With the MLB season nearly upon us, the St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins have been notably moving forward to try and reduce the risk of injury. In 2015 MLB season, there were 417 players on the disabled list combining for a little more than 28,000 days missed. Which essentially translates to an enormous opportunity to save millions of dollars in roster productivity if just a fraction of those missed days can be eliminated with injury prevention technology.
The Twins have shared that they are working with the Catapult Sports player tracking device which is a lightweight harness that straps around the chest of the athlete, which then analyzes data as the player works out. “The unit has a GPS and it has an accelerometer in it, so I can tell how fast a guy explodes over and over and over again over the course of time,” said Perry Castellano, the Twins’ strength and conditioning coach. “We’re looking for biomechanical fatigue.” Minnesota expects to see reduced injuries from the Catapult tracker as the 2016 season comes to a start.
The Cardinals, who were plagued by injuries last year, had ace pitcher Adam Wainwright and star outfielder Matt Holiday on the DL for quite some time last season. Now, the Cardinals have hired Dr. Robert Butler from Duke University to work with athletic trainer Adam Olsen. Butler will help develop models to get the optimal physical condition and performance for players to stay at their highest skill level using data driven techniques.
Both teams have been open about actively searching for solutions to keep players healthier and this is a trend that all teams will actively be searching for their own solutions. Injuries can ruin a season before it has even started, which is why this research is so vital for a team’s success. Reducing the risk of injury ever so slightly could be the underlying catalyst for making or missing the playoffs.