The Frailty of the Modern Pitcher

RS2004foreever

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The MLB is really in a crisis with SP - pitchers just cannot stay healthy.
I guess a smart team just assumes $40 million a year will be spent on starters who cannot start.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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The MLB is really in a crisis with SP - pitchers just cannot stay healthy.
I guess a smart team just assumes $40 million a year will be spent on starters who cannot start.
You can see how it might be that the smart money is stockpiling a stable of decent arms who can go 2 or 3 times the order than making any top dollar investments in starting pitching. A staff of Whitlocks instead of spending 9 figures on a single arm.

The 100+ mph world appears to coincide with the decline of the starting pitcher.
 

RS2004foreever

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You can see how it might be that the smart money is stockpiling a stable of decent arms who can go 2 or 3 times the order than making any top dollar investments in starting pitching. A staff of Whitlocks instead of spending 9 figures on a single arm.

The 100+ mph world appears to coincide with the decline of the starting pitcher.
It's just too damn stressful on the arm. Giolito and Cole were 30 starts a year guys and boom. It almost seems completely unpredictable.
 

astrozombie

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The current philosophy on pitchers - give max effort on every pitch - is unsustainable. Even worse, there is little incentive to change it.
 

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It's just too damn stressful on the arm. Giolito and Cole were 30 starts a year guys and boom. It almost seems completely unpredictable.
Or maybe completely predictable.
In this max effort era of pitching, it seems to me that everyone is even more of a ticking time bomb than ever before. Sometimes I wonder if being an innings eater with no injury history just means that you’re likely to be the next one to break down.
 

CR67dream

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It's just too damn stressful on the arm. Giolito and Cole were 30 starts a year guys and boom. It almost seems completely unpredictable.
We should probably have a thread about the frailty of the modern pitcher, but I'd have to do a deep dive before even thinking about coming to any supportable conclusions. I will say that it seems that most of today's pitchers reach the professional level with a hell of a lot more mileage on their arms than pitchers did a generation or two ago. A lot of these guys throw and throw hard before they're even teenagers, and a lot of the ones who make it to that level are in year-round baseball programs, and play in multiple leagues on multiple teams. I have to think that all takes a toll, and anecdotally, I've seen it with a couple of local kids whose arms were a mess by the time they got to college. One in particular who had real talent, great hitter too. By the time he played Legion ball, he couldn't effectively throw from short to first.

Pair that with the emphasis on velocity, spin rate, and going all out all outing at the professional level, and it's really not surprising to see what we're seeing. It also seems like the more sophisticated medical technology gets at fixing these guys, the more likely they are to break. Pretty crazy cycle. The hard part for teams is that while it's predictable that some pitchers will suffer major injuries, identifying which ones are more or less likely to seems to be getting harder, and hence teams may be becoming more risk averse. I sure didn't have Giolito and Cole on my big injury risk Bingo card.
 

chrisfont9

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We should probably have a thread about the frailty of the modern pitcher, but I'd have to do a deep dive before even thinking about coming to any supportable conclusions. I will say that it seems that most of today's pitchers reach the professional level with a hell of a lot more mileage on their arms than pitchers did a generation or two ago. A lot of these guys throw and throw hard before they're even teenagers, and a lot of the ones who make it to that level are in year-round baseball programs, and play in multiple leagues on multiple teams. I have to think that all takes a toll, and anecdotally, I've seen it with a couple of local kids whose arms were a mess by the time they got to college. One in particular who had real talent, great hitter too. By the time he played Legion ball, he couldn't effectively throw from short to first.

Pair that with the emphasis on velocity, spin rate, and going all out all outing at the professional level, and it's really not surprising to see what we're seeing. It also seems like the more sophisticated medical technology gets at fixing these guys, the more likely they are to break. Pretty crazy cycle. The hard part for teams is that while it's predictable that some pitchers will suffer major injuries, identifying which ones are more or less likely to seems to be getting harder, and hence teams may be becoming more risk averse. I sure didn't have Giolito and Cole on my big injury risk Bingo card.
Believe it or not, NIH is on the job!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10043103/

This is dated 2022 (lots of older stuff out there from Driveline etc). Exec summary:

Several biomechanical factors influence the stresses imparted on the throwing elbow. Throwing volume, proper throwing mechanics, and appropriate rehabilitation are likely to be to be the most influential on mitigating unnecessary stresses imparted to the elbow in the throwing athlete. A proper understanding of these factors may reduce the occurrence of these injuries in this population. Moreover, an understanding of proper rehabilitation following injury may ensure optimized results and reduce recurrence.
 

