MASH Report (10/10/13) – Injury Prediction Results

I spent most of my time finishing cleaning up the list of possible 2014 DL candidates (end of article). Also I was able write a couple player injury updates. Finally, I looked over some starting pitcher injury predictions using Zone%, Slider% and Curve ball%

Carlos Gonzalez gave a lamed middle finger to surgery. From the advice of his doctor, he will hopefully rest and rehab until his middle finger is all good. If rest and rehab don’t work, he’ll need surgery and may not be ready by opening day.

Matt Kemp is still a mess. He had surgery on his elbow which will keep him out for 6-8 weeks. Additionally, there are more details on his ankle.

A bigger concern for Kemp now is the microfractured talus bone near his ankle that knocked him out of the postseason and put him on crutches for another three weeks.

Kemp said he was warned by doctors that further damage to the involved bone could be career threatening. Major surgery on the ankle is not anticipated, doctors said, but a minor cleanup procedure is possible.

I want nothing to do with Kemp until I see him sprint in spring training.

• Last fall, I investigated a quote from Billy Beane about the injury chances of non-strike throwing pitchers. I found starting pitchers who threw less than 47% of their pitches in the strike zone had a near 50% chance of ending up on the DL the next season. With this regular season over, it’s time to see how the injury projection held up. Here are the pitchers in question and if they ended up on the 2013 DL.

Name IP Zone% On DL
Francisco Liriano 156 43.2% Yes
Jeremy Hellickson 177 43.5% No
Luis Mendoza 166 43.7% No
Trevor Cahill 200 44.5% Yes
Edwin Jackson 189 44.7% No
Josh Johnson 191 44.9% Yes
James Shields 227 45.0% No
Zack Greinke 212 45.1% Yes
Jon Lester 205 45.1% No
Tim Lincecum 186 45.3% No
Yovani Gallardo 204 45.3% Yes
Jason Marquis 127 45.7% Yes
Jake Westbrook 174 45.8% Yes
Shaun Marcum 124 46.0% Yes
Edinson Volquez 182 46.0% No
Stephen Strasburg 159 46.2% Yes
Ricky Romero 181 46.3% No
Joe Saunders 174 46.3% No
Jarrod Parker 181 46.5% No
Hiroki Kuroda 219 46.7% No
Jerome Williams 137 46.7% No
Gio Gonzalez 199 46.7% No
Tommy Hanson 174 46.9% Yes

Only 10 of the 23 went on the DL or 43%. The number is not as high as previous seasons, but still higher than the league average of 39%.

Besides pitchers who don’t throw strikes, pitchers who use a lot of sliders and curve balls have been more injury prone. A slider usage of 30% or more meant a 46% DL chance and 25% or more curve ball usage meant a 51% DL chance. Here are the pitchers from 2012 who were more likely to be DL bound.

Name IP Slider% Curveball% On DL
Ryan Dempster 173 39.5% No
Madison Bumgarner 208 36.4% No
Bud Norris 168 36.4% No
Ervin Santana 178 36.2% No
Francisco Liriano 156 32.7% Yes
Jason Marquis 127 31.9% Yes
CC Sabathia 200 31.8% Yes
Wandy Rodriguez 205 30.7% Yes
Scott Diamond 173 29.0% Yes
Ivan Nova 170 28.8% Yes
Erik Bedard 125 28.3% No

So 43% of the heavy slider throwers went on the DL. Also, all of the curve ball users, except Erik Bedard (#cantpredictbaseball), went on the DL.

Players possibly on the DL to start the 2014 season

(*) 15 Day Disabled List
(**) 60 Day Disabled List
(***) 7 Day Concussion List
(****) Free Agent
Red colored entries are updates since last report.

Major League Report

Minor League Report

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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

12 Responses to “MASH Report (10/10/13) – Injury Prediction Results”

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  1. Froglegs Jackson says:

    Wouldn’t it be more relevant to know *how* these pitchers landed on the DL? Liriano and Greinke (just off the top of my head) both were on the DL for non pitching related injuries.

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    • DJ says:

      Yes, i was going to mention that. It seems silly to include Greinke. This only corrupts the results of the analysis

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      • elguapo says:

        But if Greinke had thrown that one pitch for a strike, Quentin wouldn’t have charged the mound and given him the bionic forearm to the collar, thus no DL stint. NOW, who’s the silly one?

        Really, though, just taking him out of the equation brings it down to 39%.

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    • Kinanik says:

      But, if Greinke’s pitch to Quentin had been a strike, he wouldn’t have ended up on the DL!

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    • Jeff Zimmerman says:

      I just lump all the injuries together. When I created the original data, I looked at pitchers going back to 2002. I didn’t look up how each injury was caused. Because my baseline data is based off all injuries, I need to include them with future inquiries.

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  2. KJ says:

    What’s Wieland’s status?

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  3. johnnycuff says:

    nitpicking, but i think you switched sean burnett’s early and late dates.

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  4. ncassino says:

    Is there a post where you list a cumulative list of all of the DL stints you tracked this year with the number of games missed per player? If not, would you be able to show something like that? Thanks.

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