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If Only They Could Stay Healthy...

Fantasy baseball is packed with those "If Only They Could Stay Healthy..." guys.  Those frustrating players who never get 550 ABs or make 30 starts, but are valuable when they're on the field.  Occasionally, these players get lucky and make it through most of the season - see Ken Griffey Jr. and Cliff Floyd.  These guys represent solid gambles if you know how to work the waiver wire for replacements.  Without further ado, here are some of my favorite injury prone players for '06.

Chipper Jones only got 358 ABs in 2005 after getting 472 the year before.  He battled foot and rotator cuff problems last year, but ranks as the 6th best 3B in the game when healthy.

Mark Prior recovered fairly quickly from a freak fractured elbow in 2005, but has suffered from more worrisome injuries in the past.  I have him as the 12th ranked starter, though he doesn't seem to be coming at a discount in early drafts.

J.D. Drew had wrist and shoulder surgery in September of 2005, managing only 252 ABs in the first year of a five-year deal.  He did, however, mash .286/.412/.520 when he was on the field.  Drew may not climb back up to that 500 AB plateau, but 450 ABs could still result in $15 worth of value.

Magglio Ordonez's knees are back to normal, but last year he dealt with a viral infection and a hernia.  Call me crazy, but I have him hitting .310-21-94 with 80 runs scored in 562 ABs, a $14 value.

Milton Bradley's value is about $11 if he can get 500 at-bats with the A's.  I have him hitting .300-20-70 with 14 steals.

As I said at AllCubs today, Kerry Wood has some motivators and could surprise you with 180 innings.  Don't count on it, but he's worth a late-round flier for sure.

Nick Johnson had his healthiest season yet, getting 453 ABs for the Nationals.  It's a given that he'll miss some time, but he could hit .300 with 20 HR this year.

Additional candidates: Justin Morneau, Javy Lopez, Nomar Garciaparra.




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