Shins, Elbows, Yikes!

I’m never happy when I start my blog talking about injuries. But we have had a horrible injury related week in baseball.

If you followed my work the past few years, my top picks in the spring have included Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. I have always liked the way they attack hitters, throw strikes and take charge of games. Removing them from the Braves rotation due to elbow issues sickens me. It would be like stealing Yo Yo Ma’s cello for a year and telling him you hope it works them same when he gets it back. Medlen and Beachy are quality starting pitchers. I wish them both well.

Beachy left with “forearm” issues. Same as the elbow. Same tendon.

Not to mention that another of my highly touted pitchers, Patrick Corbin (who I begged fantasy players to take two years ago) is getting a second option on his UCL in the left elbow. More ligament damage. If he has to have surgery, he will miss a year. If he has to just rest, it’ll be for months. Randall Delgado seems to be the next in line to join the rotation. Not Archie Bradley. Bradley has not had good control yet this spring and needs more development time.

And just thinking about the shin splints being suffered by Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias makes me feel very grateful I don’t suffer from them. Or gout. There is no medicine he can take to make the shin splints go away. He has to rest. Stay off his feet. Tough to do for a baseball player. Will Stephen Drew get a call? I think the Tigers will look to Steve Lombardozzi to fill the void. Iglesias could be gone a while. Who knows? But will the Tigers call Drew or stick with Lombardozzi and others?

Thank you to SABR for having Barry Bloom, Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and myself on a panel yesterday at their metrics conference in Phoenix. Met some great people.

A little guy named Max asked me if he could interview me for his blog. He was a perfect gentlemen. I was intrigued. I was blown away when I learned that the articulate, well-dressed, confident young man was….12 years old. Go Max.

I saw Jose Abreu. I am very impressed with his maturity on the field. He is very fundamentally sound and looks like he’s adjusting very well. The White Sox have a real winner and a guy with some pop in his bat. He and Avisail Garcia should form a very solid one-two punch in that lineup for years. That’s an improved club.

Justin Masterson has been brilliant by offering the Indians a counter offer for an extension. What happens if the ownership doesn’t step up to a less than market value offer? The ball is in the owner’s courts. Masterson has done what he can to stay.

I clocked both Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton at 3.9 going from home to first. That’s pretty darn fast. Ichiro is the fastest I’ver ever clocked at 3.5. Major League average is said to be 4.3 but I have seen it more at 4.5 in the past few years.

The Mariners are in a great position with Nick Franklin available for trade. Countless teams could use his service including the Yankees. Now add the Tigers. And with the prospect of Dodgers free agent Alex Guerrero starting in the Minor Leagues, the Dodgers could probably check in as well. Lots of suitors for Franklin.

Do the Dbacks trade one of Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings or Cliff Pennington for a pitcher now that Corbin is hurt? I wouldn’t. I’m just asking. I would hold on to each of those guys and wait until things got really hot–second half of the season—and extract a heavy price’. And yes, I’d keep Didi. With Dbacks pitching being a bit more marginal now, defense from shortstop is critical. There are few better than Didi. Trade one of them to New York for Phelps or Warren? Not enough. Maybe Pineda. Maybe.

Nick Markakis could have his best year ever. His 40 pound weight gain is distributed well, with his upper body being the biggest beneficiary. He’s my under the radar, once mediocre, now rejuvenated guy.

I can’t remember a spring without running into Jim Fregosi and hearing his voice in either Florida or Arizona. Man, I miss that. What a character. And what a great baseball guy. He is missed. A major voice has been stilled.

OK-that’s it for now. Thanks for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. Much appreciated. ˙Hope you’ll tune in to Short Hops which is available on iTunes every Wednesday.

That’s it. I’m done.

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