Injuries


The Verducci Effect: 2009

On Monday, Peter Bendix of Beyond The Box Score took a look at The Verducci Effect. The gist of Tom Verducci's theory:

"It's like training for a marathon. You need to build stamina incrementally. The unofficial industry standard is that no young pitcher should throw more than 30 more innings than he did the previous season. It's a general rule of thumb, and one I've been tracking for about a decade. When teams violate the incremental safeguard, it's amazing how often they pay for it."

Bendix notes that five of Verducci's seven most risky young starters had injury or performance problems in 2008.  Bendix identifies seven to worry about for 2009: Jon Lester (9th round), Cole Hamels (4th round), Chad Billingsley (8th round), John Danks (13th round), Mike Pelfrey (18th round), Tim Lincecum (3rd round), and Jair Jurrjens (16th round).

I know there is some debate on whether minor league innings should be included in the calculations, but I prefer to.  Let's identify some other young starters who had big increases from 2007 to 2008.

  • Ricky Nolasco: 157.3 IP increase.  He did toss 140 in '06.
  • Dana Eveland: 151.3 IP increase.
  • Rich Harden: 135.3 IP increase.  Pitched 189.6 innings in '04.
  • Todd Wellemeyer: 111.3 IP increase.  Entering contract year.
  • Jonathan Sanchez: 82.3 IP increase.
  • Zack Greinke: 80.3 IP increase.  Should be noted that he pitched 183 innings in '05.
  • Greg Smith: 74.3 IP increase.  He's in Colorado now, anyway.
  • Zach Duke: 61.6 IP increase.  He pitched 215.3 innings in '06.
  • Clayton Kershaw: 47 IP increase.
  • Ervin Santana: 42 IP increase.  Santana may be an exception since he reached 204 innings in '06.
  • Manny Parra: 33 IP increase.


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Number Of Pitches Thrown

Let's take a quick-and-dirty look at a simple stat, number of pitches thrown.  Your 2007 leaders:

  1. Carlos Zambrano (3689).
  2. Dan Haren (3635).
  3. Jake Peavy (3610).
  4. Scott Kazmir (3609).
  5. Aaron Harang (3590).
  6. C.C. Sabathia (3581).
  7. Gil Meche (3578).
  8. Daniel Cabrera (3563).
  9. Dontrelle Willis (3491).
  10. Jeff Francis (3485).

Interesting list - the majority of these pitchers have missed time due to injury in 2008.  Your '08 leaders:

  1. A.J. Burnett (3286).
  2. C.C. Sabathia (3267).
  3. Matt Cain (3215).
  4. Justin Verlander (3214).
  5. Gil Meche (3150).
  6. Tim Lincecum (3137).
  7. Johan Santana (3135).
  8. Roy Halladay (3130).
  9. Ervin Santana (3129).
  10. Cole Hamels (3095).

Sabathia and Meche have really tallied up the pitches, and C.C. has many more coming.  Sabathia's suitors both in real life and fantasy baseball should exercise caution.  He will be going in the second or third round and definitely carries risk.  It wouldn't be surprising to see a few more of these guys go down next year.


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Innings Caps

Let's look at some starters and their possible innings caps this year.  Who might be shut down early?  We'll assume teams will be reluctant to extend their young starters more than 30 innings past the previous year's total.  Of course, the rule may not apply to some of these pitchers. Greinke, for example, tossed 183 innings in '05 and may be able to handle that kind of workload.

Some of these pitchers will switch over to shutdown risks as the playoff picture clears up.

