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Monday, May 26, 2014

KC’s Ventura exits with lateral elbow discomfort

KANSAS CITY—Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura was removed from Monday night’s game with what was described as lateral elbow discomfort.

He will undergo an MRI on Tuesday in an effort to determine the severity of the problem. Any elbow irregularity, of course, is cause for concern, especially in light of the recent increase of Tommy John surgeries.

Zach Posted: May 26, 2014 at 10:30 PM | 58 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: injury, royals

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   1. Zach Posted: May 26, 2014 at 10:55 PM (#4713734)
He was obviously struggling with his command in the first inning. You hate to see a young hard-thrower suddenly develop control problems.
   2. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: May 26, 2014 at 10:58 PM (#4713736)
I wasn't aware that Jonah Keri was solely responsible for all these Tommy John injuries this year:
https://twitter.com/jonahkeri/status/471099732262387712

Here's the kickoff:
@jonahkeri: Yup, he was already written into tomorrow's column MT @RyanPBoyer Yordano Ventura lit up by Astros/leaves with injury after velo drops to 91

Worth a read if you're not a Royals fan.
   3. Shibal Posted: May 26, 2014 at 11:19 PM (#4713743)
I don't think too many people are surprised about this news.
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 26, 2014 at 11:28 PM (#4713746)
Can Gerrit Cole get preemptive Tommy John surgery already? The Pirates aren't going to the playoffs this year. Get it out of the way. Taillon just did it, they can be rehab buddies.

Like how British people would just have all their teeth pulled in early adulthood a few decades ago instead of gradually seeing all of them decay and cause toothache and abscesses.
   5. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 26, 2014 at 11:30 PM (#4713747)
At this point, I think the only thing I have followed that had a lower percentage of guys make it to the end of the season was that Spartacus show on Starz.
   6. Shibal Posted: May 26, 2014 at 11:45 PM (#4713750)
Maybe a speed limit should be put in place.

Any pitch faster than 95 mph would be a ball.



   7. Shibal Posted: May 26, 2014 at 11:48 PM (#4713754)
Or make teams alternate pitchers. Like in co-ed softball where the girls get to hit a smaller ball. Instead of changing balls after every batter, teams change pitchers.
   8. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 26, 2014 at 11:50 PM (#4713755)
Just use the "coaches pitch" system, like when we were transitioning from T-Ball to Little League.
   9. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 27, 2014 at 12:04 AM (#4713757)
I suppose the eventual outcome of all this will be the end of the traditional starter role.
   10. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: May 27, 2014 at 12:24 AM (#4713760)
YAY! I'd like to see some forward-thinking organization try this. Talk about revolutionary!
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 12:32 AM (#4713761)
#### FUCK #### FUCK

Baseball is stupid, and we are all stupid for caring about it.
   12. Esoteric Posted: May 27, 2014 at 12:58 AM (#4713763)
This is really getting bizarre.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2014 at 02:13 AM (#4713770)
I dunno know about you guys, but I'm getting my arm loose. Sure, I'm roughly 35.8 million back on the depth chart but at this rate, I should be in the majors by the AS break.

Look, it's me or Brett Tomko. No, seriously, the Royals have Tomko at AAA.

Hold on! They also have Sugar Ray Marimon! Why isn't this guy in the majors already? Yes, his real name is Sugar Ray, he's from Colombia ... are there lots of Sugars in Colombia? Was SR Leonard down there 25 years ago?
   14. Barnaby Jones Posted: May 27, 2014 at 03:16 AM (#4713771)
The season long send off to Frank Jobe continues.
   15. Astroenteritis (tom) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 07:50 AM (#4713784)
This is getting discouraging. He obviously wasn't right last night. Let's hope for a miracle and no TJ.
   16. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 08:08 AM (#4713787)
No, seriously, the Royals have Tomko at AAA.
For a second or two, I was sure it was going to be Brett Tomko Jr.

But nope. It's THE Brett Tomko.
   17. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 27, 2014 at 08:24 AM (#4713791)
Kyle Davies is available.
   18. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 08:28 AM (#4713792)
Paging Paul Kilgus. Paul Kilgus, you have a call on the white courtesy phone.
   19. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 27, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4713811)
To the point in #6, maybe teams should stop viewing the ability to throw 95+ as a positive. If you have two potential starters on the draft board who are the same age, have similar college stats, and similar frames, but one consistently hits 96-98 while the other is in the 92-94 range, is it obvious that the former is the better choice?
   20. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4713813)
I think we need a reality show where they take a group of pitchers who throw hard and teach them the knuckleball.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4713816)

To the point in #6, maybe teams should stop viewing the ability to throw 95+ as a positive.


