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Chat: Will Carroll

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday April 22, 2010 1:00 PM ET chat session with Will Carroll.

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He won't be under the knife, but Will Carroll's game to be put to the question today, so stop by and ask away.

Will Carroll: Let's get this "party" started. Or whatever the kids are saying these days. Then again, I doubt the kids are referencing the Black Eyed Peas and talking about baseball injuries, but what do I know? I've got coffee, I'm going to see Aroldis Chapman tonight ... wait, yes, it's only partly cloudy, so better chance than last week, and I'm ready for some questions over the next hour or so.

cubfan131 (IA): What do you think of the Cubs decision to move Zambrano to the pen? Does it have anything to do with his recent high pitch counts or their concerns over his long term health?

Will Carroll: Zambrano was worked just as hard as Mark Prior and Kerry Wood at a young age. The smoking comparison works here - some people get cancer, some don't, and not all on the same timeline. I'm not sure if Zambrano's done, but right now, he's certainly paying a price. Some is simple aging - there's a lot of great pitchers who burned out quickly (Sandy Koufax, anyone?) and some is lack of adjustment. Someone on Twitter suggested using Zambrano in a Mike Marshall style role. I don't think the Cubs will even think of that, but maybe Chuck Wasserstrom will surprise us all.

workermonkey (CT): over/under, david ortiz still being a red sox at the all star break?

Will Carroll: That's true or false, not over/under. I'm no gambler. I'd say it's likely he still is. Ortiz was like this last year and there's not really a good in-house option. I don't see the Sox making a panic trade here and aside from a really risky move like grabbing Berkman, is there a clear upgrade available?

Zeke11 (Det): What do you think of Brandon Webb's longterm outlook? Does a contract of 3yr/36M seem reasonable for this offseason or is he in the 1 year territory?

Will Carroll: 3/36? Are you kidding me? The guy is on the path to not pitching for two seasons and you'd offer him a raise? Maybe - MAYBE - he ends up pitching a bit and with the Ben Sheets deal, I guess almost anything is possible, but there's no way I'd do anything more than a Rich Harden deal for Webb unless he comes back and looks lights out. At that point, new ballgame.

Vanasek (New York): Will, Has anyone done a historical study of pitching injuries and if so, does the amount and severity of injuries currently experienced in the modern era (2000-2010) differ from that experienced by pitchers in the 1970s or 1950s?

Will Carroll: No. The Neft database is the closest thing we have and barring the use of a TARDIS, I dont think we'll end up with much better than that. I think we can do an anecdotal study based on the length of careers, but that's one I don't have the skill set for. The publicly available data has so many holes in it that I don't think we can get much and people that are trying are wasting their time and yours.

dandaman (Sea Cliff): Will- your thoughts on how Kinsler can do this year once he comes back? Thanks Dan

Will Carroll: It's an ankle sprain. He should be back almost completely, and soon. Maybe run a bit less, unless the Rangers are playing Boston.

HJC (Gaithersburg): What's your opinion of video pitching mechanics evaluations that are posted on the internet? Are they somewhat effective or are only the advanced analyses performed by places like ASMI really worth anything?

Will Carroll: I think it requires joint load information. What something looks like tells us something, but not enough to do more than guess. It's fun to guess! You don't have to be right and no one's keeping track. We don't know why some pitchers break down and some don't. Inverted W, forearm flyout, blah blah blah. Look, I'm guilty of it, but I've learned from my mistakes. I only wish more teams had.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): I saw a comment from Berkman recently that said he felt his knee had "turned the corner". What did he mean by this?

Will Carroll: That it's finally not swelling when he does things. It's really that simple. The surgery took a long time to "take" and the medical staff was working around the clock, trying everything to get him to this point. Maybe it works and they can maintain him and maybe it pops up again tomorrow. That knee is problematic and will be for however long Berkman plays. I hope he and the Trainers get along well, because they're spending a lot of time together.

I Am Curious (Yellow): Adam Morris at Lone Star Ball suggests today that Vlad's leg problems have sapped his power. Can Vlad still be productive as a middle of the order hitter, or are his days as a power threat likely gone?

Will Carroll: It certainly hasn't helped. The stolen bases are an oddity, I'm sure, but it does offer some hope. Guerrero was always a gamble, with the hope that his long term love of hitting in Arlington helped rejuvenate him a bit. If it doesn't work, they have options there, so no real harm. Expecting him to be 2002 level VLAD is ridiculous.

tommybones (brooklyn): Is there any reason to keep Strasburg at AA? He's toying with that level at this point. Wouldn't the move to AAA right now make sense?

