Thursday, April 7, 2011

Injury Rundown

Today we’re going to be looking at some major injuries in the early going and how they will effect their respective teams both from the standpoint of on-field performance, and in the team’s wallets. We’ll be using the player’s WAR per game from 2010 to make our best guess at the amount of on-field production lost due to injury, as well as taking a look at the monetary value lost using the player’s prorated 2011 salary (salary numbers provided by Cot's Contracts).

AL East
Evan Longoria
Injury Update: Longoria was sidelined with a strained left oblique.
Injury Duration: Expected to miss 3-6 weeks (roughly 30 games)
Performance Impact: 1.4 WAR
Financial Impact: $370,000.
Analysis: Longoria’s ridiculously cheap contract keeps the dollar figure manageable, but losing a 6.9 WAR player for a fifth of the season (Longoria played 151 games in 2010) will present a huge challenge for a team that figures to struggle to keep up with the big guns in the AL East.

Brian Matusz
Injury Update: Matusz suffered an intercostal strain.
Injury Duration: Expected to miss up to a month (roughly 6 starts)
Performance Impact: 0.5 WAR
Financial Impact: $103,125
Analysis: That WAR figure may be a little small, as Matusz is expected to easily outpace his 2.7 WAR from the 2010 campaign this season. In August, September, and October of last year, Matusz had a stellar FIP of 3.33, and he’ll be looking to carry that success into 2011 when he returns from the shelf.

AL Central
Jake Peavy
Injury Update: Peavy’s recovery from shoulder surgery was slowed by a series of setbacks, forcing him to begin the season on the DL.
Injury Duration: Expected to miss about a month (roughly 6 starts)
Performance Impact: 0.6 WAR
Financial Impact: $3,000,000
Analysis: Again, that WAR figure may be deceptive, as fans of the South Siders have much larger expectations for Peavy than 2010’s 1.8 WAR in 17 starts.

AL West
David Aardsma
Injury Update: Aardsma’s recovery from hip surgery has sidelined him for the start of the season.
Injury Duration: Expected to miss about a month (roughly 9 appearances)
Performance Impact: 0.03 WAR
Financial Impact: $777,000
Analysis: The WAR figure is very low, since it’s based off of last year’s 0.2 WAR. If we assume a performance level more like 2008’s 1.9 WAR, the performance impact would be estimated at a more impactful 0.3 WAR.

Andrew Bailey
Injury Update: Bailey strained his right forearm muscle in a Spring Training appearance.
Injury Duration: Expected to miss two weeks (roughly 4 appearances)
Performance Impact: 0.08 WAR.
Financial Impact: $34,907
Analysis: Again, using his 2009 WAR makes this injury seem like a much bigger problem for the A’s, as the estimated WAR impact would be 0.2 WAR.

Kendrys Morales
Injury Update: Morales is continuing to recover from a broken leg that cost him most of 2010 after it snapped when he jumped on home plate after a walk-off grand slam. His rehab has been slowed by a separate foot injury.
Injury Duration: Expected to miss 3 or more weeks (roughly 20 games)
Performance Impact: 0.5 WAR
Financial Impact: $367,284
Analysis: The Angels’ offense looks a lot more potent with Morales in the heart of the lineup. It’ll be quite a relief when he returns after nearly a year out of commission.

NL East
Jair Jurrjens
Injury Update: Jurrjens strained his right oblique in a Spring Training start.
Injury Duration: Expected to miss two weeks (roughly 3 starts)
Performance Impact: 0.2 WAR
Financial Impact: $304,687
Analysis: Jurrjens should be back soon (they’re targeting April 16 against the Mets for his return), but it remains to be seen whether the injury will effect his performance on the mound.

NL Central
Jason Castro
Injury Update: Torn ACL.
Injury Duration: Will miss all of 2011 rehabbing after surgery.
Performance Impact: 1 WAR
Financial Impact: $421,500
Analysis: Castro, a promising youngster selected in the first round of the 2008 MLB draft, was a bright spot in what will likely be a very difficult 2011 for a rebuilding club. Astros fans will miss this potential future stud.

Zach Greinke
Injury Update: Greinke cracked his rib playing pickup basketball.
Injury Duration: Expected to miss at least a month (roughly 6 starts)
Performance Impact: 1 WAR
Financial Impact: $2,450,000
Analysis: When the Brewers traded for their new ace, they expected him to start opening day on the mound, not the disabled list. Greinke’s battled his demons throughout his career, but when he’s on, he’s undeniably one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Brad Lidge
Injury Update: Lidge partially tore his rotator cuff.
Injury Duration: Expected to return around the All-Star Break (roughly 25 appearances)
Performance Impact: 0.2 WAR
Financial Impact: $5,750,000
Analysis: Lidge's injury puts even more pressure on the Phillies' starting staff, already expected to live up to their preseason billing as one of the greatest rotations of all time. The 0.2 WAR is based off his meager total of 0.4 last season, and the 25 appearances come from his 50 in 2010. The Phillies were definitely expecting more production from Lidge than 0.2 WAR over half of the season. With this year's stronger squad, they will also expect to produce more save opportunities in the first half than the 25 last year's stats would suggest. For these reasons, losing Lidge almost certainly hurts the Phillies more than just a fifth of a win.

Adam Wainwright
Injury Update: Tommy John surgery took place on February 28.
Injury Duration: Wainwright will miss all of 2011.
Performance Impact: 6.1 WAR
Financial Impact: $6,500,000
Analysis: Obviously, this is the biggest injury on the list. With Albert Pujols likely testing free agency after this year, 2011 was the Cardinals’ best chance to win a World Series title before they’ll have to regroup from losing the best hitter in baseball in 2012. Even if Pujols remains, major cuts to the payroll will be necessary to make room for what could be the biggest contract in MLB history. Losing Wainwright is a devastating blow for St. Louis.

NL West
Brian Wilson
Injury Update: Wilson is on the DL with a left oblique strain.
Injury Duration: Expected to miss two weeks (roughly 5 appearances)
Performance Impact: 0.1 WAR
Financial Impact: $557,143
Analysis: No better way to close it out than with the best closer in baseball. Wilson seems to be fast-tracking his return. Asked how the oblique felt, Wilson replied “It’s attached. It’s well. It says hi.” Strange guy. Anyway, whatever’s going on in his head, his arm is certainly one that will decide whether the Giants have a chance to repeat in 2011, so it should be a relief to fans of the World Champs to hear Wilson in high spirits and expecting to return shortly.

Finally, some things are bigger than baseball. On Opening Day, Giants fan Bryan Stow, a paramedic from Santa Cruz, CA, was savagely beaten outside Dodger Stadium by a group of Dodger fans. Stow remains in a coma, having suffered massive brain damage. Support for Stow has been widespread, including large donations from both the Giants' and Dodgers' organizations, but more assistance is needed. If you're financially capable, please consider donating to Stow's support fund. The Giants-Dodgers rivalry has been heated since the teams resided in New York City, and many intriguing and intense chapters have been written. Help the franchises move past this episode by supporting Stow and keeping the conflict between the white lines.

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