The Attrition War, Braves

DMZ · June 5, 2005 at 10:40 pm · Filed Under General baseball 

Part of a continuing series, follow-ups to the initial post detailing the Mariners history over the same period.

Do the Mariners, in comparison to other teams, suffer a higher rate of injury to their pitching prospects than other teams? Here, I look at the Braves.

Please note that I am trying to refrain from drawing any conclusions or making any comparisons, guessing at causes or relationships, or doing anything but presenting straight data. When the series is finished, I’ll have a summary post where I talk about those things.

In every organization so far there have been are several cases where those stats seem to ignore something important. I’m going at attempt to address those in the summary post, as well as methodology and thoughts on future research directions.

The Braves had 27 pitchers who appeared at least once on a Baseball America Top Ten prospect list between 1995-2004.

I had particular trouble tracking injury dates and the nature of injuries for this installment, and encourage readers familiar with the Braves organization to add/correct information here in the comments or by email. Citations particularly welcome.

Of those, pitchers who injured their elbow and required surgery: 4 (McClendon, Osting, Perez, Sobkowiak)
Of those, pitchers who injured their shoulders and required surgery: 4 (Evert, Lopez, McGlinchy, Wade)
Mystery injuries: 1 (Parra)
(generally, I’m looking for major surgeries that require ~1y off)

Detailed data:

Robbie Bell, 8/1997, 2/1998
Traded to the Reds in November 1998 as part of the Bret Boone deal.

Jung Bong, 10/2002
Traded in March 2004 to the Reds for Chris Reitsma. (labrum surgery with the Reds)

Micah Bowie, 8/1999
Traded to the Cubs in July 1999 as part of a complicated deal.

Bruce Chen, 3/1997, 1/1998, 1/1999
Traded to the Phillies as part of the Andy Ashby deal.

Kyle Davies, 9/2004
Pitching in the majors.

Brett Evert, 10/2000, 4/2002, 9/2003
Shoulder shoulder in 2001. Claimed off waivers by the Mariners in August 2004.

Anthony Lerew, 10/2004
Pitching in the minors.

John LeRoy, 7/1997
Selected by the Devil Rays in the 1998 expansion draft. (LeRoy, btw, Bellevue native, went to “Sammanish” HS)

Gonzalo Lopez, 8/2002, 10/2003
Fought shoulder problems for a long time. Went on the DL in July 2004, had surgery May 2005.

Macay McBride, 5/2003, 7/2004
Pitching in the minors.

Matt McClendon, 2/2001
Hurt his elbow in 2001, details unknown.

Kevin McGlinchy, 2/1997, 6/1999
Hampered by pain for over a year, finally underwent shoulder surgery for a torn labrum in March 2001. Selected by Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 draft in December 2001.

Jason Marquis, 4/1997, 8/1998, 5/1999, 6/2000, 5/2001
Traded to the Cardinals for J.D. Drew in December 2003.

Dan Meyer, 5/2004
Traded to the Athletics in December 2004. Recently shut down with rotator cuff problems.

Zach Miner, 7/2002
Pitching in the minors.

Damian Moss, 9/1995, 10/1996, 6/1997
Traded to the Giants in December 2002 as part of the Russ Ortiz deal.

Bubba Nelson, 9/2002, 4/2003, 4/2004
Traded in March 2004 to the Reds for Chris Reitsma.

Jimmy Osting, 10/1997, 8/2000
Elbow ligament replacement surgery in 1998. Traded to the Phillies as part of the Andy Ashby deal.

Christian Parra, 9/2001
Had a season-ending surgery in 2002 (?) Released in November 2003 (?)

Odalis Perez, 4/1998, 3/1999
Elbow surgery in August 2000.

Luis Rivera, 3/1998, 4/1999, 5/2000
Suspected arm surgery, no details though. Traded to the Orioles in July 2000 as part of the BJ Surhoff deal.

Jason Schmidt, 3/1995, 2/1996
Traded to the Pirates in August 1996 as a PTBNL in the Danny Neagle trade. No, really.

Scott Sobkowiak, 4/2000, 10/2001
Ligament replacement surgery in May of 2000.

Billy Sylvester, 6/2001
Signed a minor league contract with the Rangers in October of 2003.

Terrell Wade, 5/1995, 5/1996
Tore “rotator cuff and labrum” (?) in August of 1997.

Adam Wainwright, 7/2001, 2/2002, 1/2003, 3/2004
Traded to the Cardinals for J.D. Drew in December 2003 (The Braves 2004 top ten list was published in November 2003).


14 Responses to “The Attrition War, Braves”

  1. dw on June 5th, 2005 10:57 pm

    Wainwright had some elbow ligament trouble that got him shut down last year, FWIW.

  2. Conor Glassey on June 5th, 2005 11:15 pm

    Hey Derek – Can you make a sidebar link for all the “Attrition War” studies? I think that would be helpful. BTW – I can’t wait to see the final results!

  3. Jim Thomsen on June 5th, 2005 11:37 pm

    Is “Robbie Bell” the same as the “Rob Bell” who left the Devil Rays recently due to mental injury?

  4. DMZ on June 5th, 2005 11:58 pm

    Yeah, I was waiting to make that link, but since this gets mentioned every post, I think I’ll go ahead and do that now.

