early July. That’s great news for Aaron Judge. The Yankees All-Star is recovering from a broken rib and if the season started on the original scheduled date, Judge would have missed a few months of action. But with the new opening date, Judge won’t miss much time, if any at all. According to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, Judge’s scheduled return is “summer time.” Max Goodman who covers the Yankees joined Sports Illustrated’s Fantasy Baseball analyst to discuss Judge’s expected return and production in 2020.

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Bill Enright: Time for some fantasy baseball discussion as we take a look at Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and what we think he can do. Twenty twenty season. For that, I bring on Jaime Eisner, our fantasy analyst here at Sports Illustrated. And also Max Goodman from Inside the Pinstripe. Max, I'll start with you. No judge has been hurt battling a rib injury. We don't know if he will play this season, but let's assume that he does. What are you expecting?

Max Goodman:  I'm very apprehensive to pick Aaron Judge in this hypothetical fantasy baseball draft. Just the timetable of his injury is really concerning to me. He's still in his prime. He's 28 years old. And the numbers that he's put up in the past, we all know he has such a high upside when he's healthy, but he fractured that rib back in September. That's on the play where he drove against the angels and didn't make the catch. That's what we believe was the source of this injury. 

AARON JUDGE

And now we're in May and we still don't know when he's going to have a clean bill of health. The only update that we have from the Yankees is GM. Brian Cashman on a charity call last week said that in reality, he never even expected judged to be healthy until the summertime. So what does summertime mean? It could be anything from June to September. Based on the calendar. So we may not even get him this season if he comes back and he's completely healthy. I'd consider it just because of what he's shown in the past.

Bill Enright: Jaime, we see this in fantasy sports all the time. A player falls deep down into the later rounds of the draft because everyone's afraid of injuries. And then all of a sudden he comes and plays. He's healthy and he ends up being the biggest still of the draft. You think that could be the case for Judge this year?

Fantasy Baseball: Aaron Judge

Jaime Eisner: Well, that upside is certainly there for Judge. I mean, he has the ability to be a top 20 overall fantasy player right now, going right at the very edge of the top 50 and in fantasy drafts. The issue is going to be is how much of a value can you get him at? There's this phrase called the Yankees tax that goes into a lot of these fantasy for fantasy baseball players that they're gonna get pushed up draft board simply because there are a high volume of Yankee fans and there are a lot of attention that is surrounding the Yankees and their outfield in particular. The concern I have the same concerns. We're now almost two months exactly from what opening day should have been. And we have no more clarity on judge's injury than we did in spring training. That has to be a concern for me if he plays the whatever the full season ends up being. He has the ability to be a top 10 outfielder. But otherwise, I'd be a little concerned spending a top 50 pick on him.

Bill Enright: Jaime and Max, great insight, as always, plenty more fantasy baseball covered from Sports Illustrated. You can find it all by going to si.com/fantasy

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