CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Team Health Reports: W... (02/08)
<< Previous Column
Team Health Reports: W... (02/08)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: A... (02/10)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Expanded Horizons: Cat... (02/09)

February 9, 2010

Team Health Reports

Florida Marlins

by Will Carroll

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Team Health Reports

The Summary: Even three years later, almost everything in the injury stats for the Marlins can be traced back to Joe Girardi. Girardi's ring was paid for with the experience the skipper had abusing young pitchers during his Marlins tenure. While Josh Johnson has come all the way back, the same can't be said for almost everyone else. Luckily, the team not only stays cheap, they focus on quantity, which has saved them many times. A combination of solid scouting, development, and an understanding that avoiding replacement level for the right value has been a key part of the team's success. The medical staff hasn't had much of a chance to shine, though they certainly deserve some of the blame for falling down on the prevention watch. The Marlins also serve as a reminder that young players actually get hurt more than old ones. They just heal faster.

The Facts
Days Lost:
804
Dollars Lost: $3,501,929.35
Injury Cost: $6,957,916.67

The Cost: Injuries only cost the Marlins $3.5 million last year and $11.4 million the last three years. That's money the Marlins could have used to hold onto Josh Willingham. The money they saved on injuries could even go toward keeping Dan Uggla in South Florida for a little while longer. It may have even helped the Marlins lock in young ace Josh Johnson into a long-term deal. Seeing how the Marlins are never a big free-agent spender, most of the money saved could go toward keeping their own players.

The Big Risk: Anyone remember Alejandro de Aza? How about Chuck Carr? The Marlins have gone most of their franchise's existence without a real center fielder. When they've had one-like a declining Devon White or a rising Juan Pierre-the results have been pretty good. Like World Series ring good. Without them, well, that's when you get this kind of picture. Cameron Maybin could be the piece missing for the Marlins as they try to build around Hanley Ramirez heading into a new stadium. With pressure to spend, a nice John Hart-style contract could be in the offing for a healthy Maybin. Maybin showed flashes of his potential late last season, but he ended 2009 with surgery on his labrum. This is similar to what Hanley Ramirez has gone through, so there's experience here for the team, but it's also similar to what we saw a more similar player have: B.J. Upton. Maybin doesn't have the power upside, so it shouldn't affect him the same way, and despite the Rays having a much better health record, I'll take the Ramirez comp here.

The Comeback: Trading Josh Beckett has already worked out pretty well for the Marlins. (The Red Sox didn't do so badly, either.) There might be a clear winner if Anibal Sanchez hadn't had his shoulder shredded. Still, we're seeing that some players are starting to make it back from labrum surgery, and Sanchez could be one of them. He doesn't rely solely on velocity, though that came back some in '09. He's not likely to be the next Chris Carpenter, but he's also still cheap and still has some upside. Time, it seems, is the best healer of labrum tears. It takes two years before we know whether or not a pitcher is still a pitcher. Signs are good for Sanchez, though the risk is still massive.

The Trend: The Marlins don't spend much on players, so they can't lose much. In relative terms, they always look good on the dollars, so injury cost is a metric almost built for them. There, they're pretty darn good as well. Days is where they really shine, if by shine you mean "the lower part of mid-pack." They're never bad, but they're never great. Like most of their seasons, they're good enough to be good enough, but they're seldom mentioned with the elite teams or contenders. They're likely to be there again, but how they handle the young, risky pitching staff will determine whether they have a contender when that fancy new ballpark is ready.

The Ratings

Red lightC John Baker: The story is cliche-the backup catcher gets a chance to be the top guy, and he does pretty well, but he wears down and shows some injuries. It's not that it's bad, it's just... well, typical. Baker's hand and back injuries aren't indicative of much besides his chosen career, but it also reminds us that he probably won't stay healthy as a real starting catcher and needs a solid backup to make sure he doesn't get much more than 350 PA. The Marlins seem to grasp this.

Red lightCF Cameron Maybin: See The Big Risk.

Red lightSP Anibal Sanchez: See The Comeback.

Red lightSP Sean West: Forced up by injury, West did okay as a rookie. The problem is that he's facing a major innings increase. To protect him, the Marlins would need to do to someone else what they did to West. They have a lot of guys who could spot start, such as Burke Badenhop or even Chris Volstad, so you'd think this wouldn't be an issue. Of course, the Marlins could also let the tall lefty start the year in the minors and make this innings increase moot.

