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Friday, April 25, 2014

Matt Moore, Ivan Nova, and the Injury Zone

As the recent rash of season-ending injuries indicates, we’re a long way from figuring out when a pitcher is about to break. Not every injury is preceded by a warning sign, and not every red flag reveals a real problem. Many pitcher injuries are the result of cumulative wear and tear, but the process often culminates in one pitch, followed by a pop or a sharp pain and an arm clutched tightly on the trip back to the dugout. From there, it’s just a matter of time until the Twitpic from the operating table.

What if teams could anticipate and avoid the delivery that pushes the pitcher too far? Could early detection, early removal, and time off for rest and rehab preserve a ligament that’s on its last legs but hasn’t yet passed the point of no return?

attaboy Posted: April 25, 2014 at 03:31 PM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: injuries, pitching, tommy john surgery

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   1. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 25, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4694353)
This is slightly altered now that Ivan Nova has caught Tommy John disease but wasn't there some recent fact cited that something like of the last 25 pitchers to get TJ, only 1 wasn't American (Bruce Rondon)?

It may be wise to do some background work on American pitchers when you're scouting them. If there was a high school pitching prospect that didn't start until his junior year who was raw but immediately displayed a talent/feel for it, I think I'd rather draft him than a kid who has been touching 90+ mph since he was 12 years old. I think I would also be cautious of signing any American pitcher who has been pitching year-round since Little League and somehow reached free agency without getting TJ.
   2. Bhaakon Posted: April 26, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4694908)
A disproportionate number of pitchers are Americans to start off with (70-75%, IIRC), and (just WAG here) Americans are more likely to be able to afford expensive surgeries and other medical treatments as amateurs (ie: without a team to foot the bill), so they're less likely to be forced into retirement by injury as a teenager. Of course that may be offset by international FA signing as young as 16.

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