Will Carroll: He's working on some things, like not stepping across his body from the stretch. My question would be "Is Triple-A that much harder?" Would facing Scranton be more of a challenge? The best hitter in Scranton's lineup last night was ... John Van Benschoten. I think he'll get there quickly, but we're not going to learn much until he's in Washington. He's really good with two devastating pitches and the makings of another.

Denverbengal (Denver): Will Aaron Harang turn it around and who would Chapman replace if the Red's call him up?

Will Carroll: I don't think so and probably Leake if he continues to struggle with his control. Dusty Baker hates walks in all their forms.

Jordan Zimmermann (9 Months Removed): What percentage of pitchers come back successfully from Tommy John surgery these days? If I am in the majority, any chance I pitch this September or are we really talking February.

Will Carroll: 95% is the last number I saw. There was a recent study on this, plus another really interesting one from Kerlan-Jobe that I'll have more on soon. As for Zimmerman, he should be back. 12 months is really the standard, though there's enough setbacks to say "12-18" as the standard.

Eli (Queens): Berkman's knee just "took"? Knees can do that? Can something like this happen to Beltran, or are his problems after knee surgery very different?

Will Carroll: Sorry - locked up there and couldnt get the chat to update.
Yes, sometimes it takes time to find the right modalities, rest patterns, and time heals all wounds, right? The key would be that they know what helped. There's nothing more frustrating than someone getting better and the medical staff not knowing why. It's as bad as the guy not getting better. Beltran's a similar situation, but the continual bruising in his knees shows that it's not baseball, but gravity that's causing problems.

jtrichey (Indianapolis): So in that 20 inning game ,Francisco says that he warmed up 9 times and estimated that he threw 100 warm up pitches in the bullpen and that his arm was "dead" when he did come in in the 19th. Are the Mets the stupidest team going right now? Is this Manuel's fault?

Will Carroll: I'll give 70% to Manuel, 20% to the pitching and/or bullpen coach, and 10% to Rodriguez. He got a couple days rest, but for what amounted to a start, then pitching the "10th", that's not much. We'll see how it affects him, if at all.
As for the stupidest, no, not close. They are like that guy you know who's really smart, but does some things where you just want to smack him.

WilliamWilde (Boston, MA): I was lucky enough to see Feliz pitch in Boston last night. Easiest 101mph ever! You think he plays bullpen ace for the entire season?

Will Carroll: Yes. I think the Rangers learned from how the Yankees dealt with Joba Chamberlain. When he didn't win a rotation slot out of camp, it put him in as a pen guy for '10 barring a run of injuries. That said, I think he still gets a chance at the rotation next year, assuming he wants to shift out of a role he could succeed in long term.

mgibson (DC): What is a "modality?"

Will Carroll: A modality is anything a medical staff uses to help treat injuries. Usually it's something like ultrasound or electrical stim. It's just one of those catchall words, part of the lingo in Training Rooms.

Joe V. (Washington, DC): OK, I'll bite: so which team is the stupidest?

Will Carroll: I'm not drunk enough to even come close. I will say this - it's like asking "Who's the ugliest Miss America contestant?" It probably has an answer, but they're all better than average. Such as.

achaik (W-S, NC): Do any MLB teams come close at all to what the top Euro soccer teams are doing with injuries and injury prevention? Is there a reason why or why not?

Will Carroll: In ways, yes, but mostly no. The clear answer is budget. Teams like Milan, Man City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid have physio budgets that approach the full budget for the Rays. No team in baseball -- heck, ALL the teams in baseball together -- aren't spending as much on medical work and research as some second tier FCs. Which is ironic considering the dollars lost to injury are significantly higher in baseball.

Ron (Vancouver): How many more Halladay like seasons does Hallady need before he has done enough to qualify for the Hall Of Fame?

Will Carroll: That's more Jay's area than mine, but I think he's really close now. 13 seasons, a Cy, multiple ASG appearances, and one of, if not the best, pitcher in the game for a period of time. He's on the low end of it, with guys like Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte, but a couple more years like this one and he walks in easy. Interesting thing is how his early career struggles may have made this possible. He never hit 200 innings until he was 25. He'll be an easy 200 game winner and part of how we re-define the term "Hall of Fame pitcher."

Will Carroll: That's it for me. Some work to do before heading over to Victory Field to see Aroldis Chapman tonight. If you're in the area, stop by and say hi.


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