Russell searches for a fact-based alternative to the Verducci Effect.
A couple of weeks ago, I took on the "Verducci Effect". Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated has hypothesized that a pitcher who is under 25 years old and who had an increase in his workload of 30 innings or more in the previous season is at greater risk for injury or for a steep decline in performance. This is a great hypothesis, but for the fact that it is not actually true.
The final word on whether the popular theory holds water or is fatally flawed.
Last week,Sports Illustrated writer and Jason Parksman-crush Tom Verducci put out his annual column warning about a specific type of player: A young pitcher (25 or younger) who saw a significant increase in his workload in the previous season over the season before that (defined as an increase of at least 30 innings, including postseason and minor-league work). Verducci claims that this sort of pitcher is in danger of either a significant injury and/or a performance decline in 2013 because his 2012 was much busier than his 2011. It's a proposition that's become known as the Verducci Effect.
Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
A former river guide, ranch hand, farm hand, oyster shucker and semi-professional bongo player, which is to say that he was paid in beer during late-night performances, John Paschal now spends his time at work on a book while fending off the advances of mixed metaphors and run-on sentences. You can reach him at AzureTexan@yahoo.com.
Rich Harden, Scott Kazmir, and Jeremy Bonderman will be back in big-league camps next spring. Which one is the safest best to have something left?
There comes a point in every fantasy draft when one owner drafts a particular player at a certain position—shortstop, let’s say—which reminds every other owner that they also need a shortstop and that there are only so many good ones left to go around. The ensuing collective hysteria causes a run on anyone eligible at that position, and by the time the league comes to its senses,Clint Barmes is the only shortstop still standing.
That’s essentially what happened on the Friday before Christmas, except with injury-prone starting pitchers. On Friday morning, the Twins signed Rich Harden. On Friday afternoon, determined not to be locked out of the injury-prone-pitcher market, the Indians signed Scott Kazmir and the Mariners followed suit by signing Jeremy Bonderman. (Brandon Webb is still somewhere on the board.) Realistically, except for their fingerprints, not much ties the current Kazmir, Harden, and Bonderman to the versions who had success several seasons ago. But the names are still notable, and the faces are still familiar, so we can't help but wonder whether the stuff might still be similar too.
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The Blue Jays have turned over much of their team this winter, but they're still depending on a bounceback season by Jose Bautista. Will they get it?
Over the past few weeks, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has orchestrated an organizational overhaul of Pygmalion proportions. Essentially, he’s turned a perennial non-threat in the American League East into the division’s foremost...uh, well the baseball equivalent of Audrey Hepburn. You know, she played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
The Blue Jays acquire the owner of baseball's most impressive active streak.
It makes some sense that after a season in which they were burned by an injury stack to their starters, the Blue Jays would trade for a pitcher whose most serious injury through 12-plus seasons is a minor flesh wound inflicted by a mayonnaise jar. Meet Mark Buehrle's injury history (click to expand):
Pedro's flawless repetition made his unparalleled career possible.
The greatest pitchers of the previous generation were dominant on a historical level, and the peak performance of Pedro Martinez might have been the greatest spectacle that the game has ever witnessed. He may have lacked the longevity of Roger Clemens, the consistency of Greg Maddux, or the biological advantages of Randy Johnson, but Pedro introduced the world to an unrivaled combination of intensity, precision, and power that baffled major-league hitters for over a decade.
Martinez lacked the size of his legendary counterparts, but efficient mechanics and incredible athleticism allowed him to get more out of his sub-six-foot frame than pitchers half a foot taller. His effectiveness was enabled by exceptional command of an explosive array of pitches, and he required ideal efficiency to maximize the impact of his pitching career. One need look no further than Pedro's brother, Ramon Martinez, to conceptualize the difference between raw genetic gifts and athletically-trained ability.
Now that the season is over, here's a recap of the injuries sustained by NL West clubs and how great an impact each injury had.
Now that another year is officially in the books, we can look back and get a clearer picture of just how injuries played a role in each team’s record. Using the same methodology as last year, we looked at every team and calculated how much injuries cost each club from a production standpoint. Summarizing the process, we looked at WARP on a plate appearance basis and used data from 2010 -2012 in our calculations. We’ll star in the NL West, home of the world champion San Francisco Giants.