Yo La Tengo

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We should probably have a thread about the frailty of the modern pitcher, but I'd have to do a deep dive before even thinking about coming to any supportable conclusions. I will say that it seems that most of today's pitchers reach the professional level with a hell of a lot more mileage on their arms than pitchers did a generation or two ago. A lot of these guys throw and throw hard before they're even teenagers, and a lot of the ones who make it to that level are in year-round baseball programs, and play in multiple leagues on multiple teams. I have to think that all takes a toll, and anecdotally, I've seen it with a couple of local kids whose arms were a mess by the time they got to college. One in particular who had real talent, great hitter too. By the time he played Legion ball, he couldn't effectively throw from short to first.

Pair that with the emphasis on velocity, spin rate, and going all out all outing at the professional level, and it's really not surprising to see what we're seeing. It also seems like the more sophisticated medical technology gets at fixing these guys, the more likely they are to break. Pretty crazy cycle. The hard part for teams is that while it's predictable that some pitchers will suffer major injuries, identifying which ones are more or less likely to seems to be getting harder, and hence teams may be becoming more risk averse. I sure didn't have Giolito and Cole on my big injury risk Bingo card.
We recently had some good discussion in the Bailey thread, including injury-list placements for pitchers rising from 241 in 2010 to 552 in 2021. I was also hoping to get some discussion going about whether ability to throw a first pitch strike is an underrated/appreciated skill since that seems like a major focus for Bailey as well.
 

RS2004foreever

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We should probably have a thread about the frailty of the modern pitcher, but I'd have to do a deep dive before even thinking about coming to any supportable conclusions. I will say that it seems that most of today's pitchers reach the professional level with a hell of a lot more mileage on their arms than pitchers did a generation or two ago. A lot of these guys throw and throw hard before they're even teenagers, and a lot of the ones who make it to that level are in year-round baseball programs, and play in multiple leagues on multiple teams. I have to think that all takes a toll, and anecdotally, I've seen it with a couple of local kids whose arms were a mess by the time they got to college. One in particular who had real talent, great hitter too. By the time he played Legion ball, he couldn't effectively throw from short to first.

Pair that with the emphasis on velocity, spin rate, and going all out all outing at the professional level, and it's really not surprising to see what we're seeing. It also seems like the more sophisticated medical technology gets at fixing these guys, the more likely they are to break. Pretty crazy cycle. The hard part for teams is that while it's predictable that some pitchers will suffer major injuries, identifying which ones are more or less likely to seems to be getting harder, and hence teams may be becoming more risk averse. I sure didn't have Giolito and Cole on my big injury risk Bingo card.
I talked to a scout in 2015 at a game my AAU team was playing. He said he was suspicious of starters from Florida because they had played so much AAU ball - and this was a thing among MLB organizations. At the time Chris Sale - from Lakeland - w as at the top of the game. In retrospect though it is interesting. My kid played 80 games a year at 13.
 
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dynomite

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We should probably have a thread about the frailty of the modern pitcher, but I'd have to do a deep dive before even thinking about coming to any supportable conclusions.
Agreed, it's worth another thread.

I will say I remember looking up this article a few years ago that suggested pitcher injuries have gone up slowly but steadily over the past 25 years -- this is # of days MLB pitchers spent on the DL/IL:



https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Christopher-Camp/publication/298909145/figure/fig2/AS:444731277746177@1483043607969/Total-number-of-days-actually-spent-on-the-disabled-list-by-Major-League-Baseball-players.png

Edit: I remember all this came up a lot during the Nolan Ryan/Mike Maddux years in Texas when the Rangers made the World Series and Ryan claimed that pitchers were throwing too little, not too much, and should go back to the days of throwing complete games. https://vault.si.com/vault/2010/05/24/nolan-ryans-crusade

I don't know that this argument has ever really been resolved -- a lot of Old Timers arguing that pitchers today are coddled, a lot of New Timers arguing that max effort pitching and bullpen use is totally different, apples to oranges, etc..
 
