Will Carroll has produced an annual Team Health Report for each MLB team for 12 years. The report gives risk ratings for every player in the expected starting lineup and starting rotation, plus two relievers. A proprietary formula sets a baseline according to a player's age and position. It is adjusted by 12 factors, including injury history, team history and expected workload.
This risk rating is classified into three tiers—red (high risk), yellow (medium risk) and green (lower risk). It should be used as a guideline and is about probability, not prediction. To learn more about how the Team Health Reports are devised, click on this article.
2012 Rank: 1st out of 30 teams in DL days and dollars lost
Biggest Injury: Joey Votto, $8.9 million lost value
Head Athletic Trainer: Paul Lessard
Injuries happen in sports. It’s the nature of the beast. Having physically gifted and rigorously tuned men or women pushing themselves as hard as they can over the course of a season is going to take its toll, and sometimes there is little anyone can do to prevent it. But to simply look at that landscape, throw up one’s hands and weep for the inevitable injuries that cannot be prevented would be quitter talk.
The Cincinnati Reds used to struggle mightily with injuries, having about 1,000 days lost to players on the disabled list was commonplace prior to 2010. The arrival of current athletic trainer Paul Lessard changed that, dropping the team’s averaged missed days down under 700, which puts them consistently among the best in Major League Baseball.
One of the reasons Lessard, Dr. Tim Kremchek and the rest of the Reds medical staff were presented with the Martin-Monahan Award for the best medical staff in baseball is how quickly he was able to bring the Reds not only up to average but even ahead of the curve. It takes more than one man to change a team’s culture, and Lessard has been fortunate to have a team built around such stalwarts as Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, but it is still an impressive feat to take a team’s weakness and make it a strength so quickly.
Looking ahead, while Lessard and his staff won’t have too many particularly injury-prone players to deal with, they will have a rather unique challenge given the team’s plans to convert Aroldis Chapman to a starter. There isn’t a pattern to follow, and other than concerns about fatigue, there’s no specific injury that Chapman is predisposed to, which makes Lessard’s challenge greater.
The added workload is going to tax his body—that much is sure—but whether it pushes him all the way to the disabled list may well come down to Lessard’s ability to diagnose and treat smaller injuries before they have the chance to become major ones. Fortunately for Chapman and his teammates, the team's medical staff is well suited to just that task.
This report was written with the assistance of Dan Wade. You can read more of Dan's work at SI.com and Fangraphs.
Click ahead for the Reds. Here are links to all the teams' reports.
|AL East||Baltimore||Boston||New York||Tampa Bay||Toronto|
|AL Central||Chicago||Cleveland||Detroit||Kansas City||Minnesota|
Miami ||New York||Philadelphia||Washington|
|NL Central||Chicago||Cincinnati||Milwaukee||Pittsburgh||St. Louis|
|NL West||Arizona||Colorado||L.A.||San Diego||S.F.|
Will Carroll is the Lead Writer for Sports Medicine at Bleacher Report. He has written about sports injuries and related topics for 12 years. His column is called "the industry standard" by Hall of Famer Peter Gammons.