Sunday, August 20, 2006

Will Carroll Interview

This week I interviewed Will Carroll (Baseball Prospectus writer). Will does a column called ‘Under the Knife’ for Baseball Prospectus ( where he describes and analyzes different baseball injuries. For the last few Newberg Days at the Ballpark, Will has flown to Dallas to do Q&A sessions and is always very interesting and friendly.

The interview is below.

1. How serious is Kip Wells’ injury?

Will said that this is a tough question right now because there’s not much information on his injury. Injuries below the waist are always a concern for pitchers because that’s where a pitcher’s drive comes from. He said that the Rangers weren’t expecting much from Wells so anything they get from him is a plus. He’s not too worried about the Wells injury because the Rangers have some starting pitching depth in the minor leagues to call up. When talking about their pitching depth, he mentioned Diamond, Danks, and Hurley, but I don’t think he was saying they were all ready to be called up.

2. How serious is Brad Wilkerson’s injury?

He called it “pretty bad.” There are rotator cuff and labrum issues but they won’t know exactly what’s going on until they open him up. He’s had MRI’s but doctors don’t always agree on interpreting MRI’s. Will said that he’s not too worried because position players tend to come back from shoulder injuries. He mentioned how well Richie Sexson has come back. Also, Wilkerson will be in his contract year next year so Scott Boras will make sure he gets in the right rehab programs.

3. How close is Frank Francisco to recovering?

“I wish I had a good answer to that.” There have been a number of pitchers with Tommy John setbacks this year. Even a one-day setback can result in a two-month delay as they prove themselves and get physically ready again. “You just don’t know with these guys. I don’t have a good answer.”

4. Will Kameron Loe’s injury affect the rest of his career?

“You certainly hope not.” He said that it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on because there aren’t many pitchers as tall as Loe to compare with. Loe has overcome this sort of thing before. Will thinks that Loe will probably be a reliever because he hasn’t been able to stay healthy as a starter. I asked if Kameron Loe would be a good closer. Will thinks that he has the stuff to do it but might not have the temperament. He mentioned Thomas Diamond as someone who does have the right temperament.

5. Do you think Adam Eaton has fully recovered from his injury?

“It certainly looks that way.” Will has seen no indication that he’s had any problems whatsoever since returning.

6. What is the worst possible injury a player can have?

His first reaction was to say taking a pitch off the head but then he mentioned that lots of people have come back from that. So, he changed his answer to back injuries. They’re tough to diagnose and treat and are very painful. They take away a player’s power and can take a long time to heal.

7. Who do you think will win the World Series and against who?

Will thinks the Yankees will be tough to beat and are clearly the favorite. He doesn’t like how the A’s look, especially with Huston Street going down. He thinks that really opens up opportunities for the Rangers and Angels. In the NL, no one looks good. He has no confidence in the Dodgers and thinks Glavine’s injury will really hurt the Mets.

8. How do you get all your information about player injuries?

“A lot of phone calls.” He talks to doctors and team sources and reads beat reports. He said it’s a 24 hour/day job and is getting more complex.

9. How did you get your Baseball Prospectus job?

“Luck and hard work.” He was doing ‘Under the Knife’ and got noticed. He had a unique product available when Baseball Prospectus went to their Premium Content model and they thought he could help them. He hopes he has.

10. According to you might be moving to ESPN. Is this true?

Will said, “I am not allowed to comment at this stage.”

11. What I’ve read is that you’ve been seen coming out of ESPN offices and have started resigning from your current jobs, so it sounds like the rumor is true. Can you please comment on the story?

Will hesitated at this point and said that he could tell me that he’s not resigning from Baseball Prospectus and that nothing is changing there. He also commented that working at ESPN would be great. He said that he couldn’t comment beyond that.

12. Come on, the stories make it sound like it’s true. What can you tell me about it?

Will said that the opportunity to move to ESPN would be welcome and also mentioned that he’s covered football in the past.

13. I’m just a kid – can you give me a break and let me know if the rumors are true?

Will said, “I won’t say that you’re wrong. I hope to be able to announce something later this week.”

14. If you begin work with ESPN, will you still be covering injuries? If so, for which sport?

Will said that he will still be covering injuries because that’s his niche. He says he’ll do whatever his employer(s) ask of him in that area.

15. Which show will you be on and how often will you be on?

Will said, “I can confirm I’m talking about TV possibilities.” He also said that he thinks he would fit into lots of ESPN’s shows. He especially mentioned that ESPN has made a big commitment to doing shows about fantasy sports. He said that he thought he could fit into a fantasy sports show at ESPN.

He also mentioned that he would like to work on Baseball Tonight but that there was nothing planned near term.

16. How did this change come about?

He said that he couldn’t comment on this.

17. What made you decide to add this job?

Will said that it was just an additional opportunity and that he really can’t comment.

18. What is the biggest difference between covering football and baseball?

Will said that the biggest difference is the timing. Baseball is played every day so a one-week injury can cost a player 6 games, while in football it would only cost him one game. He also said that in football there are different sorts of injuries than in baseball (for example, there are more collision injuries in football). Also, in football, there are more contextual issues related to injuries. An injury to an offensive lineman not only impacts that player, but also how the other members of the offense play as they compensate for the lineman’s injury. For example, the running back may have more blocking responsibilities and the quarterback may have to release the ball quicker, giving the wide receiver less chances to catch the ball.

19. When are you going to make the move to ESPN?

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to announce something later this week.”

Based on the information he gave me, I think Will Carroll will begin working for ESPN and will work on some of the fantasy football shows that they’re in the process of developing. I think his role on these shows will be to analyze injuries that occur to players and how those injuries will affect not only the injured player’s fantasy performance but also the performance of other players on their team. I think that he will begin his work at ESPN before the football season starts. It is also clear that he will continue his current Baseball Prospectus work.

I would like to thank Will for doing this interview. It was really really nice of him. Be sure to check out his work at Baseball Prospectus and, soon, at ESPN.

Come back next week when hopefully I’ll finally post a story on and brief interview with Tulsa Drillers closer Jim Miller.


Ken Pittman said...

You continue to get better and better at these interviews. This one not only made me laugh quite a bit, but it also resulted in an incredible amount of information. Well done. You have a special gift for this.

grantlovesbaseball said...

Hi Ken - Thank you so much for leaving these comments. I hope my guess about Will moving to ESPN was right.


David said...

Great interview Grant. You were relentless in getting the answer about the ESPN job. Hopefully, in about 12 years, we'll be seeing you on ESPN. Either in the highlight reels as a player or on-screen as an analyst.

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