Over on Baseball Prospectus, Will Carroll has been doing his regular pre-season projections of healty for each team, and recently covered the Arizona Diamondbacks. The full text is only available to BP subscribers, but I do want to share with you the best sentence:
Hot wings. Ever bite off a piece of that spicy goodness, only to have that one little bit hang on to the bone, forcing you to tug just a little before it finally gives way? That's basically what happened to Byrnes.
Ouch. I don't know about you, but I'll never be able to look at a basket of chicken in quite the same way ever again. Having taken much of the fun out of that particular junk food item with his evocative analogy, Will was kind enough to answer a few questions on what we can expect from the health of the Diamondbacks in 2009. Thanks to him for what follows.
AZ SnakePit: How would you handicap the chances of the three possible outcomes for Eric Byrnes: he returns to full effectiveness, he returns to limited effectiveness (can play, but his speed is reduced), he breaks down again?
Will Carroll: I think he slowly returns to some level. Not sure where that level is and if he can adjust to remain productive if he loses some speed. He's not a one-dimensional player, so there's a chance.
AZ: You said of Max Scherzer, "The real question involves his stamina, which is pointing him toward the pen." What makes you come to this conclusion?
Will: It seems that his mechanics break down as he gets tired, leading to issues and soreness. It might be easier for him to work more often, using less pitches, and just throw rather than pitch. I think the Dbacks are right to give him every chance to succeed as a starter. The "downside" looks like another closer candidate.
AZ: How much impact will last season's thyroid removal have on Doug Davis as he goes through his first full season since the operation?
Will: I hope none. He adjusted well and one hopes there's no residual effect. Great to see him out there.
AZ: Do you think Chad Tracy's knee will be able to cope with the rigors of third-base, or should he be limited to first-base only?
Will: Microfracture is so new that we don't have much to base it on. I think that [AZ trainer] Ken Crenshaw and his staff are in a better position to monitor him both in position and how the knee responds to activitiy.
AZ: You said you had "some ideas" why Felipe Lopez stopped running last season, and pegged him for 25 SB or more this year. Can you expand on that?
Will: I don't want to get too much into stories, but I was told that Lopez loses focus when he's not having things his way, when he's out of the race, and with the Nats, that seemed to be the case. If so, you have to think he's in a better situation for those in Arizona. 25 seems reasonable if so.