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Team Injury Projections

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.

TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Depth Chart
 

Dashboard


2010 Recap
 

2010
 

2009
 

2008
 

2007
1st in AL East
27 entries
12 DL trips
               

667
TDL

25
DMPI
 

667
TDL
4th
 

25
DMPI
25th
 

981
TDL
16th
 

34
DMPI
30th
 

1043
TDL
18th
 

24
DMPI
17th
 

816
TDL
9th
 

30
DMPI
21st

Hitters in approximate Depth Charts order at time of publication

 

Days Lost to Injury

2011 Injury Risk

Player

Age

2008

2009

2010

1-day

15-days

30-days
Johnny Damon

37

19

8

6

Red

Yellow

Yellow
Matt Joyce

26

2

0

67

Red

Red

Yellow
Evan Longoria

25

29

5

12

Red

Yellow

Green
Manny Ramirez

39

2

3

66

Red

Red

Red
Dan Johnson

31

0

0

0

Yellow

Green

Green
B.J. Upton

26

14

26

5

Red

Yellow

Green
Ben Zobrist

30

52

0

6

Red

Yellow

Green
John Jaso

27

0

0

0

Green

Green

Green
Reid Brignac

25

0

0

0

Yellow

Green

Green
Desmond Jennings

24

0

0

0

Green

Green

Green
Felipe Lopez

31

0

6

25

Yellow

Yellow

Green
Casey Kotchman

28

0

15

3

Green

Green

Green
Sam Fuld

29

0

3

0

Yellow

Green

Green
Sean Rodriguez

26

0

0

0

Yellow

Green

Green
Kelly Shoppach

31

0

0

54

Red

Red

Yellow

Pitchers in approximate Depth Charts order at time of publication

 

Days Lost to Injury

2011 Injury Risk

Player

Age

2008

2009

2010

1-day

15-days

30-days
David Price

25

0

0

0

Green

Green

Green
James Shields

29

0

0

0

Green

Green

Green
Wade Davis

25

0

0

17

Green

Green

Green
Jeff Niemann

28

0

0

21

Yellow

Green

Green
Jeremy Hellickson

24

0

0

0

Green

Green

Green
Andy Sonnanstine

28

0

0

20

Yellow

Green

Green
Kyle Farnsworth

35

28

55

3

Red

Yellow

Yellow
Juan Cruz

32

36

48

0

Yellow

Yellow

Green
Joel Peralta

35

0

0

0

Yellow

Yellow

Green
Jacob McGee

24

0

0

0

Green

Green

Green
Mike Ekstrom

27

0

0

0

Green

Green

Green
Adam Russell

28

0

0

0

Green

Green

Green
Cesar Ramos

27

0

0

0

Green

Green

Green

Summary: You always hear about how the Rays have been able to compete in the American League East due to their player development, their scouting, and a parade of quality moves pulled off by one of the best GMs in the business, Andrew Friedman. The focus on those elements overshadows one other key area—that of health. The Rays had the fewest injuries of any team in the majors in 2010 and finished fourth in total days lost. In a division as tight as the AL East, nearly perfect health is a huge difference maker; just ask the rival Red Sox. The DMPI rank is even skewed somewhat thanks to a lost season from J.P. Howell, who had shoulder labrum surgery, and almost 100 days lost from Brian Shouse’s sprained knee. Considering that the Rays finished first in the American League in WXRL despite those injuries, it's safe to say that neither player was vital to the bullpen's success (although Howell, at least, would have made it even better).

The lineup will undergo the most significant changes this season. Left fielder Carl Crawford took his athleticism and lower injury risk north to Boston and was replaced by the moderately risky Johnny Damon (who is almost a high risk). Manny Ramirez returns to the AL East with a poor track record in terms of health over the past few years.  He certainly fits the bill of "high risk/ high reward" for the Rays, but given the cost, he's worth the shot even if he ends up hurt once more. Not everything is negative, though: Reid Brignac is taking over for the departed Jason Bartlett, which will lower the risk at shortstop. CHIPPER isn’t too worried about B.J. Upton’s injury history, which should calm the fears of some Rays fans. As long as he keeps his legs healthy, he'll have value to Tampa Bay.

The pitching staff saw lots of changes, most notably replacing Matt Garza with Jeremy Hellickson and Rafael Soriano with Kyle Farnsworth. Garza wasn't the healthiest hurler out there, but we still haven't seen whether Hellickson can deal with a major-league workload—he has already missed time this spring due to a hamstring injury. As far as health goes for Soriano and Farnsworth, there is little to no difference between the two—putting production aside, they both have injury histories and are considered moderate risks. Almost the entire balance of the bullpen is composed of new faces, but as you can see from the tables above, none of them is considered a serious risks for injury.

Careful investments have allowed the Rays to keep a rotation that remains young, productive, and inexpensive. Rather than spending heavy dollars on older free-agent starters, the Rays have settled in comfortably with their own version of an elder statesman in the 29-year-old James Shields. Tampa Bay is careful with their young starters; the team brings them up when they are ready, which has allowed them to stay relatively healthy and at very limited risk for missing significant time.

The Big Risk: Evan Longoria is one of the top players in the game and would be sorely missed by the Rays were he to succumb to a significant injury. While his personal risk level is only moderate, the effect of any injury would be magnified by the relative fragility of the new acquisitions. While he hasn't gone on the disabled list since 2008 (his first year in the majors), he has suffered several nagging injuries to his lower extremities, including mild strains to both his hamstring and his quadriceps. The multiple smaller strains could end up leading to something bigger, which would put a serious dent in the Rays' playoff hopes for 2011.

Comeback: Back in 2008 and 2009, J.P. Howell was an integral part of the bullpen. The words "torn labrum" are two of the most frightening that a pitcher can hear, as labrum surgery has a lower success rate than Tommy John surgery. Howell underwent a procedure to repair the labrum in his left shoulder on May 19, so he likely won't be completely ready until May 2011 at the earliest. With all of the turnover in the bullpen, a healthy season from Howell could do wonders for the Rays.

Best Health: To the dismay of opposing hitters everywhere, David Price is a minimal health risk for 2011.

Worst Health: Whether it’s from an injury, an exaggerated injury, or simply not wanting to play, Manny Ramirez is a good bet to miss significant time. Joe Maddon has a way with his players, though, so maybe this season will be different.

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hotstatrat
3/11
Re: Jaso: CHIPPER doesn't see the job of catcher as inheritantly risky?
acmcdowell
3/11
How does Jennings have green across the board? Does the system not look at minor league injuries? Jennings has battled injuries throughout his minor league career, missing big chunks of time. Having him not miss any time at all seems nuts.
dturkenk
3/11
Right now the CHIPPER projections are based on major league data only. We're still working to incorporate the partial minor league injury history we have. Keep an eye out for updates early next week. Obviously, once we do that Jennings prognosis should change for the worse.
Richie
3/11
So Hellickson is all green 'cuz he has no major league injury history?? Dude, something's gotta change there. Some people are just gonna go off of the green-yellow-red.
yankeehater32
3/11
As Dan said, we'll have a fix for that early next week.
escapeNihlism
3/12
what other team has a top 5 (6) SP without red crossbones?
iolair00
3/13
Is there an article somewhere that describes CHIPPER and the meaning of the red/yellow/green ratings that come out of it?
dturkenk
3/14
Yes, we should have the explanation up sometime this week as well.