MASH Report: Price, Desmond, & More by Jeff Zimmerman March 15, 2017 • At Farnam Street, they recently quoted Richard Nisbett on how humans attribute blame. Our susceptibility to the fundamental attribution error—overestimating the role of traits and underestimating the importance of situations—has implications for everything from how to select employees to how to teach moral behavior. After covering injuries for years, I think this a great way to divide injury causes between factors out the player’s control (hit in the head with a pitch) to those he controls (hurting a back carrying deer up steps with Todd Helton). Two hitters whose value has taken a hit from injuries are Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton. Here’s how I would step through the procedure to divide the blame starting with Harper. Here are his injuries over the past three seasons and how much blame I would give to him. ’13 Knee (DL): Ran into wall fielding ball. 60% ’14 Thumb (DL): Head first slide. 85% ’16 Shoulder (speculation): Unknown and head first slide. Too much unknown for much blame. 20% Using my numbers, he’s 55% to blame for his injuries with the shoulder injury leading to an unknown amount of blame. A few days ago, I asked my Twitter followers the same question and they came up with an average of 44%. What percentage of Harper's recent injuries are his fault, not the game situation? '13 Knee (DL)'14 Thumb (DL)'15 Shoulder (speculation) — Jeff Zimmerman (@jeffwzimmerman) March 13, 2017 Maybe we don’t distribute blame the same way, especially for head-first slides, but I blame Harper more while the crowd blames his environment. Now to move onto Stanton. Here are his injuries since 2013 ’13 Hamstring: 90% ’14 Fractured Jaw: 10% ’15 Fractured Wrist: 10% ’16 Groin: 90% These values work out to an easy 50%. And here is the poll I asked in which I added a knee injury and I forgot by about the broken jaw (no DL time). What percentage of Stanton's recent injuries are his fault, not the game situation?'12 Knee'13 Hamstring'15 Fractured Wrist'16 Groin — Jeff Zimmerman (@jeffwzimmerman) March 13, 2017 The average blame from the poll was 46%, so close to my values. While I don’t have any numbers yet to back up the following conclusion, I think assigning blame to the player, especially hitters, can be useful. It can help filter out the noise and find hitters who are either injury prone or just unlucky. I will continue to work on this issue and will welcome any thoughts on it. • David Price will start the season on the DL. I can’t seem to get a good reading on how much time he will miss. I am going to assume about a month on the pine. With Price out, the Red Sox need to determine who will make up the rest of their rotation but the rest of their staff may not be ready to go. Knuckleballer Steven Wright and left-handers Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez had been vying for the remaining two spots in the rotation, before Price’s injury. The easy assumption is that the trio would now take the remaining spots. But, they have all been slowed by injury this spring. Wright made his first Grapefruit League start on Monday, going two perfect innings against Toronto. Pomeranz made his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday. He went two innings, giving up two runs on two hits including a home run. Rodriguez has made three starts, giving up three runs over nine innings. Rodriquez looks to have an edge over the other two. Of the other pair, I think Pomeranz is the better pitcher and will eventually end up with the job. • Ian Desmond will be out four-to-six weeks with a fractured finger. These days missed line up with the historic values. Additionally, Desmond’s owners may want to replace him with Mark Reynolds who produced decently last season. • Jason Kipnis is dealing with a shoulder injury. Jason Kipnis is adamant that he could play through his right shoulder injury if the same issue occurred in the middle of the season. This is not mid-summer, though. This is Spring Training, and the Indians are trying to prepare for seven months of baseball. Standing at his locker inside Cleveland’s clubhouse Tuesday morning, Kipnis expressed frustration over being shut down for two weeks, which most likely takes him out of the Opening Day mix. That said, the second baseman understands why the team’s medical staff is keeping the big picture in mind with its conservative approach right now. This injury worries me a bit for his production and playing time. First, I don’t think he’ll miss much more than the required 10 days. He’ll accrue quite a few at-bats, but he’ll likely be playing hurt. I will give his full-season projections a 4% hit for this injury