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Chat: Will Carroll

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday May 22, 2008 1:00 PM ET chat session with Will Carroll.


Will Carroll updates you on injuries and what they mean for both your favorite team and your fantasy team in "Under the Knife."

Will Carroll: I always seem to start these things early or late. Let's go with early today so that I can get to my Fantasy 411 hit and regular media without trying to do three things at once. I'm trying something a bit new today -- if you want, check out http://live.yahoo.com/bpchat to watch scintillating live video of me as I type, drink coffee, and take phone calls. I have NO idea how well that thing works, but I'm always experimenting. I'll honor Gary Huckabay and give out what's playing on iTunes as we chat (starting with ... "Flutter and Wow" off Elvis Costello's new album). So powered by Peet's Kenyan Auction Lot, let's chat ... (oh and UTK for today should be up at some point very soon, so I may refer you to that on some questions.)

Ameer (Bloomington, IN): Hey Will. As always, thanks for the chat! I know you're probably tired of Smoltz questions, but what do you think about the prospect of either Soriano or Smoltz being effective closers again this season? I have them both on my fantasy team's DL and, if you think either of them will close again full time (or split duties), I'm going to trade away my George Sherrill for Justin Upton. You're the deciding factor!

Will Carroll: I'm not so much tired of the questions as I am a bit frustrated that people don't seem to get it on this. Smoltz's shoulder wore down when he was a closer before and now again as a starter. The shoulder is a problem independent of the role. Sherrill is way over his head as are the Orioles -- and I have an interesting note on them in today's UTK - and Upton is the wow. If the trade is reliant on one of them being effective, well, sure -- one of them, for a while, maybe in series.

Big Steve (St Louis): True or false, Mark Mulder's career is effectively over?

Will Carroll: Mostly true. I think he could come back and be effective but inconsistent, in that he could have a good start here and there. Mulder has an all too common pattern to his career.

Ratcatcher (Durham, NC): What do you think the fallout will be from David Jacobs naming (NFL) names in connection with steroids & HGH purchases?

Will Carroll: The NFL seems to be dodging this bullet yet again. Maybe Arlen Specter will notice. We have a major trial going on involving Olympic medalists in an Olympic year and that's not getting much. Maybe if David Cook was juicing, we'd have a similar level of hysteria. ("Please Read The Letter" by Robert Plant and the sublime Alison Krauss.) I've come to accept that baseball gets an unfair and inexplicable level of steroid-based hysteria and moved on.

Woodman (Northeast): What is the long-term prognosis for Albert Pujols. My understanding is that he has a "high grade" tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). What happens after the rest of the UCL tears? Should happen this season. If TJ surgery, what is the prognosis for 2009? Will surgery gives us a healthy Albert? Thank you.

Will Carroll: Have you SEEN him? He's really, really good and has been playing with the UCL tear since ... 2003? 2004? I can remember talking with a Cards official about this at the pre-Katrina New Orleans Winter Meetings. If he has the surgery in say ... August or September, he'd be back for the start of 09. The injury affects his throwing and nothing else. I don't see any reason short of a rupture to do it.

SC (Philadelphia): Will- In your injury database have you ever looked at differences in injury occurance and recovery by race. I'm not sure there would be any significant information there, but I'm curious if you've looked.

Will Carroll: You know, I don't even have a field for that. (Colin Meloy doing a live acoustic version of "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect") Off the top of my head, I'm going to say no, but I get the sense that people are looking for any explanation on Howie Kendrick. I don't know, maybe it's worth a look.

gjgross (Philly): Should I be worried about Cole Hamels? 10 starts: 97 or more pitches in every start. Or should I just be giddy that he's doing well and not be so fatalist?

Will Carroll: Philly turning out en masse. No, I've watched five or six of his starts and while he's not efficient, I dont think that Ol' Cholly is leaving him in too long. In the ones I've seen, I've never said "oh look at him, he's fatigued!" I guess there's some level of concern you should have, but Hamels and his injury history are worrying enough that you should probably just enjoy when he's on a run of solid starts like this and showing no real problem.

brianjamesoak (Alameda, CA): Will, I am terrified of Burnett's high pitch counts this season (regularly around 115) given his health history and his inconsistent control this year. Am I overreacting/does Toronto know what they are doing?