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moondog80

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I talked to a scout in 2015 at a game my AAU team was playing. He said he was suspicious of starters from Florida because they had played so much AAU experience - and this was a thing among MLB organizations. At the time Chris Sale - from Lakeland - w as at the top of the game. In retrospect though it is interesting. My kid played 80 games a year at 13.
Seems like it would be very easy to measure TJ surgery rates by geography.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I wouldn't say that a likely "new efficiency" is soft tossing junkballers but maybe more Derek Lowe types that throw a heavy sinker low in the zone that causes hitters (especially with the new swing mechanices) to get on top of the ball and hit grounders. Obviously with the garbage middle infield defense the Sox have been trotting out that would have led to more doubles though.
 

astrozombie

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I can't remember who said it, but one HoF pitcher (I want to say Christy Mathewson, but my gut says that is totally wrong) said for most games, we would throw a decent amount of low speed junk in early innings to "let the defense do something" or a similar sentiment, then would ratchet it up a bit towards the end of the outing when he had been through the lineup. The way the anecdote was presented, it was more about why this pitcher could effectively pitch the second/third time through the lineup (throwing more heat when hitters was expecting him to get tired), but it also says something about saving your arm. If this story sounds familiar to anyone, please feel free to let me know; it's bugging me that I can't remember who said it.
 

nvalvo

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I wouldn't say that a likely "new efficiency" is soft tossing junkballers but maybe more Derek Lowe types that throw a heavy sinker low in the zone that causes hitters (especially with the new swing mechanices) to get on top of the ball and hit grounders. Obviously with the garbage middle infield defense the Sox have been trotting out that would have led to more doubles though.
Yeah, like Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck, and Brayan Bello.

The new swing mechanics don't have the effect you're imagining, though. The new "on-plane" swings are tooled to *drive* two seamers in the air. But that makes them more vulnerable to four-seamers at the top of the zone, and the chess match continues...
 

The Gray Eagle

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The current philosophy on pitchers - give max effort on every pitch - is unsustainable. Even worse, there is little incentive to change it.
IMO, every team should have a knuckleball pitcher at every minor league level. If you can develop a decent knuckleballer that would be huge for the whole staff. Though maybe one reason that teams don't seem to be looking for knuckleballers anymore is that they are afraid that big league hitters would hit too many HRs off them now with the launch angle swings?

To help the game and pitchers, MLB needs to deaden the baseball a bit so that pitchers can go back to not throwing all-out on every pitch without giving up a ton of bombs.
 

3_games_down

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Believe it or not, NIH is on the job!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10043103/

This is dated 2022 (lots of older stuff out there from Driveline etc). Exec summary:

Several biomechanical factors influence the stresses imparted on the throwing elbow. Throwing volume, proper throwing mechanics, and appropriate rehabilitation are likely to be to be the most influential on mitigating unnecessary stresses imparted to the elbow in the throwing athlete. A proper understanding of these factors may reduce the occurrence of these injuries in this population. Moreover, an understanding of proper rehabilitation following injury may ensure optimized results and reduce recurrence.
Baselining the proper throwing mechanics in a biomechanical model might provide the next market efficiency. There was concern that the so called inverted W arm action was leading to elbow and shoulder injuries at a faster rate than the so called L arm action. I can't imagine this would be an easy solve. Retraining pitching mechanics of elite pitchers with established arm actions is probably a fool's errand.
 

jacklamabe65

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We should probably have a thread about the frailty of the modern pitcher, but I'd have to do a deep dive before even thinking about coming to any supportable conclusions. I will say that it seems that most of today's pitchers reach the professional level with a hell of a lot more mileage on their arms than pitchers did a generation or two ago. A lot of these guys throw and throw hard before they're even teenagers, and a lot of the ones who make it to that level are in year-round baseball programs, and play in multiple leagues on multiple teams. I have to think that all takes a toll, and anecdotally, I've seen it with a couple of local kids whose arms were a mess by the time they got to college. One in particular who had real talent, great hitter too. By the time he played Legion ball, he couldn't effectively throw from short to first.

