2013 Disabled List Team Data

The 2013 season was a banner season for players going on the disabled list. The DL was utilized 2,538 times, which was 17 more than the previous 2008 high. In all, players spent 29,504 days on the DL which is 363 days more than in 2007. Today, I take a quick look at the 2013 DL data and how it compares to previous seasons.

To get the DL data, I used MLB’s Transaction data. After wasting too many hours going through the data by hand, I have the completed dataset available for public consumption.  Enjoy it, along with the DL data from previous seasons. Finally, please let me know of any discrepancies so I can make any corrections.

With the data, it is time to create some graphs. As stated previously, the 2013 season set all-time marks in days lost and stints. Graphically, here is how the data has trended since 2002:

After a downward trend from 2008 to 2010, the amount of time the DL is again on the rise.

Now, here is how each team did in DL stints and total days lost during the 2013 season.

Thoughts

  • It is always amazing to see teams with 1/3 of the days lost compared to other teams.
  • The Royals take the crown for losing the least amount of days to the DL. Not a single major league pitcher went on the DL once the season started. The team should not expect the same level of health in 2014.
  • I was a little surprised to see the Marlins leading the number of days lost. I more expected to see the Yankees and Blue Jays at the top. The pair was though 1-2 in total DL stints.
  • The White Sox are starting to slack off. It is crazy not seeing them in the last couple of spots. Not to worry, I ran numbers from the past four seasons and they still average the least number of days lost.

We hoped you liked reading 2013 Disabled List Team Data by Jeff Zimmerman!

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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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The Stranger
Member

Interesting data. What do you think causes the huge difference between the top and bottom teams, and is it correlated year-to-year? I’m sure some of it is luck, but I doubt that explains all of the variation. I notice that the teams losing fewer days over the past few years are mostly small-market teams that have proportionally more young players, so I imagine that’s part of it. Are some training staffs flat-out better? Are some teams just institutionally more or less risk-averse when it comes to signing players? Are some teams more inclined to shut guys down rather than see if they can play through injuries?

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

Some players are generally less injury-prone. If those players remain on the same team for a few years, they will help reduce the year-to-year injury rates of their team.

Gabriel
Guest
Gabriel

I definitely think age helps — teams like the Yankees getting injured when they have ancient players is no surprise. Another factor is injury-risk philosophy on getting players — the Jays knew they were taking a risk when they got an injury-plagued guy like Josh Johnson. I’d even wager that teams that teams using more platoons may maintain more health, just because guys rest their bodies more.

Yet, training staff has to be a factor. Highlighting the White Sox is relevant — they’ve had their share of older players and have had some injury-prone guys (Peavy pops to mind), yet still have dominated in this area for a sustained period of time.

RC
Guest
RC

“Are some training staffs flat-out better? Are some teams just institutionally more or less risk-averse when it comes to signing players? Are some teams more inclined to shut guys down rather than see if they can play through injuries?”

I think all of these things are part of it (as well as other things).

The Red Sox had a ton of issues the previous couple of years with players going down with minor injuries, sitting out a couple of days, and then coming back and making the injury much worse. It happened over and over and over again.

They fired their whole medical staff and replaced it, and I don’t think that happened at any point this season. Could be luck, or it could be that the new staff is better at saying “No, hes not cleared yet”.