MASH Report – Starting Pitcher and Hitter DL Projections

• The Mets Wilmer Flores fractured his ankle playing winter ball. He should be ready for the start of spring training, but his playing time may be limited with the addition of Asdrubal Cabrera to the team.

• The Brewers have been awarded the Martin-Monahan award for “keeping its players on the playing field and off the disabled list”. This is the second year in a row the Brewers have gotten the award.

Giancarlo Stanton is taking some pain-free swings.

The sound of thunder has returned to the batting cage. Giancarlo Stanton recently revved up his hitting program near his home in Southern California, and the reverberations made it all the way to South Florida.

All signs point to the slugger swinging the bat pain-free, which is about as encouraging as any news the Marlins have been able to enjoy this offseason. The club can’t wait to hear the exploding sound of the ball off Stanton’s bat when he takes his cuts in Spring Training.

Also, I am glad to see Bonds back in the game.

“I don’t need to tell Stanton much,” Bonds said. “He’s a great ballplayer. He’s a great hitter. All we need to do is tweak a couple of little things here and there, keep him motivated and keep moving.”

• MLB’s Brian McTaggart gives an update on a few Astros who all had a minor offseason surgery.

Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena and relief pitcher Pat Neshekboth recently underwent minor foot surgeries and should be ready for the start of Spring Training, general manager Jeff Luhnow revealed on Monday.

Luhnow also said veteran starting pitcher Scott Feldman was cleared by doctors last week to resume his normal offseason throwing program after being sidelined in the final month with a right shoulder sprain. And pitcher Brad Peacock, who had back surgery in August, has begun throwing bullpens and is going through his normal offseason routine at this point.

• The Indians are sticking to their guns that Michael Brantley will only miss about a month of the regular season.

The Indians know they will be without left fielder Michael Brantley at least part of the first month of the season. Brantley’s comeback from right shoulder surgery could even linger into May, making acquiring outfield help a priority right now.

That is the timetable and situation expected immediately following Brantley’s November operation and it remains the same through the first day of the Winter Meetings on Monday at the Opryland Hotel. Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti was quick to quash rumblings that Brantley’s comeback could drag deep into the summer.

• The Reds Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco are both on track to be 100% for spring training and Billy Hamilton has begun baseball activities.

Disabled List Projections

Alright, it is time again to look back at my 2015 starting pitcher disabled list (DL) projections and give the values for 2016. For my projections, I use three factors:

• Age: The older the pitcher, the more the injury risk (+1% point increase each year older)
• Injury history: Nothing predicts future injury like past injuries (+10% points for each season of the past three on the DL).
• Games Started: A pitcher needs to show they can throw for an entire season without breaking down (-3% points for each full season up to three).

Looking back at 2015 preseason predictions, I predicted 105 of 270 pitchers (39%) would go on the DL with 114 (42%) actually making the trip this past season. Looking forward to 2016, I ran the numbers on 266 pitchers and 109 (41%) are predicted to go on the DL at least once with the highest chance at 60.0% (Josh Johnson) and the lowest at 28.3% (Julio Teheran). Besides just the DL changes, I have included each pitcher’s Zone% and curveball and slider usage. I have found high breaking ball usage and the ability to throw strikes point to higher injury risks. Here are the thresholds to look for which puts the pitcher at a higher injury risk:

• Slider usage > 30%
• Curveball usage > 25%
• Pitchf/x Zone% < 47%

Additionally, I have decided to calculate the projected number of days missed using a formula Rob Arthur calculated a few years back at Baseball Prospectus.

Days missed this year = .18*(days missed last year) + .1*(days missed two years prior) + .02*(days missed three years prior) + .004*Player’s Age

Using his formula, here are the projected days missed for all hitters:

Players possibly on the DL in 2016

The Red players have had updates since the last report. Click on the “Date” for a link to go to the latest article on the player.

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 four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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8 years ago

The simple injury formula makes me wonder to what degree MLB teams use insurance style actuarial math when they sign guys to these very big and long contracts. We hear a lot about the performance analytics but I would have to imagine that big league clubs have all kinds of other analytics upon which they rely. Anybody know much about it?