Under the Knife: Injury Risk Keys Draft, Plus Harper, Strasburg, Kemp and More

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Under the Knife: Injury Risk Keys Draft, Plus Harper, Strasburg, Kemp and More
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were drafted not so long ago, but the health questions they face now were also brought up at that draft. People seem to be putting more importance on the draft since players do seem to be coming up more quickly. There are five already in the big leagues from last year's draft.

That makes assessing future health as much a key as assessing any other skill—and yes, health is a skill. 

The downside is that there's no real way to capture this information. Scouts are left guessing at biomechanics, talking to coaches and travel teams to dig up any injury history and hoping that there's nothing that was missed. They do a great job, but not having a combine process, the way every other professional league does, leaves them at a disadvantage.

There are always tales about pre-draft workouts, how a team fell in love with a player over one workout, but ignored an injury history.

We'll likely see players fall some due to injury, but looking back over the past few drafts, it's clear that injuries should be at or near the top of the list. Players fail on injury much more often than they fail on talent, especially for pitchers. At best, there are lost years or delays, not to mention how much a pitcher leaves on the table after a significant injury or surgery.

Risky players can be successful; no one is going to knock the White Sox for drafting Chris Sale, even if his career ended today. He made the majors and he won games, which is the definition of success for the scouts.

This weekend, we'll see more players taken and a lot of talented, risky ones in the bunch as well. Taking risks is part of how teams win, but taking smart risks and understanding those risks is how teams win consistently.

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