2013 on the Chinese calendar marked their Year of the Snake. In baseball terms, it was the Year of the Red Sox. For Atlanta, it was once again the Year of What Could Have Happened – fueled by the Year of the Injury. Somehow this seems like an appropriate topic for Black Friday.
We know that Atlanta had quite a spate of injuries in 2013 – but frankly, I didn’t realize that it was this bad. Here’s the list of Major League Roster Disabled List Days lost to each team during this past season (original chart generated from the data available at this source):
In this parlance, 182 days of DL time represents one full season. So the 1536 days lost by Atlanta represents the equivalent of losing nearly 8-1/2 players from its 25-man roster for the entire year… that’s literally one-third of the organization’s best weapons going missing.
I’ve color-coded the chart… maybe too much… based on league (NL in black lettering; AL in white) with teams in common divisions highlighted in the same colors. Final divisional placements are shown in the 4th column. As you can see, only the Marlins had it worse than Atlanta this year – and that by a scant two days.
But You’ve Still Gotta Play the Games
Ah, so true. You are free to speculate on how the playoffs might have turned out had Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters, Tim Hudson and Brandon Beachy all been available at full strength. But fact is – we’ll never know, because the game is played on the field, not via some simulation on an XBox. Nonetheless, there are a few observations that I believe you can take away from this data:
- Injury time matters. The Braves managed a first place finish despite their injuries, but that was certainly a rare occurrence. Only Atlanta, the Dodgers and the Pirates racked up 1200+ injury days while still making the playoffs.
- The Nationals are a total bunch of whiners. I mean, seriously: with all the complaints we heard this year from Washington about players being hurt, I expected to find them up near the top of this chart. Hardly. In fact, they had it about as good as it gets: only 40% of the DL Days that Atlanta required.
- The Yankees really did have it bad… but there wasn’t nearly as much whining from their camp.
- The Phillies started with some key injuries, but their problems went deeper in 2013 – namely age and production. They healed up, but didn’t move up in the standings.
- Atlanta was bitten by the freak injury as much as anything else: Tim Hudson‘s ankle, Jason Heyward‘s appendicitis and HBP broken jaw. Dan Uggla‘s eyes, Gerald Laird‘s kidney stones, and Luis Ayala‘s anxiety disorder (or high blood pressure, depending on your source). Even Tyler Pastornicky (at right) managed an ACL tear from what looked to be just a ‘bump’ with Heyward as they were both going after the same ball.
The Braves adopted the right attitude from the very beginning: Reed Johnson passed out ‘Suffer in Silence’ T-shirts (yes, that’s one of them on Tyler) – ostensibly to curb any carping about playing time. But you could certainly suggest that this took on a whole different meaning as the DL days kept mounting.
Let’s hope that for 2014, the freak injuries can be kept to a minimum as others recover:
- Jonny Venters (Tommy John/2012) will not return until… maybe June or July, so there’s another 100 days of DL time right there.
- Hopefully Brandon Beachy (Tommy John/2012) will be back to full health.
- Hopefully the same for Ramiro Pena (shoulder) and the aforementioned Tyler Pastornicky.
- Tim Hudson and his ankle… unfortunately will be striking out for San Francisco.
- Reed Johnson (Achilles) was cut loose from his contract.
- Eric O’Flaherty is a free agent; likely won’t be ready to pitch until June or July… for anybody.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you: we here at TomahawkTake appreciate your visits to this site, your participation, your comments, and your support. It’s been terrific following our favorite team. Hang with us for continued breaking news this off-season as the Hot Stove is turned up in early December, and again as we lead on toward Spring Training.
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