he’ll be playing through. I got the 4% value with some back-of-napkin math. I found the average change in OPS for hitter injuries to be ~30 points by using the information here and the linked spreadsheet. Over the years the data was collected, the league-wide OPS was .741. So taking .030/.741, I get 0.04 or 4%. I’ll assume a 4% decline in OPS equals a 4% drop in fantasy stats (yes, fuzzy math galore). • While I’ll dock Kipnis 4% on his projected production, I will give Steven Souza Jr. a 4% upgrade after dealing with a hip injury last season. He now feels healthy. Souza noted that being pain-free makes a day at the office a lot more enjoyable since he was dealing with hip pain from midseason until his surgery. “I was just telling my wife that it’s amazing to go out there and not have anything wrong,” he said, “and to be able to play 100 percent and knowing that I’m 100 percent healthy. There’s just something different about it.” I see him as a nice buy low in shallow leagues for possible 20 HR/ 20 SB production. • A couple of other players I will bump up are Victor Martinez (link) and Elvis Andrus (link). Both played through a hernia last season and now feel fine. • Anthony DeSclafani has sprained his elbow. Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani was diagnosed Monday with an ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his right elbow, and he will be shut down from throwing for up to four weeks. A minimum of four weeks down means he’ll need the same amount of time get back up to speed. I am going to value him missing three months. I could see the Reds being cautious and not rushing him back. Additionally, he could go back on the DL after returning. • Sonny Gray will be out until at least late April with a strained lat. Sonny Gray shut down for three weeks with lat strain. Won't pitch for A's until likely late April. — Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 9, 2017 Gray just can’t stay healthy and/or productive. • Michael Brantley is playing in minor league games so if he starts the season the DL, the team can backdate some DL days if needed. No sign points to a player nursing an injury than time with the minor leaguers like Tyler Duffey is doing today. [Found out Jose Peraza is also DHing in the minors] • Max Scherzer insists he’ll be ready to start the season. A couple of bullpens, a three-inning live batting practice session, and a two-inning simulated game appearance later, Scherzer steadfastly believes he will be ready for the start of the season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said Monday morning. “I’m gonna do it.” Scherzer’s staunch assertion falls in line with what Nationals Manager Dusty Baker said Sunday. “He’s a little bit behind but not as far behind as it looked like he was going to be at the beginning,” Baker said. “He’s back on pace I think.” This macho talk has me worried he is going to throw hurt and make the problem worse or cause another issue. I want to see him throw a game and see the results before buying back in 100%. • Tom Murphy broke his arm and will not be back for four-to-six weeks. … catcher Tom Murphy sustained a hairline fracture in his right forearm when he was struck by Anthony Rizzo’s bat during a game against the Cubs on Saturday. Murphy will be out of action for four to six weeks, according to Rockies manager Bud Black. The 25-year-old catcher, who had a splint placed on the arm Tuesday, was injured when Rizzo’s follow-through struck him in the lower arm toward the wrist area just as he had thrown the ball to second base. I expect it will take at least a couple more weeks to get up speed. • David Dahl will find out in a week about his opening day status. I don’t see how he will be ready with only a week left in spring training. Plan on him missing a week or so to start the season. • Charlie Tilson, a nice stolen base sleeper pick, will wear a walking boot for three weeks and then he’ll need to get up to speed. Getting a half season out of him at this point will be lucky. • Andrew Cashner will be close to being ready for opening day after experiencing soreness in his biceps. • Brandon Nimmo will miss a few weeks to start the season. • Matt Duffy (heel) may not be ready for opening day. #Rays Duffy says progress a little slow with heel, target to start playing in games has been pushed back from mid-March. Could impact opener — Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 8, 2017 • Trevor May will likely miss all of the 2017 season because of possible Tommy John surgery. • Jake Smolinski had shoulder surgery and will be out for a while. I would guess around three months but it could be longer. • Socrates Brito will be out with a dislocated finger.