Earlier, I read an article lamenting all of the injuries that befell the Toronto Blue Jays this season. It said: “Encarnacion and Cecil became the 21st and 22nd different victims of the ongoing Toronto Blue Jays pandemic this season.” That led me to wonder – What’s a “normal” number of injuries to hit a team in a season?
I decided to go to the transactions pages at MLB.com and search all of the disabled list moves for each of the teams in the National League East. These lists were created by hand, so it’s certainly possible that I missed some, as these list many more moves besides DL trips. Also, it’s far from a given that every DL move is recorded. Given those two items, consider these lists a minimum number of moves for each club. Also, since the Blue Jays writer listed “different victims,” I did not count if a player went on the DL more than once.
Braves (19) – Ayala, Beachy, DeWitt, Freeman, Gattis, Heyward, Hudson, Johnson, Laird, Maholm, Martinez, McCann, O’Flaherty, Pasternicky, Schafer, Uggla, B. Upton, Venters, Walden.
Marlins (17) – Alvarez, Ceda, Coghlan, Diaz, Eovaldi, Hechavarria, Kotchman, Mahoney, Mathis, Morrison, Ozuna, Polanco, Sanabia, Silverio, Slowey, Stanton, Valaika.
Mets (17) – Atchison, Davis, Duda, Edgin, Familia, Francisco, Harvey, Hefner, Marcum, Mejia, Niese, Parnell, Rice, Santana, Tejada, Turner, Wright.
Nationals (12) – Detwiler, Espinosa, Garcia, Haren, Harper, Jordan, Matthews, Ohlendorf, Ramos, Strasburg, Werth, Zimmerman.
Phillies (15) – Adams, Brown, Halladay, Horst, Howard, Kendrick, Krantz, Lannan, Pettibone, Revere, Ruiz, Stutes, Utley, Wells, D. Young.
So, we have six of the 30 teams in MLB and the average unique DL moves in our sample comes out to 17 moves per season. Of course, raw totals are just one factor to consider. It’s a lot different if the guys who are getting hurt are Seaver, Koosman and Matlack rather than Boisclair, Flynn and Foli. Also, this considers each DL move equally, when in reality some are for 15 days while others are for 60 days and more.
The 2013 Mets had a pretty normal number of unique DL moves. However, the injuries were heavily tilted towards longer DL stints, with 10 season-ending injuries and Jeurys Familia and Frank Francisco missing well over half a season because of their ailments. David Wright had one of the shorter DL stints of the year for the Mets and he missed 48 days.
It seems like it’s been a non-stop DL parade since 2009, the year the Mets had both quantity and quality on the DL for extended stretches. Perhaps it was just payback for the 2006-08 period when Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and Wright played nearly every day. In 2008, that quartet played in 639 out of a possible 648 games.
May we all live long enough to see the Mets have four stars like that in their lineup again and enjoy the health that they did in 2008. And as long as we’re dreaming – how about a better bullpen than that year’s team had, too.