MASH Report: Offseason Injury Updates

Reports from Scott Boras have Matt Harvey returning at 100% health to start spring training.

….. Harvey underwent surgery on July 18 to remove a rib. The goal was to free compressed nerves traveling from his shoulder to his armpit, allowing them to function normally again. For much of this season, Harvey was pitching without complete feeling in his arm and fingers.

“When you lose that sensation, man, it’s scary for a pitcher,” Boras said. “You don’t know. He’s sitting here struggling and he’s struggling and he’s struggling, and it’s so mentally stressful not to be able to execute.”

I am little more optimistic with Harvey than other pitchers coming back from other elbow surgeries because the injury wasn’t because of damage to his arm.

• I wanted to do a full report on Stephen Strasburg, but his health status keeps changing. Right now, he is too unhealthy to pitch.

Stephen Strasburg felt some discomfort that ended his bullpen session prematurely on Monday afternoon.

He had been scheduled to throw 35 pitches in his second time off the mound since he tore his right pronator tendon and developed weakness in his flexor mass during his last start on Sept. 7. But around the 30th or 31st pitch Monday, Strasburg alerted the Nationals of his discomfort, and they stopped it short.

It looks like the plan to limit his innings 2012 isn’t paying off.

• It seems like Pablo Sandoval is almost back to being 100% healthy.

“His goal was to be ready, physically, to play in the ALCS. I don’t know that that would’ve happened, because our other people had been there all year, but from a health perspective, he’s really right there, so I think he’ll be healthy next year. There’s other guys that I’m sure say they should be the third baseman. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out. But he’s been a proven big league performer. If he’s healthy and ready to go, he has a chance to be a good performer for us. I know people say, “Well . . . ” but the same thing was said about Hanley last year at the same time. Hanley worked very hard. That’s why there’s still a long haul ahead for him.”
“But I think that Pablo will be ready to play,” Dombrowski said. “How does he compete vs. Travis [Shaw] and Brock and everyone else. I think that’s one thing with our club that’s interesting. When you start talking about Travis and Brock, there’s flexibility with where you can play them, so when we eventually get to that point of setting up our club, those are important decisions for us.”

I am not doubting his health. I am more interested to see how the 3B position shakes out in Boston with four players, Travis Shaw, Brock Holt, Yoan Moncada, and Sandoval, all fighting for for the first base job and possibly the DH position.

Wilson Ramos is expected to miss seven months after his knee surgery. Jeff Todd at MLBTradeRumors breaks down the implications of his long return.

In terms of timeline, it seems fairly safe to assume that seven months is on the optimistic side. That would put Ramos back in action by mid-May, assuming all proceeds well, though that probably doesn’t mean he’ll be throwing on the catching gear in a major league park at that point.

While he’ll probably be able to begin some limited baseball activities as the knee gains strength, and will certainly be able to do weight work, Ramos will need to rebuild his conditioning even after he’s cleared. And he’ll also need to work back to game speed in all departments. Ramos himself has suggested that he may need to spend some time in a DH role in order to get back to the field as soon as possible.

I agree with Todd’s assessment of the situation and we will see who Ramos eventually ends up catching for.

Garrett Richards elected to not have Tommy John surgery and went the stem cell treatment path. So far, all is good with him and his recovery.

Garrett Richards said he felt good after throwing three innings in instructional league on Saturday, the second of his three scheduled outings as he seeks to avoid Tommy John surgery.

Richards threw about 50 pitches and said via text that “everything was great. Felt even better than last time.” Richards had thrown 25 pitches on Monday, his first time pitching in a game since he learned he had damaged his ulnar collateral ligament in May.

I am glad he feels good, but I am more worried about his production level going forward. From his first start, Pedro Moura reported on his velocity.

This is a drop of over 2 mph from the 2016 regular season. He has only been really productive when he can bring the heat. When his fastball velocity averaged 95 mph or less from 2011 to 2013, his ERA was 4.42 with a 6.1 K/9. When he was able to get the velocity above 95 mph, his ERA was 3.11 and his K/9 jumped to 8.2.

It’s all nice that he is healthy. Now I just want to see him be his old productive self. Check on his velocity come spring training to see where is stands compared to previous values.

Sonny Gray made one appearance after going on the DL for a couple months with a forearm issue. In his return, his fastball velocity was back averaging 93.7 mph.

His 2016 average was 92.7 mph with a career average of 93.0 mph. It will be nice if he can keep this velocity up next season and right now it looks like I may take a chance on him when possible.

Wilmer Flores had wrist surgery and should be ready for spring training.

• Last week, I brought of Michael Brantley and the effects his shoulder will have on his upcoming season. The deal is I didn’t give him projection. I will go with:

200 PA, .250 AVG, .300 OBP, 2 HR, 2 SB, 25 RBI and Runs.

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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