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Carlos Quentin and the Dreaded Wrist Injury

Carlos Quentin was one of the front runners to win the MVP Award last year before his season ended in September with a broken wrist. All indications are that his recovery has gone without a hitch and he is expected ready for Spring Training. Yet fantasy players are treating him cautiously, as Quentin’s ADP according to the latest Mock Draft Central rankings is 37.

After two unimpressive stints with the Diamondbacks, Quentin flourished last year in his first full season. Most significant was his 36 home runs in 480 at-bats. Wrist injuries frequently sap power, which is undoubtedly the main reason Quentin is slipping into the fourth and sometimes even fifth round in early mocks.

Quentin is an unusual hitter in that he rarely hits line drives. His 15.4 percent LD mark was the third lowest in the majors and contributed to his .280 BABIP. But his low-strikeout and high-HR numbers resulted in an AVG of .288, or eight points above his BABIP.

The move to Chicago agreed with Quentin last year. He hit 21 of his 36 homers at Comiskey Park. But he did well on the road, too, where he notched a .950 OPS.

Because he struggled in his first two seasons in the majors, it’s easy to forget the Quentin was a top prospect. What he did last season was better, but not out of line with what he produced in the minors. Following his 2005 season at Tucson, prospect maven John Sickels ranked him as the sixth-best position player in baseball and Baseball America had him 20th overall, one spot above Nick Markakis.

But it all comes back to the wrist injury. And before you point to Evan Longoria, here’s what Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll had to say: “Here’s the key on Longoria — he broke his ARM (distal tip of ulna), not his wrist. If you pointed to the area, we’d all use the common term of ‘wrist’ but it’s not anatomically so.”

So, caution is justified with Quentin. He will still be a worthwhile player to own, but he’s not a top three-round guy. And before you draft him in the fourth round, ask yourself if you wouldn’t be better off with Curtis Granderson, who will be a full year removed from a non-displaced fracture in his right middle finger.