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Sabathia, Garciaparra Head to DL

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To begin, I would just like to thank Marc Normandin and the rest of the staff over here at BtB for giving me an opportunity to write. It's a privilege writing for such a fine blog.

On to the news: left-handed starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia, and 1B/3B Nomar Garciaparra were both sent to the disabled list with injuries that will keep them off the field for at least the next 15 days.

But what does this mean for their respective teams, the Indians and Dodgers?

The Tribe summoned righthander Jason Davis from AAA Buffalo to take his place. Davis has always been an interesting case to me. He threw 52% groundballs last season in 11 starts for the Tribe and posted an abnormally high BABIP of .333. In Triple A he threw 58% groundballs, and posted another abnormally high BABIP of .336. For a guy who throws as many groundballs as he does, I think the #3 defensive efficient team in the majors (according to BP's defensive efficiency) in the Indians should mix well with Davis, even though he did somewhat struggle in last season's callup.

Nonetheless, it still hurts them to lose Sabathia. He's been heralded the ace of the Indians staff, and even though he posted rather "pedestrian numbers," we did see some bright spots from Sabathia last year. Sabathia posted a 3.99 PERA, second on last season's staff to Kevin Millwood, and threw 50% groundballs. But what really grabbed the attention of many was his late season surge. In his last 10 starts of 2005, he pitched 70.1 innings, compiled a 1.79 ERA, allowed 4 home runs and posted a superb K/BB ratio of 3.2K/BB.

Overall I believe the Tribe should be OK. Besides Davis, Fausto Carmona was also called up, and if Davis struggles, Carmona should take over in the rotation.

Over to Garciaparra. I believe the thought of many baseball fans when informed of his injury was pretty similar: That didn't take long. The last time Garciaparra racked up 650+ PA's was 2003, and so far, it doesn't look like he's going to eclipse that mark in 2006.

PECOTA didn't see Nomar healthy in 2006 to begin with, projecting him with 329 PA's, 14.4 VORP rating, and 2.4 WARP rating. If Garciaparra is to have 650 PA's, we could expect a VORP rating around 28, and a WARP rating around 5. Nothing spectacular for a guy who once put up some of the greatest numbers from the shortstop position. Garciaparra's Attrition Rate according to BP (Baseball Prospectus) is 21%, and chances of him playing fully healthy the rest of the season after his DL stint have already taken a hit.

To replace Garciaparra, the Dodgers plan to use Olmedo Saenz and James Loney. Loney was brought up from AA Jacksonville, and played exceptional defense at first base last season in AA, posting a +11 Fielding Runs Above Average score (FRAA), but his .284/.357/.419 line from AA last season shows Garciaparra will likely be missed. Look for Loney, who bats left-handed, to sit against lefties. In 2004, Saenz saw 65 AB's against lefties and put up a .338/.427/.631 line. That's a small sample size, but he's still a better pick against southpaws than Loney.

One wonders if the Dodgers are now wishing they had kept Hee Seop Choi. Sure Choi too has hit the DL, and would need to be platooned against left-handers, but PECOTA sees Choi as a .290 EqA guy, with similar VORP and WARP numbers to that of Garciaparra. He posted a high ISO last season, and has shown the ability to walk. With Nomar as fragile as he is, the Dodgers may be wishing they held onto Choi.