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Chat: Will Carroll

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday April 16, 2004 2:00 PM ET chat session with Will Carroll.


Will Carroll is an author of Baseball Prospectus.

Will Carroll: Hi guys - sorry I'm late. Finished up a BPR interview and got caught in traffic. Yes, Indy has traffic. So let's go.

Mike W (Chicago): Will, how many numbers are in your speed-dial, and how often are you talking to someone, and you forget who it is?

Will Carroll: I'll start with an easy one. I have about 400 numbers in my phone, but very few on speed dial. I really need to read the manual someday. I've only forgotten who Im speaking with when I'm being interviewed and that's embarassing.

Mike W (Chicago): Will, what is up with the Twins? THey seem to have developed an almost Cub-like disregard for their position player prospects. Can Terry Ryan out-doofus Kenny Williams for 2nd place in the AL Central if a couple more injuries head the Twins' way, wasting their ridiculous depth?

Will Carroll: First, let's credit them for developing that ridiculous depth. When it comes to OF/1B/DH types, they do that well. Morneau, Cuddyer, Ford, Restovich, and they dealt away Mohr, but there's more coming from what I'm told. I don't understand the way they use them, their seeming inability to trade one of them for something resembling a useful middle infielder, or their patterns of usage. The injuries really threw them off so early in the season, but that depth will keep them competitive. They'd be a lot more competitive if Rivas were on the bench or on another team.

Roto Weasel (NYC): Pat Burrell or Jim Edmonds.. must trade one.. everyone I think would say deal Burrell.. but could one dive away from injury edmonds perhaps be the better choice?

Will Carroll: I'd keep Burrell myself. Edmonds is one of those floppable, diving, running into walls type of players that I need to come up with a short name for. Edmonds is a great player and consistent, but I'd say that Burrell might have even more upside, especially with power (and PECOTA concurs.)

Damon Berryhill (Chicago): Any chance of getting an interview with Dick Martin sometime?

Will Carroll: Unfortunately, no. Dick, one of the great athletic trainers in baseball history, has left the game behind him. It's a shame that a team would discard that kind of knowledge, that kind of man, and worse, that no other team would try to pick up such a valuable resource.

Rose in The Hall (Cinncinnati): What is the latest update from the Rose story you broke last August? You know, the one where you said he had a deal with Selig to get in the Hall? Thanks...

Will Carroll: Then he wrote a book and didn't come off well in the media.

That's pretty much the end of the story. Rose can't yell and scream that Selig reneged on the deal since Selig still holds the keys to Cooperstown.

mathteamcoach (Worcester, MA): Will, Do you guys have something against Boston? It seems that the book tour is making it to every major North American city except for Boston. What gives? Oh, and given Pedro's recent ineffectiveness, do you think there is an injury there, or is it too early in the season to know?

Will Carroll: Nothing against Boston at all. One of my goals is to sit on those Green Monster barstools and watch a Yanks-Sox game. Pizza Feeds and Book Signings have a lot to do with location and demand. We simply don't have an author in or near Boston and our publisher didn't hear from a Boston bookstore.

If you want a book tour stop (Jeez, I sound like Jim Rome), contact your local bookstore and have them contact Workman Publishing.

Woody Fryman (NC): Will, Enjoy your work. So what do you think of the Twins' new turf? Should cut down on injuries, or not?

Will Carroll: I'm not sure. We don't have a definitive study on turf vs grass when it comes to injury. I'd put it in the category of things a team has to get used to. Some players told me it was "squishy" and very "sticky." Also, the rubber warning track is very soft and may have contributed to Joe Mauer's knee injury since his shinguard "stuck" instead of sliding through a dirt track.

As we put together the BP Injury Database, I really hope to do some studies on grass vs turf, but we're not at that point yet.

Manish (Washington, DC): Will, Last night was the first I saw of Chad Bentz, the man with the "birthmark." Any reason his pitching mechanics would suffer given that he has to switch gloved hands (a la Abbott)?

Will Carroll: Good question. No, I don't think so. He can do all the things any pitcher needs to through his delivery. Actually, holding the glove like he does may enhance his balance and "stack". I haven't seen Bentz pitch yet, so I can't comment specifically.

