All sports are paying more attention to concussions here recently and MLB is no different. Fortunately, there is not a high incidence of concussions in baseball, although you would not be able to tell that from watching the Mets. In 2012, there were nine concussions documented by The Concussion Blog from Opening Day to the All-Star break and two of those were suffered by members of the Mets.
Josh Thole suffered one in early May and Jason Bay had one in mid June. Unfortunately, it was not the first concussion for either player. Thole says he had previous concussions in the minor leagues in both 2007 and 2008. Meanwhile, Bay had a season-ending concussion injury in 2010, his first with the Mets.
Thole has been noticeably worse since his concussion while Bay has been worse off, too. Here are their pre and post-concussion splits:
Pre — .284/.356/.370 (92 PA)
Post – .224/.278/.265 (239 PA)
Pre — .187/.253/.373 (83 PA)
Post – .135/.222/.221 (117 PA)
The Mets have had two other high-profile concussions in the recent past. David Wright suffered one after he was beaned by a Matt Cain fastball in August of 2009 while Ryan Church experienced one after being kneed by Yunel Escobar in May of 2008. Here are their respective splits:
Pre — .324/.414/.467 (497 PA)
Post – .239/.289/.367 (121 PA)
Pre — .300/.365/.522
Post – .219/.305/.307
Church returned briefly after his concussion but was soon placed on the DL again after experiencing post-concussion syndrome. The above “post” numbers for Church are when he returned from his second DL stint.
Our sample is way too small to make any judgments but it is worth noting that all four players were worse after returning from their concussion. There is no rule that says it has to be this way, though. Carlos Santana is one of the nine players to suffer a concussion in the first half of 2012 and here are his splits:
Pre — .245/.360/.387 (189 PA)
Post – .258/.358/.437 (355 PA)
Some other recent concussions suffered by Mets players include: Angel Pagan and Lucas Duda late in the 2011 season and Mike Cameron in 2005. Cameron suffered his when both he and Carlos Beltran collided while chasing down a fly ball. Mike Piazza also had a concussion in 2005, after he was hit in the head by a pitch from Julian Tavarez in early September. In 2000, Piazza suffered a concussion after being hit by Roger Clemens, which forced him to miss the All-Star game. In an article about this concussion, Roger Rubin stated, “It is the fourth or fifth concussion Piazza has suffered since he joined the Mets…” Bob Apodaca had one in 1975 while Jon Matlack had one in 1973 after being hit in the face with a batted ball by Marty Perez. Jim McAndrew had one in 1971 after a collision while shagging balls in the outfield during batting practice. If you know of any other Mets concussions, please list them in the comments section.
We still have a lot to learn about concussions but at the very least we know not to expect the player to just “shake it off” after he experiences one.