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Monday, February 12, 2007

Injury Risk Reds

Today, Will Carroll released his annual report (subscription) of who is the most injury-prone of all major league starters. On the Reds, as you'd expect, all of our oldest players were highlighted as being very much at risk, whereas our younger guys should be low risk. There were a few surprises though. Most notably, Bronson Arroyo was identified as being at high risk for injury. I'm not sure what the basis is for that. He was, as I mentioned in my analysis of his signing, among the league leaders in pitcher abuse points. But Harang actually was ranked higher than Arroyo on that score, and yet was identified as a low-risk player. Neither pitcher has a history of injuries... Arroyo is a bit older than Harang, but not enough to cause that huge of a disparity. Carroll does identify body type and mechanical profile (meaning smoothness of delivery, I suppose), so maybe that was the cause?

Another surprise, to me, is that Dave Ross was identified as high risk--whereas Jason LaRue, now with the Royals and a few years older, was a low risk player. I'll be interested to see if Carroll will comment on this in his future articles, as I see no reason why we'd expect Ross to be injury prone. If anything, he should be ahead of the curve because he spent a lot of time on the bench before breaking through last year--and thus hasn't caught nearly as many innings as a guy like LaRue. I'm expecting Ross to regress as a hitter this year, but I certainly wouldn't predict an unusually high risk of injury.

Update: Carroll did, in fact, identify what made Ross a high risk player. Apparently, it's based on projected playing time:
Ross is another of this year’s "playing time reds." With Jason LaRue moving on and Javier Valentin forgetting how to hit, Ross might get 120 games of catching. If that’s closer to 100, the team would be better from a risk standpoint, but that’s not necessarily the best split from a winning standpoint.