Josue (Brooklyn): How can I get Baseball Prospectus Radio in my area? What makes up a violent delivery for a pitcher?

Will Carroll: We're working on a NYC area outlet Josue. Until then, we'll keep the archive open.

Violent is just what it sounds like - arms flailing, high effort, everything tight and forceful. A good motion is smooth, compact, and "easy." Just watch; that's about the easiest thing to see in pitching.

Of course, I describe this in much more detail in the upcoming "Saving The Pitcher." (Oops, I plugged it again ...)

Joe Mamma (Upstairs Downstairs): Rafael Soriano - Where do you see him in the M's lineup? Starting or closing?

Will Carroll: I think there are valid concerns about his arm strength and stamina, even before the oblique strain. He can contribute as a reliever now, but they may be sacrificing his future as a starter to get that.

Dejected in Denver (Denver (obviously)): I realize that because we don't have much of baseball team, people tend to forget the fine state of Colorado. But how do you guys pick Montreal ahead of Denver? So when are you going to have a book signing or pizza feed in Denver. Heck, maybe we could even invite the Rockies' front office. It's worth a shot. Upton or Weeks? And has Bobby Crosby's slow start (9 Ks and no extra base hits in 24 at bats) caused the A's to reconsider their decision?

Will Carroll: Again, it's a function of not having someone from BP in the area. Why does Indy get Pizza Feeds? Mostly because I can drive ten minutes to do one.

That said, I'll do a Pizza Feed almost anywhere. Toronto had a Feed last year - and I'll be back May 11th - because someone wanted one so bad that they sent me a plane ticket.

Upton, assuming he can stay at SS. I'm told he can by Kevin Goldstein of Baseball America.

Crosby? Lots of guys start slow. Of all organizations not to get caught worrying about a slow start, it's the A's. (And how about that Jermaine Dye!)

Conor Glassey (Redmond, WA): Will, I was wondering what you think about Freddy Garcia's mechanics. I'm not a pitching coach or expert on the subject, by any means, but his mechanics seem a little unorthodox to me and I am interested to see if you think they will lead to injury. Instead of his right arm starting down by his thigh and making a 270 degree rotation, he just shoots his arm straight back and makes a 180 degree rotation. Does this put extra stress on his arm? Thanks Will, keep up the great work, I can't wait for the book!

Will Carroll: Thanks, Conor.

The move directly to the "Flex-T" position doesn't add stress to the arm. It's not common, but getting to that point from the windup or the set position is really one of habit, comfort, and personal preference. I can't say I'm a big fan of his elbow flexion once he gets it back there, but the initial move isn't something to worry about.

Trot Nixon (Spine Institute of Vlad): How's my production going to be when I get back, and any idea when that's going to be?

Will Carroll: Given the data points we have - Ivan Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero - I'd think your chances are pretty good, Trot. You're on the same program, same timeline, and you'll be in a better lineup than either of them came back to after their rehabs.

The question now is, will you stay as committed to your strengthening and flexibility as those two?

blake t. (Chicago): Will, I know you insist Prior is ok, but what's the deal with him? Is he going to be ok, or not? 'Cause, you know, it may or may not be kind of important to the Cubs season. Maybe.

Will Carroll: He'll be fine. Achilles injuries are notoriously difficult to deal with, as fans in Boston can also attest. If nothing else, it takes some level of seasonal stress off his arm. I'd rather have a Prior with something in the tank in October than the one we saw last season.

southcoast (Texas): Please comment on the potential lingering effect a lumbar strain may have on Nick Johnson over the course of a season. Is he really injury prone or just a victim of bad luck. Also, please provide your opinion as to whether Robb Nenn will pitch this year and an update on Cliff Floyd. Thanks,

Will Carroll: Assuming Johnson's strain is healing - and there's no reason to think it's not - he should be ok. No muscle comes back 100%, but he can strengthen the core and have no problems. At this point, we have to consider if Johnson is one of those players that's constantly hurt. Usually, there's an underlying reason, but I'm not sure what that would be with Johnson. There's hope, because he's a heck of a hitter when healthy.

