Are the Dodgers playing DL games?

On the last MASH report, I discussed Alex Wood’s S/C joint sprain, and many of the commenters claimed it was #FAKENEWS.

The 10 Day DL has been identified as a possible way to “game the system”, and give additional days of rest to starting pitchers. Given the injury history of some of the Dodgers pitchers (Brandon McCarthy, Alex Wood, and Rich Hill are the most prevalent), it would make sense to give these guys some extra time – sure, you’d lose some innings compared to if they stayed healthy, but at some point in time, you want to get the most quality innings out of them that you can. Looking at the research, days between appearances, and total innings pitched are risk factors for UCL reconstruction – so, this would reduce two of those risk factors.

So, are the Dodgers playing games with the 10 Day DL?

I performed a query on Starting Pitchers who have been on the 10 Day DL, and returned to play in 2017. I calculated the average number of days that were missed, and the number of pitchers on each team who made DL appearances. How does this shake out? Well, first of all – the Dodgers have the most number of Staring Pitcher 10 Day DL trips of any MLB team; 6 of them to be exact. The average number of days on the DL for these DL trips was 14.3 days per trip. The longest trip they had to the DL belonged to Rich Hill – a 23 day appearance (which was followed by a separate 10 day appearance). When Rich Hill is removed from that list, the days per DL appearance drop to 11.75. They are playing it by the letter of the law when it comes to SP DL stints.

 

10 Day Disabled List Trips – Starting Pitchers (and return to play)
Team Average Days Missed Total Days Missed Min DL Stay Max DL Stay Pitchers on DL
1 Los Angeles Dodgers 14.3 86 10 29 6
2 Oakland Athletics 24.4 122 12 49 5
3 Miami Marlins 26.4 132 10 63 5
4 Toronto Blue Jays 23.3 93 13 43 4
5 San Diego Padres 16.7 50 10 25 3
6 Texas Rangers 19.0 57 16 25 4
7 Baltimore Orioles 21.3 64 10 38 3
8 Milwaukee Brewers 30.0 90 10 52 3
9 Cincinnati Reds 12.5 25 11 14 3
10 Tampa Bay Rays 13.0 26 10 16 2
11 Seattle Mariners 27.0 54 26 28 2
12 Los Angeles Angels 17.0 34 11 23 3
13 Houston Astros 13.0 26 10 16 2
14 Boston Red Sox 35.0 70 12 58 3
15 Philadelphia Phillies 21.0 42 12 30 3
16 New York Mets 72.0 72 72 72 2
17 Chicago White Sox 62.0 62 62 62 2
18 St. Louis Cardinals 51.0 51 51 51 1
19 Kansas City Royals 16.0 16 16 16 1
20 Colorado Rockies 10.0 10 10 10 1
21 Pittsburgh Pirates 39.0 39 39 39 1
22 Washington Nationals 10.0 10 10 10 1
23 Cleveland Indians 29.0 29 29 29 1
24 Arizona Diamondbacks 25.0 25 25 25 1
25 Minnesota Twins 14.0 14 14 14 1
26 New York Yankees 0.0 0 0 0 1

While this may suck for Fantasy owners – this is great for the Dodgers. This offseason, the Dodgers front office signed a ton of Starting Pitching depth – many of the pitchers having a history of high quality pitching and missing many games due to injury. They have been able to call on this depth to fill the rotation when extra rest days are required, and still manage to put their team in the best position to win.

Check out the Starting Pitcher workloads for the Dodgers. They currently have the 11th most Starting Innings of any MLB team, yet are 25th when it comes to Fatigue Units for Starters.

Starting Pitcher Workloads
 IP Rank Team Starting Innings Fatigue Units Average Fatigue Units
1 Giants 442.3 41.0 6.8
2 Nationals 438.3 44.4 6.3
3 Diamondbacks 421.0 46.0 5.7
4 Rays 419.7 44.1 5.5
5 Red Sox 418.3 38.8 4.3
6 Rockies 418.0 40.8 5.8
7 Angels 413.0 40.8 4.5
8 Astros 407.0 44.3 4.9
9 Cardinals 404.0 37.5 6.2
10 Braves 403.3 36.5 5.2
11 Dodgers 402.3 36.1 5.2
12 Tigers 399.7 39.2 5.6
13 Rangers 398.0 48.6 4.9
14 Yankees 391.7 38.2 5.5
15 Pirates 391.0 37.3 6.2
16 Indians 390.0 38.2 5.5
17 Royals 386.7 44.7 5.0
18 Padres 386.7 44.3 4.9
19 Brewers 386.0 39.5 4.9
20 Mariners 385.7 38.8 3.5
21 Athletics 383.7 34.8 3.9
22 Cubs 381.7 41.9 6.0
23 Phillies 379.3 31.0 3.9
24 White Sox 373.3 35.6 4.4
25 Twins 368.3 34.8 4.4
26 Mets 366.7 43.9 4.9
27 Orioles 366.3 43.9 5.5
28 Blue Jays 365.0 36.4 4.6
29 Marlins 354.0 37.1 3.7
30 Reds 345.0 34.8 3.5

So – from a real baseball perspective, this is great management and use of a new rule in an attempt to keep an injury riddled pitching staff healthy. From a fantasy baseball perspective – those Alex Wood starts getting missed sure hurt when he’s pitching this well! Keep in mind – if this strategy pans out, you might see less starts than in an absolutely optimal world – but in reality, you’ll see a lot more results than if any of these pitchers got hurt again.

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Ergonomist (CCPE) and Injury Prevention researcher. I like science and baseball - the order depends on the day. Twitter: @DrMikeSonne

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Astros just did this with mccullers to limit his innings