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: 21th best of 30 teams in DL days and dollars lost
Biggest Injury: Scott Sizemore, $5.5 million lost value
Head Athletic Trainer: Nick Paparesta
The Oakland Athletics made a change in their medical staff, going to young former Rays assistant Nick Paparesta. The changes since then have been positive, with the A's getting results that are somewhat disguised by the lingering effects of an overreliance on young pitchers.
The data shows that just over 50 percent of pitchers will go on the DL in a given three-year period. The numbers aren't good in one-year samples either. Young pitchers break down at an even higher rate, and when those are elbow or shoulder injuries, as the A's have seen far too many of, they can really rack up the days lost quickly and across seasons, as happened with Brett Anderson.
The A's have been forced down this path due to their economic situation, as well as their pathologic need for contrarianism. There was an interesting shift with one trade, bringing in Jarrod Parker for another young and talented pitcher in Trevor Cahill. The pitchers are comparable, and the difference in salary and even team control is negligible.
The real difference is that Parker was coming off Tommy John surgery and Cahill has been healthy. To look at it another way, Parker's already had his and maybe Cahill hasn't. This is the kind of arbitrage advantage that Billy Beane and David Forst are always looking for, and this one might have been influenced by the new medical staff.
The team is never going to be pristine. Health is very costly in terms of acquisition, but it's cheap in terms of medical staff, research and the other "soft costs" that teams tend to skimp on. The biggest budget for a medical staff might approach that of a fifth-round pick's bonus now.
In Europe, some of the top football clubs have a rule: They spend one Euro on sports science for every 100 Euros they spend on payroll. The A's could do that, easily, and bring on the next Moneyball.
Click ahead for the A's. 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.