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Are Dominican hitters hurting themselves by focusing on raw skills at the expense of a patient approach? And can anything be done about it?

Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Jorge Arangure has been a baseball writer since 2003. He has worked as a senior writer for ESPN and The Washington Post. He's got #want and is #wet and will probably spend his BP freelancing money drinking with Jason Parks.
 


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In the first in a new series of weekly lists, the BP team compiles its nominees for most under-appreciated ballplayers of their times.

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May 13, 2011 9:00 am

Collateral Damage: Stemming the Tide

19

Corey Dawkins and Marc Normandin

Bartolo Colon enlists the aid of modern medicine in an unorthodox recovery, Kendrys Morales still has ankle issues, and a pair of pitchers get their capsules repaired.

Bartolo Colon, NYA (Stem cell therapy)
Despite the potentially life-altering benefits of stem cell research and its potential real-life applications, negative attention and fierce debate have surrounded its ethics, cost, and effectiveness. The majority of the controversy arises from the use of fetal or embryonic stem cells for research and/or transplantation into another human.

This story on Bartolo Colon and the use of stem cells raised as many eyebrows throughout baseball as it did questions about the effectiveness of Colon's procedure and the obligation of a player to accept that his career has come to an end. Because Dr. Joseph Purita—the orthopedic surgeon who treated Colon—admitted to using HGH in procedures on the general public, MLB was forced to launch an investigation into both him and his practices. He claims not to have used HGH on professional baseball players—since it's illegal, and all—and for now we'll just have to take him at his word.


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September 13, 2010 8:00 am

Under The Knife: Not So Dangerous Times

5

Will Carroll

The injury rate isn't much higher today than it's ever been.

UTK Flashback: More Injuries?

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Our resident medhead looks at the top 10 baseball orthopedists.

It's hard to say "ignore the rankings" when I'm about to give you a Top-10 list, but I'm telling you—ignore the rankings. From 1-10, these are some of the top orthopedic surgeons in the world. The rankings were based on a short survey I gave to several players and front-office types, but barely have any meaning. If anything, think of this as the program to the next time an athlete goes on a tour to find a doctor he likes. They say you can't tell the players without a program, but for years we've been asked to just accept that our favorite players and teams are relying on doctors. While I could write a book on this topic, a few hundred words on each is more than most know about any of them. So, tip your cap to the medical heroes, the super surgeons that have to put our athletic Humpty Dumpties together again:

Dr. James Andrews
Practice: Andrews Sports Medicine (Birmingham, Alabama); The Andrews Institute (Pensacola, Florida)
Team: Rays
School: LSU School of Medicine
Speciality: Elbow, shoulder, knee
Signature Surgeries: Roger Clemens (shoulder, 1985); John Smoltz (elbow, 2000)
Why He's No. 1: In baseball, Andrews is perhaps known best for things he really didn't found. Many think he invented Tommy John surgery. (That was Dr. Frank Jobe, of course.) Many think he was the first consulting surgeon. Instead, Andrews should be known for being the athlete's choice. There's a confidence that athletes seem to get when dealing with Andrews. Perhaps it's that he's known as the best, but if you get the chance to speak with him, his deep Louisiana drawl goes from being "Wow, I didn't expect that" to comforting when paired with his matchless confidence. Birmingham became synonymous with injuries, but while going to Birmingham was bad, there was always a tag on it, that a player fully expected to come back healed. An article a few years ago tabbed Andrews as "the most valuable man in sports." No one's going to argue with Andrews being at the top of the list and moreover, his American Sports Medicine Institute Fellows program helped put a couple more on the list below. His influence is going to last far beyond the careers of the men he did surgery on.







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The procedure that changed baseball was performed for the first time 30 years ago this week. Here's an explanation of just what it is.

