MASH Report (6/9/14) – Concussions, HURT and PAIN

Alex Avila sustained a mild concussion a few days ago.

Trainer Kevin Rand joined Ausmus in checking on Avila after Ortiz got him with his massive backswing, something he’s prone to doing. Rand asked the catcher a few questions to test for a concussion.

“He didn’t get one right,” Ausmus said. “When I had a concussion, I remember being asked particulars about the game and remembering I had to look at the scoreboard to figure out what the count was, and look in the dugout to figure out who we were playing.”

It seems and makes sense that catchers will be more concussion prone with foul balls and balls flying around their heads. So far this season, six players have gone on the DL for concussions and three have been catchers (Travis d’Arnaud, Carlos Santana, Jarrod Saltalamacchia) and the other three are outfielders (Denard Span, Aaron Hicks, Sam Fuld). I went back and looked at how many players went on the DL for concussions since the 7-day concussion DL was implemented in 2011. I didn’t just limit the search for just 7-day DL stints since a few players went immediately on the 15-day DL.

The number of non-catchers on the DL with concussions has been constant with the values being 7, 7 and 8 stints from 2011 to 2013. The number of catchers has gone from 3 to 5 to 10. I am not exactly sure what is causing the increase with catchers, but I would bet on a combination of better diagnosis and player being more conscience of the effects of playing with a concussion.

Looking at 2014, the concussion pace, if maintained, will look similar to 2013 values. Last season, the overall numbers would have been similar to 2012, but seven catchers went on the DL for concussion in just August. I am not sure how to protect the catchers any more, but some people blamed the current catcher’s mask for the rash of catcher concussions last August.

Gerrit Cole is on the DL with shoulder fatigue. It seems he has been dealing with some resent inconsistency issues according to his manager.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he’s seen some “red flags” from the 23-year-old Cole recently. Those indicators included lack of consistency and the volume of pitches Cole has thrown.

In Cole’s most recent start, he went 5 2/3 innings and limited the Padres to one run on four hits. But Cole’s pitch count hit triple digits before the end of the sixth inning, leading Hurdle to turn to his bullpen.

“He’s pitched a little bit less efficient this year than he did a year ago,” Huntington said. “He’s had more pitches per inning, he’s pitching with a little bit more baserunners on a consistent level, which means a little bit more stress. So even before Gerrit made us aware that his shoulder felt a little bit tired, we’d been talking about … Clint had actually been more aggressive getting him out of the game an inning early vs. an inning later.”

Looking over his injury indicators, nothing stands out. His velocity is fine.

His late game consistency has been low and constant.

His Zone% has been consistent (small drop in his last game, but not his season’s lowest value)

My only issue is his 95 mph average fastball velocity. These hard throwers just can not stay healthy.

Danny Salazar struggles seem to be more and more related to injuries.

There might be more than flawed mechanics to blame for Danny Salazar‘s struggles on the mound this season for the Indians.

Salazar, who was recently placed on the Minor League disabled list with a right triceps injury, dealt with a similar health issue during Spring Training. During the preseason, the discomfort was extremely mild, but it did play at least a minor role in Cleveland being cautious with the righty’s spring workload.

Additionally, it looks like he was out of shape coming into spring training

“We started Danny slow this spring just out of precaution,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I think when he went home [to the Dominican Republic over the offseason], we should’ve probably stayed on him a little more. So, when he came to Spring Training, we decided, ‘OK, we’ll start him a little slow.’ That was really all it was.”

Hurt and out-of-shape = 2.5 mph drop in velocity. It will be interesting to see if he can turn his season around.

Jedd Gyorko has been dealing with plantar fasciitis.

“It felt like there’s stabbing in the heel,” Gyorko said. “That feeling of walking on needles a little bit. … Every time you move you can feel it. It’s one of the worst pains I’ve felt in my life.”
Padres manager Bud Black said that Gyorko would likely head to the Minors for a rehab stint before returning to the Majors.

I would expect nothing from him this season and possibly next season also.

Johan Santana’s season/comeback/career may finally be done after tearing his Achilles tendon during extended spring training.

• Story on the D-Backs clubhouse food and nutrition.

Fastball Velocity Watch for Pitchers Returning From the DL

Andrew Cashner‘s fastball velocity looks fine

• So does Matt Cain‘s.

Tanner Scheppers‘s fastball is back to previous bullpen levels.

Ryan Cook‘s velocity is up from early season lows, but below 2013’s peak.

Players on the DL

HURT (Hitter’s Under-performance from Recent Trauma) Rankings (introduction/explanation) :

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

• Older names dominate the list, but a younger names sticks out, Starling Marte. He is seeing a decent drop in power and contact.  In mid-May, he missed a few days for a sore back and tight hamstring. Before the first injury, he was hitting .255/.325/.359. After the injury, his stats dropped down to .181/.263/.347. When Polanco gets promoted, I would not be surprised to see Marte go on the DL.

PAIN (Pitcher Abuse INdex) Rankings (introduction/explanation)

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

Comparing 2013 to 2014

Comparing April 2014 to May and June 2014

• The one name which stick out to me is Ervin Santana (79 and 98 PAIN values). Even though he isn’t at the 100 level  in either table, too many signs point to a possible injury.

His fastball velocity is trending down.

His Zone percentage is headed down.

He is still throwing a ton sliders (33%). The decline can be seen his K%-BB% stats:

Apr: 24.5%
May 8.5%
Jun: -3.4% (one start)

If I had any shares of his, I would be looking to sell right now.

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.

Major League Report


Minor League Report

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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 season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Alex Cobb got hit around recently… but his velo chart looks fine? Just bad luck and not still hurt right?