Pittsburgh Pirates Team Health Report: 2013 Injury Risk for Every Starter

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Pittsburgh Pirates Team Health Report: 2013 Injury Risk for Every Starter
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Clint Hurdle looks on as Ben Potenziano does his job.

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: 5th of 30 teams in DL days and dollars lost

Biggest Injury: Charlie Morton, $5.4 million lost value

Head Athletic Trainer: Todd Tomczyk

The Pittsburgh Pirates took a lot of flack over their "Navy SEAL training program." You know, like the one that the Philadelphia Eagles are adopting, actually hiring a strength coach who worked with the SEALs at Little Creek. Fitness as boot camp and fitness as a sport, such as the phenomenally successful Crossfit franchise, is widespread. 

Baseball moves at a glacial pace, and while I can't agree with all the things that the Pirates tried to do with their "SEAL program," it's a far cry from the Junction Boys or even the kind of things Rick Pitino regularly does in practice at Louisville. In fact, over 100 teams plus several U,S, Olympic teams use similar drills to what the Pirates did. None took the same kind of flak from their media.

Just the idea that a baseball team would try something new is difficult. This is a sport that resisted weightlifting into the mid-80s and that still doesn't have a strength and conditioning coach at every level. A crusade like the one that's been undertaken against this program is nearly Luddite, which is the problem with most of baseball.

The Pirates' run of losing seasons is nearly old enough to drink, so I'm down for anything short of genetic manipulation if it means the Pirates might have a chance at .500 or, god forbid, a playoff run. Instead, new thinking gets the high hat, whether it's an algorithm or an all-out workout by moonlight. 

Indeed, this is the problem. The Pirates didn't win after trying something new. Baseball is a win-now sport, and there's less patience in Pittsburgh than anywhere. Win, and scribes will trip over themselves to find a storyline or to find a chemistry tale that explains it all. Baseball needs less chemistry crap and a lot more good old-fashioned research, but without wins, it's ignored. Moneyball is derided by many as nothing but a good movie because the A's don't have a ring.

Nothing's going to work until something does. There won't be stories about what happened in 2010 or 2001 even though they could well have as much to do with winning as something that happened just now and fits onto the front page nicely.

If the Pirates are to win, the tipping point may have already happened, but we won't see it and will likely forget it. No one noticed that the Pirates were in the top 10 when it came to injury stats either, because once again, it didn't translate to wins. 


Click ahead for the Pirates. 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
AL West Houston L.A. Oakland Seattle Texas
NL East Atlanta 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.  

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