MASH Report (4/17/14) – Initial PAIN Report

• All right, home work time. Here is a must read article by Tom Verducci from SI on Tommy John surgeries. A key point for fantasy baseball owners is this:

But in a sport in which 24.2 percent of players on Opening Day rosters grew up in Latin America, only one of the 20 Tommy John patients came from there (Detroit reliever Bruce Rondon, of Venezuela).

“Latin American pitchers are allowed to grow into their velocity,” said one international scouting director. “It’s a common story to sign a guy throwing 84, 85 [mph] who eventually winds up throwing in the 90s. Michael Pineda is one. You’re looking for someone with a good, athletic body who can throw the ball around the plate and has a feel for spinning the ball. The velocity comes in time, with training and better nutrition and physical growth. Here? The statistics don’t lie. We need to look elsewhere around the world to learn a better way. It’s time.”

Young American kids throwing hard for long time may be a major factor in tearing their UCL.

A.J. Burnett is pitching through the pain of a hernia this afternoon for the Phillies. Here is his explanation why:

“I guess ‘manageable’ [means] that I’m going to have to deal with it,” Burnett said on Tuesday. “Paying attention to it, knowing it’s there, knowing what I can do to overdo it and knowing what I can do to keep it where it needs to be. I’m more of a go-getter, and I’m not really a ‘take it easy’ kind of guy, so it’s going to be a test.”

At the time I sent this article off for posting, he is throwing between 89 and 92 mph which may be a bit lower than normal, but better than I thought he would.

• Hisashi Iwakuma threw his first split-fingered fastball since going on the DL.

Iwakuma, 33, missed all of Spring Training after spraining a tendon in his right middle finger after catching it in a netting during a mound drill just prior to the start of camp. He threw his third bullpen session on Tuesday and this time included his trademark split-fingered fastball, which puts maximum pressure on his injured finger.

“I felt great today,” Iwakuma said through translator Antony Suzuki. “I was able to command all my pitches to both sides of the plate and keep the ball down. They released me from the split finger, too, and that felt great.”

Iwakuma acknowledged the splitter was a big test and had been something of a concern.

I was beginning to worry a bit since he hadn’t thrown it, but all seems a bit better now.

• Stay away from starting Bartolo Colon this weekend as he is dealing with back spasms.

• It is pretty sadistic, but I love finding out when a pitcher threw with some pain. I like to see what signs may have existed to exhibit injury concerns. On Tuesday, Blake Beavan pitched with some shoulder issues.

Beavan said he essentially has “dead arm” from a knot in his shoulder that isn’t allowing him to throw freely.

“I just had no life on my ball,” he said. “It’s just frustrating because I had a great opportunity to help these guys and fill the void of other guys being down. Now I’m in the same situation, but hopefully it’s something where in the next 10 days we can get out of there and slide back into the action and help us win some ballgames.”

Taking a look back at the game, his fastball velocity was down over 3 mph from his 2013 average.

Unlike some pitchers, he didn’t see a drop during the game. Instead the decline happened at the outset of the game. Also, he his release points displayed an upward slanting line. He was trying different release points until he found one which was comfortable.

Kole Calhoun will miss 4-6 weeks with a sprained ankle.

• Logan Morrison is DL bound with a strained hamstring.

• Francisco Cervelli will be out at least two months with a strained hamstring.

• Taijuan Walker will be shut down for two weeks and then he will find out when he can start throwing again. In a redraft league, I think I would try to move him for whatever you can get. We are looking at May until he may or may not start throwing. Even if he gets to the majors, it will be tough to determine how productive he will be.

• The disabled list isn’t just for managing injured players, it for managing an entire roster. Jeremy Affeldt was healthy and was ready to come off the DL. If the Giants added him, another pitcher would have needed to clear waivers. Eventually, the Giants decided to add Affeldt, demote outfielder Juan Perez and go with a 13 man pitching staff.

Fastball Velocities by DL Returners

Colby Lewis‘s velocity is fine.

And so is Tyler Chatwood‘s.

PAIN (Pitcher Abuse INdex) Rankings (min 5 IP in 2014)

Any player with a PAIN value over 100 (red) has the traits of a pitcher likely to be hurt.

