Project Redlight

Readers of Baseball Prospectus will be familiar with the exceptional work of Will Carroll, a guru to many sabermetricians on the subject of player health. Before each season, Carroll looks through each team roster, guaging the health prospect of every player, assigning them to one of three categories: green light (likely to be healthy, barring accident), yellow light (some danger), red light (high probability for serious breakdown). Yesterday, he posted his review of the Yankees, and it will come as no surprise, given their ages and histories, that the entire Yankee rotation, save Tiger Wang, lands in his red light zone—and as Cliff Corcoran notes on Bronx Banter, he probably belongs there, too. If there’s anything interesting here, it’s the suggestion that Chacon, who appears the picture of stability, lands in the red zone because he is slated to pitch dramatically more innings than he ever has logged in the past. Beyond that, the rest seems pretty obvious, and we have to wonder about the actual utility of the entire project—predicting the unpredictable is a dodgy business, even if this system is presented more as a “warning” guide. Anyway, it’s worth a read.

4 comments… add one

  • We noticed that in the ’05 guide to the Red Sox Keith Foulke was given a green light. So though we’d like to think the Yankees’ entire staff is headed to long stays on the DL, it’s clear that this is an inexact science, if science at all. At the very least, it’s just more information.

    SF February 24, 2006, 10:13 am
  • I agree, SF, and for similar reasons I’m skeptical about the various predictive metrics (like PECOTA) that get trotted out around this time of year, which seem to me pseudo-scientific, though certainly worthy of consideration.

    YF February 24, 2006, 11:19 am
  • Carroll is giving us too much information on too little information. It’s only worthwhile in the most obvious cases, which would preclude the necessity of such a guide in the first place. Players get injured in the normal process of playing the game. And, of course, the majority of injuries that impact performance are never reported by the players in the first place.
    In general, I don’t value Carroll’s supposed expertise in health related issues even though he’s positioned himself as such. To my knowledge (correct me if I’m wrong) he holds no medical degrees whatsoever and has no background in sports medicine beyond researching his book on the subject. And he wrote a steroid Op-Ed piece for the NY Times a while back where he lumped steroids into the same class of drugs as amphetamines and was unable to draw the distinction between performance enhancing drugs and recreational stimulants that make an athlete think that their performance is enhanced. That level of ignorance about something so prevalent in professional sports calls into question the body of his knowledge.

    lp February 24, 2006, 11:37 am
  • Is list posted anywhere where you don’t have to subscribe to see the whole thing?

    john February 24, 2006, 4:50 pm

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