On second thought, don’t shut Sizemore down already

Last week I suggested that the Indians should probably shut Grady Sizemore down, though I did offer the caveat that “I’ll defer to Will Carroll or a doctor or something on this.” I haven’t heard from a doctor, but today Will Carroll weighs in (subscription only):

“There’s no value in shutting Grady Sizemore down. The minor surgery he needs on the elbow has a short recovery period, and he can’t do further damage by playing, though the symptoms could bother him in the interim. That’s what Cleveland will focus on—function”

With one further caveat/question — that being whether he’s at increased risk of suffering some other injury due to compensating for discomfort in his elbow — I stand corrected.

(thanks to Arun Gupta for the heads up)

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  1. David said...

    I, too, suspend my own thoughts and defer completely and unquestioningly to Will Carroll. 

    My reverence of his medical opinions stems from memories of his endless series of articles about how pure and graceful the delivery of a specific pitcher was, a young pitcher who was then having great success, but he was soon to blow past Clemens, Johnson, Koufax, and Martinez.  The source of this pitcher’s soon to be status as the greatest player of all time was his deliver, a delivery so fluid and perfect that every pitcher should copy it (screw you, Lincecum!)  Carroll posted animated GIF’s on showing the pitcher’s delivery with his endless analysis and pseudo-scientific jargon about his leverage and release points. 

    Carroll’s pitcher was Mark Prior.  He was effectively out of baseball by the time he was 25.

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...


    For my part, I’m not deferring to Will because his analysis is infallible. I’m deferring because I have absolutely zero knowledge about this injury. If anyone with medical knowledge wants to convince me otherwise I’m open minded, but as of now I only have (a) the Indians medical staff’s judgment, which has Sizemore playing every day; and (b) Carroll’s non-medically-trained but certainly knowledgable-of-such-things opinion that Sizemore has no reason to sit.  In other words, I got no choice based on the information I currently have.

  3. TC said...


    I couldn’t remember Carroll going so bonanza about Prior in the past, so I searched the BPro archives.  Either he was writing for a different site when he wrote whatever you’re talking about, or BPro is deleting embarassing archives, because this is what he says about Prior back in 2003:

    “The risk factors for Prior are clear. He’s a 22-year-old pitcher who has amassed high pitch counts. He has pitched at several levels in one year. Three managers, none of whom have a particularly low-stress approach to handling their starters, led him through his rookie season. In his favor, Prior has exceptional mechanics. I’ve heard more than one scout describe him as “digitally enhanced,” meaning that his delivery is so pure, it looks as if it was straight out of some baseball Matrix. Prior’s legs give him an amazing base, reminiscent of Roger Clemens or Tom Seaver. Called “Calfzilla”—a nickname we can only hope doesn’t stick—Prior’s compact, leg-drive motion and arsenal puts a minimum of stress on his arm.

    Prior is not as reliant on his curve as Wood was in his first year. Most of his strikeouts occurred using the fastball as the ‘out pitch.’ Prior has a more mature body, a more complete understanding of pitching due to his time in college, and the benefit of what looks like a much more stable regime in Wrigley. Dusty Baker and Mark Rothschild will need to monitor Prior’s workload, mechanics and velocity to keep their phenom healthy and dominating the National League. “

    Clearly, the guy was optimistic about and impressed by Prior, but reading that, it looks more like Carroll was trying to explain why Prior wasn’t hurt at the time, after that season, than boast how Prior could and would never injure.

  4. David said...


    You’re saying that the quote you snatched from BP.com disproves what I wrote about Carroll’s lauding of Prior?  If so, mission failed, because the quote conforms to my memory my post entirely.  (Unless I’m missing something.)

    Flowery language about the pitcher?  Check.  Pseudo-scientific jargon about his delivery?  Check?  Over-the-top platitudes?  Check. 

    The specific article I was recollecting came, I think, late in the ‘03 season.  There were a series of GIF images of Prior’s delivery, and he just went on and on, pretending that this young man’s natural method of throwing a ball was some panacea that would change the game.  It was just ridiculous. 

    Having said that, I don’t mean to mock Will Carroll, because I think he’s a good writer and he seems to have become much more tempered and thoughtful over the years.  Like many in the sabermetrics community, a history of bad predictions (“The Angels suck!  Okay, they eeked into the postseason this year, but next year they’re gonna suck!  Okay, they got lucky twice, but next year they’re gonna suck!”) and discredited statements (like the praise of Prior) seems to have reeled them back to reality, where they can do some wonderful work.

  5. TC said...


    I’m not trying to disprove your thoughts, nor am I saying you’re wrong.  I just thought it was worth noting that the passage I quoted above came well before ANY arm troubles for Prior (written in Feb ‘03).  The fact that Carroll indicated that Prior’s risk factors were clear and that he needed careful monitoring to stay healthy (and not find his way into Kerry Wood’s injury purgatory), I think, should absolve him, just a bit, from his later exultations.

  6. Hank said...

    you understand what Carroll was saying.  He never said Prior wouldn’t get hurt.  He said Prior’s mechanics were better than anybody else’s at avoiding getting hurt.  Prior is a pitcher.  Pitchers get hurt.  It’s the nature.  Just because Prior had less of a chance of getting hurt, didn’t mean he wouldn’t get hurt.  Carroll said he had less of a chance.  Take your head out that hole in the ground and quit wasting everybody’s time.  If you read Carroll’s chats, he says the same thing over and over again.

  7. Marcel said...

    Carroll is wrong about there being no value to shutting Sizemore down.  The Indians obviously aren’t winning this year so shutting him down frees up regular at-bats for LaPorta to get used to major league pitching.  That is extremely valuable for next year.

  8. William Carroll said...

    Yeah, I said it. I did like Prior’s motion and still do, to some extent. I learned from the episode (and others). I’ll stand up for what I said and admit I was wrong in my hyperbole.

    I will say I don’t think I wrote what is quoted above. I’m pretty sure that’s from the book comment. I could be wrong though.

    I’m very fallible. What I’m told by doctors and Trainers is that the worst that can happen is that he needs the surgery sooner than later. The surgery is minor and has about a month recovery period, so now or October, he’s likely not back until Spring Training, but that’s pretty safe.

    The LaPorta thing’s reasonable, but it seems there’s plenty of at-bats to go around in Cleveland. I think there’s the value to the box office of having Sizemore out there.

    I just wish more people would remember my Phil Nevin miracle rather than Prior. Or the Santana deal.

  9. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Will—we won’t give you credit for those things until you admit that you were also wrong about Crystal Pepsi, the Segway, and “Cop Rock.”

    Credibility isn’t just granted: it’s earned, buster.

  10. Chris said...

    Could we for one brief shining moment set aside mechanics and medical prognoses and other trivia and focus on the fact that—in the first week of this season—I traded Raul Ibanez for Grady Sizemore in my fantasy league?  At the time, everyone told me it was a grossly unfair trade (true), that the commissioner should probably block it (if only), and that I would now win the league unfairly (terribly, terribly untrue). 

    Grady has to keep playing for the remainder of the season if only to keep me from looking like a complete schmuck in front of my colleagues and clients.

  11. largebill said...

    Ignore for a moment that my older brother has Sizemore in our fantasy league.  This should be about Sizemore’s future and the Indian’s future.  The Indians are not going to reach the playoffs this season.  No surgery is completely without potential complications.  If as is reported Sizemore really needs this surgery, then the sooner the better.  At this point next season has more promise that this one.

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