The Rosin Bag 5/11: Injuries are the Worst

This week's mailbag examines player's with the "injury prone" label and potential new cities for MLB clubs. Gabe Zammit takes a look at these questions as well as a few others.

Welcome back to The Rosin Bag, our weekly Pitcher List mailbag!

Injuries stink.

They just do. They are the worst. I can’t tell you how many teams I’ve had where my season has been absolutely submarined because of a glut of injuries. Conversely, I could also go into great detail about how I have won leagues because my opponents have been stricken with the injury bug. This is an unfortunate part of the game, but a part of the game nonetheless that affects every manager and every team. At this point of the season, it’s that much more important to be paying attention to the latest news and be scouring the waiver wire for both short-term and long-term replacements. You never know when you may pick someone up who could end up being a rest-of-season contributor for your team.

With that, let’s get to this week’s batch of questions!

All questions are either submitted via our Discord channel or through email to [email protected]


From Jonathan Metzelaar: How much credence do you give to the idea of a player being injury prone? Should I have expected someone like A.J. Pollock to miss a percentage of the season when I drafted him? Am I irresponsible for thinking he might make it through a single lousy season in one piece? And should I avoid guys who have this label in future drafts?

I see a guy like Pollock go down and my brain instantly goes to one of my favorite lines from Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber. “Whoa, Big Gulps huh? Alright … Welp, see ya later!”

It’s such an awkward and yet iconic line and it perfectly encapsulates a player like Pollock to me. Every year I tell myself I won’t draft a player with an injury history, and yet every … freaking … year … I willingly draft these guys anyways because I can’t resist the draft day value. So, when one of these guys does get hurt, all I can really do is say an awkward goodbye to them as they end up on my IL.

Would I say it’s irresponsible to draft these guys? No, not necessarily. For every injury-prone player who stays that way, there is an injury-prone player who plays a majority of the season and returns incredible value. I guess that’s why so many of us keep going back to the well on these guys. We weigh the potential reward versus the risk and can’t say no.

The best advice I can give is to make sure you safeguard yourself when you take one of these players. If I take Pollock, maybe I also stash a guy like Alex Verdugo on my bench who would benefit from a Pollock injury. The unfortunate reality is injuries can happen to anyone, so pay attention and be ready to roll with the punches.


From Knucklebear: What do we do with Jose Alvarado in SV + Hold leagues?

Alvarado in particular is an interesting case. His numbers this year have been incredible as he has pitched to a 1.20 ERA with a 13.80 K/9. He has 4 saves and 4 holds mixed in there as well, but it’s becoming more and more clear that there isn’t a defined role for him. So the question becomes, how do you justify rostering a great middle reliever when their role may not be defined outside of a deep league? For me it comes down to roster construction. If we are talking roto especially where you have a category like SV + Holds, I don’t mind having a guy like Alvarado and just rolling with him. He can contribute on occasion in those categories while also being a buoy for you in ERA, WHIP, and Ks. That is more valuable than it used to since starters seem to be going less innings while also being more volatile.


From Asher Dratel: Is Marwin Gonzalez a buy-low candidate now? His exit velo and hard hit are still above avg (74th & 80th percentile respectively) even though his xStats are still pretty gross.

If you play in a deeper league, then sure. I’ve never been a big fan of his and if it weren’t for his multi-position eligibility, I’m not sure this would even be a question. He has probably underperformed so far, as you pointed out, but how much better will he be ROS? Maybe a .240-ish hitter with a shot at 10-12 homers? He is still getting playing time, but if he doesn’t string together some good games, then my guess is Marwin finds himself as nothing more than a utility fill-in player off the bench.


From Colin Charles: Should we be worried about Cody Bellinger’s shoulder? It popped out last year on a slide home too. They are pulling him off 1B and keeping him in RF going forward.