Name PAIN Velocity (2014) Velocity (2013) Zone% (2014) Zone% (2013) IP (2014) IP (2013)
Erik Johnson 199 89.5 92.0 37.6% 46.9% 17.0 27.2
Francisco Liriano 183 91.7 93.0 38.4% 42.2% 25.0 161.0
Roberto Hernandez 143 90.1 91.3 41.7% 50.1% 16.1 151.0
Jason Hammel 128 92.5 92.7 46.3% 50.0% 20.2 139.1
Trevor Cahill 127 90.0 89.8 36.2% 44.2% 17.2 146.2
Felix Hernandez 124 91.2 91.3 41.7% 46.7% 28.1 204.1
Dallas Keuchel 121 89.3 89.1 38.2% 46.9% 18.0 153.2
Martin Perez 114 91.4 93.0 40.8% 48.3% 20.0 124.1
Wade Miley 110 90.7 91.4 39.7% 46.4% 25.0 202.2
Brandon League 107 92.9 94.3 32.9% 47.9% 6.1 54.1
Lucas Harrell 102 90.9 92.2 35.7% 40.5% 12.1 153.2
Bruce Chen 95 84.7 85.5 44.2% 57.0% 10.0 121.0
Brad Ziegler 93 84.7 86.0 31.6% 41.3% 8.1 73.0
Luke Gregerson 91 87.1 88.1 34.3% 45.1% 9.2 66.1
Zack Greinke 87 91.3 91.7 41.9% 46.1% 16.1 177.2
A.J. Burnett 85 91.4 92.5 41.4% 49.2% 16.0 191.0
Kevin Jepsen 84 93.5 90.5 41.0% 47.3% 5.0 36.0
J.P. Howell 83 86.1 87.3 33.3% 42.9% 7.1 62.0
Dan Jennings 82 92.3 92.0 35.1% 43.8% 7.0 40.2
Jake Peavy 82 89.2 90.3 44.6% 51.4% 18.2 144.2

What a loaded list. Here are some thoughts

• I won’t even start with Liriano only throwing strikes less than 35% of the time (but I kind of did). His velocity is down to 91.5 mph. Here are his ERA and ERA estimator when his fastball velocity is under 92 mph.

Season, Avg FB Velo: ERA/FIP/xFIP/SIERA
2009, 91.7: 5.80/4.87/4.48/4.37
2011, 91.8: 5.09/4.54/4.52/4.52
2014, 91.5: 3.96/4.08/2.90/3.22

If people think Liriano is struggling now, it could get worse.

• Cahill’s struggles have been noted and he is headed to the bullpen. Besides the inability to throw strikes and velocity loss, he has a angle vs. flat release point pattern.

• Lucas Harrell will take his struggles to the minors.

• Bruce Chen will sit with a lat muscle issue

Players on or Probably 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

On DL

Minor League Report

We know you play in all sorts of leagues. So to help you fine-tune the analysis you’d like to read, we’ve added three tags to the categories on the right: Roto, Head to Head, and Daily Fantasy Update. Use these to get the information that is most relevant to your leagues!




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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.


24 Responses to “MASH Report (4/17/14) – Initial PAIN Report”

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  1. Coop! says:

    Pineda? Seems he missed some time recently, right?

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    • Andrew says:

      The point was specifically about UCL injuries and Tommy John surgery.

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      • Jonathan Sher says:

        But that point was missing crucial context when the case example missed more than an entire year after tearing the anterior labral in his right shoulder and a history of shoulder problems before then.

        Unless he injured his shoulder by too vigorously stirring his martini, his injury is baseball related, dates back to his early professional days and may be partly a product of how he grew into pitching.

        The broader and more important question, after all, is whether certain usage and training make pitcher more vulnerable to breaking down no matter where along the arm the injury occurs.

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  2. Tom says:

    MASH report is one of the best tools on the site. I’m not sure if you know the answer to this question…Does Zimmerman’s thumb sap his power after he gets back? I hear a broken thumb is much better than other types of injuries to the thumb as long as it heals. Do you keep him stashed?

    Idea for a MASH article….effect of different kinds of thumb injuries…you could even break it down into upper and lower hand on the bat etc.

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  3. TH_Binn says:

    Mike Adams has come off the DL for Philadelphia. Do you leave legacy DL stints on the Major League Report?

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  4. Dave says:

    uhh… your Rafael Soriano stats are WAY off… I’m guessing this was supposed to be someone else

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  5. Jack says:

    Any reason to think Strasburg is hurt?

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    • Cidron says:

      if your ‘evidence’ is that he didnt do well vs Marlins, he always struggles vs them, and always struggles in their place. Nothing there says injury. It says “Same ole Marlin issues” for him.

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    • Jeff Zimmerman says:

      No, I think he is dialing it down a bit for more control. If the control starts to disappear, then I would worry.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. atoms says:

    “angle vs. flat release point pattern”

    What does that mean? The chart isn’t clear enough to decipher the implication.

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  7. pudieron89 says:

    Seems like the IP is wrong on the PAIN chart. Soriano at 28 IP in 2014 and 203 in 2013? I don’t have to look up the # to know that’s wrong, he’s a reliever….

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Jared says:

    Thanks Jeff. Awesome work. But I have a question.

    When you say, “If people think Liriano is struggling now, it could get worse,” who exactly thinks Liriano is struggling and why?

    Right now he has a career low xFIP (2.90), and near career highs in SwStr% (16.3%) and GB/FB (2.00) — marks he last hit when he was 22 years old.

    I know it’s a small sample yet but when you say he’s struggling, I get confused. Despite the strong indications that he’s injured, he seems to be having his way with hitters.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. ATrain says:

    Love, love, love this analysis. HAs there been any thought to posting the complete PAIN value chart with regular updates? Would be great to have it to go to when doing player analysis.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Thomas says:

    199 for Erik Johnson. So glad I just traded for him.

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