As the roving minor league pitching instructor for the Tampa Bay Rays, former Senators pitcher Dick Bosman has helped groom some of the best pitching talent in the majors. I asked Dick to comment on the Washington Nationals handling of Stephen Strasburg this season on our podcast show Friday night. The response was one of the most well-informed sources of enlightenment on the issue I have heard or seen.
...The other key assertion by Bosman is that, based on what he saw and heard about Strasburg before the shutdown, Strasburg was showing definite signs of fatigue. “My sources, and some of those guys are pretty close to the action, say that those last ten starts of his had pretty mixed results,” said Dick. “Which tells me that there is some fatigue starting to creep in there and suddenly you have yourself a risk-reward situation on your hands where pitching this guy–yeah, we might get to the promised land, but we may lose a franchise pitcher along the way for years to come, or forever.”
While this is the key point in the interview, Bosman also raised other key insights into pitcher development He asserted that the maximum pitch count for a developing pitcher would be 110 to 115 pitches in a ballgame, “every once in a while probably at the AAA level,” so that they are ready to pitch at the major league level if called upon by the parent organization. Speaking about pitch counts and the number of innings, Bosman said, “we’re pretty strict about that and we’ve shut guys down toward the end of the year,” said Bosman. ” We’ve done that with guys like Shields, Matt Moore and various other guys when the inning totals get a little high. Sometimes you come under a little scrutiny when you do that.”
...We discussed Strasburg in that light as well. I asked Dick whether he had heard the criticism of the Nationals from within the industry for shutting their ace down in the heat of the pennant race and whether he agreed with it. He said he had certainly heard the criticism, but did not agree with it. “Did it make sense to me that others would criticize them? asked Dick. “Look, we have learned a thing or two about how to rehab guys from Tommy John surgery…Dr. Andrews is a friend of mine. He worked on this body too when my shoulder finally blew out. But he says all the time that how the guys rehab when they are coming back separates the ones who are really successful coming back from the ones who are not.”
So the bottom line for Dick is that Stephen Strasburg is more likely to have a longer and more successful career for having had the Nationals take a careful, patient approach to his rehab.
Posted: October 23, 2012 at 06:02 AM | 29 comment(s)
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