No team gets out of Spring Training unscathed. It's just a matter of degree. Survive the month of March with the vast majority of your projected Opening Day roster intact, and you're way ahead of the game.
But as we see each year, as athletes ramp up the intensity of their endeavors, they ramp up the injury rate as well, and -- with a bit more than two weeks between now and Opening Day -- we've already had an assortment of spring stings.
Here are some of the more notable ones, with a measure of how much the respective fan bases (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being full-blown panic) involved should be concerned. It's called the Spring Training Injury Freak-Out Factor (patent pending).
Brett Anderson (lower back surgery)
• ZiPS projected WAR, pre-injury: 1.9
• Freak-Out Factor: 6, for the number of years the D-backs gave Zack Greinke when the Dodgers wouldn't bite
If you were banking on Anderson as a 200-inning force, you were dreaming. His 180 1/3-inning output last season was his first 100-innning effort since 2010. Some bodies are just more susceptible to breakdowns and bad luck, and Anderson, despite facing just a 10 percent chance of recurrence of the herniated disk issues that led to surgery two years ago, got bit by the injury bug once again. It wasn't terribly shocking, but it was a notable blow to a Dodgers club that famously let Greinke walk.
It's the cumulative effect you worry about here, because it's not just Anderson's 3- to 5-month absence affecting the big picture. Hyun-Jin Ryu, coming back from shoulder surgery, entered camp touted as a potential option for the Opening Day rotation, but he won't throw at all in the Cactus League and won't be back in the big leagues until May, at the absolute earliest. Alex Wood's mechanics have long scared scouts, and now he's turned up with forearm tightness -- often a precursor to major elbow problems. Scott Kazmir's velocity is down. Frankie Montas, the prime piece acquired in the three-way trade that sent Todd Frazier to Chicago, had a rib removed and will open the year on the disabled list, as will Brandon McCarthy.
God forbid Clayton Kershaw has anything other than a Cy Young-worthy season, because the Dodgers, despite having arguably more viable starting depth than anybody in the game entering February, have already had that depth tested in considerable ways and are leaning on their ace more than ever.
And none of this even mentions Corey Seager's sprained left knee, which will impact infield chemistry in the early going. The Dodgers have far more questions than you'd like with such a bloated budget.
C.J. Wilson (left shoulder) and Jered Weaver (neck stiffness), Angels
• ZiPS projected WAR: 1.4 for Wilson, 0.6 for Weaver
• Freak-Out Factor: 3.98, for the Angels' starting staff ERA in 2015
The Angels spent the winter touting their rotation depth, but it was more of a case of quantity than quality, and now the rotation's two most senior members will open the season on the shelf. Any hope that Wilson, who had his elbow cleaned out in the offseason, was on the verge of a bounce-back campaign has been dulled some by the tendinitis that could sideline him until the end of May. And Weaver, after maxing out at 80 mph in a recent Cactus start against the Dodgers, has become so forlorn about his lost stuff that he told the Los Angeles Times, "I almost wish they would tell me I need surgery."
That leaves the Halos with Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Hector Santiago, Matt Shoemaker and Nick Tropeano, with Tyler Skaggs on the mend from Tommy John surgery. Richards and Tropeano are arms with upside, but the Angels can ill-afford any other hits to this group, especially with so many questions about whether they've adequately surrounded Mike Trout with a productive lineup.
Bronson Arroyo (labrum tear), Nationals
• ZiPS projected WAR: 0.2
• Freak-Out Factor: 0.5, for Arroyo's cumulative WAR since 2013
Arroyo was promised nothing from a Nats team that has depth in young arms to round out the back end of the rotation, and the fact that the once-durable right-hander has worked just 86 innings the past two seasons because of Tommy John and the long recovery process meant it was impossible to confidently pencil him in as an every-fifth-day option. That's why the Freak-Out Factor isn't higher here. But a lot of people, myself included, were rooting for Arroyo to win a job outright and become one of baseball's best comeback stories, so Wednesday's reports that he has a torn labrum are tough to swallow.
Jhonny Peralta (left thumb), Cardinals
• ZiPS projected WAR: 2.3
• Freak-Out Factor: 7, for Peralta's slugging percentage rank among qualifying shortstops last year
On one hand, this is a big blow to a Cards club that left itself especially susceptible to the threat of injury to its aging core by abstaining from everybody except Jason Heyward in the top-tier position-player market. Because their power production has rated as statistically suspect the last couple seasons, the Cardinals have/had an awful lot riding on some guys north of 30 (Peralta, Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and Brandon Moss) delivering, along with Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk furthering their development.
