How did the 2007 Cardinals Injuries Stack Up?
Trainer Barry Weinberg has been busy
Trainer Barry Weinberg has been busy

Posted Nov 14, 2007


Data from baseball injury expert Rick Wilton of Baseball-Injury-Report.com, fantasy baseball's most experienced injury analyst, helps put the injury-racked 2007 St. Louis Cardinals season into context.

The ability of many serious St. Louis Cardinals fans to enjoy the season following the club’s first world championship in 24 years was limited by a debilitating series of injuries suffered by members of the club during 2007.

The problems began even before spring training with the likes of Josh Kinney, Juan Encarnacion and Jim Edmonds all having undergone surgery followed by Chris Carpenter going down on opening day and then a long, painful list of in-season injuries.

The situation became so pronounced that late in the season, the club at times was forced to put a lineup on the field that included at most one or two of the regular eight position player starters.

In addition, 12 different pitchers started games for the 2007 Cards. The year before, just seven men started almost all their regular season games - 160 of the 162.

So, we know without a doubt that the Cardinals were hit very hard by the injury bug in 2007, but quantifying the problem in some other manner than the cursory bottom-line look at the National League Central Division standings has eluded most everyone – until now, that is.

Our resident injury guru, Rick Wilton of Baseball-Injury-Report.com, has compiled disabled list detail for the members of every Major League Baseball team since at least 2002. Here are a few general factoids before we drill down on the Cardinals.

• Across the game as a whole, “DLD’s” or Disabled List Days, reached their highest mark since at least 2002. In fact, DLD’s were up almost 20% (19.5%) in 2007 compared to the average of the previous five seasons.

• The number of 2007 DL moves, 480, is also the most since at least 2002 and represents a 12% increase over the five-year average.

• The number of players that experienced at least one trip to the disabled list during 2007 surpassed 400 for the first time since at least the 2002 season. The total of 407 represents a 12.8% growth over the previous five seasons’ average.

Remember these numbers track calendar days spent on either the formal 15-day or 60-day disabled lists, as opposed to games missed. These numbers are low because players like Chris Duncan, who went down with a sports hernia in September, are not included.

The reason for that is that in September, rosters expand to 40 players. Therefore, the club had no incentive to DL Duncan. The same situation applied to Juan Encarnacion, who suffered a severe eye injury when struck by a batted ball during the final month.

Now, let’s look at where St. Louis stacked up against the rest of the National League.

• The Cardinals logged 1,074 DLD’s in 2007. That was seventh-highest in the League, behind Washington (with 1,532, the leader by a wide margin), Florida, the Mets, Cincinnati, the Cubs and Philadelphia. St. Louis’ total was almost 15% higher than the league average of 933.

• Nine teams were in better shape in terms of DLD’s, some by a substantial margin, including much of the Central Division. The Pirates, for example, were best in the NL with 397 days - just 37% of the DLD’s that the Cardinals had. Milwaukee experienced 62% of St. Louis’ total, while Houston came in at 63% of the Cards’ number.

• As common logic suspects, the duration of the Cardinals players’ DL stays were longer that most, on the average. In fact, their average stay of 71.6 days was fourth highest in the league.

• The team had 15 different cases where a player hit the DL, tied for ninth-most in the League.

• The Cardinals’ 15 players who experienced those 15 DL stays are tied for fifth in the league for the most unique players DL’ed all season long. (Arizona was best with only seven.)

• The Cardinals’ number of players who had DL moves and total DLD during 2007 were each higher than the League average while the number of team DL moves, 15, was slightly below the average of 16.

The next step is to look at the players and their DL trips.

On

Off

DL

 

 

 

DL

DL

Days

Player

 

Injury

4/2

10/1

182

Chris

Carpenter

Bone chips right elbow

6/14

7/12

28

David

Eckstein

Lower back spasms

6/16

7/19

33

Jim

Edmonds

Pinched nerve in lower back

3/31

5/13

43

Juan

Encarnacion

Scar tissue left wrist

6/19

8/6

48

Tyler

Johnson

Tendinitis - left triceps

8/12

10/1

50

Adam

Kennedy

Torn cartilage-right knee

3/31

10/1

184

Josh

Kinney

Tommy John surgery 3/2007

6/16

7/2

16

Braden

Looper

Strained pitching shoulder

8/6

9/1

26

Mike

Maroth

Tendinitis-pitching elbow

5/30

6/28

29

Yadier

Molina

Fractured left wrist

3/31

9/5

158

Mark

Mulder

Recovery from shoulder surgery

8/29

10/1

33

Scott

Rolen

Sore left shoulder

7/14

7/29

15

Scott

Spiezio

Infected index finger-left hand

7/12

10/1

81

Todd

Wellemeyer

Sore pitching elbow

5/6

10/1

148

Preston

Wilson

Arthritis right knee (+ drained) 

Kinney and Carpenter missed the most time, 184 and 182 days, respectively, followed by Mulder at 158. Preston Wilson was next at 148. Only two players who went down, Braden Looper and Scott Spiezio, missed anywhere near the 15-day minimum.

Next, we will look at the positional groupings.

As expected, Carpenter and Mulder led the huge totals for starting pitchers, in aggregate nearly 500 of the almost 1100 days, but Todd Wellemeyer also missed close to three months himself.

Offensively, each member of the starting infield except Albert Pujols also logged significant DL time. In total, 2007 time lost among the four - Scott Rolen, David Eckstein, Adam Kennedy and Yadier Molina - equated to about ¾ of a season, and that doesn’t include Molina’s September knee surgery.

Cardinals 2007 DLD
Starting pitchers 463
Starting infielders 140
Starting outfielders 76
  679
   
Relief pitchers 232
Reserve infielders 15
Reserve outfielders 148
  395

Of the primary eight position players, only Albert Pujols and Duncan did not make a stop on the DL at some point during 2007. We already discussed Duncan above - had he been injured in any month other than September, it would have been seven of eight.

Even Pujols was dogged by maladies all season long, including calf, hamstring and elbow problems, but the slugger toughed it out. Though he played in 158 games, one has to wonder if he was near 100% for more than a handful.

With the winter in front of them to rest up and recover, the 2008 Cardinals will surely strive to be a more healthy lot than the 2007 version. However, major questions remain with at least a half-dozen front-line players.

• Will Chris Carpenter be able to return at midseason from his Tommy John surgery and when he does, will he still possess his ace stuff?

• Will Mark Mulder bounce back from his second shoulder surgery, regain his range of motion and eventually his effectiveness on the mound?

• Will the Cardinals bring shortstop David Eckstein back at age 33 and if so, can he push his lingering back problems into the background?

• Aging centerfielder Jim Edmonds’ body is demonstrating the wear and tear of years of diving catches (foot, groin, shoulder and back in the last year alone). Does he have one more productive season left?

• Can doctors help restore right fielder Juan Encarnacion’s eyesight to the point he can continue playing or is his almost ten-year career over?

• Third baseman Scott Rolen has already undergone three surgical procedures on his left, non-throwing shoulder in two years. Will the power ever return to his bat or will he spend the final three seasons on his current contract as a superb-fielding gap hitter making $12 million per year?



To get the rest of the story – the entire player-by-player ledger and team totals for all of MLB – and much more, check out The Baseball Injury Report, fantasy baseball's injury authority at Baseball-Injury-Report.com.

The Baseball Injury Report is published by Rick Wilton, fantasy baseball's most experienced injury analyst. Rick, with background in radiology, pharmacology and physical therapy, has been a contributor to STATS Inc., Sports Weekly Hot Sheet, BaseballHQ.com and ESPN.com.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.


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