Woodrum: Predicting Tommy John surgeries

From Bradley Woodrum at MLB Trade Rumors on February 23, 2016:

From Derick Velazquez in January to Lance Lynn in November, there were 112 ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injuries requiring reconstructive surgery — commonly called Tommy John Surgery (TJS) — in the 2015 season. Once a career-killer, UCL injuries have become a much more survivable injury over the last 30 years. And while more and more players are successfully returning from TJS, the procedure itself is a catastrophic event and requires a minimum of a year to recover.

That makes predicting UCL injuries a valuable and worthy endeavor. From the GM to the fantasy owner, being able to steer away from players with early warnings signs of UCL injuries can save a team’s season. The red flags for UCL injuries are not big, though, and many UCL injuries appear from nowhere. But using a large data set, culled from a variety of valuable resources, we can find the tiny red flags, the little baby red flags.

For the past seven months, I have been working with Tim Dierkes and his staff to develop a model to predict Tommy John surgery. The creation of this model required, quite literally, hundreds of thousands of lines of data and hundreds of man hours to combine and connect and test data from a variety of disparate sources. The project also took, as a sacrifice, one of my computer’s CPUs, which burned out shortly after completing some herculean computations. Fare thee well, i7.

Read the full article here: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2016/02/predicting-tommy-john-surgeries.html

Originally published: March 13, 2016. Last Updated: March 13, 2016.