Will Carroll: I'll ignore the last part of that and the easy opportunity to run at the Jays. Burnett is without question going to opt out of his deal and the Jays came into this season thinking they'd contend based on their pitching. I don't see why they have any obligation to not run up his pitch counts in order to get the most value for the money they're paying him. (Barrytown by Steely Dan.) I'm surprised more teams don't take guys in walk years and ride them harder assuming they're not going to re-sign them.

StBonaAlum (Albany, NY): What your thoughts on Doug Davis? Start him tomorrow against Atlanta?

Will Carroll: Glad he's in remission, but I'd hold off and see how he does in his first start back if you have another option. I do that with most pitchers coming back.

jphan44 (CT): how long will it take the yanks to "stretch out" joba's arm? is it the right decision?

Will Carroll: I talk about this in today's UTK. The answer is "no idea" though the Yankees at least appear to have some sort of plan. Right decision is going to be results based. Does he become a successful starter without injuring himself? Do the Yanks find a good replacement in front of Rivera (or for Rivera if he goes down?) If it works, the Yankees look smart and if it doesn't, we'll get some good quotes from Hank Steinbrenner.

Matt A (Raleigh): As you're probably aware, Smoltz seems to be going with his "3/4" arm slot delivery and reports from the AJC are that he may be back as quickly as 2 weeks. Given that he goes with this arm slot (rather than just dropping down once in a while, as he's done in the past), do you think his return date is reasonable, and how effective do you think he'll be once he's back?

Will Carroll: (Check The Technique by Gang Starr. Still one of my all time faves.) Covered in today's UTK. The mechanical change is done for comfort not result, so I'll wait to see how hitters react. I'm not confident in his ability to stay healthy and this drop-down doesn't change that.

Player that slid head first... (DL): Why do I keep doing that knowing I can hurt myself? I keep forgetting I need healthy hands to do pretty much anything else...

Will Carroll: You know, I used to think this and still hold that bias, but it turns out the data doesn't support it. When Church and Escobar collided, I just assumed he'd slid head first. Nope. In a large study, it turns out sliding feet-first causes less injuries, but more serious (ankles, knees) where head first was more but minor (broken fingers.)

Parker Posey (Filmlore): Will, What's your take on the Rays and Posey at #1? I see he hit another two homeruns last night, yet he isn't seen as someone who will hit more than 15? He's been incredible, is he slowly working his way into that catching fantasy dream of 20-25 Hr potential range?

Will Carroll: My pal Drew has been irrationally high on him for a while, but it turns out he may be right. He's a premium defensive player that's been hitting well (and he's the Noles closer!) I think KG hits the nail on the head when he says that Posey is likely to be good, but Beckham's got a chance to be great. Teams -- well, the Rays -- will have to decide how much risk to take in search of the upside. From what I've heard, Posey's upside is being a league avg catcher with some power (15-20). That would look awful nice in the Rays roster. Who would that be today? (Pause as I run a quick stats search ... and listening to "Up!" by M83) Man, there's just no good comp. 2007 version of Yadi Molina without the defense and more power? Mike Napoli? Is that 1:1?

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): Two part question - #1 Is there an underlying reason for the Cardinals' seemingly high injury rate among picthers (Carpenter, Mulder, Isringhausen, Kinney, Brad Thompson, Tyler Johsnon all just this year)? #2 Is the club doing anything to try to address the problem on a more macro level?

Will Carroll: (Warwick Avenue by Duffy) I think 1 is best explained that three of those came into the organization as upside-based injury risks. If you bring in the type of guys they do, some are going to blow up. With Carpenter, there was quite the run there. On 2, yes, they've definitely been looking at it, overhauling their minor league pitching structure and doing some very forward thinking things. They have Sig Mejdal in the front office, remember. He's in the top five of smart guys I've met in the game.

