Wrist Injuries and Power: A Quick Glance

It's another one of those baseball saws.  A wrist injury saps a batter's power and can continue to do so during a long recovery period. Spurred on by a question from Jeff Zimmerman, I decided to take a quick look into the truth of the matter.

I'll preface this article by saying my methodology was quick and dirty at best, and should by no means be taken as the final answer to the question.

Using Josh Hermsmeyer's wonderful injury database, I found all the batters with wrist injuries between 2002 and 2008.  For each, I calculated their projected isolated power (SLG - BA) upon return using Marcel projections.  As a simplification, if a player returned from their injury before July 1st, I used that year's projection.  If he returned after July 1st, I looked at the next season.  Finally, I compared the batter's actual ISO to the projected ISO to determine whether he was hitting with less power than expected.

Let me start off with some summary results, with the full data to follow below.

Of the 77 injuries (some players appear multiple times in the list), 32 bettered their projected slugging, while 45 did worse.

The overall mean difference between the projected ISO and the actual was -0.030, which is pretty substantial.  To be fair, that includes 11 players who didn't play after their injuries.

Update: Daniel Moroz of Camden Crazies pointed out that if I remove those players, the average drop is -0.007 points of ISO, which is quite a bit less. I'm not sure whether those players who didn't return should be counted or not in this so I'll present it both ways.

Finally, the correlation between days on the DL and a drop in ISO was 0.044, which could mean a whole host of things ranging from no relationship at all, to some players trying to come back too quickly and decreasing the days on the DL, or even the reverse.

It appears there may be something to the idea that wrist injuries take away a player's power during his recovery.

To do this right, there should be a lot more stringency around the choice of dates for the projections and the actual performance.  Also, the study should look at the effects over time and see when recovery does occur (if ever).  This quick look showed enough promise though, that it's probably worth investing the time for further study (hint, hint).

Without further adieu, here's the data:

