The Mets' injury parade drags on, while the Brew Crew might lose an important hitter for the start of the season.
Ike Davis, New York Mets (Valley Fever)
Davis, who is on the mend from a 2011 ankle injury, has been diagnosed with “likely” having valley fever. Valley fever is a soil-dwelling fungus typically found in southwestern United States and northern Mexico, and it grows during rainy periods. The spores can break off and be inhaled whenever the soil is disrupted. Valley fever is generally benign, but more severe cases can include pneumonia, lung nodules, or the fungus spreading to other parts of the body. In severe cases, oral antifungal medications are used.
Davis underwent a routine chest x-ray during his spring physical, but the results were determined to be abnormal. After consulting multiple pulmonary and infectious disease specialists, he was diagnosed with a mild form of valley fever. He is not on any medications, but he must try to avoid extreme fatigue. Conor Jackson also had valley fever, but Davis is expected to make a full recovery without missing any time.
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A former first-rounder picks up steam, while a couple of DL veterans once again fall victim to their own fragility.
Newcomers Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers (21 percent ESPN; 21 percent Yahoo!) Considering that he was a first-round pick in the 2007 draft and how quickly he progressed through the Tigers' minor-league system, it should not be a surprise how well Porcello has pitched lately. But his 2010 season was a disaster and prevented many fantasy players from drafting him at all in most leagues.
Some Jays players got overly attached to the DL in 2010, but new faces may bring greater health this season.
The Team Injury Projections are here, driven by our brand new injury forecasting system, the Comprehensive Health Index [of] Pitchers [and] Players [with] Evaluative Results—or, more succinctly, CHIPPER. Thanks to work by Colin Wyers and Dan Turkenkopf and a database loaded with injuries dating back to the 2002 season—that's nearly 4,600 players and well over 400,000 days lost to injury—we now have a system that produces injury-risk assessments to three different degrees. CHIPPER projects ratings for players based on their injury history—these ratings measure the probability of a player missing one or more games, 15 or more games, or 30 or more games. CHIPPER will have additional features added to it throughout the spring and early season that will enhance the accuracy of our injury coverage.
These ratings are also available in the Player Forecast Manager (pfm.baseballprospectus.com), where they'll be sortable by league or position—you won’t have to wait for us to finish writing this series in order to see the health ratings for all of the players.
Ryan Zimmerman's recent flurry of safeties leads to a question over what other recent streaks we might have overlooked.
Back in 2007, fans of the Seattle Mariners were given free rides aboard the Wild and Wacky Weaver Wagon. On any given night, they had no idea whether the Jeff Weaver toeing the rubber would resemble the Mr. Hyde who had been victimized by 50 hits and a 14.32 RA in his first 22 innings of work, or the good Dr. Jekyll with the 3.10 RA and 1.26 WHIP over his next nine outings. As Weaver aptly demonstrated throughout that roller-coaster campaign, baseball is a game of streaks, with players fusing together stretches both hot and cold before arriving at their statistical bottom lines. Scan the game logs for any player in any season and you are bound to find spurts in which a Pujols hits like a Theriot, and vice-versa. In spite of their prominence, though, streaks can be very detrimental by distracting fans from actual production levels, and a little annoying as they tend to go unnoticed when not bookending a season.
The Blue Jays piecher and his pitching coach discuss his broad arsenal of pitches and the challenges of creating a gameplan with so many options.
Jesse Litsch is a man of few words and many pitches. A 23-year-old right-hander, Litsch has quietly emerged as a dependable member of the Blue Jays' starting rotation, relying on an ability to throw strikes and induce ground balls. Litsch began last season in Double-A, but by season's end had established himself in the big leagues by posting a 3.87 ERA in 111 innings. David talked to Litsch--and to Toronto pitching coach Brad Arnsberg--about Litsch's repertoire and approach on the mound.