Brock D (Shakopee, MN): Do you think Moises Alou is done? He just never stays healthy

Will Carroll: More done than the last decade he's spent hitting and being injured? If a team can't figure a way to maximize him, they don't deserve to win. Look at what they did with him over the past couple years or what the Rays are doing with Cliff Floyd.

Sam (OC): I should trade Rich Harden if I can, right? Burned too many times, Will.

Will Carroll: The right answer is yes, but don't do it for less than 80c on the dollar. (I was going to say Euro there since the dollar isn't what it used to be, but I don't know what the "cent" is for Euros.) I think lots of people that deal Harden are going to kick themselves when he goes on a run. (Are You Nervous? by Rock Kills Kid.)

mnsportsguy1 (Shakopee, MN): Is it still possible that Pat Neshek may need some sort of surgery before his rehab is complete?

Will Carroll: Sadly, yes. This is a similar situation to Francisco Liriano. Neshek's a good dude and a Facebook friend. I'm rooting for him, but not hopeful. That motion was fun and effective, but untenable. It brings up the point of effectiveness versus efficiency, which is a very tough one. For a pitcher like Neshek, that funk got him to the bigs against the odds. For someone like Peavy or Felix Hernandez, it's VERY hard to change them given results. Of course, injuries have also been a part of their results.

OBD33 (Milwaukee): Will, Any reason to think Gagne will put it together this season? If not, who do you think should (and will) inherit the closer duties internally, or, do they try and land someone? thanks.

Will Carroll: No, I don't think so. He's headed to see Bill Raasch and I won't be a bit surprised if he's DLd. (DLed?) (Oh, and "Welcome, Ghosts" by Explosions In The Sky.) It's Torres et al for now but if the Brewers can stay close, I do think they'll look for a deal. Trading Mat Gamel while he's hot to an AL team is something that comes to mind.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): If Joba is going to start, do the Yankees have a stronger incentive to dump Hawkins or Farnsworth and roll the dice on some of the arms in the pipeline? Thanks!

Will Carroll: Umm, like who? In theory, sure, but right now those are the best available options.

Taylor (Toronto): How long before Pedro starts a game and what should we expect from him when he does return?

Will Carroll: A big I don't know on this one. Pedro has gone to be with his ailing father and that trumps everything. No idea if he'll be throwing down there and honestly, I don't care. He should be with his family right now.
Once he is back, I expect him to be good, not great. A solid #3 with 2 potential? There's still some good innings in his arm and more in his head.

Evan (Vancouver, BC): Given the new measures in place to protect on-field coaches, do you think it will take a fatality before we start seeing more protective gear for pitchers (I ask having just seen the Chris Young footage)?

Will Carroll: I hope not, but players are STUPIDLY resistant to protective equipment. I've railed on this before and do it again today. My Libertarian side reminds me its a choice and that players aren't normally killed and in fact never have been at the major league level.

tommybones (brooklyn): This may be a strange question, but do you think it may be a good idea to give an annual MRI to certain players, regardless of whether they feel pain or not, so as to preemptively deal with a potential injury in the making? We always see an injury, THEN an MRI, which tells everyone the problem. Couldn't an MRI on, say Chad Cordero, in the spring, have caught his condition, prior to it reaching the level requiring a long trip to the DL?

Will Carroll: yes, but with pitchers, you dont want them even thinking there's something wrong. There's probably asymptomatic issues with almost every pitcher in the game. I'd certainly get a baseline on a guy when he came into my organization. ("Stuck" off the new King's X album.)

James Vanasek (New York): Will, While watching some old clips from the 1940s and 50s it seems like pitchers back then used much more arm pumping, windmilling, and launching themsleves towards home plate than modern pitchers do. While pitchers got hurt back then too, is the quest to make pitching motions more clean and compact focusing on the wrong thing when it comes to injury prevention?

