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Can We Already Predict Which Astros Will Be Injured?

DQ recently passed along the season's first Team Health Report from Baseball Prospectus' Will Carroll. Using a green, yellow and red system of bands, Carroll breaks down each team's roster into thirds. The green band has the least percentage chance of injury and cuts off at 33 percent. The yellow bands are from 34 to 66 percent and the red is 67 and up. It's not the most precise system around*, but it's a good starting place, especially considering the news that broke Tuesday evening.

*To be fair, Carroll does have a complicated way to compute the actual percentages, but on the THR, simply breaks players up into these three groups.

It also breaks down pretty nicely for a post like this, since there were three Astros in the green band and three in the red. The three Astros in the green were Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn and Wandy Rodriguez. My thoughts in bullet points:

  • Wandy Rodriguez -Soft-tossing lefty has a pretty clean delivery and no real history of injuries. He also isn't an 'effort' guy to get his velocity. Since Wandy is possibly the best starter on the team, it's good to know he's the least likely pitcher to be injured in 2010.
  • Michael Bourn - This makes sense. Bourn is in shape, he plays small ball and doesn't have a center field wall to run into (unless he scales a hill first). His biggest risk is pulling a hammy or some other leg injury.
  • Hunter Pence - Pence is very similar to Bourn, but I think he has a little higher injury chance since he plays hard all the time. I could see him suffering a bad collision with the wall in right or an unfortunate second baseman. Since the Astros may be thinking of giving him an extension in the near future, I'd be happy if he stayed off the injury list for a while.

The three biggest injury risks were Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon and Matt Lindstrom. Notice how all three of these guys were picked up this winter? Suddenly, I'm less than thrilled about this past offseason. Onto bullet points:

  • Matt Lindstrom - He hurt himself in the World Baseball Classic last March and it dogged him all season. He didn't lose any velocity on his fastball, as his average heater still clocked in at 96 mph. Since the Astros gave up two prospects for him, it'd be nice if he didn't miss significant time in 2010. If both he and Lyon get injured, who closes?
  • Brandon Lyon - I wonder if Carroll had heard about the shoulder cyst before this came out? I know the team slow-played that story, but the thing that jumped out at me is the cyst was just drained. The team knew about it when they signed him, it got bigger from that point till they did the second MRI and it was not removed. Sure, it may be fixed and not recur, but this is a guy with a history of injuries with the Red Sox and Diamondbacks. Glad we signed him for three years.
  • Brett Myers - The concerns surrounding Myers injury history has been well-documented. Carroll is on record as being concerned that Myers changed his mechanics after coming back from his injury last season. Apparently, his new throwing motion puts him at a greater risk for injury. Hopefully, this is something Arnsberg can iron out in Kissimmee before it becomes a problem.

The interesting thing for the rest of the team is there are some guys I would have expected to be bigger injury risks. Kaz Matsui, for instance, is in that middle third with Humberto Quintero and Roy Oswalt. Q's injuries last season all stemmed from that nasty collision at home plate, but Matsui and Oswalt have been plagued by injuries lately. In particular, Oswalt's back injury seems like it would be more worrisome than Myers. But, this may be a case of Oswalt and Matsui falling in the upper realm of that middle third while someone like Pedro Feliz rests safely in the lower end.

Again, that just highlights how inexact this banding system can be. It does give us a good starting place for discussion, though. Who would have thought that Lyon would have injury trouble? Will Carroll must be kin to Nostradamus or something.