Unfortunately, it’s going to be a little bit until we see Carrasco make his debut with the Mets in the regular season.
Shortly after completing a simulated game on Thursday, Carrasco suffered a high-grade hamstring tear. The injury occurred when the right-hander was doing his running after the outing, and he underwent an MRI shortly after.
It goes without saying, but this obviously puts a damper on Carrasco’s fantasy prospectus for the 2021 season. The question is how much. Hamstring injuries always have to be taken slowly, as there is a significant risk of a reinjury. The timeline given out thus far suggests that he’ll miss at least a month, with 6-to-8 weeks a more likely timetable. That would put Carrasco back on the mount sometime in May, which means he could miss quite a few turns through the rotation. When healthy, he’s one of the better hurlers in baseball; in 2020 he was able to post a 2.91 ERA and 82/27 K/BB ratio over 12 starts, and since 2014 he’s 77-54 with a 3.41 ERA and 1,141 strikeouts against 238 walks over 1,004 frames, but considering the possibility of missing 8-to-10 starts, you have to bump Carrasco behind pitchers of a similar ilk.
The other question, of course, is who replaces Carrasco to begin the year in the New York rotation. The Mets have three locks right now: Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker. David Peterson wasn’t a lock before this, but barring a collapse over these last two weeks, it certainly seems like he’s going to pen the year in New York and in the starting five. The other possible options: Joey Lucchesi, Corey Oswalt, Jordan Yamamoto, and Mike Montgomery; with Montgomery announced as a potential starter shortly before the Carrasco news. Lucchesi would seem to have the upper hand, but Yamamoto and Montgomery can’t be ruled out; with Oswalt seeming like the longshot of the four. All would offer a smidgen of fantasy appeal (outside of Oswalt, with all due respect), but Lucchesi would be the one who would have the most upside.
It’s a blow for the Mets and anyone who has already drafted Carrasco, but he can still provide plenty of fantasy relevance over the summer with his swing-and-miss stuff.
Bellinger launches first spring homer
After missing the first few weeks of the Cactus League, Cody Bellinger is back in the lineup while recovering from his offseason shoulder surgery. He went 0-3 in his first game on Tuesday, but showed off his impressive ability on Thursday against the Diamondbacks. He went 2-for-4, and one of those hits was a long homer off of Keury Mella in the seventh inning.
The risks with Bellinger are worth pointing out. He is coming off the fluke shoulder injury suffered while celebrating a postseason homer, and just getting back onto the field. He also wasn’t very good in 2020 with a .239/.333/.455 slash in the shortened season. That being said, the concerns with Bellinger are probably overstated. His sample size last summer was all of 213 at-bats, and outside of a shaky World Series -- which did see him hit a homer -- he was good in October with a 1.179 and .875 OPS, respectfully, in the two series before. This was one of the best players in 2019, and he’s all of 25-years-old until July.
Maybe he shouldn’t be considered with the other “elite” outfield options like Mookie Betts, Ronald Acuna Jr, Juan Soto and Mike Trout; but he was just as good as those hitters in his last full season, and there’s absolutely reason to believe Bellinger can be that good in 2021.
Lester goes two innings in spring debut with Nats
Jon Lester made his spring training debut not just in 2021, but his first as a member of the Nationals after signing with the club this offseason. The veteran southpaw got off to a late starter after surgery to remove a parathyroid gland. He allowed one run against the Mets while going two innings, and his fastball reportedly was at 88-89 mph. That’s right around what he was throwing each of the last two years, so it’s not really a concern -- especially considering we still have two weeks to go.
With a start this late, there’s a chance that he may need to stay behind to gain arm strength, but Dave Martinez told reporters that there’s absolutely a chance that Lester can make the rotation to begin the year. He provides real-life value as a veteran southpaw and should get his share of win chances, but it’s unlikely he’ll miss enough strikeouts to be more than a streaming option in redraft leagues.
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National League Quick Hits: Dominic Smith (wrist) remains out of the Mets' Grapefruit League lineup on Thursday, and won’t return to game action until Sunday … Stephen Strasburg (calf) is scheduled to throw a four-inning simulated game on Friday … Tanner Rainey (collarbone) threw 22 pitches in a simulated game Thursday in Nationals camp … Brandon Woodruff will start for the Brewers on Opening Day (April 1) against the Twins … Kwang-Hyun Kim (back) threw a side session on Wednesday and will next advance to a simulated game … Sandy Alcantara will start for the Marlins on Opening Day against the Rays … Miles Mikolas (shoulder) played catch on Wednesday … Dinelson Lamet threw a multi-inning simulated game Thursday in Padres camp … Marcus Stroman pitched five innings of one-run ball and struck out six Thursday against the Nationals … Lucas Sims (elbow) told reporters that he feels confident he will be ready for the start of the season, while Amir Garrett (forearm) will be able to pitch in a “B” game on Saturday … Giants claimed RHP Ashton Godeau off waivers from the Orioles, and placed RHP Dedniel Nunez on the 60-day injured list with a right elbow sprain.
American League Quick Hits: Pedro Baez (COVID-19) returned to Astros camp on Wednesday … Blue Jays optioned RHP Elvis Luciano, INF/OF Otto Lopez, C Gabriel Moreno, and RHP Ty Tice to Triple-A Buffalo … White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Thursday that Yasmani Grandal is a "definite option" to bat second this season … Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters that Andres Munoz (elbow) has suffered a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery … Rangers reassigned RHP Sam Gaviglio, RHP Jimmy Herget, C John Hicks, INF Yonny Hernandez, INF Curtis Terry, and OF Adolis Garcia to minor league camp … Aaron Slegers did not pitch in Thursday's Cactus League game due to tightness in his back … Mike Trout reached base safely in all three of his plate appearances on Thursday, as the Angels edged the Brewers 3-2 in a Cactus League contest.