The worst-case scenario is that the thumb surgeries both Peralta and Molina are recovering from affect their abilities at a time when the Cards can't necessarily count on repeating last year's once-in-a-generation staff ERA. Peralta's absence for at least the first couple of months of the season likely thrusts Jedd Gyorko into everyday duties at a time when the Cards valued him as a utility bat, and it's hard to say if Cuban import Aledmys Diaz is ready for primetime. A Cards source said there's still a 50-50 chance general manager John Mozeliak lands a new, external option in the late stages of Spring Training (the D-backs have depth in this department).
Of course, with all that said, there's also the thought that these are the Cardinals, which means the loss of a starting shortstop somehow compels them to win even more games than they otherwise would have. This team rolls with the punches as well as or better than any other, after all, so seven might be too high.
Jarrod Parker (elbow), A's
• ZiPS projected WAR: 0.4
• Freak-Out Factor: Also 0.4
It was probably overly optimistic to expect Parker, who has had two Tommy John surgeries and two elbow fractures, to figure prominently into an in-flux A's rotation this season, so this doesn't disrupt the A's outlook all the much. But man. What a bummer. Parker last pitched in the big leagues in the 2013 Division Series, and the elbow trauma he's endured in the time since is nothing short of cruel.
Lance McCullers (shoulder soreness), Astros
• ZiPS projected WAR: 2.7
• Freak-Out Factor: 3.22, for McCullers' rookie-year ERA
Any issue involving the shoulder is worthy of pause, even if the MRI showed no structural damage. McCullers wasn't the Astros' Cy Young winner last season, but, with Dallas Keuchel registering as a late-bloomer, McCullers is probably their most important young homegrown product in the rotation since Roy Oswalt. And now a quick bounceback from Doug Fister, who lost both velocity and downward motion on his sinker in a poor 2015, is almost essential.
At the same time, perhaps this will prove to be a long-run blessing for the 'Stros. McCullers made a 62.5 percent jump in innings from 2014 to 2015, when he made the leap straight from Double-A to the big leagues. So the team was going to have to carefully monitor his workload regardless of injury. This makes that process a more natural one.
And if we can make the potentially bold assumption that a clean MRI makes for an efficient return to action and no further issues, this would allow for a relatively fresh McCullers when the Astros need him most down the stretch. So even though it involves the shoulder, we'll try to keep the Freak-Out Factor to a minimum here.
Carter Capps (Tommy John surgery) and Giancarlo Stanton (knee soreness), Marlins
• ZiPS projected WAR: 0.9 for Capps, 4.6 for Stanton
• Freak-Out Factor: 4.4, for the Marlins' average place in the NL East standings over the last five seasons
Wait, you're telling me crow-hopping off the rubber to consistently generate hard pitches isn't good for the elbow? Capps was something of a high-risk case, but that doesn't diminish the Fish's frustration with losing him from what was looking like a potentially dynamic 1-2 punch with A.J. Ramos in the back of the 'pen. That's a big blow.
And I'm mentioning Stanton here not because his knee situation is/was serious (he's already returned to the lineup after missing more than a week), but because there's no denying that injury issues -- some of them unfortunately unavoidable -- have hampered what could be a transcendent career. Stanton had a scope of the right knee in 2012, so this isn't a first-time issue for him, and his condition will continue to merit monitoring as the season progresses.
Asdrubal Cabrera (left knee), Mets
•ZiPS projected WAR: 1.8
• Freak-Out Factor: 3.42, for Cabrera's range factor per nine innings last season in Tampa Bay
All you need to know about the Mets' take on this setback is that it didn't prevent them from cutting Ruben Tejada loose this week. Of course, with the deadline looming to get rid of Tejada or pay him $3 million, the Mets had every financial incentive to make that move regardless of their starting shortstop's status. Wilmer Flores will be the temporary starter at short, with prospect Matt Reynolds the likely backup.
Still, PRP treatment of a knee condition that will likely keep Cabrera on the pine for Opening Day is not a great start for a 30-year-old shortstop whose range already rates as limited. The Mets famously have a high-strikeout staff, but they need to limit the ground balls through the shortstop-third base hole that were an infield issue last season, so hopefully this doesn't hamper Cabrera's ability to improve that area.
