To understand the ratings here and why these specific players are risky, first you must understand risk. This is not a general term, but a very specific term of art most closely related to the insurance industry. While we all know Flo and the Geico gecko, few of us have learned how insurance works or why it’s so profitable. If you want to know why Matt Kemp, Derek Jeter and Joe Mauer—three of the biggest names in baseball with contracts to match—are risky, please let me explain before you blow up in the comments.

The Risk Ratings are based on a system that I have been developing for the last 14 years. I was lucky enough to be given access to the actuarial tables created by baseball back then from their actual injury data. Those “Red Books” stopped being published a while back, but the data continue to be developed. Much like you have a rating when you go to insure your house or car, players have the same type of rating. 

If you drive a Corvette, your insurance base will be higher than if you drive a Camry. If you’re a teenager, your rates will be higher than that little old lady from Pasadena. The same is true for baseball players. Age, position, injury history and several other factors go into the ratings. They begin with an actuarial base and then are adjusted up or down by the various factors.

The ratings are then simplified into bands. While there is an underlying number from 0-110, I collect them into three bandsred for high risk, yellow for medium risk and green for low risk. It’s simple and while people often ask for more specific numerical ratings, I don’t feel that it adds significantly to the value of the Risk Ratings.

(Also, I’m admittedly paranoid about people trying to reverse engineer the system! It’s been tried.)

I’ll have the full ratings for you on Friday, in plenty of time for your fantasy drafts, but for now, here are 10 top players whose risk is such that you’ll need to really think about them before putting them at the heart of your team. Of course, the managers and general managers of these teams have real concerns as well. 

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