The Attrition War, Tigers

DMZ · August 27, 2005 at 7:29 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 Tigers.

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 Tigers had 32 pitchers who appeared at least once on a Baseball America Top Ten prospect list from 1995-2004.

Of those 32, pitchers who injured their elbow and required surgery: 3 (Greisinger, Larrison, Sleeth)
Of those 32, pitchers who injured their shoulders and required surgery: 4 (Baugh, Borkowski, Cornejo, Wheatland)
(generally, I’m looking for major surgeries that require ~1y off)

However, that’s probably low, because there were a bunch of guys who disappeared on me.

Unknowns and weird disappearances: 5 (Drumright, Gaspar, Greisenger’s shoulder, Whiteman, Whiteside)
Suspicious: 0
Barely missed counting: 0

Contributions welcome!
Readers are, as always, encouraged to to add/correct information here in the comments or by email. Resolving unknowns and citations are particularly welcome.

Detailed data

Matt Anderson, 3/1998
Pitched a little, became a free agent in December 2004.

Kenny Baugh, 4/2002, 10/2004
Labrum surgery August 2001.

Jeremy Bonderman, 1/2003
Pitching in the majors.

Dave Borkowski, 7/1997, 7/1998, 9/1999
Shoulder surgery in October 2001 cost him a year. Released in April 2003. Signed with the Orioles.

Francisco Cordero, 2/1998, 3/1999
Missed almost all of 1998 due to an elbow fracture. Traded to the Rangers in November 1999 as part of the Juan Gonzalez deal.

Nate Cornejo, 4/1999, 6/2000, 5/2001, 1/2002
Labrum repair surgery in July 2004, may go under the knife here again shortly.

Matt Drews, 6/1997
Selected by the Diamondbacks in the Expansion draft.

Mike Drumright, 1/1996, 1/1997, 8/1998
Unknown. Boy, it sure looks like something happened to him. Traded to the Marlins in July 1999 for Brandon Villafuerte. Was homecoming king.

Roberto Duran, 9/1998
Claimed off waivers by the Expos in January 1999.

Cade Gaspar, 3/1995, 6/1996

Franklyn German, 3/2003
Pitching in the majors.

Seth Greisenger, 2/1997, 5/1998
Elbow surgery. Possibly shoulder surgery later.

Rob Henkel, 4/2004
TJ surgery at UCLA. Pitching in the minors.

Preston Larrison, 2/2003
Elbow ligament replacement surgery in August 2004. Pitching in the minors.

Jose Lima, 5/1995
Traded to the Astros in December 1996 as part of the Brian Hunter deal.

Shane Loux, 4/1998, 7/1999, 10/2000, 6/2001
Pitching in the minors.

Trever Miller, 10/1996
Traded to the Astros in December 1996 as part of the Brian Hunter deal.

Chad Petty, 10/2003
Traded to the Brewers in May 2003 as part of the Alex Sanchez deal.

Adam Pettyjohn, 7/2000
Missed 2002 because of colitis. Signed a minor league deal with the Giants in December 2003

Brian Powell, 10/1998
Traded to the Astros in January 1999 as part of the Brad Ausmus deal.

Willis Roberts, 4/1997
Released in February 2000.

Jay Sborz, 9/2004
Pitching in the minors.

Kyle Sleeth, 1/2004
Elbow ligament replacement surgery in June 2005.

Cameron Smith, 7/1995, 4/1996
Looks like he got traded to/claimed by the Padres in the 1997 offseason.

Justin Thompson, 8/1995, 2/1996
Traded to the Rangers in November 1999 as part of the Juan Gonzalez deal.

Andy VanHekken, 9/2001, 8/2002

Jeff Weaver, 2/1999
Traded to the Yankees in July 2002 as part of the three-deam Carlos Pena-Ted Lilly-Jeremy Bonderman trade.

Alan Webb, 6/1999
Traded to the Rangers in November 1999 as part of the Juan Gonzalez deal.

