Injured 1B: Goldschmidt and Fielder

Paul Goldschmidt was having a great season until he got hit by a pitch and broke his wrist in August. He was hitting home runs, had an .300 AVG and was still getting some steals (nine). It was just another All-Star caliber season until the broke wrist ended his season.

The main issue with him going into 2015  will be if his wrist is still bothering him. To see how player’s performed after wrist issues, I looked at hitter production the season before, of, and after a similar wrist injury.

Stat: Year before to injury year, injury year to year after, year before to year after
AVG: -0.014, 0.004, -0.009
OBP: -0.023, 0.012, -0.008
SLG -0.043, 0.015, -0.028

Most hitters probably tried to play threw the initial pain and saw their numbers drop in the injury season. Goldschmidt immediately when on the DL, so he may also miss the injury decline and the “year after” bounce. The key numbers for me are the “year before” to “year after” drops. The AVG (and therefore OBP) driven drops is rather small. The SLG drop is quite a bit. If a person look at the Steamer Projections for Goldschmidt, the injury already seems incorporated in. This decline is instead from more of his projection being regressed to league average because of missed time (the league’s average stats and plate appearances will have more weight than the individual player stats)

Overall, his Steamer Projection of 30 HR, .282/.389/.518, 180 R+RBI and 12 SBs is good except the stolen bases. I think he will be lucky to get double digits.  Basically, just expect more of the same.


Prince Fielder’s future is a little cloudier. First, no injury examples exist of a hitter getting his neck bones fused together. Additionally, he was on a downward production slope before the 2014 season. With a murky future,  I will look at how to start assessing his 2015 value.

First off,  it was a major surgery and could really effect his swing and power.  We really won’t know until the season begins.

To get a starting point, I will cheat and pull his 2015 Steamer projection:
24 HR, .280 AVG, 81/85 Runs/RBI and 1 SB in 138 games

That line seems OK. I don’t think he will have that much power. He is projected to nearly have the same number of home runs and AVG as he had with the 2013 Tigers in 162 games. The games played seem to be the real issue. He will want to play every game like he normally has in the past.  I think he will play all the time or not at all. Right now, I think the range is 40 to 162 games with 100 being in the middle. Also, the more he plays, the more likely his stats may suffer as he wears down and plays hurt. He could put up top 10 value or none at all. Such a crap shoot at this time.

For 2015, I am going to use the following formula with him.

1. Wait as long as possible on making a decision. Spring training information will help shape the decision. Is he only playing DH? Is he playing everyday or needing rest? Has he at least hit a HR? Some players’ value won’t change preseason, but Fielder’s will be all over the place.

2. Know your league settings. I think his value and rosterability depends on the depth of a league’s waiver wire. In shallow or AL-only leagues, I would almost stay completely away from depending on him. Finding any players on the waiver wire can almost be impossible, not alone a OK corner infielder. In larger leagues with replacement level players available, I may take a chance on him earlier for the hope of a 100% healthy season. If he breaks down, oh well, pick someone else up off the waiver wire.

3. Know yourself. If you are a gambler and like to take chances, Fielder is your man. If you like a less volatile situation, look elsewhere.

I could see him get the 2014 Victor Martinez treatment where teams picked him up late and were rewarded, but no one was for sure how he would produce. Overall, I think he will relatively cheap on draft/auction day and I could see him end up on a few of my teams.

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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On Fielder, compressed discs damage nerve roots, central nervous system tissue. CNS doesn’t heal. He won’t be much better than he was before the surgery.


PubMed seems to have a lot of peer reviewed journal articles that suggest CNS regeneration is possible.

You speak with much certainly about that which is not certain.