Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Long Odds

I think everyone knows that players suffering elbow and shoulder injuries have a tough row to hoe, but I'm guessing most of us didn't figure it was this tough:

Only 45 percent of baseball players were able to return to the game at the same or higher level after shoulder or elbow surgery, according to new research released during the 2008 American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Specialty Day at The Moscone Center . . .

. . . Over a four-season period, Cohen and colleagues studied 44 players from one professional baseball club (major league, AAA, AA and A) who underwent 50 shoulder and elbow operations by a variety of surgeons. There were 27 shoulder surgeries performed on 26 players and 23 elbow surgeries performed on 21 players. A key finding of the study was that players returning after elbow surgery were more likely to comeback to the same or higher playing level than those who had shoulder surgery. Thirty-five of the players were pitchers with 43 percent returning to the same or higher playing level.

Just a little something to consider before you take that gamble on Francisco Liriano in your fantasy draft.


Anonymous said...


Most of us who are long term sim league guys knew empirically that shoulder issue in pitchers were worse than elbow issues. Studies like this help in quantifying those odds. In our league, the upshot is that I cut Jason Schmidt and traded Kelvim Escobar this year. It will be interesting as the studies get more granular and attempt to define more precisely terms like "previous level of performance".

64cardinals said...

They really need more of a random sampling than this. Picking players from only one club, regardless of level, doesn't really tell me much. For example, you never hear of anyone in the Braves system having arm injuries, while the Cubs have been torn apart by them. The Twins are somewhere in between. Without knowing which club it is, or without a randam sampling across different clubs, this is interesting, but not really revealing about anything.

In the real world, anyhow.