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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Pickoff Moves

Original Dodger Organist Passes

Bob Mitchell, the original Dodger Stadium organist (he also played at Angels games when the team was in Chavez Ravine) passed away Saturday at 96.

Ronald Belisario Returns To LA For An MRI On His Elbow

Interesting. Cory Wade got the callup; Jon wonders whether his troubles might have started on the three consecutive days he pitched in May (the 16th through the 18th).

Stan Conte, Injury Psychic?

Well, he thinks he can predict them, anyway, using not the music of the spheres or counting crows or any such divination, but using actuarial data.
The ability to predict how players’ bodies will fare is a holy grail. With an actuarial approach, Conte seems to have a head start in the pursuit. He is trying to build a formula that would give teams a competitive advantage and help them avoid players who spend their days in the training room and not on the field.

“The insurance industry has made millions of dollars off figuring out how, when, where and why people are going to die, and we are trying to figure those things out about injuries,” Conte said.

Every major league team and scores of independent analysts are trying to understand why injuries strike certain players. But Conte said his effort is more advanced because his data has been compiled over 15 years as a trainer for the San Francisco Giants and now the Dodgers. He has had hands-on interaction with hundreds of players before and after their injuries, and his observations and medical records inform his hypotheses.

Conte also draws on the analytical prowess of David Zes and Adam Sugano, statisticians who teach at U.C.L.A., and Matt Marks, an employee in the Dodgers’ baseball operations department. They are building mathematical formulas that they hope will show the chances a player will be injured within the next season.

“This project couldn’t have been done 5 to 10 years ago,” Sugano said. “There weren’t enough numbers, and there wasn’t access to lots of the numbers. The numbers weren’t being collected, and those that were weren’t the cleanest. And 20 years ago, there wasn’t the computational power. It didn’t exist.”

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