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: 13
Biggest Injury: Ryan Dempster, $3.7 million
Head Athletic Trainer: Mark O'Neal
The Chicago Cubs appear to finally be doing something about their biggest problem. No, it's not that century without a World Series title, though that's bad too. The biggest issue is the smallest training room.
Wrigley Field was built before such a thing had even been thought of. Most teams didn't have full-time athletic trainers until well into the 1960s, and even into the 1980s, there was no standard for how these people would be certified. Believe it or not, there remains one grandfathered head trainer who is not NATA-certified. There might be more of an issue if it wasn't Herm Schneider, the White Sox trainer who put up the best injury stats of 2001 to 2010.
I can remember my first time seeing the Wrigley Field training room, and as someone who more or less grew up in training rooms, it was a shock. It was about the size of the office for the athletic trainer that the Pittsburgh Pirates had built at their new PNC Park. The Wrigley Field training room was on par with a decent Division III school. Maybe. Except a lot older and darker.
There were none of the modern tools like anti-gravity treadmills or SwimEx machines. Cold lasers? You must be kidding. Still, the medical staffs have made do for the better part of 30 years with this renovated but still sub-standard facility.
Over the next few years, the renovations at Wrigley should get Mark O'Neal into the 21st century. As clubs have built new stadiums, one of the biggest effects has been on injury stats. There are still traumas, but maintenance gets a clear bump, and there's some evidence that prevention might be helped. This effect tends to be lasting, since new facilities tend to be a bit overbuilt.
If the Cubs can get that done about the same time as the roster rebuilding that Jed Hoyer is undertaking, maybe that whole winning the World Series thing could be next.
Click ahead for the Cubs. 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.