MASH Report (8/29/13)

I narrowed down the PAIN list to just August vs. the rest of the season for today. Additionally, I looked at Justin Verlander and ran an updated HURT list.

• In our Tuesday night chat, someone asked Paul Swydan and me if Verlander’s decline is because of an injury. Challenge taken. The 30-year-old’s average fastball velocity and Zone% are down over the last few seasons.

Season: Average Fastball Velocity, Zone%
2010: 95.4, 52.3%
2011: 95.0, 51.0%
2012: 94.3, 51.9%
2013: 93.1, 50.7%

Normally, a pitcher would expect to lose 0.25 mph per season, so over these seasons it seems Verlander has lost a little more zip than expected. He has been able to maintain the velocity during this season though. With the loss of speed, he is not able to pound the strike zone as much therefore the low Zone%. Additionally, I went and looked at his late game consistency over the past two seasons

It is a nice even level this season.

I don’t think he is injured. Age is catching up with him. Since 2008, he is just one of seven different starters who averaged a 93 mph fastball at age 30 or more. He has this season’s 15th highest WAR total so far. He is no scrub, just not the MVP Verlander from a couple of seasons ago.

• For Matt Harvey coverage, see my article on his injury from a couple days ago.

Matt Moore is going to throw a rehab game tonight before starting Tuesday for the Rays. Check to see where his velocity stands in the start.

Neftali Feliz will join Rangers on Saturday. I would stay away until he has a few games under his belt and his role is defined.

Brandon McCarthy stated he found a problem with his delivery and was to correct it in his Tuesday night start. His results were great, 5 K, 0 BB, 0 Runs. Looking over his Pitchf/x information, not much of a change in his pitches though. The big concern is the ~2 mph drop in his sinker speed compated to earlier in the season.

DL Returners

Brett Anderson was at 92 mph in a relief appearance yesterday which is consistent with his previous velocity.

Matt Thornton‘s velocity looks fine.

HURT (Hitter’s Under-performance from Recent Trauma) Rankings (all hitter with at least 400 PA in 2013 and 1000 PA from 2010 to 2012):

Any player with a HURT value over 100 (red) has the traits of a batter playing through an in

Name HURT 2010 to 2012 PA 2013 PA
Albert Pujols 140 2021 443
Chris Johnson 127 1295 439
Paul Konerko 110 1868 419
Starlin Castro 101 1912 579
Vernon Wells 97 1437 404
Prince Fielder 90 2096 592
Nick Markakis 84 1896 575
Troy Tulowitzki 82 1338 407
Jimmy Rollins 78 1724 555
Jay Bruce 73 1870 569
J.P. Arencibia 73 895 427
Victor Martinez 72 1133 556
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 65 864 406
Colby Rasmus 64 1685 439
Joe Mauer 62 1558 508
Pablo Sandoval 62 1524 476

• Could an injury be behind Starlin Casto’s decline? Let’s look.

ISO (.093) is a career low.
Speed Score (3.8) is a career low.
Contact% (81.4%) is a career low.

Yep, he has all the signs of a player hurt. After searching the interwebs, I found he had a hamstring injury in spring training, but that was it. I figured is decline may have been from suckitude (and still could be), but maybe an injury is behind the drop.

PAIN (Pitcher Abuse INdex) Rankings (min 100 pitches, comparing August results to the rest of the 2013 season)

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

Name PAIN Velocity (BOS) Zone% (BOS) Velocity (August) Zone% (August)
Sergio Romo 221.4 87.8 44.9% 86.8 35.8%
Bartolo Colon 196.3 89.9 58.0% 87.6 50.0%
Scott Downs 192.6 88.0 39.2% 87.6 31.7%
Jarred Cosart 173.6 95.0 50.9% 94.3 42.1%
Joe Thatcher 162.6 85.7 57.4% 85.7 45.0%
Brandon McCarthy 161.3 90.9 57.0% 89.3 49.7%
Mark Melancon 149.8 92.1 47.3% 92.3 37.9%
Chad Qualls 147.7 93.9 56.1% 94.1 44.5%
Yoervis Medina 144.2 94.2 42.3% 93.2 38.3%
Ryan Vogelsong 137.2 89.9 48.7% 87.9 46.0%
Lucas Luetge 136.4 90.5 42.9% 91.2 34.5%
Chad Gaudin 131.6 91.2 51.6% 89.3 48.1%
Chris Perez 123.2 92.5 56.3% 92.5 46.7%
Hisashi Iwakuma 120.9 88.5 51.5% 87.5 46.0%
Casey Janssen 120.4 89.6 50.4% 89.6 42.5%
Luke Gregerson 119.4 88.0 47.0% 88.3 39.4%
Wade Miley 114.3 91.0 48.0% 90.8 41.7%
Lucas Harrell 110.1 91.9 40.7% 91.5 37.3%
Alex Torres 109.1 91.3 47.4% 91.5 40.6%
Addison Reed 108.5 93.1 55.5% 92.0 50.0%
A.J. Griffin 106.6 88.8 51.5% 89.1 43.4%
Rick Porcello 106.2 91.3 48.2% 91.0 42.6%
Mike Dunn 105.5 94.4 54.7% 94.4 46.4%
Jason Vargas 105.1 87.8 47.7% 86.8 44.5%
Craig Breslow 102.6 89.6 45.1% 90.4 37.5%
Jeremy Bonderman 102.4 90.6 45.6% 91.3 38.0%

• First, the sample size here is really small. I used 100 pitches in August and before as the cut off.

Jarred Cosart and his 1.59 ERA sticks out. Mike Podhorzer looked at his possible ERA regression earlier in the day.

His velocity is down a bit, but his Zone% is way down. With only 3 start before August, I wanted to look at his game Pitchf/x data. In his last start, he lost about 4 mph over the course of the game, while earlier in the season in was only 2 mph.

First Start of the Season

Last Start

Additionally, his release points went from a tight pattern in his first MLB start to a much wider pattern in his last start.

A few red flags exist and it would be nice to see this trend reversed.

Players on the DL

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


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