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: 14th best of 30 teams in DL days and dollars lost
Biggest Injury: Rafael Perez, $1.9 million
Head Athletic Trainer: Lonnie Soloff
The Cleveland Indians had a rather eventful offseason by bringing in fresh faces, while letting go some of the past. Gone are the days of Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner—two talented but extremely injury prone players. They are replaced with consistent solid contributors with little injury risks in Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds. Think of it as production over potential.
The front office has shifted from more of a high risk high ceiling lineup to a low risk low ceiling lineup. This is arguably a better team than the ones fielded in the past few years because of the consistency and low injury risk of most players on the roster. This is evident in the subtraction of many injury prone players, the Indians have gone from 7 “red flag” players going into the 2010 season, to just 2 this season.
There are questions about the Indians' data-driven methodology, mostly because it's lacked results. While the front office of the Indians is filled with some of the smartest guys around, including Keith Woolner, the creator of VORP, all the smarts in the world don't help a losing team. There's no suggestion yet that the front office is in danger, but getting a bit healthier might help the team.
Certainly, the team has been hamstrung by injuries. Sizemore might well be the symbol of the Indians' futility over the past couple seasons. The changes should reduce the days spent on the DL by players. Last season time spent on the DL by Indians players totaled about 800 days, putting the Indians right at the midpoint of the league, but there was a great deal of talent lost in that 800 days as well.
With the solid work of Lonnie Soloff and his staff (which has becoming prime ground for recruiting, including the new head trainers in Kansas City and Boston), the Indians should be among the healthiest teams in the league this coming season. Soloff is known for his rehab work in the past with Ken Griffrey Jr. and gives the team a real rehab advantage.
With the addition of veterans this offseason, Soloff's work should help them maximize their playing time. The more these new acquisitions are able to play, the higher chance these Indians have at a postseason in a division that might help them shoot for a Wild Card.
This report was prepared with the assistance of Richard Ke. Richard works as Will Carroll's research assistant and attends Washington University in St. Louis.
Click ahead for the Indians. 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.