In a press conference on Friday morning, the Washington Nationals announced their star pitching prodigy Stephen Strasburg will need Tommy John surgery after an MRI revealed a "significant tear" of the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.
The fantasy impact of this news is an epic disaster for keeper league owners of the phenom.
Tommy John surgery usually comes with a long, 12-month-plus rehab. What that means for fantasy owners in a keeper or dynasty league is, because it's the end of August, Strasburg might be on your DL for most or all of 2011. And after that, history shows that his return from the surgery will have some initial bumps in the road before a possible, but not guaranteed, return to form.
Fantasy owners will now need to weight the value of keeping a potential ace at the expense of a roster player that will have value next year. Looking back at Tommy John recipients, there's a good chance for Strasburg to come back and be a good, if not as-dominant starter in 2012 and beyond. There's also a chance that he disappears like Mark Prior did.