MASH Report: Brantley & Batter DL Days

Michael Brantley is in the news after an article by Jon Heyman stated:

Sources familiar with Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley’s shoulder surgery suggest they believe it is quite serious, and that he could in fact miss significant time next season.

Word based on those sources is that “they had to re-anchor the muscle to the bone.”

This was news to Brantley and the team and they shot back with:

“Our expectation is that he’ll be ready for spring training,” said Chris Antonetti, Indians president of baseball operations. “We were told after the second surgery that the timeline (for recovery) would be four to five months. As far as I know, nothing has changed.”

After digging around, I think both sides and probably right and wrong.

The surgery being performed is rarely done, especially on hitters. The two previous instances were Eric Chavez in 2008 and Freddy Sanchez in 2010. Each in of these two instances, the player’s career was effectively over. Sanchez was out of the league two years later and while Chavez played parts of six seasons and put up three total WAR.

The stated timeline is in line with other return times, so no adjustment there. The issue is how productive will he be when he returns (which was his issue this season).

I am staying completely away in 2017 unless he is reserve round pick or my last player taken in a shallow league where I can easily replace him. I don’t think anyone should count on him for any useful 2017 production.

Attempt at Projecting Hitter Time Missed

My article yesterday on Bryce Harper got thinking about how to help determine days missed during a season using some combination of games played and disabled list days. That idea basically cost me three hours of my life I can’t have back as I didn’t find anything. The preceding statement is a bit strong. I really expected to find some decent correlation, but as you will soon see, there isn’t much.

This finding is actually quite important when looking at preseason playing time projections. I see some “reported healthy” players taking a huge hit from predicted playing time. I understand devaluing a player because of a known injury coming into the season, but with hitters, assume they should be relatively healthy and can help a team.

After using major league games, major and minor league games, days on the disabled list, and age to predict time missed in the next season, I ended up with the following pieces of information of hitter predictive injury information.

  • Owners of the youngest, most previously healthy position players should expect them to be on the DL 21 days a season. The oldest, most unhealthy players should expect to miss 29 days to the DL. This small difference is huge when doing projections as being previously injury prone players like Giancarlo Stanton. They are a bit more injury prone,but not by a ton. What I would look at instead of days off is the effect the injury has on the player’s production.
  • Age has almost nothing to do with time missed.
  • With games, hitters should expect to miss 30 games if healthy or 45 if previously injured alot. It seems like the healthy player will miss about a month’s worth of time and the injury prone player will miss 15 more. These numbers lineup with the DL days.

Here is a table to help so the variance in days missed to the DL from one season to the next.

DL Chances After Having Previous DL Stint
Days on the DL (Year1) Samples (Year 2) % or missed > 100 days % who missed > 30 days % who didn’t go on the DL
> 90 days 119 5.9% 25.2% 60.5%
61 to 90 days 108 7.4% 26.9% 62.0%
31 to 60 days 232 5.2% 20.7% 63.4%
1 to 30 days 283 2.5% 20.1% 64.3%
None 1030 4.2% 24.2% 61.3%

Do you see the nice trend from ……. huh … neither do I. A small amount of injury carryover may exist, but again, nothing to get excited over.

The key with the preceding information is to understand there is some risk in taking an injured player, but the time off could allow the player to heal and come back better. I would be a little leery of any player predicted to miss time from a healed injury. For next week, I will go over some of these players, like Stanton or Mike Moustakas, and find the ones who should be decent 2017 targets.

We hoped you liked reading MASH Report: Brantley & Batter DL Days by Jeff Zimmerman!

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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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