Espinosa’s Shoulder – Prognosis Negative?

January 30, 2013

On Monday I wrote about Danny Espinosa and his torn rotator cuff, focusing on his numbers before and after the injury. There were a few distractions in the baseball world afterwards, but I mentioned I’d get around to discussing the health implications for the season, so here we go.

Obviously, the most logical thing from the fans point of view would be to get surgery, go through recovery, and be done with the issue forever. It sounds simple enough, and it might only cost 2 months (according to most reports I’ve seen) which means if he got it today, he might be back well before the end of May.

But surgery isn’t so simple, there are always risks of complications, and the possibility of making things worse. For whatever reason, the doctors and the team seem to be confident that rehab is enough for this injury, and he doesn’t have to have surgery at this point. I tried to find examples of position players with similar injuries, and whether they had to have surgery, whether they tried to play, etc, but I came up empty.

So I reached out to Stephania Bell, who is ESPN’s injury expert and a “certified orthopedic clinical specialist and strength and conditioning specialist” which means she knows a heck alot more about this than you or I. She was kind enough to respond, for which I am very thankful. Here is what I asked, and what she said:

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It’s All About the Hamilton, Baby

November 5, 2012

If the title of this post doesn’t mean anything to you, stop everything that you are doing and watch one of the first (and for my money, probably the best) of the SNL Digital Shorts music videos right now. I’m serious, I’ll wait. (If you’ve already seen it, then enjoy your journey back to December 2005):

I will take your word that you’ve gone and done that. Hard to believe that’s almost 7 years old. On to the actual subject of the post – the best hitting free agent this offseason, Josh Hamilton. Keith Law called him the #3 available FA, behind a pitcher (Grienke) and B.J. Upton, a younger, faster, better defensive player who can still play a premium defensive position. It can certainly be argued that Hamilton deserves to be #2 or even first, because it’s hard to argue that there is a better offensive player available than Hamilton. So let’s start by taking a look at this offensive force, first the pros and then the cons:

I Told You that I’m Crazy Bout These Cupcakes Cousin

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Opinions That Matter

August 29, 2012

As you probably have noticed, I like tables. I know, people love them some infographics, but give me a good table and it gives you all the info you need to know. So here’s a table based on today’s Sports Bog post, where it says Bill James is comfortable with shutting Strasburg down. At the bottom of the post, Dan Steinberg is kind enough to compile links to plenty of other opinions on the situation.

The table below show whether or not all these people agree with shutting down Strasburg, according to the article. If they think his innings should be creatively limited so he can be available in the playoffs, I put them in the “Not OK” with shutting him down camp. Here’s how it shakes out so far, with color coding:

Now, another thing I love to do is take the same table and organize it differently. So here is that same table, with the colors remaining the same (those who agree with the shutdown are in green, those who are disagree are in red).

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The Case Against Re-Signing Ryan Zimmerman

January 27, 2012

Earlier, we discussed the case for signing Ryan Zimmerman. Most fans probably agree with the sentiment there, but there is a case against re-signing, which mostly him rests on whether or not they think he’s good enough and healthy enough. I think my stance on the “good enough” part of the analysis is pretty clear from the previous post. However, we need to touch on that injury section of our assessment.

And for that, and the maybe the biggest bulwark for the case against, I present to you…

Eric Chavez

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Detwiler Out, Should Be Back By May

February 18, 2010

Ross Detwiler just had surgery on his hip, which means unfortunately he will miss Spring Training, miss his chance to win a rotation spot, and miss a chance to continue his dominating performance from September. It basically pushed his start time to end of April, which means he’s going to miss at least the first month of the season.

In all, I don’t think this is much to worry about, as long as he recovers. The Nats aren’t going to miss the playoffs just by missing 4 or 5 starts by him, so the team shouldn’t fret too much. As for the player, frankly, as long as he makes 100% recovery, this may be the best thing for him. You may recall his September performance. 5 appearances, 4 starts, an ERA of 1.90 in 23 2/3 innings, just spectacular. Except it wasn’t just spectacular. In those innings he walked 11 batters which was WAY too may, and he struck out only 10, which was way too few.