Nen should be back on the mound by the end of the month, from the latest reports.

Floyd - I'd guess early May. Depends on how his quad responds to treatment.

Ken (Los Angeles): What were the results of the surgery on Greg Miller and how do you think this will affect his development?

Will Carroll: Miller's surgery was about as close to the best case scenario as possible. There was just a bit of clean up of a bursa sac while the rest looked intact and "pristine." He should be pitching again by the ASB. I think his development is only set back by the time lost, which I would guess is insignificant in the grand scheme.

ccouchot (Edmonton): In your UTK articles you've failed to mention anything about Mark Teixeira. What's going on with him? Love your weblog by the way.

Will Carroll: I've mentioned "T-Rex" this week, I think. He's headed to the DL with the oblique strain. It sounds like Jamey Reed is being very cautious with their young slugger.

thegreg7 (cleveland): Any idea's on how a shoulder injury affects a submariner like BH Kim? Has there ever been a precedent for an injury like this on this type of pitcher?

Will Carroll: I'm sure there have been injured sidewinders before, but I can't name one. Oh - Mike Koplove! He had his shoulder scoped by Craig Morgan last season and has come back pretty well.

Submarine, side-arm deliveries really aren't significantly different than any other delivery when it comes to the kinetic forces placed on the arm. I think we'll have Glenn Fleisig doing a chat soon, so save that question for him.

GBSimons (Cincy): Will, What's the latest on Jose Reyes and his hammy? How concerned should the Mets (and fantasy owners) be about him long-term?

Will Carroll: Reyes is making progress, but this is a long-term situation. Reyes has always had very tight hamstrings and will need to build a framework in order to stay healthy. The Mets are thinking outside the box on this, but Reyes will be incredibly risky until he can get those legs functionally ready to play baseball.

Bob Scharnberger (Washington DC): Today in the Chicago Sun-Times it was reported that Mark Prior's injury is "not career-threatening" WOW. Did anyone think it might be that bad? Also Prior is quoted as saying that the pain in his elbow is "not a Tommy John pain". How can he know? Has he had a torn ligament in the elbow before? What are the chances that Prior is really seriously injured and the cubs just are lying about it?

Will Carroll: The media has reported this thing so poorly, focusing on rumor and poorly understood medicine that it's further impressed on me how much more we need to educate people about the basics of sports medicine.

Mark has never had arm surgery and with his delivery, arm surgery is unlikely. Every pitcher has some soreness and even pain in his arm, especially early in the season when they're working on arm strength.

You can question a lot of things about the Cubs, but one I've never questioned is the honesty and integrity of their baseball people.

Sky (Wilmington, NC): It's a two-parter: For a non-Prince fan, what album should I check out first? And what's up with Randy Johnson - is the knee bothering him?

Will Carroll: Wow ... tough one. The Greatest Hits package is good and gives a broad overview of his evolution as an artist, but Purple Rain remains one of the top albums of all time. If you listen to that and can't find something that astounds you, well, Prince just isn't for you.

Going up about two feet, Johnson is still adjusting to the adjustments made to his delivery. The knee has to be accomodated, but Johnson will be a very good pitcher, if not great, this season.

JC (Westchester): Preston Wilson & Carl Everett how serious should we consider these injuries?

Will Carroll: Wilson's is confusing since the Rockies are sending very mixed signals. We'll have to wait to see what the surgeons do and find before being able to definitively say.

Everett will be back. A labrum tear is certainly something to avoid, but he should be able to return and hit, which is what the Expos need most, in 4-6 weeks.

Alan (Fairfax VA): With all the new entrants, how do you rate the chances of the Expos being in DC or Northern Va next year, and is DC or Northern Va more likely. BTW, you were early. The start time is listed as 2PM EST which is 30 min from now.

Will Carroll: Indiana and it's weird times ... I can never keep it straight!

I don't think the Expos will move next season. I'm not sure how long it would take to prep RFK, what the timeline is on the new stadium or anything else, leaving out the question of finances. That lack of a "now" stadium pushes DC up, plus I think it plays better politically to have a downtown ballpark with plenty of good seats for Senators (the real ones.)

