As I have done every year since 2013, I made my way to Boston in late February/early March for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Over time, given my background, I’ve increasingly paid attention to the health/injury panels at the conference. While I am interested in all aspects of sports analytics, including player performance, drafting, and the like, I have found myself dabbling in the injury side of things as, to this point, it matches my knowledge and training.
The major injury panel this year was called “The Performance/Precaution Tradeoff: Player Health”. I was intrigued by the name of the panel as it was suggestive of some of the hot topics that dominate injury conversation today. At what point should a player be rested to prevent him/her from entering a “danger zone” of increased risk of injury? When is it better to play a back-up for an injured player? 70% health? 60% health? And how does some of the new data being collected infringe upon privacy rights?
These were just some of the things that popped in my head. Did the panel play out the way I expected or did it bring up other topics I hadn’t considered?
In March 2014, Miguel Cabrera signed a professional sports record-setting eight year, $248 million extension with the Detroit Tigers. Though there were whispers in a few corners about the potentially massive downside of this contract, the Tigers were still baseball royalty at the time and such concerns were somewhat brushed off given the team’s decade-long playoff contention. However, those whispers grew to outright conversation as we witnessed the steep decline of one of Miggy’s contemporaries, Albert Pujols.
The MLB draft is on Monday June 4 this year. As a draft junkie, it’s appointment television for me. But for the MLB draft in particular, I’ve always been fascinated by the proceedings. Teams can’t trade draft picks and many times picks are made for signability issues due to each team having a certain spending cap. So it’s just fun to watch it unfold. And, of course, there is always injury drama.
I decided to go through the top 32 players on ESPN’s Keith Law’s 2018 Big Board (as of May 24, 2018) and highlight a few prospects that have potential injury questions. As always, we’re not privy to medical information and considering these are college and high-school baseball players, have even less to go on.
Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn (Law Big Board Rank: 1)
Casey Mize. (Credit: Brandonrush).
The presumptive Number 1 overall pick of the 2018 draft brings an interesting debate to the table. One of the reasons Continue reading →
Do you remember watching Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa destroying baseballs? Maybe I was naïve then, but I thought it was “real”….hey, I was 13. But as a collective group we were all transfixed on the home runs and the possibility of record breaking greatness. Well, the Maris record was “broken”, but greatness? Debatable. Since then we have gone from the Mitchell Report to a full fledged documentary that inadvertently stumbled onto a state-sponsored doping program (not a plug).
In between we have had significant denials. Authored books by Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis (full disclosure: I bought them both, and believed them… for a time) to some ridiculously can’t-make-up stories, as one such great ball player was caught with a whizzinator. Have fun on the Google machine with that one.
On May 9, 2018, one of those sports talking head shows was playing in the background as I tried to get some work done. While they are usually useful as white noise as I try to be productive, I happened to glance at the screen and something that scrolled across the bottom caught my eye: David Price would be held out of his start that night for what was being called “mild carpal tunnel syndrome.