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Just As Things Started Looking Up

August 11, 2009

Terribly disappointing news for the Nationals came out yesterday, as the infamous Dr. James Andrews recommended Tommy John surgery for Jordan Zimmermann. JZimmThere isn’t much that you can do except shake your head. This truly changes the dynamic for next season, and for the worse. All along, I’ve been saying that the Nats had a chance to really surprise some people in 2010. Why? Well, assuming they sign Strasburg, there is him, team ace John Lannan, and Jordan Zimmermann. You’d only need 1 of the other prospects to pitch well in order to have a top rotation, 4 out of 5 guys pitching well. Now, you’re gonna have 2 pitchers with high expectations, everyone is a gamble. With only 5 men in a rotation, you’re talking 40% of starters instead of 60% being good, a huge difference.

Realistically, it isn’t jump off the ledge news. Tommy John surgery is actually very predictable these days, Mike Rizzo was quoted as saying “there is an 85 to 90 percent success rate with pitchers recovering to their pre-injury status.” That number is usually quoted as 85% to 92%, but still, that isn’t 100%. It is a blow to this team, as Zimmermann should be back in 2011, but he will be with only a few month of major league experience, instead of a full 2010 season on top of that. He won’t be as good as he could have been, but as a fan, you just hope he was as good as when he went down.

The Old Adage

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I Leave You Alone With the Team for a Few Days

July 23, 2009

…and this is what I come back to? I just got back in to DC and it appears that the Nationals are a mess. Well, they always have been, maybe being away made me realize how messy things are. Here’s a quick rundown

  • Jordan Zimmermann went on the DL? What? The pre-savior savior is hurt? Apparently it’s an “ultra-conservative” move for a guy who was gonna hit his innings limit anyway. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I’m still ultra scared that his arm is gonna explode or something.
  • Apparently they aren’t signing Strasburg? At least according to ESPN. But I am less inclined to believe that they don’t understand the gravity of this signing. I think Rizzo and company, even the Lerners, realize that if they don’t sign Strasburg, they lose what little credibility they have as an organization. The Washington Times seems to think that everything is a-ok on that front.
  • Trades are being made, Nats aren’t involved. The Red Sox traded Lugo for an OFer. Maybe they need more, Willingham would fit in well there. But they’re probably tapped. Of course, the Cards might need one now.
  • An overpayed, non-rangey shortstop got traded. And it wasn’t Guzman. Julio Lugo’s contract is worse than Guzman’s, and the Cards still took him. That may have been the only team that’d want Guzman – although if the Reds think they’re still in it, they could use a SS.
  • Scott Olsen is out for the year. Huge huge disappointment, overall, this season. Still, that trade… I’m happy with Willingham for Bonifacio, even leaving Olsen out of the conversation. Bonifacio, by the way, is now hitting a deadly .252/.297/.316, and has stolen 18 bases but has been caught 7 times. Somehow, he’s still starting. Read the rest of this entry »

Nats Update During Draft Preview Week

June 3, 2009

As I’ve been rolling through these draft previews, I haven’t talked at all about the team. Despite the win last night, they are in the midst of a terrible slump, still playing worse than I imagined, but still hitting the crap out of the ball. They’re still 3rd in the NL in runs per game (which, by the way, is way down at 10th in the majors). And I still think they are better than their record indicates. Their -6 luck suggests they should be 20-30, which is still pretty awful. But I don’t think they are even that bad, and I expect something slightly better (although not GOOD) from the bullpen in the future.

Jesus is Out

The big news this week is probably the injury to Jesus Flores. He’s an integral part of this team, and now he’s out 3 months minimum. It’s a shame because this is now the second season in a row that he has missed significant time after looking like the real deal. What’s important now is that he gets healthy so he can help this team contend in the future. Meanwhile, the Nats probably will stick with their backups as starters. It’s going to be, for the most part and despite what happened last night, a hole in the lineup. It will be painful to watch, but it just isn’t worth trading anything of value away to help the catching situation this season.

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Return of a Leadoff Hitter

April 28, 2009

Cristian Guzman and Willie Harris are set to come back this week. Willie Harris should provide some much needed bench help, and the occasional fill-in as a starter. Unfortunately, the Nats seem to be convinced that he is only going to be their 5th OFer, not a 2B at all. While he has some value as a #5 OFer, if he takes ABs away from Willingham (who has shown he can hit every year if given the opportunity) he probably takes runs away from the team. Meanwhile, if he plays some 2B in place of Anderson Hernandez, even once a week, his bat compares favorably.