Pair that with the emphasis on velocity, spin rate, and going all out all outing at the professional level, and it's really not surprising to see what we're seeing. It also seems like the more sophisticated medical technology gets at fixing these guys, the more likely they are to break. Pretty crazy cycle. The hard part for teams is that while it's predictable that some pitchers will suffer major injuries, identifying which ones are more or less likely to seems to be getting harder, and hence teams may be becoming more risk averse. I sure didn't have Giolito and Cole on my big injury risk Bingo card.
Bullseye. Yes, I pitched Division One, but yes, I also played three different sports. Like most New England kids in the 1960s and 70s, I didn't play in the other two while I was actively in season for a third. Ken Dryden, who was a pretty good hockey goalie, was also a shortstop, for instance, and his hand-eye skills were enhanced by playing baseball throughout his childhood to college because of it. It also has him at least seven months off from hockey, which he then approached with renewed vigor as a result. As Mom used to say, moderation in all things. Specialization should be the thread.
 

Margo McCready

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Dec 23, 2008
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Or maybe completely predictable.
In this max effort era of pitching, it seems to me that everyone is even more of a ticking time bomb than ever before. Sometimes I wonder if being an innings eater with no injury history just means that you’re likely to be the next one to break down.
Seems to be. I wonder if targeting starting pitchers with 20 to 40ish or so healthy post-TJ starts in trade and free agency may be a better bet than a guy who just put up 5 healthy seasons.
 

Sad Sam Jones

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IMO, every team should have a knuckleball pitcher at every minor league level. If you can develop a decent knuckleballer that would be huge for the whole staff. Though maybe one reason that teams don't seem to be looking for knuckleballers anymore is that they are afraid that big league hitters would hit too many HRs off them now with the launch angle swings?

To help the game and pitchers, MLB needs to deaden the baseball a bit so that pitchers can go back to not throwing all-out on every pitch without giving up a ton of bombs.
As fun as that sounds, the knuckleball has never been "plan A" for anyone. It's either been something that was a last-ditch effort to keep a career alive or a pitch an already established major leaguer started dabbling with, so you can't really go out and scout for potential professional knuckleballers or guess in rookie ball which kid is going to be better off scuttling everything he's worked for to try a completely different approach. It's also been a fraternal or familial tree sort of thing. I doubt most pitching coaches know what to do with a knuckleballer or would be enthusiastic to work with one. With the passing of Wakefield, the ones who were highly successful and best equipped to teach it are probably at an all-time low number... Candiotti, Dickey... then two or three fringe guys with Steven Wright probably being the most noteworthy of the bunch unless I'm forgetting someone.
 

simplicio

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We should probably have a thread about the frailty of the modern pitcher, but I'd have to do a deep dive before even thinking about coming to any supportable conclusions. I will say that it seems that most of today's pitchers reach the professional level with a hell of a lot more mileage on their arms than pitchers did a generation or two ago. A lot of these guys throw and throw hard before they're even teenagers, and a lot of the ones who make it to that level are in year-round baseball programs, and play in multiple leagues on multiple teams. I have to think that all takes a toll, and anecdotally, I've seen it with a couple of local kids whose arms were a mess by the time they got to college. One in particular who had real talent, great hitter too. By the time he played Legion ball, he couldn't effectively throw from short to first.

