Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Evaluating injury-prone players for the second half

by Todd Zola, MastersBall.com on June 25, 2014 @ 14:41:55 PDT

 

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When evaluating players over the second half of the season for trades or just your own roster analysis, how do you handle players with an injury history that have not yet been hurt? If they are healthy now do you assume health going forward or do you assume they'll miss time over the second half?

Zach Steinhorn

I tend to not own many of these types of players as I try to avoid them on draft day unless they come at a significant discount. But if I already own an injury-prone player who is having a great year, I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to trade them for anything less than full price. I do think that staying healthy is a skill to a certain extent, but there are always surprises. Sometimes, you can get lucky. That said, I'd be careful not to own too many of these guys. In that case, if a trade can be made for a much-needed upgrade at another position, I might look into it more seriously.

Perry Van Hook

SS Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Hell no, Tulo?

I think the decision is how much value to expect from the players, not whether to trade for them. If we look at Tulowitzki for instance while his owner wants to sell of this years' stats I would not pay for a full complement of at bats for the rest of this season. Deciding where to draw that line is an individual guesstimate in my opinion and made on a case by case basis. Tulo always hits the DL -- or has in past years -- but has been healthy so far, and obviously having a career year still. I want a small discount there. Street would require a larger discount because not only is he DL-prone but he could easily be traded by the Padres to a team where he is not closing. I would be more willing to pay full price for Kazmir.

Lawr Michaels

As the proud owner of Matt Kemp (always hurt of late) and Mark Trumbo (never hurt of late) I am just aware the axe can fall any time.

I try to be cautiously optimistic. But, talk about out of our control.

It reminds me of a mock I did for MLB.com some years back, when I picked B.J. Ryan after he returned from TJ surgery.

"Aren't you worried about his injury?" Cory Schwartz asked?

"I am always worried about everyone's possible injury," was my response.

If you need Tulo, and he is the guy who can help you win, and we are this far in the season, however, I think you just have to throw caution to the wind and not worry about intangibles and make the trade.

Although, a caveat to that is if a guy has been hurt already (thinking Jose Reyes) I would take that into account.

Todd Zola

Let me throw a little different twist/angle.

Part of the impetus for this question is the conundrum I have with playing time with in-season projections.

How many more at bats do I give Troy Tulowitzki -- 220? 320?

How many more innings do I give Scott Kazmir -- 60? 100? (note Kazmir's total of 158 last season was the 3rd best of his career, the other two better seasons in 2005 and 2007)

How many more saves for Huston Street -- 10? 15? 20?

My rather loose way of handling this (assuming midpoint of the season) is if I expected a hitter to play 80 percent of the time, I expect he'll play in 90 percent of the time going forward. This way, there is some injury risk built in but if he hasn't missed any time yet, he's only docked 10 percent at the halfway point and not the original 20% I expected. Does this make sense?

Similarly, I use 34 starts for a full-time starting pitcher and prorate accordingly. So if I originally expected 20 and they have 16 at the halfway point, I don't give then 4 more but instead give than 10 more (half of the original 20)

Does this make sense or should the playing time be more subjective -- player by player?

Lawr Michaels

Twisted thinker that I am, I look at it differently.

I think in terms of how many saves, dingers, whatever will I get from my pick. And I think how many saves will Street give me, or how many wins Kazmir, or BA/HR/RBI Tulo?

I am horribly conservative in my estimations, and I try to draft/bid accordingly.

Usually players exceed my stingy projections, but I paid $11 for Kazmir in Tout. And I believe he has come pretty close to earning what I spent on him.

So, as long as I have a surplus of arms (as it is, since I have Santiago and Jimenez, I don't), then that is a commodity I can swap for something I need without impacting my overall still stingy baselines.

But at this point, were I to trade Kazmir, the question becomes what can I get for him that I need based upon those same stingy and objectively competitive I hope, projections/needs.

This way, though, anything I get is gravy as Kazmir already made my money for me so I can turn elsewhere for that profit (or keep him as noted and let him keep racking it up I hope).

I said I was twisted, and this does at least make sense to me.

Wrapping up....

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About Todd Zola, MastersBall.com

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for fantasybaseball.com, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at MLB.com and SI.com, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums.

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