This is the time of year when preseason predictions are all the rage. You can pretty much find them anywhere — ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo sports, etc., not to mention the gazillions of fantasy sites.
I’ve maintained the problem with such prognostications is they are prepared in/for a vacuum, a situation where everything goes according to plan and no one gets hurt or traded once opening day arrives. It’s pretty to think so.
To paraphrase a famous saying, general managers plan, God laughs.
Despite the fact that the average player’s salary precludes the economic need to have an off-season job, thus allowing them to workout out regularly during those months, injuries actually seem to be on the rise. Of course, that just might be a product of the media’s reporting on every little thing. That, plus the fact that with the money clubs invest — and that is the appropriate term — in their athletes, the need to keep them healthy might mean shutting down for the short term, a situation that was quite different in the pre-free agency days when players were reluctant to disclose an injury, lest the lose their spot on the roster to a hungry rookie.
So it’s not uncommon to hear, for example, that a Yu Darvish, an ace pitcher for the Texas Rangers who missed a good chunk of last season with arm problems, may well miss the entire 2015 campaign.
Unfortunately, his story is not unique. The Rangers were so high on can’t-miss rookie second baseman Jurickson Profar that they traded away Ian Kinsler. Unfortunately, Profar missed all of 2014 and, like Darvish, might be out all of 2015. In fact, Price Fielder, who the Rangers received from the Detroit Tigers for Kinsler,appeared in just 42 games last year.
No doubt you can look at any team and find at least one prominent name that is having some health issue that might be minor or might develop into something major, throwing a monkey wrench into the works of all those hard-working analysts.