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Monday, January 18, 2010
The writing was on the wall last season for Carlos Beltran when he was confined to exercising in a pool for a significant part of the year. All of the symptoms - right knee pain with weight bearing, pain with any type of jogging or running, cutting and pivoting, swelling - all screamed to an articular cartilage problem. The "bone bruise", as it was diagnosed, was actually Osteoarthritis (OA). Bone bruises are painful much in the same way as OA, but they get substantially better given enough time. OA really does not.
It is now announced that he underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee today - a surgery that will certainly sideline him for three months, and in most cases for people who have this done, longer. It is interesting to note that Beltran went with his own physician - Dr. Richard Steadman (Colorado), who is one of the foremost leaders in microfracture surgery anywhere.
Could he be back in three to four months? Sure he could, but it is not likely. Every knee is different, and depending on the location of the cartilage defect, the size and the depth of the defect, recovery could be different. Not to mention that each individual deals with injury differently, and perceives pain differently. There's really no easy answer.
Beltran should miss the entire Spring Training schedule, but it really would not surprise me if he struggled with his rehab and has this linger into May or June. I say this due to the chronic nature of his knee pain and the fact that with any chronic, painful condition, what once were normal movement patterns can become quite altered (compensatory gait, altered balance and motor skills/proprioception about the joint).
Even if he does come back this season, what are the chances that he will have the same speed, agility, and explosiveness that has made him a fantasy mainstay for so many years? We already know that he is not a lock for a high batting average (although he has had a couple .300-plus seasons), and his stolen base totals are now going to be on life support. He has also had a three-year decline in his SLG%, ISO, and HR totals, and has become more of a ground ball hitter, as evidenced by his three-year increase in GB%.
I am ignoring him completely in all draft formats, unless it is an NL-only league with a couple of DL spots for stashing.
Posted by Chris Neault at 4:51am
As I'm in no way affiliated with James himself, the projections, or Baseball Info Solutions, there were some things I wasn't entirely clear on and some questions I couldn't answer. Luckily, a member of the BIS team who works on the projections (Ben Jedlovec) read the article and was kind enough to offer an explanation for some of the things I and the THTF readers noted. I'll post his two e-mails in full.
And here's the second one:
So there you have it. Some insight into the thought process behind the Bill James system from someone working on the inside.
Given what Ben says about the inner-workings of the Bill James system, it appears that the projections for most veteran players should indeed be comparable between projection systems (at least as far as any projection system goes — they all assume a slightly different league average from each other). The James system might only seem more optimistic because: 1) they actually are optimistic about some rookies, 2) the run environment is inflated because a lot of veteran bench-type players don't get projected, and 3) the run environment is further inflated (over previous seasons) because the system doesn't attempt to forecast injuries, opting to give a relatively higher number of players a full season of at-bats.
Whether or not this means we actually can compare, say, Alex Rodriguez's Bill James projection to his CHONE projections isn't 100 percent certain — we'd need to run some tests, as we would with any other fantasy baseball theory — but I think Ben provided us with some very interesting food for thought.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know.
Posted by Derek Carty at 3:36am
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