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:

Read the rest of this entry »


Espinosa’s Shoulder Injury, the Numbers

January 28, 2013

Danny Espinosa revealed that he played the end of last season with a torn rotator cuff, and that if he had known how bad he was hurt, he probably wouldn’t have played. A few questions come to mind, the most important one is probably why he is electing to not have surgery. He could, after all, have surgery today and probably be back by late May.

Espi on 2nd

We’ll tackle that one later. Another question that comes to mind centers around his performance. How much was he affected? Did he hurt the Nats chances, will he be all better this year, etc etc.

He said he was hurt in early September, and got a cortisone shot on Sept 17, but that didn’t really help. The injury seems to have been made public on Sept 17, it had hurt for “the past week” and he only played 3 games in that week, due to leaving for his grandmother’s funeral after Sept 11. So using Sept 11 as a cutoff point, we can see what he did

Pre-injury: .255/.321/.416, K/PA:.276
Post-injury (reg. season): .183/.258/.283, K/PA: .364
Playoffs: .059/.176/.059, K/PA: .368

The playoffs looked even worse, but that’s not surprising as the injury had more time to hurt, the pitching was tougher, and the sample size was small enough that anything can happen. The K/PA didn’t change much, but, again, sample sizes. Now combining the last few PAs of the season, adding the playoffs stats to the post-injury regular season, it looks like this:

Pre-injury: .255/.321/.416, K/PA: .276
Post-injury: .156/.241/.234, K/PA: .365

One more exercise – if you’ve read this blog at all you know I love to get rid of April with Espinosa’s numbers. Not because April doesn’t count, but just because he was so bad in April, that whether he was hurt, mentally lost, heartbroken, or his contacts were in the wrong eyes there was something different about him. Well, let’s not just eliminate it, let’s line it up with the other pieces of his season:

April 5 – May 3: .182/.277/.239, K/PA: .313
May 3 – Sept 11: .269/.330/.451, K/PA: .271
Sept 11 – Oct 12: .156/.241/.234, K/PA: .365

Alright, so I didn’t expect some sort of statistical revelation from this, just interesting to look at that. It’s hard to imagine he had this injury in April, but he looked like a completely different hitter for 490 PAs from early May to mid Sept than he did before or after. And other than a few more singles in April, he was basically an identical hitter in April and September, which is interesting.

As for the injury we KNOW about in September, that one clearly affected him. He hit is OPS high water mark on Sept 5 (.746) and stayed around there all week, including his last day before leaving, Sept 11 when he went 1 for 4 with a double (.737). While I’m not sure when he actually got hurt, it was possible in those last 3 games before the time off, he was, as he did go just 1 for 10 with that double. Of course, that is only 3 games, and while we’re dealing with small sample sizes here, lets not go down to that ridiculous level.

It was pretty much a downhill skid from there, and if he hadn’t gotten hurt, it was likely he’d finish the season on the same path he had been going since May 3. His .781 OPS in that period wouldn’t have been reached, because we can’t take the season out to infinity. But getting above .750 looked like it was in the cards, and if he had an OPS above .753, that would have been good for third best among all NL 2Bs. Remember, that’s including his April skid.

The point of all of this? Well, it shows that the numbers certainly reflect multiple Espinosas, and the one from May 3 – Sept 11 last year is the one we want for 2013. The timing of the shoulder injury certainly lines up perfectly with the injury, and the reports from the time. So maybe we can dismiss the horrible NLDS and late Sept performance to a player who was really too hurt to hit. And for whatever reason, that exact same player showed up in April as well.

It further convinces me that whatever was happening in April was more than just a typical slump, although we may never know what was happening. It also makes me believe that if something was indeed up in April, then a healthy Espinosa is a very good second baseman, perhaps one of the best in the NL, and can be a huge asset to this team.

The question remains though, is he healthy now? And will he be healthy a month or two from now? Or should he be sent to get his surgery right away so he’s healthy for the majority of the season? I’ll get to that next time…


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).

Read the rest of this entry »


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

Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.