Crowdsourcing “Minor” Spring Training Health Problems

As we reach the beginning of the Cactus and Grapefruit League schedules, pitchers are starting to ramp up towards opening day. It’s no longer just long toss and stretching, but now, they’re expected to throw actual innings at a physical effort level approaching what they’d do in the regular season. And, naturally, some players are experiencing some issues while ramping up, with some even heading off to get MRIs.

We know that these kinds of strains and pulls and soreness are pretty common in February and March, but what we don’t know — or at least, I don’t know — is how often these reported spring training issues turn into something more serious. Plenty of people out there have tracked and continue to track the “Best Shape Of His Life” group, but as I read about a few more pitchers going to the training room today, I wondered why we’re not tracking pitchers who report spring training pain, in order to learn what percentage of guys who have to undergo treatment in February and March end up on the DL in April through September.

So, that’s what this post is designed to do. While I try to stay on top of the news around baseball, there are far too many players for any one person to keep a complete list of every strain or pull reported by the local media, and so our best chance at collecting as much potentially useful data as possible is to crowdsource this. I’ve created a Google Doc with a handful of the pitcher health issues that I’ve seen reported so far, but I know there are plenty more out there that I’ve missed.

Additionally, there will be plenty more over the next month or so, and I’d like to keep this as updated as possible during March so that we can track the rate of which these pitchers end up missing regular season time, as well as compare their 2014 performance against what the forecasts had called for them to do before these health issues came to light.

The spreadsheet is embedded below, so you can see which pitchers have already been added to the list. You can access the spreadsheet from this link in order to add to it, using the same format already established, and we’ll follow along with this crop of pitchers and see how often these strains and pulls turn into something more serious.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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