MLB - The So What (6/1/17)

By Frank Brank @realfrankbrank
Getting back to normal, let's take a dive into three key players that hit the disabled list over the past week: Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, and Mike Trout.

Dustin Pedroia Hits the DL
Dustin Pedroia isn't the player he used to be when he was reaching AL MVP considerations and signed a huge deal with the Red Sox. Nonetheless, he's still a productive player in all aspects of the game. Now, he's on the disabled list with a severe wrist sprain; however, the silver lining is the lack of fracture or ligament damage. Wrist injuries aren't the easiest to come back from when trying to swing wooden sticks at 100 mph projectiles, but the lack of fracture or ligament damage should allow Pedroia to return in a normal timeframe.

Pedroia has supported a115 wRC+ and 120 wRC+ over the last two seasons, which incredibly productive for a second baseman. He slipped some at the start of this season but was still providing a 102 wRC+ and plus defense. He's also never had a full season of negative impact in defensive value, including 12 defensive runs saved last season.

What does it mean?
Dustin Pedroia is a better, more productive player than any option the Red Sox will use to fill his spot. Josh Rutledge is a replacement level player and seems to be getting the call in the early going as Brock Holt and Marco Hernandez are also on the disabled list. Per our projections, Petey is worth about two and a half wins for the remainder of the season to the Red Sox. Given that he should miss a few weeks with a wrist sprain, his injury would cost Boston about half of a win assuming Pedroia does not end up missing additional time. Even without Pedroia for an extended period, the Red Sox are still the best team in the AL East and are projected to edge the Yankees for first place in the division.

Ian Kinsler Tweaks Hamstring
For a team full of potentially catastrophic contracts, the Tigers' front office got a huge bargain on Ian Kinsler. Since signing with the Tigers in 2014, Kinsler has had his best run of seasons, compiling 15.2 fWAR in the previous three seasons. In the early-going, Kinsler was struggling a bit at the plate by slashing .239/.331/.365, but he nearly doubled his walk rate and reduced his strikeouts by more than 3%. Even with the early struggles, due to a low BABIP (mostly bad luck on balls in play), Kinsler has provided about a win above replacement to the Tigers.

Now, Kinsler finds himself on the disabled list after tweaking his hamstring. Dixon Machado and Andrew Romine will be splitting duties with Kinsler down. The Tigers expect this to be a short stint on the disabled list, likely not much more than the new 10-day eligibility.

What does it mean?
With such a short stint, even a high caliber player like Kinsler isn't going to have a huge impact on any team. If the injury more persistent than expected, Kinsler's absence could have an impact of a quarter of a win to the Tigers, assuming he doesn't miss more time later. The Tigers should be careful and give Kinsler enough time to get fully healthy. Losing him for an extended period of time will be much more detrimental to their season than an extra game or two this week. Currently ranked 18th in our rankings, sitting at 25-28 for the season, and projected for 77.8 wins, the Tigers will have an uphill climb to the playoffs, with or without Kinsler.

Mike Trout Slides to DL
Mike Trout is the best player in baseball; that isn't up for debate. He's well on his way to becoming one of the greatest players to pick up a baseball bat and glove. Not to mention, Trout started this season on a tear, slashing .337/.461/.742 with a 231 wRC+. He tallied 3.4 wins above replacement in just 47 games. It's near impossible to overstate how remarkable his start has been. Trout has added even more power to his game this season as he's already added 16 home runs after hitting just 29 last season. However, the excitement will be on hold for a while as Trout finds himself on the disabled list for 6-8 weeks due to wrist surgery.

It's truly unfortunate timing for the Angels. After a handful of down seasons, the Angels have started .500 and are well within the running for a wild card spot in the American League. Given the Houston Astros are in their division, they have nearly no chance in winning the AL West. Their wild card aspirations are likely going to dry up with Mike Trout, the far-and-away most valuable player in baseball, missing nearly two months.

What does it mean?
Over the course of 6-8 weeks, Trout could miss up to 50 games. Given the idea that even he couldn't continue his insane pace for this season, we would have anticipated Trout to be worth 6.3 wins to the Angels for the remainder of the season. After wrist surgery, he could miss nearly half of the Angels remaining games; thus, his absence will cost the Angels 2.8 wins in the upcoming weeks. Previously, the Angels were projected for about 78 wins, according to our rankings. That projected win total will reduce to about 75 wins in Mike Trout's absence, putting their playoff hopes in jeopardy.