Monday, January 16, 2006

Projecting Injuries

We keep hearing how the Tigers will do better this year “if they stay healthy” but it’s pretty clear they have a good number of players who are significant injury risks. How big are these risks? Can we really project injuries for specific players? One man thinks he can.


Over the past few years, Sig Mejdal of Baseball Info Solutions has been assessing injury risk based on 35 years of injury data and the characteristics of players. These characteristics include age, body mass index, past injuries, defensive position, career games and high pitch outings. He projects each player as a low, mediocre or high risk for a significant injury. By significant injury, he means an injury which will keep a player out of action for 30 consecutive days. These projections have been published in the last two Bill James Baseball Handbooks. The chart below shows his projections for the Tigers in 2005 and 2006.


Table: Sig Mejdal’s Injury Projections


Player

2005 Projection

2006 Projection

Ivan Rodriguez

High

High

Chris Shelton

NA

Medium

Dmitri Young

High

High

Carlos Pena

Low

Medium

Placido Polanco

High

Medium

Carlos Guillen

Medium

Medium

Brandon Inge

Medium

Medium

Omar Infante

Low

Medium

Craig Monroe

Medium

High

Curtis Grandersn

NA

Low

Magglio Ordonez

High

High

Nook Logan

NA

Low

Jeremy Bonderman

NA

High

Mike Maroth

NA

Medium

Nate Robertson

NA

Medium

Kenny Rogers

NA

Medium


Mejdal also constructs hit lists of players in Major League Baseball with the highest likelihood of significant injury. In 2004, 16 players from his pre-season hit lists had significant injuries. Last year, he had 8 correct hits. No Tigers made the 2006 top ten “any injury” list which includes names such as Ken Griffey, Brian Jordan and Cliff Floyd. He also has top ten lists for specific injuries. Ivan Rodriguez is listed as the most likely player to suffer a back injury or a broken finger and the second most likely player to have an elbow injury. No other Tigers made his top ten lists.


I’ll be somewhat skeptical of the system until I see a detailed analysis of the results over several years. However, most of his projections for the Tigers seem reasonable. The only two which are surprising are Guillen and Monroe. To me, Guillen seems like a high injury risk while Monroe seems more like a medium risk. I agree that Rodriguez, Ordonez, Young and Bonderman are high risk players for 2006.

4 comments:

  1. I"m also not sure why Shelton and Pena would be considered medium risks. Shelton I guess a little bit by looking at BMI, but I don't understand Pena at all. He plays a position that isn't very taxing, he's in good shape, and he doesn't have much of an injury history.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What, you mean Dmitri Young is a high injury risk? I'm shocked... *SHOCKED*, I tell you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bill, I was mostly looking at high versus medium in my critique. I do agree though that Pena seems more like a low risk than a medium risk.

    Jeff, it is quite shocking....Seriously though, I think the Pena/Young situation may solve itself in the form of an injury to Young.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very interesting data. Thanks for providing it.

    Love the Tiger Blog.

    ReplyDelete

Sabermetrics Book

Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Blog Archive

Subscribe

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Stat Counter

Site Meter