MASH Report (8/23/13)

Not a ton of injury information over the past few days. I promise to get a month-to-month, vice a year-to-year, PAIN leader board. Instead, I examined the HURT and PAIN leaders for well established starting pitchers and hitters.

• I wanted to start by talking about the rash of catchers going on the DL and the fantasy impacts. First off, catching is tough. Kneeling for every pitch, having foul balls hit your head and nads, collisions at the plate. To put it in perspective, six of the last players to go on the concussion DL have been catchers. On the season, 9 of the of the 17 concussion DL trips have been by catchers.

A general fantasy rule is to never pay above or at market price for a catcher. This theme has been backed with such catchers as Joe Mauer and Buster Posey spending significant time on the DL in recent seasons. For these reasons, I try to minimize the risk I take early in a draft or with top auction dollars and not look for catcher then. Additionally, in advanced leagues, all the owners may take this rule to the extreme and catchers can be picked up for a fraction of their value.

Roy Halladay was topping out at 89 mph and averaging 87 in his last minor league rehab start.

Again, keep his expectations in check when he returns.

• Reader Dolemite asked the following on Jon Niese:

Are you buying that he may be back in vintage form and worth an add down the stretch (esp this coming week with the phillies at Metco and the nonhitting lefties Nats)

Niese has several things going for him. His velocity is trending up. He is throwing strikes. I don’t like his inconsistent release point. This spread usually leads to future injuries, but for now I would take a chance on him for those two games. There are a lot worse choices available.

Coco Crisp is playing hurt. Expect his stats to suffer:

Pitchers returning from the DL

Ross Ohlendorf’s average fastball velocity looks fine:

Looking over the rest of his stats, nothing sticks out as a warning sign.

Franklin Morales finally got into a few games after returning for the DL over a week ago. His velocity is up compared to earlier in the season and closer to 2012 levels.

HURT (Hitter’s Under-performance from Recent Trauma) Rankings (hitters with at least 1 PA in 2013 and 1000 PA from 2010 to 2012):

Any player with a HURT value over 100 (red) has the traits of a batter playing through an injury.

Name HURT PA (2013) PA (2010-2012)
Seth Smith 182.4 359 1372
B.J. Upton 181.2 367 1883
Jason Kubel 153.6 260 1554
Albert Pujols 140.4 443 2021
Aramis Ramirez 120 242 1763
Melky Cabrera 120 372 1716
Lance Berkman 115.2 282 1165
Alex Avila 114 289 1318
Chris Johnson 111.6 419 1295
Delmon Young 110.4 291 1724
Tyler Colvin 108 78 1069
Miguel Montero 106.8 376 1457
Paul Konerko 104.4 393 1868
Robert Andino 100.8 85 1008
Mark Teixeira 99.6 63 1920
Giancarlo Stanton 98.4 355 1498
Josh Willingham 97.2 356 1629
Pablo Sandoval 97.2 448 1524
John Jaso 97.2 249 1038
Kevin Youkilis 96 118 1461
Matt Kemp 93.6 251 1806
Ty Wigginton 92.4 63 1455
Brandon Inge 91.2 110 1214
Ryan Roberts 91.2 173 1115
Vernon Wells 87.6 391 1437
Nick Markakis 86.4 555 1896
Jay Bruce 82.8 545 1870
Prince Fielder 79.2 563 2096
Jimmy Rollins 79.2 521 1724
Troy Tulowitzki 79.2 387 1338
Danny Espinosa 76.8 167 1428

• The above table is a who’s who of the walking wounded of the 2013 season.

Seth Smith was ranked high for the entire season, but he had no reported injuries until now. It was just reported he was dealing with an eye astigmatism. I can’t believe a baseball player with blurry vision is having problems making solid contact with a baseball.

PAIN (Pitcher Abuse INdex) Rankings (min 120 IP in 2012, 1 IP in 2013)

Any player with a PAIN value over 100 (red) has the traits of a pitcher likely to be hurt.

Name PAIN IP (2013) IP (2012)
Jason Marquis 212.2 117.2 127.2
Lucas Harrell 194.4 131.1 193.2
Scott Feldman 115.5 139.1 123.2
Matt Moore 112.1 121.1 177.1
Matt Harrison 102.4 10.2 213.1
Francisco Liriano 94.4 121.0 156.2
Felix Hernandez 90.7 178.2 232.0
Luis Mendoza 89.2 88.2 166.0
Jake Westbrook 62.8 114.1 174.2
Hiroki Kuroda 56.4 160.1 219.2
Zack Greinke 55.5 133.0 212.1
James McDonald 54.0 29.2 171.0
Gavin Floyd 51.8 24.1 168.0
Ivan Nova 50.6 93.2 170.1
Yovani Gallardo 47.2 134.2 204.0
Jarrod Parker 46.5 155.1 181.1
Ryan Dempster 42.6 145.1 173.0
Josh Johnson 42.4 81.1 191.1
Rick Porcello 38.7 135.1 176.1
Tim Hudson 34.4 131.1 179.0
Marco Estrada 33.7 86.1 138.1
Ricky Nolasco 28.4 157.2 191.0
Ricky Romero 25.4 4.1 181.0

• With a large sample of previous data, PAIN picks out hurt and/or struggling established pitchers decently. A few exception exist (Liriano, but it is decent with established starters.

Hiroki Kuroda doesn’t have a +100 PAIN value which indicates a likely injured pitcher, but he is showing some signs common with an injury. His velocity is down 0.5 mph from 2012. His Zone% dropped from 47% to 45%.

Players on the DL

(*) 15 Day Disabled List
(**) 60 Day Disabled List
(***) 7 Day Concussion List
(****) Free Agent
Red colored entries are updates since last report.

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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Thanks Jeff!
I notice you said Niese’s release point is still inconsistent….
Do you mean game to game, or within the same game?
From my albeit naive viewpoint, I see his release point as the highest and closest to center it has been all year since he has returned

The concept of analyzing a pitcher using his release point fascinates me, and you are really the only one I have seen talk about it, so any additional detail would be greatly appreciated if you have the time to expound on it.

In any case, keep up the good work!