Pair that with the emphasis on velocity, spin rate, and going all out all outing at the professional level, and it's really not surprising to see what we're seeing. It also seems like the more sophisticated medical technology gets at fixing these guys, the more likely they are to break. Pretty crazy cycle. The hard part for teams is that while it's predictable that some pitchers will suffer major injuries, identifying which ones are more or less likely to seems to be getting harder, and hence teams may be becoming more risk averse. I sure didn't have Giolito and Cole on my big injury risk Bingo card.
Right on cue, Marlins announce Edward Cabrera is getting a shoulder MRI. A lot of folks here wanted to trade significant pieces for him, but there's so much risk in all these arms. I'm much more comfortable with the approach the Sox seem to be taking in getting minors arms and focusing on development.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Seems to be. I wonder if targeting starting pitchers with 20 to 40ish or so healthy post-TJ starts in trade and free agency may be a better bet than a guy who just put up 5 healthy seasons.
Dr. Keith Meister, the Texas Rangers’ head team physician, does 230+ elbow ligament repairs a year. He recently noted that post-TJ injuries are also becoming more common: “We used to say, you get your one TJ, you’re good. Then it was, you get 10 years out of one. Then it was seven to eight,” Meister said. “Now guys break down in three to five, depending upon who they are, the stuff they have, what they throw.”
 

astrozombie

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As fun as that sounds, the knuckleball has never been "plan A" for anyone. It's either been something that was a last-ditch effort to keep a career alive or a pitch an already established major leaguer started dabbling with, so you can't really go out and scout for potential professional knuckleballers or guess in rookie ball which kid is going to be better off scuttling everything he's worked for to try a completely different approach. It's also been a fraternal or familial tree sort of thing. I doubt most pitching coaches know what to do with a knuckleballer or would be enthusiastic to work with one. With the passing of Wakefield, the ones who were highly successful and best equipped to teach it are probably at an all-time low number... Candiotti, Dickey... then two or three fringe guys with Steven Wright probably being the most noteworthy of the bunch unless I'm forgetting someone.
This sums it up for me. I would add that catchers probably don't want to learn to catch knuckleballers and those catchers who do are doing it because they are forced to or also trying to learn a new skill to hang on to a team.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Bullseye. Yes, I pitched Division One, but yes, I also played three different sports. Like most New England kids in the 1960s and 70s, I didn't play in the other two while I was actively in season for a third. Ken Dryden, who was a pretty good hockey goalie, was also a shortstop, for instance, and his hand-eye skills were enhanced by playing baseball throughout his childhood to college because of it. It also has him at least seven months off from hockey, which he then approached with renewed vigor as a result. As Mom used to say, moderation in all things. Specialization should be the thread.
The Vanderbilt baseball coach, Tim Corbin, talked about why he likes to recruit multisport athletes, with some of the same reasons that mirror what you shared. I also appreciate that he recruits kids from New England (he grew up in NH). I pitched into college (DIII) and think my arm health was due in large part to rotating from sport to sport throughout the year. The pressure now on my kids to join a travel team and play non-stop is relentless.


“It’s a way for the kid to decompress from the game,” Corbin said. “I think if you play it 12 months out of the year, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re growing from it. If you do something over and over and over for a long period of time, there’s a piece of you that’s not always going to be as intentful as if it’s taken away for a while, and then you go back to it.

“I do think there’s something to be said about football players, hockey players, basketball players who engage in frequent competition that is very team-oriented. There’s a lot of anticipatory skills that grow inside those sports that you can’t get on a baseball field. And I also think there is a body element to it. If you’re a Friday night football player, you understand what it’s like to wake up on a Saturday morning and get yourself going. You don’t necessarily have to feel a 10 on a 10 scale in order to be the best version of yourself all the time. You can be slightly injured and still perform at a high level, and I think in playing other sports, those are some of the qualities and components that allow a kid that’s playing baseball to benefit as he goes forward in the game.”
 

8slim

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I've really enjoyed the pitcher injury discussion. Thanks to everyone who contrubuted.

I'll admit that I find the current version of baseball to be much more boring than years ago, largely because of (a) the 'three true outcomes' approach to batting, and (b) the diminishment of starting pitchers.

The current state of the game, with guys throwing full tilt for 5-6 innings, at best, and then inevitably getting catastrophically hurt every few seasons, really sucks to follow as a fan. IMHO.
 

