The popular subscription-based baseball insider site Baseball Prospectus features a Team Health Report for every Major League Club researched and penned by Will Carroll and Thomas Gorman. The THR rates players via the traffic light (red, yellow, green). Gorman and Carroll published their Angels THR on February 23rd.
I spoke with Will Carroll late Tuesday (eerily near the hour of that eclipse) about his Health Analysis of the 2006 Angels...
Rev Halofan: I must say, reading your Angels team Health Report was like reading a Stephen King novel - terrifying! I am quite tense at the dawn of the season to see so many red lights. Since it was written on February 23, have you seen any Angel yellow lights turn green, or perhaps even better, any reds turn to yellow?
Will Carroll: Remember that I'm measuring risk, not predicting injury. There's an element of both in there, but the lights indicate risk. I don't think you'll disagree that a number of players are risky on the Angels roster, but that with diligence and foresight, that risk can be minimized. Ned Bergert and his staff do a great job; in the years where the Angels have won, they have kept the DL days down. It's a great indicator.
RvHF: I've read many critiques of Frankie Rodriguez' violent delivery being a likely indicator of career-threatening injuries. Are there any comparable pitchers who come to mind?
Will Carroll: Wow, his delivery is just ... bad? Horrible? Cringeworthy? But it's also what makes him so good. There's a bit of "on the other hand" to mechanics. Do you try and make him less risky and risk making him less effective? His mechanics and stuff remind me of Chad Fox.
RvHF: Not on your THR was the slew of vaunted minor leaguers in the Angels system - but Nick Adenhart is a Tommy John survivor and Jered Weaver took a year off pitching in a contract stalemate - these strike me as yellow lights under your system, but Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Kendry Morales all seem Green Lights - any reason to think otherwise?
Will Carroll: Adenhart was a smart move, I think. TJ is such a "known" now that they should be able to accurately assess Adenhart. Could be a nice steal there. I don't have minor league data or follow it that closely, but I'd agree on a glance. I'm less worried about Weaver than most from an injury standpoint.
RvHF: With Paul Byrd last year, Adenhart in the draft and the seemingly odd $6 million dollar signing of Hector Carrasco, do the Angels seem to have identified characteristics of TJ-survivors who will blossom, or are there just more healthy and productive survivors of the procedure to choose from?
Will Carroll: Sadly, a bit of both. TJ is common and survivable at the 85-90% range in MLB, but the Angels with Lewis Yocum probably have a better handle on it than most. Doesn't explain Carrasco, which seems like an expensive and unneeded insurance policy.
RvHF: With Garret Anderson and Darin Erstad Red Lighted in your Angel THR, how do you view Chone Figgins' and Juan Rivera's health?
Will Carroll: Figgins is the key I think. He's so valuable as a plus glove all around the diamond and speedy. I hate that they seem to want to find him a position. Keeping him in the superutility role expands their roster by one, maybe two and makes the inevitable injury easy to paper over as they did last year at 3B. I'm really worried about the OF -- across the whole, this is a high risk, especially Erstad. I came really close to saying that Erstad wouldn't make it to the ASB in CF, but he's a tough player and mind gut it out just to make me look bad.
RvHF: The L.A. Times is reporting that Erstad may be platooned against lefties - is Erstad the type of player whose aches and pains would be mitigated in their impact on his performance were he to take a day or two off each week?
Will Carroll: It'd sure help, in a lot of ways. I'm more worried about Erstad being the type of player that will hurt himself on the one overexertion play, but a couple days off can't hurt.
RvHF: Is Dallas McPherson a bone chip away from being finished?
Will Carroll: There's no good comps here, though every time I start thinking about this, I can't get Troy Glaus out of mind. I still like McPherson, but is he better than Brandon Wood? No.
Will Carroll is a columnist for Baseball Prospectus. His column, "Under The Knife" is called "perhaps the best in the business" by Peter Gammons. He is the author of two books, "The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball's Drug Problems" and "Saving The Pitcher." He also hosts Baseball Prospectus Radio, heard weekly across the US and Canada.