Is Zeus Injury-Prone?
call the meat wagon


On the one hand, kudos to G-Money who was gracious about no "I tolja's."  :- )  

I'm a Dilbert/Scott Adams fan ... well, not in the sense of considering him an "authority" as one wag asked me in his Twitter feed.  The goal is to benefit from everybody's wisdom, to gather ideas from each person, as opposed to picking a few "authorities" who speak from On High.  Personally I find the tree of Adams' writings to bear handfuls of low-hanging fruit.

Adams preaches relentlessly that --- > ALL worldviews can fit the past into themselves.  The test for self-aware people is whether your paradigm is making successful predictions.

G has viewed Paxton as subject to sprains and sproings, and well, here's another one, so tip o' the kelly to him first.



I'm happy to predict James Paxton 2018 as being as likely to make 25, 30, 32 starts as any other starter.  (By "anybody" we except a handful of pitchers like Chris Sale, Randy Johnson, etc., who seem to be made of Gumby rubber.)

And it's good news that the doctors -- who are pretty blinkin' good with those imaging machines these days, lemme tell ya -- say "three weeks optimistically" on Paxton.  If we have to win 2-of-4 for him, or 3-of-5, well, I'll be here.  :- )

Which is all G said too.  Classy, man.


My understanding is that GM's don't generally take a nick here, a ding there, a dent the other place as "injury prone."  Iwakuma's wear and tear in the shoulder, that's another thing.  But tearing a fingernail off?  Turning an ankle over a base?  GM's don't discount contracts based on that.  James Paxton comes back from his pectoral to Lightning Bolt people in September, I'll guarantee you that as a free agent Boras would get him $200M.



The below is a brilliant and important point, I think.  The human mind has a very powerful impulse to assign patterns.  And it should!  Many "superstitions" -- accidental positive reinforcement -- are false patterns.  Like black cats crossing your path.  But other "superstitions" had a basis.  "I drank some chicken soup and my cold went away."  Lo and behold we find chemicals in the soup that affect white blood cells.  Some superstitions and old wives' tales kept primitive man alive.

Don't underestimate your brain's desire to see tendencies.  Here is James on the subject:


How often does it happen that a player has three straight seasons losing 30 days or more to injuries, then goes on to continue his career relatively injury-free? Is there such a thing as being injury-prone for a while and then getting over it?
Asked by: Robert Fiore

Answered: 6/15/2011

Paul Molitor comes to mind.  

The human mind, in its relentless effort to understand everything, to have an explanation for everything, often stitches together events that are totally unrelated to one another.   A player may have a broken arm one year, the mumps the next year and a serious charley horse the third year, and people will say that he's injury prone.   The reality is that these are unrelated events that merely happened to settle on the same unlucky person, and there's really no reason to believe that he will continue to be unlucky.  

Certainly there is SOME tendency for injuries to cluster on individuals, because many types of injuries don't really go away when they go into remission.   If you have back trouble, you're going to have back trouble.     It is my belief that, in certain cases, people generalize inappropriately from unrelated injuries. - Bill


Of course, it's possible that Paxton has genetically-inferior soft tissue.  He made 31 starts last year and 21 so far this year, has not had shoulder/elbow joint problems, and I like loose easy velocity for pitcher injury prediction.  Your mileage may vary.  I'll draft him #2 next year after Sale.  Hope his pec responds this year.


Dr D


tjm's picture

. . . I spent 18 months in a neuroscience lab. This might be useful background. James's intutition is spot on. Part of what I leanred is that the mammalian brain is at its base level an hypthosis generating machine. Here's a passage illustrating that:

(Gary) Lynch was introduced to Rick Granger, a computer scientist recently arrived in Irvine from Yale. Granger had what he thought was a fantastic neural network model based on the work of the Swiss theorist Jean Piaget.

“Flabbergasted hardly begins to describe my reaction to this,” Lynch said. “I knew from some obscure course at Princeton that Piaget was total crap, and Rick's model had no neural in it, at least as seen on this particular planet. ‘Son,’ I says, ‘no idea what goes on back there at MIT and Yale, but you needs to get yourself into a man's world. Let's put those empirically derived learning rules into a simulation.’ ”

Granger went to work building a computer model of a learning system incorporating what Lynch had learned about LTP, (long term potentiation, a theorized process by which memories are made) in particular the timing rules dictated by the interactions of the AMPA and NMDA receptors and theta rhythms. The simulation used the random access storage system of the olfactory cortex as its base model. Granger ran multiple simulations on the model. He installed a computer terminal in Lynch’s office, with very precise rules about which keys Lynch could touch and which he could not, so that Lynch could examine the results of the simulations.

“One night, I am sitting in my trailer across from the university credit union, punching away on the machine . . . . and a network using LTP rules starts making categories - and then categories of categories,” Lynch said. “There's a moment to live for.”

It was astonishing. The machine – with heavy 2001: A Space Odyssey HAL implications about exactly who was really in charge here -  took over. Or, more precisely, Granger’s simulated network took over, and began building an utterly new system. The system, remarkably, was self-organizing. It was downright spooky.

“If you take the olfactory cortex and model it biologically and realistically and you use LTP rules, the thing automatically makes hierarchical categories,” Lynch said. “In other words, it goes, animal, bird, robin in three successive iterations without us telling it ever to do that. It just does that. The capacity of the thing is just dumbfounding. . . . It is a magnificent machine for assembling disparate things in the environment into categories and treating them as wholes and stacking categories on top of each other. It’s astounding.

“Fundamentally built into the circuitry of sensory type cortex, again with random connections, built into it is the way we feel the world. You don’t walk out onto the street and look up and see a car bearing down on you and say, `Oh, a Chevrolet Impala.’ You say, `Car.’ And then if you want more information, you go down the hierarchy, you take another look and another look and another look and you just go down the hierarchy using this first observation. You go through your life in thought using broad concepts and then you go down the hierarchy.”

Lynch was fond of saying that if you weren’t being surprised, if you weren’t learning completely unanticipated things, you weren’t making discoveries,  you weren’t really doing science. The results of the neural simulations were utterly unexpected, or even imagined. Granger and Lynch had stumbled upon what seemed to be fundamental insights into a mammalian learning process that reshaped the world even as it was taking it in. If the model was correct, categorization took place inside the brain unconsciously at the neural cellular level. LTP sculpted the world even as it was being experienced. Such a system ought to multiply the storage capacity of the cortex many times by the mere fact of making the categories. H


The M's have had a lot more little, middling, lingering injuries in general.

At least, I feel like we haven't seen this many DL stints in the past, though it may be partly because the 10-day DL instead of the 15-day DL.

However, it feels like it's a conditioning issue.

Talk to the boys in blue & green next door maybe?

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