Tokyo Sox

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...another reduction in the pitch clock for 2024 can't help matters
Is this happening? I hadn't realized. I thought the clock largely accomplished what it was supposed to last year; rushing things further seems like a recipe for disaster, pitcher-injury wise.
 

chrisfont9

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Is this happening? I hadn't realized. I thought the clock largely accomplished what it was supposed to last year; rushing things further seems like a recipe for disaster, pitcher-injury wise.
Why? I mean, you may be right. But is there something about the flow of blood to the tissues that needs a minute to revitalize between pitches? Or just guys losing their mechanics more often by rushing? The latter seems like a decent guess.
 

Max Power

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Baselining the proper throwing mechanics in a biomechanical model might provide the next market efficiency. There was concern that the so called inverted W arm action was leading to elbow and shoulder injuries at a faster rate than the so called L arm action. I can't imagine this would be an easy solve. Retraining pitching mechanics of elite pitchers with established arm actions is probably a fool's errand.
All the physical modeling available to teams has been used to increase velocity and spin rate with no consideration of stress on the body. It's just like pitch limits, innings limits, and extra arms in the pen. Those tools could be used to help pitchers stay healthy, but instead they're used to push max effort on every pitch.

I can't remember who said it, but one HoF pitcher (I want to say Christy Mathewson, but my gut says that is totally wrong) said for most games, we would throw a decent amount of low speed junk in early innings to "let the defense do something" or a similar sentiment, then would ratchet it up a bit towards the end of the outing when he had been through the lineup. The way the anecdote was presented, it was more about why this pitcher could effectively pitch the second/third time through the lineup (throwing more heat when hitters was expecting him to get tired), but it also says something about saving your arm. If this story sounds familiar to anyone, please feel free to let me know; it's bugging me that I can't remember who said it.
That was conventional wisdom for the first century plus of baseball. Start out throwing just fastballs and keep the other stuff in your back pocket for later in the game. And that idea has actually been confirmed by modern metrics. The guys who did Stuff+ found that a pitcher's stuff doesn't really drop off the third time through the order. The only thing that explains the lack of success starters have going through the third time is in-game familiarity with the pitcher. Two at bats are enough for a major league hitter to get an advantage if they see all of a starter's pitches. It also explains why a reliever becomes less effective the more times you see him in a series.
 

CR67dream

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Is this happening? I hadn't realized. I thought the clock largely accomplished what it was supposed to last year; rushing things further seems like a recipe for disaster, pitcher-injury wise.
Only with runners on, down from 20 seconds to 18. More changes in the article.

...player representatives voted against the 2024 rules changes proposed by the Commissioner’s Office,” Clark said in the statement. “As they made clear in the Competition Committee, players feel strongly that, following last season’s profound changes to the fundamental rules of the game, immediate additional changes are unnecessary and offer no meaningful benefit to fans, players or the competition on the field.
 

Benj4ever

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Why? I mean, you may be right. But is there something about the flow of blood to the tissues that needs a minute to revitalize between pitches? Or just guys losing their mechanics more often by rushing? The latter seems like a decent guess.
Even before the pitch clock hard-throwers were maxing out at 5-6 innings and getting hurt a lot, so I don't really buy the pitch clock argument yet. Plus one year is a very small sample. Part of the blame has to go to imaginary numbers (i.e. "metrics") that overvalue strikeouts.
 
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Bob Montgomerys Helmet Hat

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In 2003, there were 44 pitchers that threw at least 200 innings, 61 at least 190, 79 at least 180
In 2013, there were 34 pitchers that threw at least 200 innings, 49 at least 190, 64 at least 180
In 2023, there were 5 pitchers that threw at least 200 innings, 14 at least 190, 24 at least 180

So it was trending, but it's fallen off of a cliff.

Between 1988 and 2008, Greg Maddux threw at least 194 innings, each year, for 21 consecutive seasons. Would Maddux not be allowed to pitch now the way he pitched then because pitching philosophy has changed so much? It make no sense to me.
 

