Why World Baseball Classic Isn’t To Blame For MLB Injuries

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Math is the best antidote to the scapegoating of the World Baseball Classic.

Figures compiled by Major League Baseball show players who participated in the last two editions of the World Baseball Classic suffer injuries less frequently than those who don’t, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

The numbers refute longstanding fears over WBC players’ health suffering ahead of the start of the MLB season.

“Among pitchers on 40-man rosters, only one of 40 from the 2013 tournament (2.5 percent) opened the season on the disabled list, as opposed to 61 of the 605 who remained with their clubs (10.1 percent),” Rosenthal wrote. “The most recent WBC produced a comparable result: Only three of 55 pitchers from the tournament (5.5 percent) opened on the DL, as opposed to 75 of the 601 who remained with their clubs (12.5 percent).

“For position players, the DL rate of those who participated in ’13 (4.8 percent) also was lower than the rate of those who did not (7.5). The rates for the two groups in ’17 were identical (7.2 percent).

Didi Gregorius, Seth Lugo and Drew Smyly were high-profile casualties of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Rosenthal suggested pitchers Lugo and Smyly might have aggravated lingering injuries they carried from last season into this year’s tournament.

So instead of slamming the World Baseball Classic or pressuring players against participating, we can look at the numbers and determine international baseball every four years is less hazardous than the Grapefruit League or Cactus League baseball games that take place every year.

Thumbnail photo via Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports Images

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