As an exercise in sheer optimism, let's ignore what we know about the current negotiations (status: lousy) and assume, however naively, that eventually, common sense will prevail.
Regardless of the length of a 2020 season, injuries will be factor. In fact, it's almost certain that they will be a bigger factor than ever.
A shortened second spring training figures to be half as long as a normal one, and while that doesn't necessarily mean that the injuries will occur at twice the usual rate, an uptick is a given. Pitchers will have approximately half the time to which they're accustomed to build arm strength and that alone could produce a glut of problems.
Now, add in the uncertainty of a return date (that precludes players from aiming for a specific start, as happens in typical winters), far fewer -- perhaps as few as a handful -- actual exhibition games and a compressed schedule with fewer off-days for recovery time and you have the potential for an injury rate like never before.
Generally speaking, teams with more older, veteran players would seem to be at greater risk. But every team will be dealing with this unwelcome phenomenon in one way or the other.
Here's a look at the five Red Sox players who seem most susceptible to injuries in 2020:
- Nathan Eovaldi
Eovaldi has been dogged by injuries throughout his career. It's one reason why he's yet to post numbers commensurate with his stuff. He's had two Tommy John surgeries (one in high school, the other a few seasons ago) and has had two subsequent "clean-up" procedures to remove loose bodies in his right elbow in the last three years.
Eovladi has spent parts of eight seasons in the big leagues and only twice has he made more than 25 starts. Similarly, he's topped 155 innings just once.
Then add in the shortened spring and Eovaldi's elite velocity (his fastball is routinely clocked in the high 90s) and it's clear that Eovaldi is atop any list of those more vulnerable to injury.