Yellow lightSS Hanley Ramirez: Ramirez is kind of like Albert Pujols Lite, playing a premium defensive position. He's also like Pujols in that he's really never been healthy, making you wonder what he might do if he could just have that one healthy season. He played last season with a hamstring that always seemed ready to go, forcing the Marlins to put a brake on his running. It also took away some power, turning some homers into doubles. When healthy, he's as good as they come. When not healthy, he's still pretty good. Watch to see if the Fish let him loose on the basepaths in spring training for some indication of what he'll do in '10.

Yellow lightLF Chris Coghlan: Coghlan's a bit of an oddball here. There's some risk-built in to this rating-that he moves back to second base. If so, his risk goes up, but he probably shouldn't get hit with the position change increase. Then again, he played a new position in the bigs and did it well enough to win the Rookie of the Year Award. I honestly don't like this ranking.

Yellow lightSP Josh Johnson: People act surprised that Johnson came back and was good. It was Tommy John surgery, people. He's barely a yellow, with only the big jump in innings getting him there.

Yellow lightSP Ricky Nolasco: Forget Brian Bannister. It's Nolasco that saberkids love. His K rate actually went up as every other number went down. Well, his ERA went up, but that's not a good thing. (I know, I know... SIERA likes him too.) PIPP doesn't like that he bounced off a 200-inning season, but it doesn't know that the minor-league stint was off effectiveness, not injury. I don't like that he bounced off it as well and I think that the disconnect on Nolasco will stay disconnected.

Yellow lightSP Rick VandenHurk: Oh look, a young pitcher who's facing what appears to be a big innings increase. It's risky to be sure, but Blyleven's protege isn't your normal young guy. I'm not sure if a guy with four, maybe five pitches is any more or less risky, but it's fun to see.

Yellow lightRP Dan Meyer: Could the Athletics not imagine using the lefty as a set-up guy, or could they just not keep him healthy? My guess is a bit of both, which sure helps the Marlins. He's a very low yellow, mostly on his injury history as a starter.

Green light1B Jorge Cantu

Green light2B Dan Uggla: Uggla just hasn't seemed the same since his terrible performance in the All-Star Game a couple years back. A lot of people want to blame an injury or the night before, but there's no evidence there has been anything physically wrong with him.

Green light3B Emilio Bonifacio

Green lightRF Cody Ross: Ross ended the season missing time after getting plunked on the wrist. There was no DL at that point and some rumor that Ross had broken the wrist. The Marlins denied this, and Ross was hitting early enough that it would seem to be true. He's a high green (close to yellow) and a wrist injury that's more serious would have pushed him very near red.

Green lightCL Leo Nunez


Related Content:  Marlins,  Year Of The Injury,  Injury Increase

17 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

hessshaun

I don't understand the Josh Johnson comment at all. I never considered him, let alone thought he would be good or bad.

Feb 09, 2010 09:55 AM
rating: 0
 
Jeff Lewandowski

Will, could you explain what you mean by "bounce" and "disconnect" in Nolasco's blurb? Thanks ...

Feb 09, 2010 10:26 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Bounce -- hit the 200 inning ceiling and "bounced" down. Lots of pitchers do that. Holding above 195 is one of the defining features of an ace and rare.

Disconnect -- many stats guys love his K rate and peripherals. I think he's going to remain a guy who doesn't pitch as well as his projections.

Feb 09, 2010 11:01 AM
 
Jeff Lewandowski

thanks Will

Feb 09, 2010 15:29 PM
rating: 0
 
stepsinsc

That's right Marlins fans, Bonifacio is going to be healthy all year! Woo!

Feb 09, 2010 10:33 AM
rating: 3
 
Jake V

Should Ross be a "low" green?

Feb 09, 2010 11:19 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

No. The "low" and "high" refer to the underlying number. A "high green" would be close to yellow. A "low yellow" would be close to green. Not to pick on you, Stink, but I don't understand why this is hard to follow.

Feb 09, 2010 12:15 PM
 
hessshaun

Maybe bright and dark would be better? Or you can refer them back to your post that you thought no one would read to the end. My guess is that some people don't know about the numerical values which brings me to another point. I site index or tutorial would be great for this place. I still don't know why people love the cards so much. Again, this is similar to my Josh Johnson post in that I am not trying to be crafty or funny, I legitimately don't know what's going on.

