[Hopefully, everyone is enjoying Spring Break, getting ready for the college basketball madness of March and of course looking forward to Opening Day. No one has given it more quality thought than our man on the scene, Adam “Shem” Shemesh. He is the Billy Beane of baseball writing.
Adam gives us a third installment here featuring some players like Mike “Moose” Moustakas that are looking to affix the label, Comeback Kid, as they prepare for 2017 Opening Day. We would love to hear your thoughts on anyone else that should be on this list, but is MIA (and has been MIA).]
Every year, countless MLBers go down to season-ending injuries. Here’s a list in case you may have forgotten any of these names.
AJ Pollock, Diamondbacks
2015 Stats: .315/20 HR/76 RBI/39SB
Diamondbacks fans were excited for an encore after Pollock burst onto the scene in 2015, swiping 39 bags with some power as well to earn his first All-Star game appearance and a Gold Glove Award for his defense in centerfield. Unfortunately, A. J. suffered a right elbow
fracture just days before opening day and was sidelined until late September, when he appeared in only 12 games.
Mike Moustakas, Royals
2015 Stats: .284/22 HR/82 RBI
2015 was a great year for Moustakas. Along with being a World Series Champion, Mike made his first All-Star game and posted career highs in every major statistical category. He got off to a nice start in 2016 before colliding with Alex Gordon in early May, suffering a season-ending knee injury (Gordon missed about a month).
Michael Brantley, Indians
2015 Stats- .310/15 HR/84 RBI
Michael followed up his exceptional 2014 campaign (finished 2nd in MVP voting) by solidifying his status as an above-average outfielder with another good year in 2015. Going into 2016, he was considered the backbone of the Indians’ offense. On May 10, Brantley was pulled from a game due to soreness in his shoulder. This horrific injury sidelined Brantley for the entirety of the season, and he only began to start swinging the bat again in December. If the Indians pushed the Cubs to a 7-game series without Brantley, one can only imagine what they could have done if the star outfielder was healthy.
David Wright and Matt Harvey, Mets
The Mets were undoubtedly hit the hardest by the injury bug in 2016, as all of their starters (except 41-year old Bartolo Colon) spent time on the disabled list. Wright has not played a full season since 2014. He played 38 games in 2015 and 37 in 2016. The New York captain is suffering from a serious injury called spinal stenosis, and it’s unlikely that Wright will be able to play at a high level ever again. As for Harvey, he enjoyed a great comeback campaign in 2015 after missing all of 2014. 2016 was a train wreck from the beginning for the Mets ace, and Harvey opted to undergo surgery to treat his thoracic outlet syndrome, an injury that affected his right shoulder.
Greg Bird, Yankees
2015 Stats (46 games)- .261/11 HR/31 RBI
Bird was the first of the “new age” Yankees to hit the bigs after he was called up in late August of 2015. He got the fans chirping in the Bronx, but unfortunately, Greg Bird underwent shoulder surgery during spring training that sidelined him for all of 2016. With Mark Teixeira firmly in the rearview mirror, the first base job is Bird’s to lose this season.
We are 24 days until MLB Opening Day. It should be a thrill ride in both leagues.