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Do the Angels have a thin medical staff?

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Three pitchers tear their UCL in the same season. Is that just a coincidence?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Three torn UCLs in one year.  Another pitcher coming back from TJ surgery.  It was suggested in a forum thread that the Angels have a weak medical staff because Arte is cheap.  It got me thinking - how DO the Angels compare to other teams in terms of medical staff?  Granted, it's often about quality, and not quantity, but it's an interesting comparison nonetheless.

Most of the time, it seems, medical experts are blaming over-pitching while young as the main cause of the rash of TJ surgeries.  I didn't do the research on all the Angels pitchers to see what they did when they were younger.

Also included in this list are the Milwaukee Brewers who have received the Martin-Monahan award two years in a row.  The Martin-Monahan Award winner is selected using a number of statistical measures including days lost, injury cost, and multi-year average.  The Brewers haven't had a Tommy John surgery for 6 straight years.  You can see the full list of award winning teams here.  You'll notice that the Angels have yet to make that list - though many teams are absent.

Mariners Medical Staff (6 total)

Medical Director

Team Physician

Senior Director of Athletic Training

Athletic Trainers x2

Assistant Athletic Trainer - Rehab

Rangers Medical Staff (7 total)

Head Trainer

Athletic Trainer

Physical Therapist

Team Nutritionist

Team Physician

Internist

Assistant Team Physician

Angels Medical Staff (8 total)

Team Physician

Team Orthopedic Physician x2

Strength and Conditioning Coach

Head Certified Athletic Trainer

Physical Therapist x2

Athletic Trainer

Athletics Medical Staff (11 total)

Head Trainer

Assistant Trainers x2

Strength & Conditioning Coach

Major League Massage Therapist

Coordinator of Medical Services

Team Physician

Team Orthopedist x2

Arizona Team Physician

Astros Medical Staff

Head Athletic Trainer

Assistant Athletic Trainer x2

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach

Massage Therapist

Head Team Physician

Team Chiropractor

Team Physician x3

Team Dietician

Sports Psychologist

EAP Director

Brewers Medical Staff (11 total - for comparison)

Head Team Physician

Team Physician x2

Director - Medical Operations

Director - Psychological Services

Head Athletic Trainer - Major League

Assistant Athletic Trainer x2

Coordinator - Medical/Performance

Major League Strength and Conditioning Specialist

EAP Provider/Sport Psychology Professional


So perhaps the Angels DO run a bit of a thin ship in the medical department, but not as thin as the Rangers and Mariners who seem to have skeleton crews (at least listed on their website under staff).

Some findings:

  • Most of the teams with more staff have 3 total athletic trainers to the Angels 2
  • The higher staffed teams also have 1 more doctor (4 compared to 3)
  • The Angels don't have a massage therapist
  • The Angels don't have a sports psychologist
  • The Angels don't appear to have anyone doing employee assistance
How much does any of that matter in terms of all these injuries facing the Angels?  Hard to say. They aren't the thinnest staff when looking at their division, but they certainly aren't as loaded as some of the other staffs either.  And, as I said before, quality also makes a huge different and that you really can't measure unless the teams are willing to give out all their training and conditioning plans which is highly unlikely.

Whether the lack of staff and/or lack of proper training and conditioning led to these problems is definitely up for debate.  But if the Angels aren't at least taking a long hard look at who is on their staff AND training, conditioning, rehab plans, pitching mechanics, etc., then they are doing a disservice to their players.

Looks like, according to Mike Scioscia, that the Angels are going to be doing exactly that:
"What we're looking at is just looking in the mirror, saying, `What is going on (that) we have so many back to back?" Scioscia said. "You definitely look internally. You analyze everything from the throwing program to how you monitor guys, and we're going to do that. ... So this might be a fluke thing, but naturally you have to look from within to make sure that the process is correct. We've always been confident with it, but when you have injuries like this, then naturally we look to see if there's any cause."
UPDATE:  If you want the list of actual medical staff names, links to their bios, etc., check out this fan post!