Is there evidence this is hitting hard-throwers worse than non-hard-throwers?
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4713818)
To the point in #6, maybe teams should stop viewing the ability to throw 95+ as a positive. If you have two potential starters on the draft board who are the same age, have similar college stats, and similar frames, but one consistently hits 96-98 while the other is in the 92-94 range, is it obvious that the former is the better choice?

I think a better idea would be to teach the 95 MPH guys not to throw max effort on every single pitch.
   23. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: May 27, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4713819)
On behalf of my first-place fantasy team, thank you for the fine six weeks. (sigh)
   24. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4713824)
If you have two potential starters on the draft board who are the same age, have similar college stats, and similar frames, but one consistently hits 96-98 while the other is in the 92-94 range, is it obvious that the former is the better choice?


Probably. Guys don't hurt themselves by throwing hard per se, but by throwing as hard as they can. For some dudes that's 98 miles an hour, for some dudes, it's 88. Is there any evidence that soft-tossers don't get hurt as often as power pitchers? I haven't seen any.
   25. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4713831)
Is there evidence this is hitting hard-throwers worse than non-hard-throwers?

I'm not sure, but intuitively it makes sense. My impression is that pitching mechanics, conditioning and strength training, and throwing with max effort on every pitch has allowed a number of young starters to get into the upper 90s consistently, and that velocity increase has outpaced the strengthening of the elbow and its ligaments (if that's even possible). Over the last few years we've seen a ton of elite prospects who throw in the upper 90s, and many have had to get the surgery -- Bundy, Taillon, Harvey, Fernandez, Strasburg, et al. Maybe my memory is faulty, but even 10 years ago a 21 year old starter who could routinely hit 96+ was really rare. And that ties into the increase in Ks of course.

I think a better idea would be to teach the 95 MPH guys not to throw max effort on every single pitch.

I think that's a good idea, but I wonder if it would be difficult to implement. I think that may be possible for a guy being drafted out of high school, but if a pitcher is 21 and has been throwing with max effort throughout his college career, it may be hard to change his approach without screwing up his delivery or something.
   26. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4713835)
I'd never even heard of this guy until this morning.
   27. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4713840)
It's become obvious that the role and expectations (*) of a starting pitcher have undergone a secular change, making cross-era comparisons very difficult. The difference is akin to the 3,000 meter and the 400 meter races.

(*) Internal and external.
   28. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4713844)
This is kind of an insane idea, and possibly unworkable, and could/would blow up high school and college ball as we know it, but...

At some point, does it become a reasonable investment for MLB to bankroll an alternative competition for the elite teenage players across the continent that provides them with proper coaching and limits the physical stress on their arms? If they can convince kids not to throw at max effort all the time, and if they can prevent coaches from having their aces throw 200 pitches at a time, and if they can get to them early enough to teach proper mechanics, could they prevent a future TommyJohnPocalypse?

I'm just thinking out loud here. Maybe they can't prevent it. We don't even have anything more than working theories on what's causing it.

*shrug*

Whatever it is, it sucks and needs to end.
   29. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4713845)
To be fair, this guy's mechanics were so bad, and the velocity so high, that he was a ticking time bomb in 2014, 2004 or 1934. I winced watching him pitch.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4713857)
I think that's a good idea, but I wonder if it would be difficult to implement. I think that may be possible for a guy being drafted out of high school, but if a pitcher is 21 and has been throwing with max effort throughout his college career, it may be hard to change his approach without screwing up his delivery or something.

Well, you need to "teach the teachers" too. It should become part of pitching culture that you only max-out against the best hitters, and in the tight spots, like it was in the old days. Learn to get guys out at 90-92 MPH, and then you have 94-95 in reserve when you absolutely need it.
   31. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4713866)
When they created a clone army of superpitchers a few years ago, they shouldn't have used Joel Zumaya as the source material.
   32. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4713873)
It would help if MLB would start downplaying velocity and stressing the importance of hitting your spots at 90-92. How many pitchers in HS and in places like the DR are maxing out to get noticed by scouts and raise their draft position? One example (shoulder, not elbow, but same basic idea) is Matt Hobgood: his draft status shot up in the spring of his senior year when he started reaching the upper 90s on some pitches (the Orioles drafted him too high, but he was widely seen as a first round talent). He injured his shoulder either in high school or soon after, and was never the same. My guess is that he was maxing out in those games to make a name for himself, and it did lasting damage to his arm.

