Yesterday we compared Vernon Wells to Carlos Beltran because of the rumours circulating that the Angels rejected a trade scenario with the Mets for Beltran to pursue the deal that they reached with the Blue Jays for Wells.  While we could look at their respective offensive numbers over the last few years and even take a gander at how the current set of defensive metrics measured their fielding abilities, it was difficult to compare and understand the injury risks that both Wells and Beltran offered.

That is, until now.  At we can learn that Beltran has missed time on 18 different occasions due to injuries just to his knees.  Likewise, we can also see that Vernon Wells has begun four different seasons by injuring himself during Spring Training.  And there goes your day.

Injuries were also the topic of the day at Sports Illustrated.  Will Carroll attempts to link baseball teams that stay healthy to their investments in medical staffs.  He takes it a step further and suggests that teams who spend money on injury prevention end up winning more as well.

The theory makes sense.  I mean, what team doesn’t want to field the best lineup possible?  I just wish that Carroll would actually put the numbers up that give evidence to what he’s suggesting.  If it’s true that shouldn’t be a problem and it would go a long way to proving his thesis.

I also think that merely looking at a team’s medical staff is a bit too simplistic.  Carroll actually uses the Blue Jays as an example of a team that has no discernible patterns.

Some teams, like the Blue Jays, show solid results, but have had difficulty over the past three years keeping pitchers healthy. In 2009, the Jays were a bit better than average overall, but broken down by pitchers and position players, there was a huge divide. The team couldn’t seem to keep pitchers healthy at any level. There was no pattern. The injuries happened to different body parts. They happened at different levels. They happened to starters and relievers. They happened to American and Latin players. There was no pattern, just flukish results. The Jays stabilized to a more normal level with pitcher injuries in 2010.

I can’t speak for injuries across the organization, but at the Major League level at least, pitching coach Brad Arnsberg was in charge until 2009, and as Keith Law suggested in a DJF Podcast from a couple years ago, “You will know him by his trail of arms.”

If coaches are demanding that players train and perform in a certain way, and that way is more likely to cause injury than others, how is the best medical staff in the world going to stop that?  While Carroll seems to have found some type of correlation, I just don’t see how you can only look at a team’s medical staff when discussing injuries.

Consider this statement:

A player moving from a weaker team to a better team in terms of medical results isn’t guaranteed a change, but the data shows that his risk does go down significantly. It allows a team like the Brewers to make a deal for Shaun Marcum, knowing that even with his significant injury history, he’s more likely to stay healthy in Milwaukee’s rotation than in Toronto’s.

That’s a pretty large assumption to make without examining additional factors that can contribute to injury, both at an individual player’s level and how all the players on a team are being instructed to perform.

And The Rest

According to his daughter, Cal Ripken Jr. can really be the bottom of his brother Billy’s bat sometimes.

A lot of scorn has been heaped on the owners of the New York Mets after it was revealed how closely they worked with ponzi scheme maestro Bernie Madoff on the team’s operations.  Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News smells a witch hunt.

Fangraphs wonders if 2011 Brett Gardner can avoid becoming 2010 Nyjer Morgan after 2010 Brett Gardner was basically 2009 Nyjer Morgan.

Is there a worse player in baseball who receives more media attention than Jeff Francoeur?  Based solely on performance, people shouldn’t even know how to spell his name.

Jermaine Dye would rather take his bat and go home than listen to your Minor League contract offers.  Someone clearly isn’t aware of the Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome signings.

Beyond The Boxscore examines what will it take for the Rays to make their 2011 draft valuable to the organization.

They’ve already started by not allowing the Red Sox to get their supplemental pick for Felipe Lopez.

Mark Cuban is taking the smart and cautious approach with the New York Mets (i.e. declining to chase after the franchise).

Roger Clemens goes to court.

Finally, it’s something positive about Brett Wallace.  I still feel as though the Blue Jays trading Wallace to the Astros for Anthony Gose is going to come back to haunt Toronto.

Comments (2)

  1. I never really saw that much in Wallace. Sure he’s a good hitter, but I don’t see him being an elite level hitter. If he just turns out to be a good major league, isn’t that the kind of player you can pick up as an offseason free agnet? Also, say he was penciled in as the first baseman of the future, then he’d presumably be a middle of the order type bat. You’re starting to run into problems having Lind, Snider and Wallace all in the 3-7 spots. Not sure how much of a deal that was, but it may have crossed AA’s mind.

  2. My problem with Wallace has more to do with the fact that he really doesn’t walk all that often. His solid on-base percentages are a result of high batting average, something he may not be able to keep up for long at the major-league level due to his size and lack of athleticism. If he ever starts to see his batting average drop, his on-base percentage will tank right along with it. Throw in that he doesn’t seem to be able to hit for a lot of power or play particularly good defense and I can start to see why AA made the deal.

    All other things being equal, I think up-the-middle talent is always more important.

    I’ve refused to comment on that deal until now only because I went back and forth with it so much. I can see both arguments.

    Also, does Cal Jr. being a ‘bottom of Billy’s bat’ change the BBWAA’s stance on his first ballot HOFness? I mean, it should since they see themselves as the moral gatekeepers of baseball’s hallowed ground.

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