Will Carroll: Most of that is wasted motion. I did a study a couple years back using some college pitchers to "mirror" pace of games -- when the pitcher on the video threw, they threw. When they sat, they sat -- and we did some small things like trying to get them to use a big windup, a higher leg kick, pitching only from the stretch to see how it affected things. Most of it is wasted motion designed as either deception or a timing mechanism. When I teach, I teach from the stretch. It's a quirk of mine because I don't care how they get to that position in the windup, just that they get to that good, loaded up position.

tfierst (MN): Isn't the reason Neshek went to that motion because he had injury issues with an overhand motion?

Will Carroll: Yes. This is correct. ("Atlantic City" by Springsteen) It worked for him, but was untenable long term I thought. Maybe he'll come back like Chad Bradford.

Tommy (OPS,FL): I'm stealing this question from Joe Posnanski, but who do you think is the best Mets position player of all time?

Will Carroll: Willie Mays? Mike Piazza? Daryl Strawberry? That's one for Jay Jaffe.

shamah (NYC): Any news on Jeter's hand? How did he look last night?

Will Carroll: Looked like he was struggling a bit with it last night, but no news is good news.

SC (Philadelphia): Given what we know about steroids and their efficacy, do you think there is a case for allowing their use in a more controlled, monitored setting, particularly for injury recovery? Obviously all the bluster would prevent this from actually happening, but do you think there is legitimate medical value in their use that would improve the game?

Will Carroll: In very minimal ways over legal methods. I don't think it'd be worth it for a myriad of reasons. Then again, I'm open to the concept of disclosed, medically supervised usage.

Matt (Brookline, MA): Any more word on Tulo? All words from Denver seem to point to a return before ASB --- is it possible, and more importantly, is it a good idea for a team that could be already out of it by then?

Will Carroll: You nail the two opposing issues here. I address the rest of it in today's UTK. (Try It Again by The Hives.)

Barak Obama (Campaign Trail): One of Posey's HRs went 440ft yesterday. The more he swings it, the higher that upside becomes. Why not Johjima as a comp?

Will Carroll: Metal bat in a hitter's park (or was he on the road? He was ... no idea what the park in Jax is like.) Still, metal bat. I'm not sure on Johjima. It just doesn't feel right to me. So I called KG and after some thought, he agrees that Johjima's a decent comp. Posey might be better defensively, might have a bit more power.

Cardinals645 (Santa Barbara): If you've been paying attention to the draft prospects, what do you think of Tanner Schepper's shoulder injury?

Will Carroll: I have and with the publicly available information, there's not enough to make a determination. He's dropping like a rock, which should tell you something. Could he be an Adenhart - injured with upside? Maybe, though TJS is a whole lot more projectable than a shoulder problem. (Toro And The Toreador by Ted Leo)

prapol (NYC): With Blake DeWitt at 3B for the Dodgers, I haven't heard a thing about how Andy LaRoche has been doing in AAA since he came off the DL. Is he healed and still likely to be called up this summer? (It's a eurocent, by the way.)

Will Carroll: Check yesterday's chat with KG for a better answer than I could give you. A eurocent? That's lame.

Willie Mays Hays (Cleveland): From this point forward, can you rank these starters: S. Olsen, J. Duchserer, J. Danks, D. Rasner, D. Davis. Should any of them be dropped to activate Davis pending his return?

Will Carroll: I'm assuming this is a fantasy question ... in that case I like Davis, Duchscherer, Danks, Olsen, and Rasner. Which should answer the second part. Most of this answer is based on wins. I could also be very wrong about Olsen if the Marlins don't fall off the cliff.

jafessenden (Worcester, MA): Regarding your respone about Pujols and not seeing a reason to do the surgery barring a rupture. Isn't it a question of when and not if? If he has the surgery now, the Cards can control that and anticipate losing him during a rebuilding year. What happens if it ruptures two years from now when the Cards are in contention and need his bat.