Feb 09, 2010 12:57 PM
rating: 3
 
Cromulent

I think the confusion stems from the assumption that "low" and "high" refer to risk within a band rather than the underlying number. I know you've been clear about this, Will, but the setup isn't necessarily very intuitive.

Feb 09, 2010 15:01 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yes it is. Red, yellow, green. That makes sense even if you don't speak English. I'll just cease with high and low. That info isn't worth the aggravation.

Feb 09, 2010 19:57 PM
 
Jake V

No problem, I'd better go back and do my homework...

Feb 09, 2010 15:14 PM
rating: 1
 
JoshC77

Will, I too don't understand why people have difficulties understanding the low-to-high explanation.....

People, imagine a traffic signal...

Red Light
Yellow Light
Green Light

Now, green is low and red is high (i.e. from bottom to top).

Now, if a pitcher is a high green; on our traffic signal it means he is closer to the yellow light (a low yellow).


Low Yellow
High Green
Average Green light


If he is a high yellow, it means he is closer to the red light.

Low Red
High Yellow
Average Yellow Light

Hopefully this helps people who can't clearly understand what Will is referring to.

Feb 10, 2010 07:59 AM
rating: 1
 
Jay Taylor

I understand what he's saying, but I think most people don't think of it as a stop light, but rather when you go higher, you get better, like most things are measured.

In other words, intuitivly, I would think that a green would be someone that is 90-100% likely to make it through the season injury free. Yellow would be 80-90%, red would be below that.

Thinking of it in these terms, when I see "high green", I think "very green", not almost yellow.

Feb 11, 2010 09:43 AM
rating: 1
 
HugeShoulderpad

Indeed...the choice of direction for the colors is arbitrary and half the population will initially pick the opposite way than Will, leading to the confusion...

...what's wrong with blended colors? Say "yellow-green (olive?)", or "orange, but close to red" instead of high and low.

Feb 15, 2010 10:47 AM
rating: 1
 
Brian24

I don't think it's right to say that the Marlins' $3.5 million "injury cost" could have been used to pay other players. That $3.5 million is a measure of the money that went to pay players on the DL, correct? If those players were not injured, the money would still be spent, and therefore wouldn't be available to pay somebody else. Maybe I'm just not understanding the metric.

Feb 10, 2010 10:18 AM
rating: 1
 
tylernu

Hear hear: I understand that injury cost is supposed to represent how much value went toward getting zero return, but saying that the team could have spent that money elsewhere doesn't make sense. Isn't money spent on a DLed player just a sunk cost, plain and simple?

Feb 10, 2010 13:48 PM
rating: 0
 
Jay Taylor

I think will is trying to illustrate just how much teams are willing to go away as just a "sunk cost" rather then spend a bit more on the team health. A lot of teams don't want ot hire another trainer for $100K a year, but they don't blink an eye when they lose enough money to pay Willingham.

Feb 11, 2010 10:52 AM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Team Health Reports: W... (02/08)
<< Previous Column
Team Health Reports: W... (02/08)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: A... (02/10)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Expanded Horizons: Cat... (02/09)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: Framing Decisions Around...
Fantasy Article Dynasty Dynamics: TINO Does Arizona, 2015
Pebble Hunting: The Case For Shaming the Cub...
Every Team's Moneyball: Texas Rangers: Short...
Every Team's Moneyball: Atlanta Braves: Shor...
Prospectus Feature: All Spin Is Not Alike
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: The Most Important Player ...

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 9, 2010
Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run: NL East Competitive ...
Introducing SIERA
Premium Article Expanded Horizons: Catching conundrum

MORE BY WILL CARROLL
2010-02-15 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: New York Mets
2010-02-11 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Philadelphia Phillies
2010-02-10 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Atlanta Braves
2010-02-09 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Florida Marlins
2010-02-08 - Team Health Reports: Washington Nationals
2010-02-05 - Under The Knife: Team Health Reports 2010
2010-02-02 - Premium Article Under The Knife: Frickin' Laser Beams, Part ...
More...

MORE TEAM HEALTH REPORTS
2010-02-15 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: New York Mets
2010-02-11 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Philadelphia Phillies
2010-02-10 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Atlanta Braves
2010-02-09 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Florida Marlins
2010-02-08 - Team Health Reports: Washington Nationals
2009-03-29 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Los Angeles Angels
2009-03-27 - Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Chicago Cubs
More...