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Friday, May 16, 2014

Here’s why some insiders shrug their shoulders at raw injury numbers | FOX Sports on MSN

I generally like Rob’s stuff but this one hits far off the mark. Sabermetrics is all about objective evidence. Where’s the evidence, Rob?

Jim Furtado Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:28 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: injuries, sabermetrics

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   1. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4708428)
What'??s important isn'??t the raw number of injuries, but the number of seasons, and especially the number of good seasons, lost to injuries.
Cracked? Nope. Not even close. Helped, though? Maybe. Maybe "?sabermetrics" has saved a whole bunch of careers, if not original elbow ligaments.

That's not sabermetrics at work Rob, that's called advancements in medical technology and knowledge.
   2. Just drawing conclusions on the wall Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4708442)
Medical experts examine how and why pitch counts affect injuries. Sabermetrics examines baseball games and conclude that Pedro is not Pedro after 105 pitches.
   3. JRVJ Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4708459)
I don't mind this piece at all. I don't assume that a human being who generally dabbles in sabermetrics or some other specific point of view and/or ideology is obligated to coordinate each and every thing he utters or writes to that specific point of view and/or ideology (heck, not even Pope Francis is doing that).

Seems to me that Neyer just felt like guesstimating, and that’s fine (heck, Bill James does it a lot in his chats – it’s a perfectly fine way to frame a question).

As to the specific points, Neyer brings up something that I’ve heard and read here and there: that perhaps pitchers have grown so big and powerful, that they have a much higher chance of having their TJ ligament break than they did in the past (I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that anybody has developed a specific strength and conditioning program for the TJ ligament).
It would be nice if medical science and/or research could determine if this is the case, but I’m fine with somebody posing this hypo.
   4. Rob_Wood Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4708531)

I haven't read the article, but I think most people would agree that strength training is probably a cause. The conventional wisdom is that weightlifting strengthens muscles (principally) but not tendons or ligaments (as much).

Even me, a recreational weightlifter (and that is being extremely generous) developed strained tendons when my muscles could outlift my tendons, if you know what I mean. My doctor gave me some rather simple exercises to help strengthen my tendons (but she never mentioned the ligaments) and a shot of cortisone and sent me on my way. I can only imagine that professional athletes who do strength training run into this issue quite a lot.
   5. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4708537)
I'm surprised no one's mentioned this from TFA
Another thing: We know elbow ligaments seem to be shearing off like never before. But as I (and others) have mentioned, we'??re seeing fewer serious shoulder injuries (or at least we seem to be).

I've been thinking that for the last couple of years--the major bane of pitchers 20, 30 years ago was injuries to the shoulder, not the elbow. In fact the dogma used to be that fastball pitchers hurt the shoulder and breaking ball pitchers shredded the elbow ("stripped his gears" was what they called it). I have no idea if strength training has made the elbow more vulnerable, but not the shoulder
   6. bjhanke Posted: May 17, 2014 at 03:43 AM (#4708626)
This is just an odd observation I had when I was doing baseball books. I speculated that there might be come players who had thin bones and looked skinny in college or the minors, but who had bodybuilt themselves at the MLB level beyond their bones' and joints' ability to handle the stress, in order to hit with more power. I called these players "overbodybuilt" and kept track of how many injuries they had. The three players who were the center of this? Jose Canseco, Eric Davis and Darryl Strawberry. Mark McGwire did NOT get on this list because, even in college, it was clear that he had very large bones and could withstand filling out in the weight room. Don't have anything with more sample size or causality than that; but it seemed relevant to this topic. When someone starts bulking up, I still try to find a picture of the guy in college or the low minors. Seems to be a correlation, but as I can't define "bones too thin" mathematically, especially on the basis of looking at old pictures, I can't actually do a study. - Brock Hanke
   7. bjhanke Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4708663)
Also, I can't really criticize the article. Rob got on me pretty hard back in my baseball book days because I kept expecting Greg Maddux' arm to fall off. And yeah, he got snarky and went ad hominem. But still, what did I get out of that? 1) A full understanding of just how different it is to throw sliders instead of curves. 2) A thorough grasp of just how bad I am at predicting injuries. That's even worth the ad hominem, which I hate. - Brock Hanke
   8. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:05 PM (#4708923)
Brock, the right proxy for "bones too thin" is likely wrist size, which has been used as a proxy for frame in bodybuilding circles to assess physique potential for decades. A player with a 6.5" wrist is smaller framed than a player with an 8" wrist, even if both build to a similar muscular size. At that point, to test your theory, you'd just need to look at the differential injury rates.
   9. bjhanke Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:39 PM (#4708938)
Thanks for the info. I was mostly looking at the shoulders and, when I got to see a bare body part, how much of it appeared to be bone. Remember, I was NOT looking at MLB guys' MLB photos. I was trying to find things like their Rookie League baseball cards (if any), or photos.
   10. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:52 PM (#4708944)
Shoulders are tough because of the anatomical variance between people of similar-sized frames. If you take a look at Arnold Schwarzenegger compared to Don Howorth (Google Image Search is probably your friend here), you'll notice that (arguably) the greatest bodybuilder who ever lived had "hanging" shoulders that made him appear narrower than Howorth, who had much squarer shoulders when standing relaxed. Obviously, Arnold wasn't small or small framed, but looking at the two of them in jerseys, you likely would have concluded, incorrectly, that Arnold had the smaller frame from the shoulders.
   11. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:55 PM (#4708949)
The other beauty of wrist size as a constant is that you can use it even in a bulked up player, since the wrist really doesn't grow with weight training. Look for the guys whose forearms don't match their wrists and hands, and you're likely to find confirmation or disconfirmation for the "overbodybuilt" hypothesis.

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