Thankfully, Anderson probably will no longer be unwisely shoved into the leadoff role simply because he’s fast. Instead, Guzman will be there. Guzman, despite being a light-hitting shortstop, is not fast. Keeping in mind his limited playing time, since he came to DC in 2005, he has stolen 16 bases and been caught 9 times. Not very fast. But what he has been able to do, despite a complete and utter lack of any ability to take walks, is get on base. Since his lasik eye surgery, now the stuff of legends, Guzman has an OBP of .360. His splits are .327/.360/.452, not at all bad for a leadoff hitter. He does need the high batting average, but it appears that he can do that. So now, whenever the leadoff hitter gets up, it’s not necessarily an automatic out. Read the rest of this entry »

They’re Playing Baseball!

February 26, 2008

It’s always so exciting when spring training starts. Watching them play in the warm weather makes me more jealous of baseball players than any other time of the year. But, other than that, it’s great. They actually start playing real live baseball on Wednesday. I will be stuck up in the DC area, walking to the metro in the cold cold mornings. Hopefully some of you are actually going to get out to Florida and check out a game or two. If not, you can probably catch a game or two on tv, but other than the ESPN game which is Tuesday 3/18, 1:05 vs. Detroit, good luck finding what games are being shown. Because I can’t find it ANYWHERE! All my googling just leads me to the 2007 spring training tv schedule. Which would have been useful last winter. If someone has the schedule, please send it over.

If you are able to watch some games, there are some things you should be looking out for. Things that may tell you whether this team is going to approach a .500 record, or maybe have less wins compared to last year.

  • John Patterson’s velocity and movement: He has been hurt longer than Carl Pavano, and he came back last year only to throw a moderately curving curve and an 85 mph fastball. I’m not saying he needs to be the same pitcher to be successful. But if he can come out and throw in the low 90s, and have anything approaching the 12-6 curve that he had a few years ago, Patterson could surprise many people that counted him out.
  • Wily Mo Pena’s hitting against righties: Baseball Prospectus projects him to hit .270/.343/.512 in under 300 ABs. First of all, if he can do that, it will be a boon to the team’s run scoring ability. But if he could improve his ability to hit right handed pitching, he could turn into a truly formidable full time outfielder. Imagine that power from a guy playing every day? It’s almost as nice as imagining yourself in Florida right now.
  • Rob Mackowiak’s hitting against righties: I truly believe he was brought in to spell the all-righty outfield rather often. All of them have significant drops against righty pitchers, and the left handed Mackowiak should be a decent fill-in. But if he doesn’t do it in spring training, Manny may lose patience with the journeyman outfielder quickly.
  • Felipe Lopez hitting/on base ability: Lopez actually was able to draw quite a few walks considering he hit under .250. But he needs to get that AVG/OBP to more like .280/.350 to be really effective as a leadoff. Look for how much he’s getting hits, the power is alot less important with him (although the more the merrier with that).
  • What Odalis Perez has left in the tank: Perez wasn’t included on my starting pitchers review because he wasn’t a National yet. But he signed on Feb 19, and he’s an interesting one to take a flyer on. He had one stellar season, in 2002 when he had an ERA of 3.00, with 155 Ks and 38 BBs. The next year his ERA went up, then back down in 2004, but each time he had at least a 2.91 K/BB ratio. His K/9 has gone down as has his K/BB. Without getting too much into the numbers, he has seen both ratios fall as he is striking out less and walking more per inning. Watch for him to strike people out and keep his walks down. Sure, you look for this from every pitcher. But if Perez can keep his K/9 around 6 and his K/BB above 3, he may be able to win a spot in the rotation.
  • Nick Johnson’s Health: If he is healthy, he could once again be the most effective hitter on this roster. He could be fighting Zimmerman for the RBI crown on the team. If his healthy ‘stache is any indicator, he’s feeling 100% right now, but I’ll definitely be watching how he runs.
  • Lastings Milledge’s hitting, fielding, running: I don’t know if there are any real indicators here, I just have heard he sprays line drive to all fields. That shoudl translate to a high AVG now, and as he gets older it means high AVG and SLG. For now I just want to see him play every day, he is supposed to be an incredible athlete.
  • Shawn Hill: Nothing specific, I just want to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating with his performance last season. I’m not looking for any peripherals or numbers, other than ERA and Ws. Hopefully we see more of the same.
  • Customs and Border Patrol possibly taking Jesus Flores away: He showed up late to camp because he couldn’t get into the US. Hopefully his visa issues are all taken care of.


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