Anyway, it would take a while to change the culture, but the long-term benefits for everyone (apart from Dr. Andrews) could be huge.
   33. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4713877)
We don't even have anything more than working theories on what's causing it.

My working theory is that guys are throwing too hard, which is both reflected in, and the cause of, the increased radar gun readings we're seeing.

The Moneyball play is to get starters who can pace themselves -- which is to say, be effective for longer periods at (say) Max Velocity minus 3-4 MPH. In other words, 80s/early 90s-style pitching staffs.

I can see why people would want really hard throwers, but if you absolutely must throw at max velocity to be effective, the whole industry is overvaluing you. And conversely, the industry is undervaluing guys who can be effective at less than max velocity, who can both give you more innings and be way less susceptible to injury. Those are the guys I want.
   34. Random Transaction Generator Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4713879)
I'd never even heard of this guy until this morning.


Committing to the bit. I like that.
   35. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4713883)
How hard did Beckett throw when he was drafted? Beckett was the Strasburg of his time.
   36. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4713884)
I don't know if it's a sign that he's headed for Dr. Andrews's office, but Verlander looked terrible this weekend -- only reached 94 a couple times, mostly topping out at 91-92.
   37. frannyzoo Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4713886)
We need more Greg Maddux, but chicks dig the fireball.
   38. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4713888)
Anyway, it would take a while to change the culture, but the long-term benefits for everyone (apart from Dr. Andrews) could be huge.


It *will* take a while for the culture change to seep into the lower levels. But it's already happening. The rash of broken young superstars is not lost on the youth travel circuit who make their money on the message "we'll turn your kid into a MLB superstar."
   39. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4713899)
More submariners!
   40. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4713906)
More submariners!


Imperius Rex!
   41. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4713910)
I suppose the eventual outcome of all this will be the end of the traditional starter role.


I hadn't thought of it before, but now that I read it I'm suddenly convinced this is going to prove correct.

I'm unconvinced velocity is the problem here. It seems as likely to me that the extreme torque required to throw major league breaking stuff is the culprit, possibly exacerbated by starters now being expected to throw near max effort every pitch.

Whatever the cause, the problem isn't going away, because likely the only way to help would be to take a fair bit more offense out of the game, enabling starters to cruise through the bottom of the order the way they used to, and enact rules forcing managers to use their starters more and their bullpens less. Neither of which is going to happen.

That brings me back to, yes, I'm convinced that it's likely this is going to lead to the end of the traditional starter role, and possibly even roster expansion to enable teams to stock their bullpens more.
   42. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: May 27, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4713924)
If the starting pitcher role ever changes, MLB will need to revise the rule of five innings pitched for the starter to qualify for a win. In my opinion, they should reduce it to three innings.

EDIT: Thinking about this further, simply changing the win requirement to three innings could do a lot to minimize stressful innings if you also enlarged rosters. You could expand rosters to 27-28 and get rid of expanded 40-man rosters after September 1. Right now, teams carry 27.5 players on their rosters, so this would just reallocate when those "extra" players are available. Anyway, teams could carry an extra reliever or two to replace starters who might labor to get through three innings on a given day, but whose managers try to let them get through five innings out of need or custom.
   43. Snowboy Posted: May 27, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4713925)
How hard did Beckett throw when he was drafted? Beckett was the Strasburg of his time.


per Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2002: "Beckett has a prototypical power pitcher's build and a true No.1 starter's repertoire and makeup. His four-seam fastball can touch 97 mph, but he'd rather pitch at 93-94 and get easy outs with his sinker."
   44. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4713930)

I suppose the eventual outcome of all this will be the end of the traditional starter role.


Yay, more strikeouts and less scoring! Baseball will be fun to watch.
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4713932)
I suppose the eventual outcome of all this will be the end of the traditional starter role.


Yay, more strikeouts and less scoring! Baseball will be fun to watch.


Agree, worst idea ever.