I'll keep pushing for Vegas to get a team, but I'm not holding my breath.

Dave (Fresno): Have the A's pulled another fast one with Marco Scutaro. The Mets release him and teams such as the Devil Rays, Dodgers, Detroit, etc. could have had his services for the cost of a minor league contract. The A's get him for nothing and now he appears to be a solid major league 2B. Why do some teams, particularly those with low payrolls, continuously focus their efforts on retreads like Rey Sanchez instead of freely available talent?

Will Carroll: Very good question, Dave. Sccutaro's a guy I got to see here in Indy a few seasons back and he was always solid. Teams are still reluctant to use players that haven't earned the shiny "major league player" tag despite all the work done to translate minor league stats by Clay Davenport and others. There's still a great advantage to be had if you can evaluate players better than other teams, whether by scouting or statistics. Having a guy like Scutaro around is smart and too few teams look for that guy.

Bethany (Miami): Are the Marlins this good? Or is our main opponent this year (the Expos)this bad?

Will Carroll: The Marlins are good. I'm developing a mancrush on Miguel Cabrera, the pitching staff is evil even without A.J. Burnett, and Jack McKeon's magic didn't wear off in the winter. This is a team that, I think, got better over the winter, has more experience, and heck, they just won a World Series - crapshoot or not, that's impressive.

I still think the Phillies and Braves have a better shot at the playoffs, but every once in a while, you get that flush on the river.

The Marlins also have the best announcers in the game, Jon Sciambi, DVH, and Len Kasper, if that helps their chances.

jtwalsh (Chicago): Will, I am a fan. I was wondering if you have heard anything about the re-hab progress on a couple of minor league favorites of mine: Snelling, Kozlowski, and Foppert (ok three favorites of mine)? Thanks!

Will Carroll: Snelling is coming back from hamate removal and I'd expect to see him in the minors in a couple weeks. Foppert is on track with his recovery from TJ; he could be pitching by the ASB and perhaps in SF by September, but that's pushing it.

Nothing new on Kozlowski, sorry, but I'll ask.

Corey (Chicago, IL): Hi Will! At a pizza feed you said you'd want Dusty Baker as your manager, but you wouldn't let him handle your pitchers in a million years. I kind of like the idea of a platoon at manager... so who would be Dusty's platoon partner in your perfect world?

Will Carroll: You don't need to go quite that far. Just get Dusty - or any manager - a pitching coach or bench coach that's proven they can handle a staff. I'd sure make a run at Leo Mazzone, but there are guys out there like Brent Strom and Bud Black that I'd sure interview.

Of course, if I'm the manager or GM, I hire Tom House without blinking.

Bill (DC): If somebody forced you to predict where the Expos will play the 2007 season, where would you say?

Will Carroll: Sadly, I think the most likely path for the Expos is contraction. I hope I'm wrong. The hardest part will be finding a second team to whack.

Stephen Zielinski (Pittsburgh, PA): Hey Will, Any chance you will begin to keep track of the medical problems afflicting team management, problems like dementia, psychotic thought processes, brain damaged thinking, etc.? Thanks.

Will Carroll: Ha! I'll leave that to Derek Zumsteg.

Martin (Clayton CA): Is it too drastic a rule change to contemplate giving the batter 2 bases if the count goes 4 and 0? This would reduce intentionals to the delight of most fans of both teams.

Will Carroll: That's pretty drastic. I've heard mention of a 2-base intentional walk, but I think that's a pretty big change. Really, that rule would help one team and I don't think Bud's in any hurry to help Barry Bonds or the Giants. Putting some high-OBP guys in front of Bonds would be a better plan.

Martin (Clayton CA): Situation - less than 2 out; man on 1st; batter bunts along 1B line fielded by pitcher; pitcher tries tag on batter-runner who stops; pitcher throws to 2nd where SS thinks force and throws to 1st. Is the force @ 2nd still on after batter-runner stops?

Will Carroll: Yes - the batter is still technically running to first, so the force is still on.

Will Carroll: Thanks for all the great questions. I hope to do this again soon and you can always email me with questions. I need some more coffee ...

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