Cameron Maybin (left wrist fracture) and Anibal Sanchez (elbow inflammation), Tigers
• ZiPS projected WAR: 0.6 for Maybin, 2.5 for Sanchez
• Freak-Out Factor: 3.64, for Sanchez's career ERA as a Tiger
Maybin will probably miss the first couple of weeks of the season with the wrist fracture, and so the Tigers' one-time center fielder of the future and would-be center fielder of the present will cede early at-bats to Anthony Gose, who had an encouraging, if inconsistent, 2015. The Tigers' lineup obviously doesn't revolve around the center-field spot, so carry on.
And Sanchez is now back on track to pitch in the rotation in April after having his spring schedule delayed by the elbow issue, so, on the surface, there's nothing to see there, either. But we are talking about a guy limited to 25 starts by shoulder issues last season and who has averaged just 142 innings over the last two seasons (in addition to battling a myriad of injury issues from 2006-09). A bounce-back season for the Tigers is very much reliant on the rotation returning to respectability, so I'd be a bit concerned about Sanchez's elbow issue, minor though it might appear at the moment.
Edwin Encarnacion (oblique injury), Blue Jays
• ZiPS projected WAR: 3.1
• Freak-Out Factor: 0.929, for Encarnacion's OPS last season
In a rotation-reliant sport, oblique issues can very easily lead to other issues, so the Blue Jays are doing the right thing in holding Encarnacion, who already missed two weeks because of an abscessed tooth, out of action for another week. A lineup this deep can afford to show an excess of caution here, even with a player as important as Encarnacion. Nothing to freak out about.
Abraham Almonte (drugs intended for horses or cattle), Indians
• ZiPS projected WAR: 1.0
• Freak-Out Factor: 5.0, for the total projected 2016 WAR (via ZiPS) of the Indians' intended starting outfield -- Almonte, Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall
OK, not an injury, but the same basic effect. The Indians know they'll be without Almonte, who was their projected starting center fielder, for half the season. So that's not good.
At least the concern here is offset somewhat by the encouraging progress of Brantley in his recovery from shoulder surgery. An April return looks increasingly realistic. Besides, the possibility of Almonte extrapolating his .776 OPS in 51 games with the Tribe last season over a full-season sample was slim, at best, even if he were eligible to suit up for the first half.
But there's no getting around the fact that a platoon-heavy outfield arrangement is a non-ideal setup for a team with the pitching and infield defense to be a viable contender in the AL Central. Any test of the Tribe's already questionable depth hurts, and the deep division might not tolerate a slow start.
Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook (lat injuries), Mariners
• ZiPS projected WAR: 0.4 for Scribner, 0.0 for Cook
• Freak-Out Factor: 4.15, for the M's relief ERA last year
The Mariners, under new GM Jerry Dipoto, went to great lengths to remake the roster in under-the-radar ways this winter, and the end result is a more athletic and potentially frisky AL West club. But none of that will matter if the significantly reformed bullpen is bad, and there is internal concern over whether the 'pen will be proficient, especially with these two key offseason adds likely opening the season on the shelf. Though it's not worth totally freaking out over the temporary loss of a couple of bounce-back bullpen candidates, it is increasingly clear the M's will be searching for relief help on the transaction wire at the end of camp and early in the season.
Matt Wieters (elbow soreness), Orioles
• ZiPS projected WAR: 1.3
• Freak-Out Factor: 2, for the backstop slot
Hopefully this is your standard-issue spring inflammation and not something more sinister for a guy who has already had his promising career put on pause from Tommy John surgery. Though the MRI was clean (and affirmed by no less an authority than Dr. James Andrews), it's too soon to make any true declarations on this development, for Wieters has not yet resumed throwing. But we'll stay cautiously optimistic about the O's catcher here.
Josh Hamilton (left knee soreness), Rangers
• ZiPS projected WAR: 0.4
• Freak-Out Factor: 2, for the number (in millions) the Rangers are actually paying Hamilton in 2016
At the risk of sounding cold, Hamilton having knee issues registered as a 2016 inevitability, given his history. So I would argue that it was better to get this diagnosis and treatment (stem cell therapy and plasma injections) out of the way now to allow Hamilton his own version of a full spring progression, especially given that the news came with Ian Desmond still available on the open market. I'm one of those people bullish on Desmond handling left field well and re-establishing value -- at the very least $8 million worth of value -- with his bat. If it works out, the Rangers will, in an admittedly perverse way, have Hamilton's setback to thank.
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Anthony Castrovince is a Sports on Earth contributor, MLB.com columnist and MLB Network contributor. Follow him on Twitter @Castrovince.