Will Carroll: I'd agree to some extent, but they're contending now. Look back at the Cards' THR where I'm sure I said something like Pujols should have the surgery late in the season (Aug/Sept) if the Cards fall out of contention. No? I should have. I'm still not sure you ever cut when you don't have to. It affects his throwing, not his hitting. Long term, it's the foot that's the bigger issue anyway.

kimi (portsmouth): Who comes back first, Howie Kendrick or Vernon Wells? (I've been offered Wells for Kendrick and I may take the deal)

Will Carroll: Kendrick by a long shot. You won't see him making the Angels' pick at the Draft.

Jimmy (Lexington): On the AJ Burnett thought re: he Jays getting what they can from him. Why don't the ultra-cheap teams use their young players in a vintage Prior/Wood fashion? If the Marlins aren't going to keep players when they have to pay market prices, why don't they soak everything they can from them?

Will Carroll: Good question. I don't have a good answer. Conscience?

RahulN (GA): Another question about a Braves reliever: How effective do you think Mike Gonzalez will be when he comes back (hopefully) in a few weeks? From most accounts he's been lights out in extended spring training, but of course, thats just extended spring training.

Will Carroll: Good, not great, but with Smoltz and Soriano, I don't know that he'll get save chances. Then again, I'm less sure that Smoltz will be able to be an everyday closer. I had Gonzalez stashed on my DL for a while until I had to make some moves. (Devil Town by Tony Lucca. I do miss Friday Night Lights -- the TV show, never the book -- already.)

BTW, the Yahoo video was slowing down my Air, so I dumped it. Seems not many were interested anyway, not that I blame you.

Chip (Richmond): Will, how close are we to the various shoulder surgeries being as "routine" and "successful" as TJ surgery?

Will Carroll: Years. There's slow steady progress, but the joint is so complex that it's individuated sharply.

Jeremy (New England): When I first saw Justin Masterson pitch it seemed like he could be so much more effective if he threw from a higher arm slot to really take advantage of his size. Then again, he already gets a lot of ground balls so maybe the time investment and risk of totally messing up his development just wasn't worth it. Your thoughts?

Will Carroll: The latter. Strongly the latter.

tfierst (MN): So are you suggesting side-armers get hurt more often? Or was it something in Neshek's mechanics that you didn't like?

Will Carroll: Have you SEEN him? All that funk made him pitch well and really hard to pick up, but the motion just looked painful. I don't have joint loads on him -- the Twins don't like modern medicine much -- but the result tells me that my eyes weren't lying to me that time.

Emmitt (Buffalo): Time to cut bait on Josh Willingham?

Will Carroll: No, I'd actually be buying low. Non-structural back issues have a way of scaring a player into fitness. Ivan Rodriguez comes to mind.
(Blankets of Night by Hammock. Man, I really, really like Hammock.)

dianagramr (NYC): Here's a question out of left field for you .... what kind of hitter/ballplayer do you think Tiger Woods would be? I know a golf swing differs from a baseball swing in terms of timing and weight shift, but his mechanics are smooth, his dedication and training terrific, and he's lithe and limber. I could see him as a great middle infielder.

Will Carroll: Terrible. No experience, no sense of the game, and the swing muscles are very different. I imagine if he tried to Michael Jordan it, he'd have similar results. So maybe "terrible" is overstating it, but he wouldn't be Ken Griffey Jr, though they're very similar in build.

Chip (VA): Will, tell me about the hamate bone.

Will Carroll: Easier to link: http://www.emedicine.com/sports/TOPIC44.HTM

If anyone's with a publisher and wants to publish "Carroll's Guide to Sports Injuries", it's nearly ready. You know where to reach me.

Laura (DC): Any updates on Loewen?

Will Carroll: He has a screw in his elbow. (I need to get Ron Silver to record this for me in the same tones he used when he said "His father is the District Attorney!" Has any promo ever had a longer shelf life than the actual show like Skin?)

Dan (Denver): I have Gallardo in a keeper league at $1 and can keep him next year and the year after at that salary. Is it a no-brainer to keep him? Any precedent for pitchers returning from an ACL tear?