Matt Wheatland, 4/2001
Three shoulder surgeries to fix his “torn labrum, rotator cuff, and biceps tendon.” Could no longer throw overhand even after the surgeries, was released. Last seen playing first base for the Surf Dawgs in the indie leagues.

Greg Whiteman, 9/1996

Sean Whiteside, 10/1995

Joel Zumaya, 3/2004
Pitching in the minors.


6 Responses to “The Attrition War, Tigers”

  1. Saint Jimmy on August 27th, 2005 8:42 pm

    Excerpt from

    After undergoing the elbow surgery in June 1999, Greisinger missed all of 2000 and 2001. He returned in 2002, made it back to the majors, and then had shoulder problems. More surgery. He pitched at Class AAA Toledo in 2003, and then made it to the majors with the Minnesota Twins last year. He struggled a bit, was sent to the minors, and before he could be called up to help in a pennant race, he broke his hand. In 41 major league games — spanning 1998 to 2004 — he is 10-16 with a 5.56 ERA.

    Looks like he had TJ surgery…guess you can add him to the list.

  2. David C on August 27th, 2005 8:54 pm

    Cade Gaspar Traded March 22, 1996 with Sean Bergman & Todd Steverson to the San Diego Padres. Received back Raul Casanova, Richie Lewis, and Melvin Nieves.
    It appears that he played for Quakes in 96 then RETIRED

  3. David C on August 27th, 2005 9:01 pm

    Mike Drumright (as of 2003) – no mention of injury

    [i]Soon to be 29-year-old right-hander who made 21 starts with a 3.41 ERA for Rochester last season. Was acquired by the Orioles from the Red Sox for SS Nick Garcia early in the 2002 season. Former 1st round pick of the Tigers in ’95. Sinkerballer. Reportedly has a decent fastball, but below major league-average off speed stuff. Was named the top pitching prospect in the Southern League in 1996 by Baseball America, but since then has suffered through a number of poor or unlucky seasons. Lead the International League with 19 losses in 1998 with Toledo, returned to Toledo in 1999 and went 6-10, and had a combined 5-13 record between Portland (AA) and Calgary (AAA) despite a 3.98 ERA.[/i]

  4. Rusty on August 27th, 2005 10:11 pm

    Matt Anderson circa 2002, was out for an extended period of time with, I believe, an arm injury. In 2001 he was pitching 99 and even 100 mph. He never came back with that velocity again. Can’t remember if there was any specific injury or surgery involved.

  5. TeacherRefPoet on August 28th, 2005 12:02 am

    Sean Whiteside is one of the players profiled in Rob Trucks’ book -Cup of Coffee.- (I recommend the book…it’s interviews with ten people who barely cracked the majors…life stories of each of them. Kinda cool.)

    Long story short: as a pro, he only has some “tears in my cuff” operated on in November 1993, but he was pitching by the end of spring training 1994, so it doesn’t meet your criteria. After that, no surgery.

    Here’s a year-by-year summary since 1995:

    1995: Pitches 3 2/3 innings for Detroit. ERA is 14.73. He never makes it back to the Tigers…finishes the year in AA Jacksonville. He goes on the DL for tendinitis–Whiteside says unjustly. No major surgery.

    1996: Gets sent to AA Jacksonville. He doesn’t like the manager and feels like he’s not getting enough innings. Asks to be demoted to A Lakeland. Pitches there, and gets promoted back to Jacksonville when they change managers to Larry Parrish.

    1997: AA Memphis. No big surgeries, but “my arm never really felt right and I kept rehabbing.”

    1998: Claimed as Rule V acquisition by Yankees, but released in spring training. Calls it quits when he doesn’t hook on anywhere else.

    Amazed I could actually contribute!

  6. TeacherRefPoet on August 28th, 2005 12:13 pm

    Whiteside had TJ surgery while at UNC-Charlotte. (I see you remarked on college surgery for Henkel, so I thought I’d throw that in.)