St Louis Cardinals Team Health Report: 2013 Injury Risk for Every Starter

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St Louis Cardinals Team Health Report: 2013 Injury Risk for Every Starter
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Mike Matheny and Greg Hauck help a player off the field.

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 Ranking: 10th best of 30 teams in DL days and dollars lost

Biggest Injury: Chris Carpenter, $22 million (single largest injury cost in MLB) lost value

Head Athletic Trainer: Greg Hauck

Figuring out who to credit and blame for injury stats is difficult. Does a healthy pitching staff mean that the medical staff kept them healthy and handled their recovery? Does it mean that the front office signed or drafted good pitchers? Did the development staff bring a number of guys up and give the staff depth in addition to strength?

The St. Louis Cardinals had the end of an era come with a bit of a rolling end point. Tony La Russa is a year gone, Greg Hauck has led the medical staff for a couple of years and with Dave Duncan officially gone, it's fully to a new era. That lack of a clean break makes it tougher to give the credit or to separate how much of La Russa was Duncan, who was responsible for so many great pitchers over their time together.

The fully new staff starts with an anchor attached. Chris Carpenter informed the team that he wasn't going to be able to go at the start of the season. In the last year of his deal, he'll tack on 180 days of DL time and $10.5 million to the injury stats. This points to one of the problems with injury stats: They don't always happen in the year where they have to be accounted for, but there's not a better way available. 

Carpenter's absence puts more pressure on Jaime Garcia, coming back from an injury himself, and the young guys at the back of the rotation. We got a good indication of how Mike Matheny will deal with that last year, and it was a positive.

The biggest injury situation in the field is Matt Holliday. His lingering back issues threaten to derail both his power and speed with four more years left on his big contract. If the medical staff can't get Holliday to take his health seriously at the start of the season, before things start to build up, they'll find themselves in the same situation as they did last year, perhaps much sooner.

The success the staff had with Carlos Beltran in his first year with the team gives some hope for how they could deal with Holliday, this year and beyond. The team allowed Beltran to play in a style that recalled his peak, despite a knee problem that seemed to have him severely limited. The team even acknowledges that it pushed him a bit further last year than it had hoped despite the success.

There's a lot of threads to put together and again, figuring out how to account for all of it will be impossible from the outside. As long as the Cardinals win, anything else will be secondary.

Click ahead for the Cardinals. 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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