Will Carroll: Absolute and unquestioned no-brainer. If you're looking long term, he doesn't put mileage on his arm young. I don't have a good comp popping to mind but maybe a reader does.

Matt (Brookline, MA): Has a study ever been done to see how many home runs, or how much more productive, a player would have been had he played in a different park? For example, what if Bonds played in Coors for 98-04? Yankee Stadium and the short porch?

Will Carroll: It's doable with translations, but wouldn't that be a fun tool to have on the DT cards? Actually I'd love to see some sort of overlay system on a site like HR Tracker where you could see whether a ball would have gone out of another park, ie "380 is out of here, but not Fenway."

31cornucopia (Trenton): I am going to a Pirates game on June 20 and would like to know if Ryan Doumit will be starting at catcher before then. I have heard his timetable maybe only another 2-3 weeks for his broken thumb.

Will Carroll: Hmm. It's certainly possible. The fracture was distal, so it comes down to pain tolerance. It's a great park, assuming you're going to PNC (which is where they are on the 20th ...)

Reed (Des Moines, Iowa): How long until the Twins bring up Liriano? I just picked him up in fantasy.

Will Carroll: They don't seem in any hurry. He's been doing what's expected and at some point it's just punitive. (Viva La Vida by Coldplay. First 40 Year Old Virgin reference gets banned.)

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): You guys have any write-up on how far, and for how long, pitchers can shift their mean performance (i.e. Darrell Rasner's cutter), vs. what their history tells us is their likely output? Thanks!

Will Carroll: I don't understand the question here Tony -- are you asking if a new pitch can change things?

Brock D (Shakopee, MN): Are we getting to the point where managers are going to start worrying about playing time for position players just as much as for pitch count and starting pitchers? The leader in consecutive games played right now is Delmon Young with a little more than 200. Is that the shortest active consecutive games streak for any point in the last 50 years?

Will Carroll: No, I don't think so. I just think we've shifted a bit to where we realize those streaks are both freakshows and really unimportant. Would Cal Ripken have been a better or worse player if he'd taken a couple days off a year? Not by much either way.

jafessenden (Worcester, MA): Gallardo/knee = Josh Beckett/blister?

Will Carroll: Torn ACLs don't recur from start to start. I hope.

Marco (San Diego): Will, Any word on Vernon Wells' recovery? Is this an injury that is easy to recoup from, or is it something you think will linger (and potentially sap power). thanks.

Will Carroll: All Star break-ish and he should lose a bit of power initially, as with most wrist injuries. Whether that's on top of the shoulder issues, I'm not sure. It's too early to tell if he's back to level after surgery.

Hombre X (Parts Unknown): About eight years ago, Florida State had a pitcher tear (Blaire Varnes) his ACL in the week before the college world series and pitch in the championship game vs Miami.

Will Carroll: There you go ... Donald Dixon played QB after tearing his and Philip Rivers tore his and kept going. Heck, Rivers isn't expected to miss the start of the season. Yes, I've been working on Pro Football Prospectus lately ... (Rich Kid Blues by Racounteurs)

Drew (Jacksonville): Can we say Zimmerman's power has returned from the wrist injury?

Will Carroll: Seems it, though the park change could be a bit of a disguise. Close if not back.

foggnich (nyc): Will, I know you said the success of Joba's transition will, obviously, be "results based." Could you give us a prediction on how his transition might turn out? In general, isn't a good starter more valuable than a good relief pitcher?

Will Carroll: Yes, I'd rather have a good starter, all things equal. Joba has a .676 WXRL, which is about .2 higher than Farnsworth, who is his likeliest role replacement. If his replacing ... Mussina? Kennedy? ... works out AND he stays healthy, then yeah it works. If he gets sore or can't go six regularly, the media and fans are going to be merciless. I'd have gone the other way, letting him work as a starter through spring training, then letting him go to .. 100 or 120 innings as a starter, which should get him to the ASB, then shifted him to the bullpen for another 30-40 innings. That's an easier transition and more controllable.

jimmy (sf): Any more details on ankiel's shoulder? could this be a sexson type issue? It's been too quiet. Thanks, Will.

