Thanks to KSinDC for pointing out the error in days missed by Bruce Chen.
2011 was a banner year for the Royals for not losing much production because of players on the DL. After years of being at the top of the league in time its players spent on the DL, the Royals looked like they turned the corner in that aspect of the game in 2010 and 2011. They are deploying younger, healthier players that should be on the field more. Well, it has been a new season and the results are completely different than last year with the season just over 20% done.
The Royals have been historically bad with keeping players off the DL. From 2002 to 2009, the Royals had the most trips to the DL and the 5th highest total of number of days lost. They seem to have turned the corner the last couple of years. Here is how the team ranked in total number of trips and days lost in 2010 and 2011 (1 = most days or trips, 30 = least number of days or trips)
Year: Trips Rank, Days Rank
2010: 17th (tied with 7 other teams), 19th
2011: 30th, 26th
That drop is what happens when a team no longer has Gil Meche and Mike Sweeney on it and is the youngest team in the league. Here are the 8 trips that a player went on the DL for in 2011:
|Name||Days on DL|
Besides having the fewest number of trips to the DL, the quality of players lost to the DL was not that good. Bruce Chen's trip probably hurt the team the worst (I am being a little lazy to think up a Lee Judge/Jason Kendall comment right now).
In 2012 so far, the Royals have used the DL 10 times. Here is some data on those trips.
Official DL date - This is the date the player was placed on the DL. If can be before the season starts. It is not used to determine days missed.
DL Start (Season) - The start date for days missed during the regular season
Expected Return Date (if any): The earliest possible date I could find on the web for the player's return. It is likely to be more for most players.
|Name||Official DL Date||DL Start (Season)||Days Missed to Date||Expected Return Date (if any)||Days Expected to be Missed|
|Total =||274||Total =||698|
So 20% of the way through the 2012 season, the Royals have already missed
55% 71%of the total days they missed in 2011. Using very conservative numbers (low side), the Royals look to miss just about 700 days. If no more players go to the DL and these players all return of the earliest predicted date, the team will have over 40% 81% more DL days than 2011.
The worst part about it for the Royals is that the players being lost for 2012 are marketly better than those lost in 2011.
- The 2010 WAR total for the 6 players that were on the 2011 DL: 4.9 WAR, averaged 0.8 WAR/player
- The 2011 WAR total for the 10 players that were on the 2012 DL: 9.2 WAR, averaging 0.9 WAR/player
While this method of comparison is far from perfect, it does given an idea in the difference in ability when comparing the two seasons.
The Royals are easily going to exceed the amount of time lost to the DL compared to last year. It is not even 1/3 of the way through the season and they have exceeded the number of trips they had in 2011. For a team that is light on talent, especially at starting pitcher, they are at the point that they can't afford many more DL trips. If the injuries continue, the team may give the Twins a run at 5th place in the Central.