Today, I am going to look at a few pitchers with possible injury issues along with the fastball velocities of two pitchers returning from the DL.
• Early in the preseason, I marked Alexi Ogando as a possible injury risk. Besides his last start, when he didn’t make it past the 3rd inning, he as started the season good with a 3.32 ERA and 2.7 K/BB. Some initial signs I pointed out in the article still exist though. He velocity is down to 93 mph after throwing over 95 mph in 2011 when he also was a starter.
Also, he is having problems finding the plate with a 46.6% Zone%. I think he is still adjusting to being a starter and I look for him to hopefully improve to help erase the injury concerns.
• James McDonald has been trying to put down rumors which state he is injured. He says he is just beat up.
“I’m fine,” McDonald said Tuesday. “It’s just one of those times when my body just doesn’t feel too well and I have to battle through it. My body feels a little beat up. Long road trip, coming back here, I’ve got to get adjusted to the workload I’m putting on myself.” (link)
Two glaring signs point to possible injury or being “beat up”. He fastball velocity is down from an average of 91.8 mph in 2012 to 90.2 mph in 2013.
Also, his Zone% (pfx) dropped from 50% to 46%. Historically, pitchers with Zone% values under 47% are more likely to be injured over the course of a season. I would not be starting McDonald until he is no longer “beat up”.
• Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia’s drop in velocity has be well documented this season. Another issue is their Zone% dropping below the 47% line. Halladay’s Zone% has gone from 49.3% in 2012 to 45.6% this season. Sabathia’s Zone% went from 47.9% to 45.3% over the same time frame. They both are having problems throwing strikes and their walk rates are up because of it.
• Jarrod Parker has been able to keep a fairly consistent velocity, but his Zone% is down at 45.1%. He seems a little lost on the mound. I would look for a couple more decent starts from him until I begin to start him again.
Fastball Speeds of Returning Pitchers
• Scott Kazmir’s speed and talent levels are a little unknown right after basically missing the last two seasons. His current velocity is right inline with his 2010 values when his ERA and ERA estimators where in the mid to high five range.
Also, he wasn’t able to keep is velocity constant during the innings and over the course of his first start.
It will be interesting to see how he performs in 2013. If I owned him, I would not start him until some idea of his talent level can be measured.
• Travis Blackley initial 2013 velocity was similar to his 2012 velocity. No issue apparent with him.
Player Return Timetables
(*) 15 Day Disabled List
(**) 60 Day Disabled List
(***) 7 Day Concussion List
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.