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2014 in Review: Injuries

The 2014 club was absolutely decimated by injuries.

Just me and you, Zack.  Literally.  We're the only ones who didn't get injured.
Just me and you, Zack. Literally. We're the only ones who didn't get injured.
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

2014 was a year to forget.  I don't know if there is an actual explanation for it, or if it's just one of those things, but 2014 could very well be remembered around baseball as the Year of the Injury.  Considering that the Cardinals are still playing baseball and vying for the NL pennant, I am leaning towards it all being part of that deal with the devil.  But whatever the reason, the Cincinnati Reds were hit with an insurmountable barrage of injuries over the course of the season.  For example, as the Reds were limping to the finish line, they were doing so without any help from Sean Marshall, Tony Cingrani, Joey Votto, Homer Bailey, Mat Latos, Skip Schumaker, or Billy Hamilton, because all of them had the season end on them before they could return from injury.  Just that list alone reads like a group of guys the Reds were counting on for roughly half of their total team production when the year started.  And as bad as it was in the Majors, it wasn't too much better in the minors either.  19 minor leaguers were still on the DL when the season ended, having missed varying amounts of time ranging from the whole year to a few weeks.

Perhaps nothing sums up the season's ultimate result for the Reds better than this: 655 days.  That's the combined time missed by Bailey, Latos, Votto, Brandon Phillips, Aroldis Chapman, Marshall, Cingrani, and Devin Mesoraco.  That averages out to about half the season each.  This doesn't include Jay Bruce, whose knee injury may be partially to blame for the worst season of his career, or that Phillips came back while still injured and had an OPS barely over .600 for the final month and a half, nor does it count rotation shuffling to buy an extra turn through the rotation for Bailey and Latos on several occasions.  And as we are all too aware by now, no Reds season would be complete if we didn't have several players hiding injuries for most of the year.  Skip Schumaker finally revealed in September he was playing through a torn labrum, Bailey finally admitted he'd had arm discomfort for most of the year, Phillips knowingly was recalled for a month and a half before being healthy as mentioned, Votto spent a month visibly hobbling through his knee injury while quelling certain media perceptions, and Jay Bruce refused to make excuses for his performance but who knows (besides himself) how healthy he actually was.  The 2014 Reds team was injury incarnate.  No team can sustain that level of attrition and stay afloat.

Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Todd Frazier, and Zack Cozart were the only Reds regulars to not miss time to injuries, though Billy Hamilton still had a full season worth of playing time.  Brayan Peña and Ryan Ludwick were mostly healthy in less-than-full-time roles.  In the bullpen, J.J. Hoover, Jumbo Diaz, and Sam Lecure survived the year unscathed.

In all, 17 MLB players combined to miss 940 days during the Reds season to the DL or non-DL publicized injuries.  60 MiLB players combined to miss approximately 2,550 days.  The missed time is broken down by position in the following chart.

2014 Days Missed by Position

Injury days missed by position - UT days belong entirely to Jack Hannahan

The pitching was hit especially hard - doubly so considering that all the injury time aside from Logan Ondrusek's was accrued by players expected to be major contributors to the 2014 team.  2B and OF perhaps do not have their injury drain accurately reflected, considering the amount of playing time that went (or may have gone) to players who were playing injured.  And of course Jack Hannahan wasn't healthy when he returned either - playing only 1B for the fact that he was still physically unable to throw a baseball effectively.

Having begun tracking injuries for the Reds during the 2011 season, I can say without a doubt that this was the most devastating season to be doing so during that time.  Regulars of Red Reporter won't need to be reminded that the injuries were probably the biggest reason why "2014'd" became a meme in gamethreads and elsewhere.  But 2014 is gone now, and hopefully, so is the injury karma that permeated it.  Forever.