  • Cole Hamels.  Cap: 220.  Pace: 230 plus playoffs.
  • Jeremy Guthrie.  Cap: 205.3.  Pace: 221.  Shutdown risk.
  • Tim Lincecum.  Cap: 207.3.  Pace:  216. Shutdown risk.
  • Ervin Santana.  Cap: 214.3.  Pace: 217 plus playoffs.
  • Zack Greinke.  Cap: 152.  Pace: 204. Shutdown risk.  I asked Royals beat writer Bob Dutton about this one, so we may have a more definitive answer soon.
  • Jon Lester.  Cap: 193.  Pace: 203 plus playoffs.
  • Paul Maholm. Cap: 207.6.  Pace: 207.
  • Ricky Nolasco.  Cap: 85.  Pace: 205 plus playoffs.
  • Scott Olsen. Cap: 206.6.  Pace:  198 plus playoffs.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez.  Cap: 215.  Pace: 201.
  • Joe Saunders.  Cap: 223.6. Pace: 206 plus playoffs.
  • Chad Billingsley.  Cap: 177.  Pace: 201 plus playoffs.
  • Nick Blackburn.  Cap: 178.6.  Pace: 195 plus playoffs.
  • Edinson Volquez.  Cap: 208.6. Pace: 193.
  • Jair Jurrjens.  Cap: 173.3.  Pace:  195. Shutdown risk.
  • Gavin Floyd.  Cap: 206.6.  Pace: 194 plus playoffs.
  • John Danks.  Cap: 169.  Pace:  190 plus playoffs.
  • Jered Weaver.  Cap: 207.  Pace: 184 plus playoffs.
  • Johnny Cueto.  Cap: 191.3.  Pace: 188.
  • Brian Bannister.  Cap: 215.6.  Pace: 187.
  • Greg Smith. Cap: 152. Pace:  187. Shutdown risk.
  • Mike Pelfrey.  Cap: 182.6.  Pace: 187 plus playoffs.
  • Zach Duke.  Cap: 153.3.  Pace: 184. Shutdown risk.
  • Dana Eveland.  Cap: 67.6.  Pace: 182. Shutdown risk.
  • John Lannan.  Cap: 189.3.  Pace: 184.
  • Edwin Jackson.  Cap: 191.  Pace: 184 plus playoffs.
  • Matt Garza.  Cap: 205.  Pace: 190 plus playoffs.
  • Jonathan Sanchez.  Cap: 105.6. Pace: 179. Shutdown risk.
  • Todd Wellemeyer.  Cap: 110.3. Pace: 186 plus playoffs.
  • Manny Parra.  Cap: 163. Pace: 175 plus playoffs.
  • Shaun Marcum.  Cap: 189. Pace: 180.
  • Armando Galarraga.  Cap: 191. Pace: 186 plus playoffs.
  • Luke Hochevar.  Cap: 194.6. Pace: 170.
  • Joba Chamberlain.  Cap: 146. Pace: 139 plus playoffs.
  • Clay Buchholz.  Cap: 178. Pace: 160 plus playoffs.
  • Sean Gallagher.  Cap: 146.3. Pace: 165. Shutdown risk.
  • Clayton Kershaw.  Cap:  152. Pace: 164 plus playoffs.
  • Scott Kazmir.  Cap: 236.6 . Pace: 171 plus playoffs.
  • Wandy Rodriguez. Cap: 212.6. Pace: 156.
  • Rich Harden.  Cap: 56.6.  Pace: 171 plus playoffs.


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9 Pitchers Who Could Be Shut Down Early

We saw it last year with Tim Lincecum, James Shields, and others.  Teams are growing increasingly cautious with prized young arms, and will often shut healthy young pitchers down to avoid a 30+ inning increase over the previous year.  Here are 9 pitchers on non-contending teams who might be shut down early next month.  We'll have a more comprehensive list later today, which will include young at-risk hurlers on playoff contenders.

  • Jeremy Guthrie.  Cap: 205.3.  Pace: 221.
  • Tim Lincecum.  Cap: 207.3.  Pace:  216.  Manager Bruce Bochy said they'll watch Lincecum but "he'll stay out there."
  • Zack Greinke.  Cap: 152.  Pace: 204.
  • Jair Jurrjens.  Cap: 173.3.  Pace:  195.
  • Jonathan Sanchez.  Cap: 105.6. Pace: 179.
  • Greg Smith. Cap: 152. Pace:  187.
  • Sean Gallagher.  Cap: 146.3. Pace: 165.
  • Dana Eveland.  Cap: 67.6.  Pace: 182.
  • Zach Duke.  Cap: 153.3.  Pace: 184.


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Disabled Pitchers To Watch

The following hurlers are both on the DL in at least one of my waiver wires.  Consider them in mixed leagues.

