This is part of an off-season series on 2022’s silver linings. Find part one here and part two here.
The 2022 season did not end on a happy note for the Twins- especially considering they led the AL Central for most of the first half. However, there’s plenty of things to look at with optimism, both from 2022 and for 2023. Today’s topic: the injuries.
Part III: The Twins Can’t Possibly be This Injured Next Year, Right?
I realize that it is kind of a strange stance to take that a silver lining of a season is that your favorite team had an absolute wagon-load of injuries. That is what I’m doing here, though.
Think about it. Basically every big-name player on the Twins spent significant time on the injured list this year, along with a bevy of smaller names. Let’s take a look at the timeline.
August 24, 2021: Kenta Maeda heads to the injured list with forearm tightness. He would get Tommy John surgery a week later and miss all of 2022.
March 21: Randy Dobnak heads to the injured list for a finger ailment and would ultimately miss all of 2022.
April 12: Young reliever Jorge Alcala goes down with an elbow injury. Originally considered “week-to-week”, Alcala would miss the rest of the season, leaving the bullpen shorthanded.
April 13: Alex Kirilloff, who figured to play a big role in the first base/outfield picture in 2022, has his nagging wrist issues return.
April 15: Byron Buxton is considered “day-to-day” with knee soreness. We later learn that this issue plagued him for the rest of the season.
April 16: Offseason acquisition Sonny Gray goes down with hamstring tightness.
April 23: Reliever Jhon Romero suffers a season-ending biceps injury.
April 28: Young starter Bailey Ober goes down with a groin injury. Originally a 10-day IL stint, Ober would return for three starts in May/June before re-injuring himself. He’d only pitch in a handful more games towards the end of the season.
Okay, you get the point. The timeline is exhausting, and we’re not even to May yet. Other Twins with significant or season-ending injuries included:
Alex Kirilloff (again)
So, basically everyone besides Emilio Pagan. It was a rough go, and the 2022 Twins set a franchise record for number of players used in a season, which is not what you like to see. So, why is this a silver lining?
Whether it was the training staff’s fault or not, the Twins have a new head trainer coming in next year. Whether they know a darn thing or not, the odds are in the 2023 squad’s favor. The Twins can’t possibly be as injured in 2023 as they were in 2022 (right?). The 2022 squad was looking quite strong and was leading the division until they just couldn’t put up with the sheer amount of injuries anymore. There’s plenty of unfortunate consequences caused by this many injuries, as Zach wrote about recently. So, due to my belief that the Twins can’t possibly be this unlucky next year, I’m holding onto optimism for 2023.