Last Name First Name Year On DL Off DL DL Days Description Projected ISO Actual ISO Difference
Colbrunn Greg 2004 2003-07-02 2003-09-28 88 Surgery 0.2143 0 -0.2143
Colbrunn Greg 2004 2004-05-15 2004-06-21 37 Tendinitis 0.2143 0 -0.2143
Hidalgo Richard 2006 2005-08-04 2005-10-03 60 Fracture 0.2067 0 -0.2067
Colbrunn Greg 2005 2004-06-28 2004-09-15 79 Surgery 0.198 0 -0.198
Garcia Karim 2005 2004-06-24 2004-07-09 15 Tendinitis 0.1739 0 -0.1739
Ward Daryle 2003 2003-05-29 2003-06-17 19 Tendinitis 0.181 0.0092 -0.1718
McDougall Marshall 2006 2006-03-28 2006-04-12 15 Surgery 0.1554 0 -0.1554
Colbrunn Greg 2006 2005-04-04 2005-10-06 185 Surgery 0.1547 0 -0.1547
Lankford Ray 2005 2004-07-21 2004-09-01 42 Soreness 0.1535 0 -0.1535
Ugueto Luis 2003 2002-08-07 2002-09-01 25 Sprain 0.1515 0 -0.1515
Costa Shane 2009 2008-09-01 2008-09-30 29 Surgery 0.1215 0 -0.1215
Robles Oscar 2008 2007-08-31 2007-09-15 15 Tear 0.1162 0 -0.1162
Johnson Nick 2009 2008-05-16 2008-09-30 137 Tear 0.2078 0.1138 -0.094
Ginter Keith 2005 2004-07-24 2004-08-28 35 Sprain 0.1893 0.1022 -0.0871
Ojeda Miguel 2005 2004-08-16 2004-09-01 16 Contusion 0.158 0.0784 -0.0796
Sheffield Gary 2006 2006-05-06 2006-05-23 17 Contusion 0.2288 0.1523 -0.0765
Gonzalez Wiki 2002 2002-04-04 2002-05-15 41 Fracture 0.1554 0.0793 -0.0761
Pride Curtis 2005 2005-05-28 2005-06-22 25 Strain 0.159 0.0909 -0.0681
Lee Derrek 2006 2006-04-19 2006-06-25 67 Fracture 0.2533 0.1886 -0.0647
Wilson Vance 2005 2004-09-14 2004-10-04 20 Surgery 0.1494 0.0855 -0.0639
Garcia Karim 2003 2003-05-07 2003-06-23 47 Inflammation 0.2163 0.1598 -0.0565
Werth Jayson 2005 2005-04-04 2005-05-25 51 Fracture 0.1959 0.1395 -0.0564
Ortiz David 2009 2008-05-31 2008-07-25 55 Tear 0.2795 0.2237 -0.0558
Lee Derrek 2007 2006-07-23 2006-08-28 36 Inflammation 0.2477 0.1957 -0.052
Mientkiewicz Doug 2008 2007-06-02 2007-09-02 92 Fracture 0.1517 0.1017 -0.05
Segui David 2003 2002-05-19 2002-09-30 134 Surgery 0.1687 0.1205 -0.0482
Segui David 2004 2003-07-25 2003-09-28 65 Surgery 0.1424 0.1017 -0.0407
Tejada Miguel 2008 2007-06-21 2007-07-27 36 Fracture 0.1709 0.1314 -0.0395
Matthews Gary 2003 2002-08-25 2002-09-11 17 Tendinitis 0.1471 0.1132 -0.0339
Navarro Dioner 2006 2006-05-04 2006-06-15 42 Bruise 0.1343 0.1008 -0.0335
Kent Jeff 2006 2006-05-28 2006-06-13 16 Sprain 0.2169 0.1843 -0.0326
Kapler Gabe 2003 2002-06-23 2002-07-16 23 Tendinitis 0.1519 0.12 -0.0319
Brown Dee 2004 2003-05-27 2003-07-19 53 Sprain 0.1288 0.0974 -0.0314
Gonzalez Luis A. 2006 2006-05-27 2006-06-11 15 Inflammation 0.1452 0.1141 -0.0311
Molina Yadier 2007 2007-05-29 2007-06-28 30 Fracture 0.1175 0.0935 -0.024
Pena Wily Mo 2007 2006-05-26 2006-07-18 53 Surgery 0.2087 0.1868 -0.0219
Hudson Orlando 2009 2008-08-09 2008-09-30 52 Dislocated 0.1517 0.1343 -0.0174
Macias Jose 2003 2002-09-10 2002-09-30 20 Sprain 0.1293 0.1139 -0.0154
Vizcaino Jose 2004 2003-06-24 2003-08-21 58 Fracture 0.1129 0.1006 -0.0123
Drew J.D. 2006 2005-07-03 2005-10-03 92 Break 0.2269 0.2146 -0.0123
Werth Jayson 2007 2006-04-02 2006-10-03 184 Surgery 0.1697 0.1608 -0.0089
Mirabelli Doug 2005 2005-05-18 2005-06-12 25 Sprain 0.1898 0.1839 -0.0059
Sheffield Gary 2007 2006-05-29 2006-09-19 113 Surgery 0.2 0.1963 -0.0037
Everett Adam 2005 2004-08-06 2004-09-29 54 Break 0.1191 0.1166 -0.0025
Encarnacion Juan 2007 2007-03-30 2007-05-13 44 Surgery 0.164 0.1625 -0.0015
Pence Hunter 2008 2007-07-22 2007-08-21 30 Fracture 0.1962 0.1966 0.0004
Lugo Julio 2003 2002-07-20 2002-09-30 72 Fracture 0.1362 0.1385 0.0023
Cameron Mike 2005 2005-04-03 2005-05-05 32 Tendinitis 0.2021 0.2046 0.0025
Molina Bengie 2004 2003-09-03 2003-09-28 25 Break 0.1233 0.1276 0.0043
Doumit Ryan 2008 2007-08-13 2007-09-08 26 Sprain 0.1769 0.1833 0.0064
Matsui Hideki 2007 2006-05-11 2006-09-12 124 Break 0.1963 0.2029 0.0066
Edmonds Jim 2002 2002-06-01 2002-06-16 15 Sprain 0.2427 0.25 0.0073
Wells Vernon 2008 2008-05-09 2008-06-07 29 Fracture 0.1883 0.1967 0.0084
Aybar Willy 2008 2007-03-31 2007-09-30 183 Bruise 0.1476 0.1574 0.0098
Burrell Pat 2005 2004-08-03 2004-09-03 31 Surgery 0.2099 0.2225 0.0126
Hamilton Josh 2008 2007-07-07 2007-08-12 36 Sprain 0.2119 0.2259 0.014
Snelling Chris 2005 2004-04-04 2004-10-03 182 Break 0.1571 0.1724 0.0153
Phillips Andy 2008 2007-09-04 2007-10-01 27 Fracture 0.132 0.1538 0.0218
Jenkins Geoff 2003 2003-03-25 2003-04-09 15 Bruise 0.2194 0.2423 0.0229
Jones Chipper 2007 2007-05-24 2007-06-13 20 Bruise 0.2438 0.2671 0.0233
Hernandez Ramon 2006 2005-06-18 2005-07-07 19 Sprain 0.1774 0.2036 0.0262
Hernandez Ramon 2006 2005-07-24 2005-09-02 40 Surgery 0.1774 0.2036 0.0262
Kent Jeff 2004 2003-06-18 2003-07-16 28 Tendinitis 0.2162 0.2426 0.0264
Kent Jeff 2002 2002-03-21 2002-04-06 16 Fracture 0.2218 0.252 0.0302
Johnson Nick 2003 2002-08-07 2002-09-03 27 Bruise 0.1568 0.1882 0.0314
Mientkiewicz Doug 2005 2004-07-07 2004-07-23 16 Soreness 0.1333 0.1673 0.034
Maxwell Justin 2009 2008-09-01 2008-09-30 29 Break 0.1649 0.2022 0.0373
Blalock Hank 2009 2008-04-25 2008-07-18 84 Tear 0.1802 0.2251 0.0449
Weeks Rickie 2007 2006-07-24 2006-10-02 70 Surgery 0.146 0.1981 0.0521
Weeks Rickie 2007 2007-05-30 2007-06-18 19 Tendinitis 0.146 0.1981 0.0521
Clark Tony 2009 2009-05-04 2009-06-19 46 Strain 0.1788 0.2424 0.0636
Werth Jayson 2003 2003-03-29 2003-04-13 15 Strain 0.1435 0.2084 0.0649
Werth Jayson 2008 2007-06-28 2007-08-01 34 Sprain 0.1548 0.2249 0.0701
Bradley Milton 2007 2007-04-23 2007-05-11 18 Strain 0.1666 0.2393 0.0727
Barajas Rod 2004 2003-07-05 2003-07-23 18 Tendinitis 0.1302 0.2039 0.0737
Bay Jason 2004 2003-05-25 2003-08-27 94 Fracture 0.1842 0.2677 0.0835
Mench Kevin 2004 2003-07-08 2003-09-28 82 Break 0.1637 0.2603 0.0966

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