Benj4ever

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The MLB is really in a crisis with SP - pitchers just cannot stay healthy.
I guess a smart team just assumes $40 million a year will be spent on starters who cannot start.
I don't think this is "smart." "Smart" would be coaching pitchers to pitch more to contact, not maxing out your effort as often (unless you're a freak of nature like Nolan Ryan). Lean more on your advanced batting charts to position fielders optimally.
 

Tokyo Sox

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Why? I mean, you may be right. But is there something about the flow of blood to the tissues that needs a minute to revitalize between pitches? Or just guys losing their mechanics more often by rushing? The latter seems like a decent guess.
Good question. Intuitively I think the mechanics thing is probably real, and obviously the more you do something without adequate rest the more fatigued you get. That said, in an attempt to answer your question I couldn't find any real evidence. This Fangraphs piece from last year basically says not enough data but what data there is shows no material difference. I was aware that Ohtani for example used to take a ton of time between pitches; sure enough he was a top-5 "hurried" guy last year and ended up getting hurt. Of course he was also in the WBC and probably ramped up earlier in the year than he otherwise would have, so who knows.

Thanks vm for this.
 

BeantownIdaho

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Dr. Keith Meister, the Texas Rangers’ head team physician, does 230+ elbow ligament repairs a year. He recently noted that post-TJ injuries are also becoming more common: “We used to say, you get your one TJ, you’re good. Then it was, you get 10 years out of one. Then it was seven to eight,” Meister said. “Now guys break down in three to five, depending upon who they are, the stuff they have, what they throw.”
So sign a guy long term young (Bello) or get them on a good Post TJ surgery contract for 3.
 

Bob Montgomerys Helmet Hat

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We need Greg Maddux to go out there and teach pitchers how to pitch.
He can bring his buddy, Concord's own Tom Glavine with him. Over 20 consecutive seasons, he had one down year, when he only threw 165 innings. The other 19 he threw at least 183, and was over 200 innings in 14 of those seasons.

These guys didn't pitch that long ago
 

brandonchristensen

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He can bring his buddy, Concord's own Tom Glavine with him. Over 20 consecutive seasons, he had one down year, when he only threw 165 innings. The other 19 he threw at least 183, and was over 200 innings in 14 of those seasons.

These guys didn't pitch that long ago
It was a different (better) time.

I’ve whined enough about advanced stats ruining the sports so I won’t bring it in here.

But our hyper focused training seems to not have the effect that chicken and beer in the clubhouse once did.

John Kruk explains it best.

View: https://youtu.be/n7_UqpP6Eio?si=H6Aw5ik90fQrVQ5q
 

chrisfont9

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Good question. Intuitively I think the mechanics thing is probably real, and obviously the more you do something without adequate rest the more fatigued you get. That said, in an attempt to answer your question I couldn't find any real evidence. This Fangraphs piece from last year basically says not enough data but what data there is shows no material difference. I was aware that Ohtani for example used to take a ton of time between pitches; sure enough he was a top-5 "hurried" guy last year and ended up getting hurt. Of course he was also in the WBC and probably ramped up earlier in the year than he otherwise would have, so who knows.
Agree. Key word is "intuitively," until someone conducts a study of tissue reactions to stress -- which undoubtedly exists in great depth -- and overlays it with the baseball question about that type of stress at those time intervals. It's probably some stew of those things, exacerbated by psychological discomfort from rushing... or some chicken vs egg stuff. I really wish I could wake up one morning to discover that I'm a fully trained orthopedic surgeon.
 

CR67dream

blue devils forevah!
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In 2003, there were 44 pitchers that threw at least 200 innings, 61 at least 190, 79 at least 180
In 2013, there were 34 pitchers that threw at least 200 innings, 49 at least 190, 64 at least 180
In 2023, there were 5 pitchers that threw at least 200 innings, 14 at least 190, 24 at least 180

So it was trending, but it's fallen off of a cliff.

Between 1988 and 2008, Greg Maddux threw at least 194 innings, each year, for 21 consecutive seasons. Would Maddux not be allowed to pitch now the way he pitched then because pitching philosophy has changed so much? It make no sense to me.
I looked up the innings stats for 2022 and 2023 for a post the other day, but didn't go back further. Holy shit, that's just bananas. Fallen off a cliff, indeed.

