2012 Starting Pitcher DL Projections

A pitcher’s fantasy value is more than ERA, WHIP or K/9. Even if they have great values in rate stats, they are useless if they aren’t pitching. Today I am going to give the chances for certain starting pitchers to end up on the disabled list in 2012.

Last year, I determined a formula to get the percentage chance a pitcher will end up on the DL. Historically, any starter that pitched 120 innings in the previous season has a 41% chance of ending up on the DL. So of a team’s 5 starters, 2 will spend time on the DL on average.

The analysis takes 3 factors into consideration: the pitcher’s age: how many starts they had over the past 3 years and over the past 3 season, did the pitcher spend any time on the DL during that season. Age is a factor because the older the pitcher the more likely they are to break down. The game starts looks to see if the pitcher has a history of making a full season worth of starts. Also, it helps take into account missed starts that did not require a trip to the DL. Tracking DL trips helps to determine if the pitcher has history of injuries. Basically here is how much each of the 3 factors change the % chance a pitcher will end up on the DL:

One year older = +1%
33 more game started = -3%
1 year of Injuries = +8%

At the end of the 2011, I went back and look at the projections and they held up decently.

I have finally gotten around to calculating the 2012 chances. Here are the 5 most and least likely pitchers to end up on the DL in 2012 (complete list on Google Docs):

Name DL Trips GS Age DL Chance %
Bartolo Colon 2 38 38 61.2%
Aaron Harang 3 74 33 56.9%
Bruce Chen 2 57 34 54.4%
Brandon McCarthy 3 42 28 53.8%
Ted Lilly 2 90 35 52.4%
Madison Bumgarner 0 52 22 29.8%
Felix Hernandez 0 101 25 28.9%
Rick Porcello 0 89 23 27.8%
Clayton Kershaw 0 95 23 27.3%
Trevor Cahill 0 96 23 27.2%

A difference of ~35 percentage points exists from the least likely pitcher to go on the DL to the most likely. With many fantasy season ruined because of too many pitchers on the DL, this data will hopefully allow an owner to know the injury risks when they draft a pitcher.

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Jeff 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 three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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What about the things I see in other injury projections like slider % and innings increase?