  • Matt Capps, RP.  Capps is set to return in early September from right shoulder bursitis.  The smart play by the Bucs would be wait until '09, but you never know.  Not sure if he'd bounce right back into the mix for saves.
  • Dustin McGowan, SP.  McGowan won't need shoulder surgery, and theoretically could return in mid-August.  Again, the smart move would be to shut him down.  But keep an eye on it.
  • Chien-Ming Wang, SP.  With no setbacks, Wang could return in September and snag a few starts.  He's out with a foot injury.
  • Jeff Francis, SP.  Never been a big Francis fan in mixed leagues.  But, he's aiming for a July 29th return from shoulder inflammation.
  • Tom Glavine, SP.  Ditto for Glavine - barely mixed league material.  He has no timetable, anyway.
  • Brad Penny, SP.  He could return next month from a shoulder injury.  If Clayton Kershaw is up and going strong, Penny could be a dark horse for saves.
  • Rafael Soriano, RP.  He could be back from his elbow injury in a few weeks, but is still shaky.  He'd have to be healthy and effective for a while to supplant Mike Gonzalez.
  • Phil Hughes, SP.  Still doesn't have a timetable to return from his rib injury.  Late August is possible though.
  • Chris Carpenter, SP.  Could return in August from Tommy John.  We presume he'll have some rust.
  • Orlando Hernandez, SP.  He could be back in August, though the Mets don't really have a rotation spot for him.
  • Yovani Gallardo, SP.  A September return from his ACL tear is unlikely but hasn't been ruled out.
  • Chris Ray, RP.  He could return from TJ in September, but probably won't get saves if George Sherrill is around.
  • Jason Schmidt, SP.  Still rehabbing in the minors, he's hasn't looked good.  I would pass.
  • Anibal Sanchez, SP.  Expected to rejoin Florida's rotation on July 28th following labrum surgery.  Pretty shaky pickup.
  • Noah Lowry, SP.  He's not even throwing yet after his forearm nerve injury.
  • Carl Pavano, SP.  Just kidding.


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Disabled Hitters To Watch

Some quality hitters are residing on mixed league waiver wires.  They're there because they're currently on the disabled list.   Let's see if we can find any gems.

  • Rafael Furcal, SSFurcal feels great after back surgery.  He could be back in late August, giving you a full month of production at a scarce position.
  • Frank Thomas, DH.  He is expected to take batting practice this week and could return from his quad injury in early August.
  • Hank Blalock, 3BHe could return Friday as the Rangers' starting first baseman after all kinds of maladies and setbacks.
  • Gerald Laird, C.  He should return from a hamstring injury by month's end.  He was raking in June prior to the injury.
  • Ryan Zimmerman, 3B.  He could be back next week after rehabbing his shoulder.
  • Three injured speedy guys: Dave Roberts, Julio Lugo, and Luis Castillo.  All three are questionable enough where I would not do a pre-emptive pickup though.


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Looking For Pitching?

Let's see here.  Yovani Gallardo just tore his ACL.  John Smoltz will shift to the bullpen when he returns.  That's two high-quality starters, out of the running for fantasy baseball.  (Smoltz sidebar: the fantasy implication for me is if the team owning Smoltz gets a fourth closer because of his role change.  That creates a trading opportunity).

I just traded Conor Jackson for Gallardo (to that conniving dirtbag Mike Silver, no less).  So I am feeling the pain.  But it's time to chin up and hit the wires to see what we can find.  I'm in five mixed leagues, and all of the guys below are available in at least one.

  • Carlos Silva -  Only if you have a very healthy strikeout lead. Ditto Aaron Cook.
  • Odalis Perez -  If he brings the walks down a touch you could almost consider him.
  • Hiroki Kuroda - Not ready to write him off.  Hopefully he can boost his K rate.
  • Miguel Batista - Batista figured out some mysterious new trick.  I have to admit, I'm intrigued.
  • Bronson Arroyo - Don't laugh.  He's whiffed 29 in 31 innings and is an early BABIP victim.
  • Paul Maholm - I'm a fan; he went on a nice run last year.  Can have flashes of brilliance.
  • Shawn Hill - One of those "good when healthy" types.
  • Ian Snell - Some antsy fantasy owners have dropped him already.  I think he'll come around.
  • Ted Lilly - Same story as Snell (and I admit, I was impatient enough to cut him for Max Scherzer).
  • Armando Galarraga - Interesting candidate for wins in front of the Tiger offense.
  • Rich Hill - The man is an enigma and one of my favorites.  He could sink or swim from here on out, and the Cubs don't have much confidence in him.
  • Todd Wellemeyer - 36 Ks in 37 innings, that gets my attention.
  • Dana Eveland - Oakland is a great place to pitch, and I like his 6.8 K/9.
  • Scott Baker - Old school RotoAuthority favorite.  He'll always be a WHIP source, and he can surprise you with the Ks sometimes.


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Colon Looking Good

Interesting news from Bartolo Colon's Triple A start yesterday...he was throwing in the mid-90s.  That's Good Colon.  I can see him joining the big club in a week or two, and being a solid pickup for wins assuming you play the matchups.





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