2012 Disabled List Summary

I have finally had enough time to muddle through the 2012 MLB transaction data and have compiled a complete disabled list (DL) data set for the year(second link). Let’s get right to the data.


Thoughts

- The Padres take the crown for most days lost with a total of 1883. The Padres lost almost 4 times as many days as the Mariners (452).

- Looking at just pitchers, the Yankees lost the most days with about 200 more than the Padres and Blue Jays. The Mariners and Rays were effectively tied at the bottom near 200 days.

- With batters, the Orioles and Padres lost the most days with the Red Sox 20 games behind.

- The most surprising fact I found in the data was the Twins only losing 53 days to their hitters. To put it into perspective, Morneau (93 days), Mauer (74 days), and Doumit (65 days) each spent more time on the DL in 2011 than all the Twins hitters did in 2012.

- More days were lost to the DL in 2012 (29,534), than in any previous season. The previous high was in 2007 with 400 less days lost. Here is a quick look at the trend over the last 10 years.

- Again, the White Sox are near the bottom of the list. To put it into perspective, here are the 3-year averages for days lost per team.

The lack of days lost by the White Sox, compared the rest of the league, is incredible. Over the last 3 years, the White Sox have averaged 400 days lost. The next closest time is the lovable Cubs at around 600. The Yankees, Nationals, and Red Sox have lost on average 3 times as many games per year over the same time frame.

The reason for the difference could be long time White Sox trainer, Herm “Teeth Crusher” Schneider. He has been the White Sox trainer for 34 years and has done an amazing job of keeping players on the field. There’s almost certainly some good luck in there as well, but kudos to Schneider on a pretty incredible run of health during his watch.

h/t to Chris Cwik for the Herm Schneider story.




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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

33 Responses to “2012 Disabled List Summary”

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  1. Jonathan says:

    ” Looking at just pitchers, the Yankees lost the most days with about 200 more than the Padres and Blue Jays. The Mariners and Rays were effectively tied at the bottom near 200 days.”

    Is this pitchers in general or just starters? By my count, 302 of those games alone are accounted for just in Pineda and Rivera.

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  2. Snoop Dog says:

    Hello,

    I was trying to view the raw data and there is an error with the link (at least to my machine). Anyone else?

    Thank you.

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  3. Bryce says:

    Would it be possible to weight days lost by projected WAR of the injured players?

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  4. Someanalyst says:

    The correlation is clear: baseball players are healthier when they ply their trade in Chicago… speculating as to the cause of this clear relationship is going to be fun…

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    • Chris Cwik says:

      It’s the magical healing properties of deep dish pizza and italian beef sandwiches.

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    • David says:

      Clearly, the answer is proximity to Goose Island and Three Floyds.

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    • MikeS says:

      It is a testament to how spoiled I am as a White Sox fan that I was under the impression that they had injury problems this year and I was wondering, was ti an aberration? Was Schneider losing his touch? Did Guillen have something to do with it somehow? After all, Floyd, Danks, Crain, Konerko and others all had DL stints. I couldn’t recall a year that bad.

      Turns out, it was a bad year by their standards. Just not by any other team’s.

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  5. ThundaPC says:

    Good thing Olivo’s indestructible.

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  6. Preston says:

    From the media coverage over the last couple of years you would think the Red Sox would be double every other team. Turns out they aren’t even the most injured team in the AL East.

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  7. badenjr says:

    It strikes me that the teams that spend most time on the DL tend to be older teams, i.e., teams that with a bias toward acquiring talent through free agency (AKA big market teams). This appears to be especially true for pitchers. Is this real, or just faulty perception on my part? How well do team games lost correlate with team age?

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  8. jwise224 says:

    As a Mariners fan, my first reaction was, “Whoa, we won something!” Then I was let down realizing that we had our “starters” more than anybody else and still stunk. I hate reason.

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  9. Radivel says:

    I wish I could sort that data better. It would be nice to see a complete list, hope they didn’t miss anyone.

    I also like the WAR idea, maybe even if it counted something like 2011 WAR lost to the DL in 2012 or something.

    Thanks, this is very interesting!

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  10. gonfalon says:

    It should be noted that many players who get injured in late August (or September) don’t get put on the DL, because their team elects to play a man short until rosters expand Sept. 1 (which makes the DL largely irrelevant for the rest of the year). For example, Pirates second baseman Neil Walker missed Aug. 27-Sept. 13 due to a lower back injury, but was not placed on the DL.

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  11. chasfh711 says:

    I am curious as to how much an organization’s luck regarding injury factors into the numbers, versus how much an organization’s strategy as to when to place someone on the DL factors into them? Is there even such a thing as the latter, or does Baseball have such strict rules governing how teams may use the DL that such strategy could not possibly play a role?

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  12. AdamJ says:

    “The most surprising fact I found in the data was the Twins only losing 53 days to their hitters. To put it into perspective, Morneau (93 days), Mauer (74 days), and Doumit (65 days) each spent more time on the DL in 2011 than all the Twins hitters did in 2012.”

    The Twins avoided placing players on the disabled list this year even tough they would have players go for 10+ days sitting on the bench unavailable due to injury. I can think of instances involving Span, Plouffe, and Morneau where the team kept the player active even though he couldn’t play. Some of these things may be captured in retroactive disabled list usage in your study, but some of them probably aren’t. Local writers dedicated vast quantities of ink, electronic and otherwise, to covering this subject.

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/08/30/denard-span-out-of-twins-lineup-for-13th-time-in-17-games/

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  13. JKB says:

    It looks to me like Rays batters spent the most time on the DL. Is the graph correct there?

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  14. Bob says:

    That’s a lot of good work but I think you skewed the numbers by including guys on the 40 man roster and not just players that were injured while on the 25 man roster. Take Alan Farina for example, He wasn’t even close to appearing on the 25 man roster for the Jays the last couple of years.

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  15. lsuzuki says:

    This graph is kind of useless because it makes a big difference WHO is on the DL. Is it a middle reliever, the #1 pitcher, or someone at the back of the rotation? Is it someone on the 25 man roster or 40? Is it a utility player, a backup outfielder, or the heart of the lineup?

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  16. Jon Shepherd says:

    Noticed that Joe Saunders on the DL is counting for the Orioles when he was not on that team at the time of the DL visit. There might be other errant data points as well.

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  17. anom says:

    I wonder how this looks in the 70′s (pre steroids) 90′s(during steroids) and now (post steroids) considering the healing power of the drug and the lower levels of testosterone the body produces after you have used it then go cold turkey

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