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The unusually healthy Twins

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A storyline that has flown under the radar has been the lack of injuries this season.

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox - Game Two Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

This season has been all over the place for the Twins. First, they were good. Then they were bad, and that led to the odd acquisition and quick banishment of Jaime Garcia. Brandon Kintzler was also sent packing, yet it seemingly lit a fire under the roster as they have roared back into the Wild Card picture. Meanwhile, Miguel Sano started hot and now has fizzled. Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario have been the exact opposite. Oh, and it’s been a nonstop carousel of pitchers as it feels as if a new pitcher makes his Twins debut every week.

However, the constant rotation of pitchers has not been due to injuries, but rather to ineffectiveness as well as a game of “Who’s available to pitch today?” I’m sure we haven’t really thought about that, but it was brought to my attention when I saw Miguel Sano hit the disabled list due to a sore shin. While the hot take provided by the Star Tribune’s Jim Souhan was rather dubious (Sano needs to get his weight under control), I realized that the position players haven’t had to hit the DL often this year.

But, while I was doing my research, I found a far more interesting tidbit: The Twins haven’t had to use the DL that much, period. In fact, they are tied for the 4th fewest players to hit the disabled list this year, and that even includes Trevor May, Glen Perkins, and Ryan O’Rourke starting the season on the 60-day DL.

(The website says the “Roster Effect Rating” is a value derived from the DL stints combined with the injured player’s value to identify the impact on the overall roster, but that’s not my focus here.)

In addition to the 14 players, the Twins have lost a combined 761 days to injury as of August 22nd which ranks as the 12th-fewest in the majors this season. It should be noted though that the days are heavily weighted by the absences of May and O’Rourke (143 each), Perkins (138), Justin Haley (73), Hector Santiago (70), and Phil Hughes (74). Of all those players, I think it’s notable that 1) they are all pitchers, and 2) May and possibly Perkins are the only players that would have had a significantly positive impact on the team if healthy.

Disabled List 2017

Team Days Lost Players Injured Days/Player
Team Days Lost Players Injured Days/Player
Angels 1155 17 67.9
Astros 654 18 36.3
Athletics 997 19 52.5
Blue Jays 1297 20 64.9
Braves 1146 18 63.7
Brewers 389 12 32.4
Cardinals 718 14 51.3
Cubs 249 11 22.6
Diamondbacks 769 16 48.1
Dodgers 1440 25 57.6
Giants 955 21 45.5
Indians 567 11 51.5
Mariners 1110 16 69.4
Marlins 800 17 47.1
Mets 1133 21 54.0
Nationals 881 19 46.4
Orioles 611 13 47.0
Padres 1369 19 72.1
Phillies 516 13 39.7
Pirates 154 8 19.3
Rangers 964 25 38.6
Rays 1446 22 65.7
Red Sox 1228 19 64.6
Reds 802 15 53.5
Rockies 864 18 48.0
Royals 545 15 36.3
Tigers 262 12 21.8
Twins 761 14 54.4
White Sox 1004 17 59.1
Yankees 655 17 38.5

Other than those players though, the injuries have typically been rather minor, especially regarding the position players. Including the current DL stints of Sano and Robbie Grossman, the Twins’ position players have lost just 79 days to injury this year and 45 of those were from backup infielder Ehire Adrianza. Otherwise, it’s been 2 days for Sano, 5 for Grossman, 18 for Buxton, and 9 for Joe Mauer. That’s it.

Thus, it might feel really odd but we actually have to commend the training staff for once. Sano and Grossman’s injuries were freak accidents. Perkins, May, O’Rourke, and Adrianza were all hurt before the regular season started. Dietrich Enns came to the Twins with pre-existing shoulder problems, and I’m still convinced some of Justin Haley’s time on the disabled list was due to the Twins taking advantage to circumvent the Rule 5 roster restrictions.

All told, the Twins have been a fairly healthy group of players this year and that has been helpful towards keeping this team in playoff contention as the season enters its final month. With September callups looming, the influx of minor leaguers will help stifle the loss of any additional injuries, but we all hope that it won’t be a worry as the Twins fight for the Wild Card.