Will Carroll: He smashed one last night. It's just a muscle strain, nothing like Sexson.

Darren Dreifort (LA): I tore my ACL, but I was 32 and towards the end of a disappointing career.

Will Carroll: You tore EVERYTHING. (Jigsaw by Radiohead)

Billy (Athens, GA): Does Felix Pie get another chance or are the Cubs stuck on this one chance thing (Murton, Cedeno, Marshall...)

Will Carroll: Corey Patterson, the sequel!

Jacob (Vegas Watch): Seems like, from a media standpoint, it would've been much harder to move Joba from rotation to bullpen than doing it this way.

Will Carroll: I don't think it'd have been EASY if he was great, but I think it would be an easier sell. I could be wrong.

Justin Singer (Miami): Lesters 130 pitches plus record for most starts this few games into the season...recipe for disaster...Bud Smith?

Will Carroll: One of the best shots I saw was John Farrell and Paul Lessard side by side, watching Lester's every pitch. His velocity seemed fine, he didn't look fatigued, and they were going into a couple games where they'd have a de facto six man rotation. I'd like to see them skip him or at least have a very low limit on him the next couple times out, but I don't think they were uncautious. Smith was STRUGGLING at the end and really 'reaching back.'

don (ann arbor): Will, I'm stuck in a music rut these days, care to suggest a couple pickups? Not talking about aquired-taste-wildly-obscure-indie-label stuff, just something good and different. Figured since you dropped steely dan and gangstarr we could get a couple solid recommendations from you.

Will Carroll: I had a recent post over on my blog about my Top Ten of 2008. Worth checking.

David (Sonoma State University, CA): Your thoughts on the Office finale? I was kind of dissapointed with this season.

Will Carroll: Sitting on Tivo waiting for ... well, they're there, like the last three episodes of Galactica and a wad of movies that I'll probably never get to but think I want to watch. I heart Tivo.

Karnak (NYC): If Bill James had never existed, what would you be doing now for a living?

Will Carroll: Bill James has nothing to do with what I do, but I guess in the spirit of the question, I'd be daytrading.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Sorry about that - I meant with "tweaks" i.e. a new pitch, different delivery, etc. I'd figure that a 27 year old like Rasner would have tried most things by now and will have limited success as a results of just throwing a cutter.

Will Carroll: I don't have any data, but at least in the short term it can work. I guess Roger Clemens picking up the splitter has to be the best example.

Brock D (Shakopee, MN): Is there a specific difference in Chipper Jones' game that has helped him stay relatively healthy the last year or so?

Will Carroll: That's very relative ... so no. Chipper's well on his way to being Moises Alou and that's not an insult.

Hey, UTK is up! Go read it while I take this call.

blaseta (Calgary): I think the more interesting question regarding Tiger Woods (and maybe what dianagmr was getting at) is what kind of ball player Tiger would have been if he'd focussed on baseball instead of golf. I find myself wondering that about a lot of guys in a lot of sports. What if A-Rod had decided he wanted to be a linebacker? I got to think that the very top of the ladder in all sports could have been succesful in virtually any sport they chose to focus on. What if Peyton Manning decided to be a pitcher?

Will Carroll: Peyton was a SS. He was on the radio show a couple years ago. His brother Cooper was the better baseball player. I think the idea that "trained since birth" players have an advantage is lost a bit in today's one-sport focus. I am NOT a big fan of these pseduo-pro teams of teenagers in any sport. Yes, you're right that some of these guys won the genetic lottery and had skills that would have translated across fields.

David (Sonoma State University, CA): My girlfriend thinks I'm a nerd for doing these chats. She's yelling at me to get ready to go out. Help me.

Will Carroll: I'm about to do MLB.com's Fantasy 411 so I'm ending. You're not a nerd, she's the one dating you, but go out. See you all next time.

Will Carroll: Thanks as always. Email until next time.

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