This is super interesting to me. Bellinger had his shoulder pop out sliding into home last year, then had it pop out when diving to make a grab playing first base this year, and now the Dodgers move him to the outfield in order to protect the shoulder? I mean, he’s still playing the field right? So, there’s still an opportunity for damage to that shoulder.

He’s playing right now, which is a good sign! Bellinger was bound to regress in the home run department before this whole shoulder thing anyways as his HR/FB% is a pretty unsustainable 33%. I’m not sure if this will sap his power, but it could. Where I think we will see a more immediate shift is in his stolen bases. If the Dodgers are really trying to protect that shoulder, then that would be the area they are going to manage more closely. Why send Bellinger on the run and risk exposing that shoulder to harm on a slide?

I was admittedly not a Bellinger guy heading into the season, but seeing him blow up the way he has is incredible. I’m pulling for him and I hope if there is something wrong that the Dodgers give him some time off instead of having him play through it.


From Tbox: What are your thoughts on Miguel Andujar going forward? Seems to be slow getting going.

Ooof … Andujar has looked worse than the trailer for the new Sonic movie. Yeah, he is coming off that labrum injury, so maybe it’ll just take some time. He does have me pretty concerned though. He has only played 10 games so far, but has a .154 batting average!

Andujar is not known for his defense anyways, so if he can’t get it going offensively, does he start losing some at-bats? I could see the Yankees being pretty patient with him considering their team is more reminiscent of a MASH unit than a major league club at the moment. He’s not someone I am selling, but I’d bench him until he shows some signs of life.


From Alex Tran: What is your favorite ballpark that you’ve been to? Which ones are on your bucket list?

Great question! I’d say my favorite is a toss-up between Milwaukee and Seattle. I’ve been to quite a few other stadiums (and am hoping to hit some more this summer), but what set those parks above the rest for me is how clean and family-friendly they are. I know for some of you that might sound like a weird thing, but it’s a big deal for me. Baseball is an experience that is meant to be shared with people you care about and I love going to games with my family. So while I can appreciate the history of some of the older parks I’ve been to, or the passion some fans exude, it’s not as enjoyable an experience for me when I know my family isn’t having as much fun.

This could get me in trouble, but I really don’t like Wrigley. I’ve been there once and that was enough for me. I’m hoping this summer to see the Dodgers in L.A. and the Cardinals in St. Louis. Fingers crossed I get to check a couple more parks off my list.


 From Dan: 50-team league. What cities are you adding?

This question was posed in our Discord channel and got a few responses. Portland I could totally see. It’s a great city and they love baseball there. Seattle is right up the road too, so that could make for a really fun rivalry. I feel like there should be a lost episode of Portlandia with the MLB introducing the newest team the Portland Hipsters. Charlotte would be a good spot too. They are sort of already a hub for so much out east and are a growing city.

The issue right now is, could the MLB really support more teams? It’s a fun thing to fantasize about, but I think before we add more teams, I’d just love to see the MLB do a better job of marketing the game for the current teams. I don’t think the answer is new stadiums for current teams or adding new cities, I really think it’s a brand issue.

If you look at the NFL and NBA, how recognizable are their superstar players for the average sports consumer versus the superstars in baseball? People love to have players to root for or against, that’s what makes sports fun. We don’t really have that in baseball right now outside of maybe a handful of guys. This is probably a larger discussion that would lead me off several tangents, but I really hope that baseball works to increase its fanbase by improving its brand over the next few years.


Another week and another mailbag in the books! I’ve loved watching this community grow. If I didn’t get to your question, feel free to hit me up on twitter: @gabezammit

Don’t forget to send in questions via our Discord channel for next week’s mailbag. You can also submit questions by sending an email to: [email protected]

Good luck in your fantasy leagues and I’ll see you back here next week!

Gabe Zammit

Gabe Zammit has been writing about baseball since 2017. He is a contributor on Pitcher List in addition to Friends with Fantasy Benefits. Outside of the baseball world, Gabe is a music director and producer and loves to chat about anything and everything music.

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