  5. Adam S on June 6th, 2005 7:54 am

    These are great. It’s somewhat relieving to see an organization regarded as being great for pitchers also has a number of injuries.

    A question on methodology. Why doesn’t Bong count as a pitcher who had shoulder surgery? If he spent six years in the Braves system and then needed surgery the year he was traded away, or one year later, wouldn’t that suggest he’s a Braves prospect that got hurt? Or was he not out for a full year?

  6. roger tang on June 6th, 2005 8:06 am

    Yeah, but the existence of pitching injuries in other organizations makes it harder to pin down what, if anything, are the Mariners doing wrong.

  7. DMZ on June 6th, 2005 8:08 am

    In every organization so far there have been are several cases where those stats seem to ignore something important. I’m going at attempt to address those in the summary post, as well as methodology and thoughts on future research directions.

  8. Simon on June 6th, 2005 12:48 pm

    Nice work DMZ. What about the part about “# of pitchers who have made it to the big-league club”?

  9. Feldor on June 6th, 2005 5:17 pm

    DMZ this is incredible work. The problem with great research is that it usually leads to more questions. You may have opened a can of worms…

  10. Crank on June 7th, 2005 12:51 pm

    Great stuff.

    Meyer, btw, is another data point in the “never acquire a pitcher the Braves are willing to part with” theory (Marquis, I guess, would be the most obvious counterexample to this).

  11. Paul on June 8th, 2005 7:37 am

    Crank, Jason Schnidt has done well and a bunch of others

  12. NMS on August 21st, 2005 1:13 am

    I cant confirm it but Im pretty darn sure Osting had some arm troubles of some sort

    I really liked him at one point

    “No, really.”

    Forgive me if i misinterpert this but it seems like youre saying the Schmit for Neagle deal was stupid. It worked to perfection for the Braves. Neagle was great down the stretch and the next year and then they flipped him to (i think) Cincy with (i tihnk) Rob Bell (who is the same guy as the DRays pitcher w. Blassitis) for (i think Bret Boone and some other stuff.
    Schmidt meanwhile wasnt really anything special till he got to SF 6 years or so later

  13. NMS on August 21st, 2005 1:27 am

    Mac Thomason of the great Braves Journal says in a Braves draft study (here: – its the third thing on the page) that Osting had TJ in 1998 and a Nov 2002 article from a Milwaukee paper mentions him being on the DL for some reason in that year too (

    Mac’s draft follow up studies might be useful to you if youre looking for more info on Braves minorleaugue arms getting injured.

    I dont know how useful he is to your study since he changed orgs so much, first as a desired prospect in a deadline trade but later just as waiver wire fodder

  14. NMS on August 21st, 2005 1:59 am

    This site ( confirms my suspicion that Rivera had an injury too while he was with the Braves – before they dealt him to the Os for BJ. He was max effort delivery hard thrower iirc

    Also I’m pretty sure Matt Belisle made at top 10 once for the Braves. He got what was (at the time) a record bonus for the org. He was a hard thrower and had success in A-ball before having back surgery. He didnt throw as hard and was a lot more hittable ever since though is still nice pen arm for Cincy now

    Also, though he might not have made a top 10, Tim Spooneybarger was well thought of as a potential power reliever with a low-to-mid 90s fastball and a nasty….something, no one was ever quite sure what to call his breaking ball. it was unique. i always wanted to call it a spoonball. he was shipped to FLA for Hampton bc he had an attitude (and, it was rumored, a drinking) problem but wound up having some surgery last year or in 03. recent word is that he is still trying to regain command after surgery in GCL rehab. The USA today article below also mentions that he spent 10 weeks in 2000 on the DL

    This Dec 02 USA today article ( mentions that Parras mystery problem was a “thumb injury” (!?!?) but all other word (including a BPro 3play) mention it being some sort of arm problem. That USA today also has info on other one-time Braves prospects like 99 2nd rounder Matt Butler (now out of OB after an injury plauged career), Matt McClendon (“Power RHP Matt McClendon came into the 2001 season as one of the Braves’ top pitching prospects but struggled from Day One. A tender shoulder and twisted ankle added to his summer-long woes. He might move to relief in 2002” – McClendon recently reappeared in relief for the Braves AA team this year or last though) and big hard throwing Derrick Lewis (“RHP Derrick Lewis, a power pitcher who had Tommy John surgery over the summer, might be the best raw talent of the bunch. He is expected back in mid-2002”)

    Also worth mentioning are big lefty Ben Koslowski who was a well thought of propect who was traded to Texas for lefty Andy Pratt (and had sucess after the trade) but then succumed to an injury and is working his way back now. As for Pratt, who lead the Intl league in Ks in 03, he was dealt to the Cubs in the spring of 04 for Juan Cruz. He lost all control (like 14 walks in 7 AAA inning or something equally Neighborgallish before being shut down) and I tihnk also eventually had surgery. Hes now with the MIL org. His dad btw is a pro pitching coach, i think in the Cubs org, so youd assume Pratt might know alittle more about clean mechanics and all.

    One more thing thatmight be useful: perinnial stat head relief prospect fave Buddy Hernandez is having arm problems in Richmond right now and likely will soon have surgery.

    Bubba Nelson had a (confirmed: – near the bottom) drinking problem.

    Hope this wasnt too much info keep up the GREAT work