The Twins haven’t been the most injured team in baseball. They’re not even in the top five. In fact, they’re barely even in the top 10. If you’re interested in looking at the data, it’s available at spotrac. In terms of number of players who have been or are currently on the Injured List, the Twins are tied for 10th in baseball. Here’s a look at the rankings:
|2. Blue Jays||25|
Change the metric to days spent on the IL and the Twins are even lower down on the list. They rank 23rd at 360 days. There are four teams with more than 700 combined days on the IL. And you know what? It hasn’t prevented any of them from having winning seasons. Two of the top four teams are in first place (the Rays and Giants) and the other two have winning records ( the Padres and Blue Jays).
|4. Blue Jays||718|
Switch the focus to dollars spent on IL players and the Twins are 21st at just over $6.2 million. And, again, the top-four teams in terms of dollars spent on IL players all have winning records (the Astros, Mets, Yankees and Dodgers).
Even right now, with the Twins having 11 players currently on the IL, the team isn’t in the top five. Yes, the Twins have had a ton of injuries, but almost every team in the league has been dealing with similar situations this season. The health of this team isn’t a "get out of jail free" card for those who were in charge of building and managing a winning Twins club in 2021.
The Twins played their 60th game last night, which is as many as they played last season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the team’s number of players and days on the IL from the past five seasons. These are full-season numbers, so the 2017-19 data represents the full 162-game season.
And now that same information for the entire league.
We’re less than 40% through the season. This is pretty crazy.
Why? Consequences from last year’s mostly lost season, probably. That sounds like an easy explanation, but I’m not smart enough to find anything better than that (hint, hint: looking for some help here from all you lovely people of the Twins Daily community).
If we go back further and compare this era to previous ones, I found the explanation Patrick Reusse offered up interesting.
This may have been said with tongue in cheek — sometimes the tone of Reusse’s Tweets can be tough to gauge — but this seems like a legit reason to me. Some people may read that Tweet as "old man mad at new technology" but I think he has a point. In prior eras, the training staff didn’t have much to go on. They had to depend on players self reporting accurately, and they’re almost always going to push to stay on the field.
That’s not to say it was necessarily better in the good ‘ol days. Just different. I would just like to see the best players on the field as close to 100% as much as possible. Can’t somebody just go into the settings and turn injuries off?
Are things going to keep getting even more extreme going forward? Again, I’m not smart enough to figure that out. Hopefully the 2020 hangover is to blame and things deescalate next season.