I'd counter with rules to constrain the number of pitchers (max 11 on a roster, max 3 pitching changes per game) to force them to pace themselves, and then offset the increased offense with other changes (fatter bat handles, deaden the ball).
   46. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 27, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4713938)
I recommend reducing the number of infielders to 3, to make ground balls profitable again. The ninth field player will be deployed behind the catcher to make the pitcher less worried about precisely hitting the strike zone every time. Result, more hits without more home runs, fewer strikeouts, less strain on the arm, more stolen bases, win-win-win-win-win-win. Also, call the high strike and don't call the outside strike. And expand foul territory.
   47. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4713939)
I would also like to minimize, by rule, the number of pitchers a team can use in a game*--but (a) it is difficult to work out how to do that without rampant cheating around the edges, and (b) even if it wasn't, it isn't going to happen anytime soon because the game is strongly moving in the opposite direction and has for all its history. Eventually a tipping point will be passed in that regard, but there's no reason to think we're near that point now.

Strikeouts have also increased steadily throughout all baseball history, but probably are now approaching the tipping point, where Baseball will make rule changes to decrease strikeouts.

*Actually what I would REALLY like to do is change the game such that it's a lot easier to put the ball in play and a lot harder to draw a walk, decreasing pitch counts. But that's even more radical and thus even less likely to ever happen. It's just my personal taste. h
   48. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4713964)
Oh goody, top pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer has suffered a setback and is out at least 2 months, probably more.
   49. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 27, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4713973)
We should have a Kevin Gausman countdown clock.
   50. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 27, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4714049)
Strikeouts have also increased steadily throughout all baseball history,

Except for in the '70s, when they decreased, not insignificantly and for a not insignificant period of time. You're right, though, the long-term trend is clearly up.
   51. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4714071)
We should have a Kevin Gausman countdown clock.


Gerrit Cole is definitely on the clock now.
   52. PreservedFish Posted: May 27, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4714098)
Batters and pitchers should all just agree to stop trying so hard.
   53. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: May 27, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4714124)
@Ken_Rosenthal: Royals GM Dayton Moore just said on MLBNow that Ventura's MRI came back clean and that he is expected to miss just one start.

Since this is Dayton Moore talking, should Royals fans start jumping off tall buildings now or...?
   54. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4714126)
Yea, I trust this about as much as I trust Bernie Madoff. Its now just a matter of when, not if we get the announcement Ventura is out for the year.
   55. theboyqueen Posted: May 27, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4714132)
Lateral elbow pain is not likely to be a UCL problem, so I doubt Tommy John surgery is in the cards just yet.

My working theory is that guys are throwing too hard, which is both reflected in, and the cause of, the increased radar gun readings we're seeing.

The Moneyball play is to get starters who can pace themselves -- which is to say, be effective for longer periods at (say) Max Velocity minus 3-4 MPH. In other words, 80s/early 90s-style pitching staffs.

I can see why people would want really hard throwers, but if you absolutely must throw at max velocity to be effective, the whole industry is overvaluing you. And conversely, the industry is undervaluing guys who can be effective at less than max velocity, who can both give you more innings and be way less susceptible to injury. Those are the guys I want.


I think I agree with this. The other play is to find young, cheap guys who throw hard, use them until they break, and move on. I think Billy Beane is using some combination of these ideas. In other words, I don't expect Sonny Gray to get a long term contract from the A's.
   56. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4714180)
It's become obvious that the role and expectations (*) of a starting pitcher have undergone a secular change

Actually, the latest historical, archaeological and linguistic work is in agreement that in fact there has always been an 11th Commandment that pitchers shall not go past 100 pitches.

The early Roman Church expunged this to placate the competition-loving masses. Jewish leaders and scholars went along with it saying "Oy, baseball, who cares?"*

*Fascinating I know but another little-known fact that many Jews were speaking Yiddish in the 3rd century. With NY accents no less.
   57. thetailor Posted: May 27, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4714196)
How ironic it will be (it is turns out to be true) that pitch counts in the majors have led to more injuries.

"I'm only going to be allowed 100 pitches, I had better make them count and throw as hard as I can!"
   58. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4714200)
*Fascinating I know but another little-known fact that many Jews were speaking Yiddish in the 3rd century. With NY accents no less.


It's amazing how many people refuse to acknowledge the scholarship of Mel Brooks.

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