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: 7th best of 30 teams in DL days and dollars lost
Biggest Injury: Scott Baker, $7.7 million lost value
Head Athletic Trainer: Dave Pruemer
Despite having a much healthier season in 2012 than they had in either of the previous two years, the Minnesota Twins enter 2013 with a new head trainer despite the top-10 finish in injury stats. Dave Pruemer inherits a team whose best players may be his biggest challenges, but whose most problematic players from last season likely won’t end up on his table again this year.
Of the Twins’ 13 DL stints in 2012, only two came from players who are likely to open 2013 on the 25-man roster. Every Twin who missed more than 23 days last season is either off the team entirely or very unlikely to spend any serious time in the majors.
While he may not have to spend his time solving last year’s problems, Pruemer will have his hands full with the players that remain with the team. His job has the added degree of difficulty in that the team’s best players are also some of the most injury prone.
Joe Mauer was healthy last year, but he hasn’t avoided the disabled list in consecutive seasons since 2005-06. Justin Morneau’s concussion seems to finally be behind him, but his wrists have bothered him on and off in his career. Josh Willingham was remarkably healthy last year, but he, too, has struggled to stay off the DL in consecutive seasons.
Perhaps Pruemer’s biggest challenge will be with his young pitching staff. As of right now, the Twins' rotation will open the year with pitchers ages 24, 25, 26, 29 and 32, giving them a median age of 26. As important as those first five are, monitoring the health of 25-year-old Kyle Gibson may be Pruemer’s most important task this year.
Gibson, the team’s top pitching prospect, is expected to join the team at some point, but his 2011 Tommy John surgery has the team looking to limit his innings, which may mean he opens the year at Triple-A. While Gibson shouldn’t be struggling with any lingering effects of his surgery some 20 months after going under the knife, he is an integral part of the Twins’ future plans, and any setback now would be as damaging to the team spiritually as it would be to Gibson physically.
This season doesn’t look particularly promising for the Twins, but healthy seasons from people like Willingham and Ryan Doumit makes it possible that they could be traded during the season. Neither will bring back a tide-changing return, but with the team looking to return to relevance soon, even a mid-level prospect who will reach the majors in two or three years is more valuable to the team than either aging hitter is now.
This Team Health Report was written with the assistance of Dan Wade. More of Dan's work can be viewed at SI.com and Fangraphs.com.
Click ahead for the Twins. 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.