These guys didn't pitch that long ago
It's really hard to wrap my head around it.
 

Cassvt2023

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Jan 17, 2023
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I think the unspoken variable here is the players union being so strong in MLB that the definition of a starting pitcher for contract purposes and maximizing their value. the “opener” philosophy was basically introduced by the Rays in the last few years, and other teams have now followed suit, with quite decent success.. But it still takes into account that you have 3-4 traditional starters, so you can get away with it by using your bullpen in conjunction with your option train to minors…

But imagine if a team actually used 2-3 starters/long relievers that each went 3 effective innings, all having different looks and pitch shapes/velocity, etc…a lineup sees THEM less, and they throw their best pitches every 3-4 days. Still use the L/R matchups and lockdown closer if possible w/ your bullpen. But even though it could likely work super well over the course of a season on the field with the right makeup of a pitching staff, the players union would never, ever let it happen because guys would no longer be able to get 9 figure deals (in which they may blow out their arm) As a “Starting Pitcher”. Food for thought.
 

CaptainLaddie

dj paul pfieffer
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Sep 6, 2004
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The Vanderbilt baseball coach, Tim Corbin, talked about why he likes to recruit multisport athletes, with some of the same reasons that mirror what you shared. I also appreciate that he recruits kids from New England (he grew up in NH). I pitched into college (DIII) and think my arm health was due in large part to rotating from sport to sport throughout the year. The pressure now on my kids to join a travel team and play non-stop is relentless.


“It’s a way for the kid to decompress from the game,” Corbin said. “I think if you play it 12 months out of the year, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re growing from it. If you do something over and over and over for a long period of time, there’s a piece of you that’s not always going to be as intentful as if it’s taken away for a while, and then you go back to it.

“I do think there’s something to be said about football players, hockey players, basketball players who engage in frequent competition that is very team-oriented. There’s a lot of anticipatory skills that grow inside those sports that you can’t get on a baseball field. And I also think there is a body element to it. If you’re a Friday night football player, you understand what it’s like to wake up on a Saturday morning and get yourself going. You don’t necessarily have to feel a 10 on a 10 scale in order to be the best version of yourself all the time. You can be slightly injured and still perform at a high level, and I think in playing other sports, those are some of the qualities and components that allow a kid that’s playing baseball to benefit as he goes forward in the game.”
A friend of mine who was supposed to play in the Manchester feeder system but blew his ACL out on his first day on pitch told me that the reason that there's a bunch of American keepers playing internationally is that America is a nation of hand sports.
 

jon abbey

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But imagine if a team actually used 2-3 starters/long relievers that each went 3 effective innings, all having different looks and pitch shapes/velocity, etc…a lineup sees THEM less, and they throw their best pitches every 3-4 days. Still use the L/R matchups and lockdown closer if possible w/ your bullpen. But even though it could likely work super well over the course of a season on the field with the right makeup of a pitching staff, the players union would never, ever let it happen because guys would no longer be able to get 9 figure deals (in which they may blow out their arm) As a “Starting Pitcher”. Food for thought.
Food for about four seconds of thought, how many pitchers exactly are on this staff? What happens when one of them sucks in their first or second inning of action? The reason this has never been tried is that it makes no sense.
 

AB in DC

OG Football Writing
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With a limit of 13 pitchers though you still need guys who can pitch 160+ innings a year. Otherwise your pen will become a MASH unit.
 

Harry Hooper

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A friend of mine who was supposed to play in the Manchester feeder system but blew his ACL out on his first day on pitch told me that the reason that there's a bunch of American keepers playing internationally is that America is a nation of hand sports.





I wouldn't want to see it, but pitcher attrition will be used by the advocates for moving to 7-inning games.
 

teddywingman

Looks like Zach Galifianakis
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Jul 31, 2009
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My theory 10 years ago was that slow games were causing the decrease in IP and increase in pitcher injuries. As in: a starter had to be active for 3 hours to get to the 7th, when in the past the game would be over.

I'm not as confident about that theory now in the pitch clock era.