With 2017 right around the corner, we take a look at the cold-hard facts regarding the New York Mets injuries that destroyed so many hopes.
Injuries are a common occurrence in all sports. Regardless of whether it’s baseball, football, hockey, basketball, tennis or running, whether it’s an endurance sport or a contact sport, injuries are going to happen.
The best a team can do is try to reduce the likelihood of an injury occurring through proper conditioning and nutrition.
But when they do occur, teams need to be prepared by building depth throughout their organization. However, no matter how prepared a team may be, injuries can take their toll on a team’s performance. Obviously, some teams are going to be more greatly affected than others.
Nathan Currier runs the website mangameslost.com, a site that tallies total days lost to injury for the four major sports and implements data analysis to determine how impactful these injuries are to a team’s performance. Nathan holds a PhD in cellular and molecular biology from McGill University, has over 15 years of experience in biotech and pharma, seven-plus years of medical teaching experience (two-plus years as a medical professor) and a love of all sports.
Nathan’s data has been used in over 70 publications including ESPN, Sportsnet, Sports Illustrated, Miami Herald, The Score, The Hockey News, Washington Post, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, USA Today, TSN, FanGraphs and Yahoo Sports.
In calculating the impact of injuries to MLB teams, Nathan has applied two formulas: Lost WAR and Injury Impact to Team (IIT). Lost War takes a players Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and calculates a players expected WAR minus his actual WAR (due to injury time lost) than totals the combined numbers for each player into a team number. In his Injury Impact to Team or simply IIT, Nathan takes the players WAR and divides it by the total number of games a team players minus the time the player has missed due to injury and divides it by the number of games injured.
In 2016, the New York Mets, like many other teams, suffered their share of injuries. But if you live in New York you would get the impression that the Mets were among the most devastated by such injuries.
The most common narrative during the offseason and thus far in spring training has been, “If the Mets stay healthy, they should be a serious championship contender.”
The Mets didn’t make any offseason additions simply because they and many in the fan base didn’t feel they were necessary. However, injuries were not the Mets biggest issue, which may come as a surprise to many. Injuries have been an epidemic all around Major League Baseball.
Below, we will dive into significant data that shows exactly where the Mets stood in terms of total days lost to injury, WAR lost to injury and Total Injury Impact to team (IIT) on a month by month basis.
Through April, the Mets placed three players on the DL — Josh Edgin missed 21 days, Zack Wheeler missed 21 days and Travis d’Arnaud missed three days for a total of 45 days lost to injury. That total put the Mets at 28th in total days lost, calculated a lost WAR of -0.05 (20th) and IIT WAR of -0.03 (22nd). This indicates the Mets had the third fewest days lost to injury and in regards to effect on team performance they ranked in the top 10 healthiest teams.
Through May, the Mets activated Josh Edgin after he missed 10 more games in early May, but lost Lucas Duda for 10 games and Wilmer Flores for 16 games. Also d’Arnaud’s games missed rose to 33 and Wheeler to 51 total days lost. At the end of May, the Mets season total for days missed rose to 141 ranking 24th overall. Their Lost WAR was -0.8 (23rd) and their IIT WAR was -0.55 (26th).
All three categories put the Mets among the eight heathiest teams in terms of total games lost and overall effect on performance.
When July came around, the Mets saw the return of d’Arnaud whose games missed rose to 50 before his return, but the team lost Juan Lagares for 16 games, Jim Henderson for 12 games and David Wright for 30 games. In total, at the half way point in the season, the Mets reached 272 total games missed, ranking them 24th, with a lost WAR of -0.40 also ranking 24th and an IIT War of -0.29 putting them 26th.
In the NL, the Mets came in as the third healthiest team.
Heading into August, the Mets had accumulated an additional 113 games lost to injury still pulling up at 24th at a total of 385. Their lost WAR rose a tad to -0.36, but they dropped to 22nd overall and their IIT rose to -0.22 pulling in at 28th — still placing them among the top seven healthiest teams in each category.
As a comparison, the Dodgers had lost a total of 1,212 games to injury, 827 more games lost to injury than the Mets. In fact, six teams had more than double the amount of games lost than the Mets, including the above-mentioned Dodgers, the Athletics, Braves, Rangers, Reds and Padres all accumulated more than double the amount of games lost to injuries.
As the Mets entered the final month of the season, additional injuries did begin to mount. The Mets saw a jump of 282 games lost in August to bring the total to 667 games lost, dropping them to 20th. Their lost WAR jumped out of the negatives and up 1.76 (in terms of lost WAR, a positive number equals a negative result). Mets became the 17th most affected team in terms of lost War. Mets also saw their IIT raise to 1.14, 16th in the Majors, eighth in the NL, right in the middle of the league.
As the season concluded, Mets amounted a final total of 886 total games lost to injury, 17th in the majors and ninth in the National League (seventh fewest). Their total lost WAR ended at 3.26 finishing 13th overall and 7th highest in the NL and their final IIT War landed at 1.49, 15th in the Majors and 7th in the NL.
In the end, the Mets came out at roughly league average in all three categories.