Over the years, MLB teams have suffered significant losses stemming from injuries in every season. In 2016, MLB teams lost an average of 961 man-games due to injuries. That’s about six players out of the field the whole season. The affected teams were forced to part with an average of $26 million in the same year in salaries alone, paying injured players who could not play.
This year alone, a total of 12,490 days have been lost due to injuries, costing the MLB teams $241,642,946 in salaries. This data is a grim reality that both the teams and players are suffering, in and out of the field. This begs the question: should the rules of the game change? And if it does, will it reduce the risks?
Jonathan Lucroy injured after a collision in a play at the plate
On Sunday, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina totally lost it when Los Angeles Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy was hospitalized following a collision in a play at the plate with the Houston Astros’ Jake Marisnick. Molina, seemingly upset, took to Instagram, urging the MLB to take relevant action on the play which he thought was “unfair.” Reports suggested that Lucroy was being evaluated for a possible concussion and a broken nose.
Molina’s Instagram post, though “brutal” to some extent, generated a rather important debate in respect to MLB’s play-at-the-plate rules. This discussion just comes five years after the baseball organizing body enacted a new home plate collision rule in 2014 in an effort to curb the increased number of injuries by catchers.
Will the MLB bow to pressure from Molina and others, and take a look into the collision rules again?
A look into some of the play at the plate collisions
On May 2019, Mitch Garver of the Minnesota Twins was placed on a 10-day injured list after he suffered an ankle sprain following a collision at the plate while playing the Angels. However, Garver was lucky as the injury turned out to be less serious.
A year ago, Jake Jewell, who plays for the Los Angeles Angels fractured his right fibula, while trying to cover home plate in the match against the Boston Red Sox. The injury forced him out of the field for the remainder of the season.
In 2017, Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt injured his left knee after colliding with Pittsburgh’s pitcher Chad Kuhl at home plate to spend a month without playing.
Most MLB injuries are not caused by home plate collisions
As the debate on home plate collisions rages on, a 2015 research study suggests that most MLB catcher injuries are caused by bats and foul balls, contrary to the popular belief that most injuries are caused by home plate collisions.
According to a report by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the common baseball injuries include; muscle pulls, or strain ligaments injuries, or sprains, cuts and contusions or bruises. The study further stated that overuse injuries affecting the shoulder and elbow are the most common baseball injuries.
As long as the current baseball home-plate-play rules continue to stand, the Injured List will continue to grow. The future of baseball lies in MLB’s hands and every decision they will make henceforth will prove to be crucial in changing this situation.