I recently had the opportunity to ask Will Carroll a few questions on issues that interested me from his Team Health Reports. For those who don't know, Carroll is the author of two books (The Juice and Saving the Pitcher, which are actually side-by-side in one of my bookshelves right now, and I highly recommend them) and an author at Baseball Prospectus. Enjoy!
Beyond the Boxscore: How much of a difference do you think we will see in Jake Peavy's performance now that his detached retina has been discovered and taken care of?
Will Carroll: It certainly can't hurt, but you don't need to see to pitch. There's no comparables that have come back (Florie is the most recent example and that's no real comp). I'm much more worried about the shoulder.
BtB: After watching Brian Roberts play in spring training, do you want to manually upgrade his injury risk light from red to yellow, or do you feel that the risk is relatively the same at this juncture?
WC: I'd say he's a very low yellow. Sometimes, you just have to see a guy play to know. We needed to see Roberts swing, Kubel run, Sheets throw ... that's the fun of the game. Learning things we didn't know, seeing things we haven't seen.
BtB: What exactly is the issue with Adam Eaton's strained finger? Three months lost in 2005 as well the expected time lose in 2006 is a bit of a concern, since normally we do not consider a finger to be that big of a deal injury-wise.
WC: He's torn the "pulley" in there. Essentially, the finger is floppy and given that every pitch thrown comes off that middle finger, there's just no way to throw. I think he'll need surgery. Editor's Note: Eaton elected to have surgery somewhere in between these questions being asked and you reading. You simply cannot pitch with that type of injury. Try it at home; try throwing without any grip in that middle finger. I can't even do it while trying.
BtB: Mike Cameron was given a red light, and you said you needed to see more of him in spring training before you could come to any real conclusions. Now that the season is starting, what are your thoughts on Cameron?
WC: Same as above. With Cameron, it was more mental. That was a vicious, damaging injury. That done, now he has to deal with the oblique strain, a bad injury in and of itself.
BtB: In your comment for B.J. Ryan, you said, "There are a lot of Louisiana pitchers that have had problems holding up at the major league level. I'd like to know if Ryan was a starter in college and, if so, how he held up." Do you mind expanding on that for me?
WC: It's just something I noticed. You see the same thing with Texas, pitchers in a warm weather state with plenty of macho young pitchers and crusty old coaches. I'd like to know what every pitcher went through in high school. That's where a lot of the damage is done.
BtB: Do you think there will be many effects health-wise to the Braves pitching staff, now that Leo Mazzone has moved on to Baltimore, or will the pitcher's be able to stay in the same shape as before?
WC: Darn good question. If so, I don't think we'll see it right off. McDowell's no dummy - he wont change too much this year and most of the pitchers are still "system" guys. It will take three, maybe five years before we get any kind of real take.
Thanks to Will Carroll for answering our questions.