Five years ago, Tom Gorman wrote the following piece on the wonder that is Tommy John surgery. Frank Jobe's fix is one of few things that truly changed the game of baseball, and should be remembered alongside the advent of night games, the live ball, and maybe even Jackie Robinson. For the anniversary, Baseball Prospectus was lucky enough to gain an historic interview-the first recorded interview with both Dr. Jobe and Tommy John. While Jobe and John have appeared together, there are no publicly available recordings.

Gorman's article from five years ago holds up remarkably well, largely because Jobe's work holds up just as well. The operation performed today is not significantly different than what Jobe did, hoping it would work. In the interview, you'll hear how the operation was inspired by a dreaded disease, what Tommy John thought when he woke up, how Bill Buhler's name should be remembered by many, and who the second pitcher to have Tommy John surgery is.

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February 14, 2008 12:00 am

What We Learned

0

Will Carroll

However much drama there was, yesterday's action on the Hill left most questions unanswered.

All documents referred to in this piece are available at this link. I will try to be as detailed as possible in referring to the documents when possible.

Ignore, if you can, the hearings themselves. For that, you could use the phrase that some Congressmen found so inexplicable: "It is what it is." There was what appeared to be a clear, partisan divide on the Oversight Committee, with the Democrats, led by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) tending to side with Brian McNamee, and with the Republicans tending to side with Roger Clemens. While the questions tended to be focused on credibility rather than policy, about divining truth rather than evidence, the documents that the Oversight Committee collected between their last hearing and this one are stunning in their breadth and openness. In direct opposition to the Mitchell Report, the Congressional collection comes with such a degree of transparency that it's almost startling. At one point, C.J. Nitkowski is promised that they would attempt to keep his conversation confidential; it wasn't much of an attempt, because his statement in full is available without even the slightest redaction. Whether it was the relatively predictable and unenlightening statements, questions, and answers that are now part of the record, the documents published after the hearing are anything but.

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August 2, 2007 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: Interview With a Physicist

0

Dan Fox

Extending his own interest in the physics of baseball, Dan sits down with a lauded physicist and baseball fan to discuss the topic.

"I think physicists are the Peter Pans of the human race. They never grow up and they keep their curiosity." - Nobel Prize winner Isidor Isaac Rabi

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March 14, 2005 12:00 am

An Ounce of Prevention...

0

Dave Haller

Dr. Tim Kremchek's Ignition facility aims to stop pitching injuries before they start.

Beacon Orthopaedic Clinic

Last year, Will documented his visit to Beacon and his introduction to Dr. Tim Kremchek, the team doctor for the Cincinnati Reds and now for the Washington Nationals. Beacon's ornate entryway invited us into a rotunda that almost felt like a Cooperstown display. Large statues constructed from broken bats, cases full of patient-signed balls, bats, helmets, spikes and jerseys, and more plasma TVs than Circuit City seemed to console the sad-looking teens and college athletes waiting around with thick slings and braces bundled around their arms.

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January 23, 2004 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Dr. Glenn Fleisig, Part I

0

Jonah Keri

Dr. Glenn Fleisig is the Smith and Nephew Chair of Research at the American Sports Medicine Institute, an organization founded by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews dedicated to improving the understanding, prevention, and treatment of sports-related injuries through research and education. Fleisig has worked closely with players and coaches at all levels, from youth leagues to the big leagues, teaching performance optimization and injury prevention methods. With the 22nd annual "Injuries in Baseball" course starting Jan. 29 in Orlando, Fleisig chatted with BP about the growth of ASMI, warning signs for pitching injuries, and the challenge of generating awareness among major league teams.

Baseball Prospectus: What first attracted you to working at ASMI and studying biomechanics in general?

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October 31, 2003 12:00 am

UTK Special

0

Will Carroll

The recent case involving Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO) has brought the word steroid back to the forefront in a post-World Series baseball community. In a case that involves not steroid-trafficking, but tax evasion, a number of high-profile athletes, including five MLB players and a heretofore unknown anabolic steroid called THG (tetrahydrogestrinone), is perfect for the media but tells the fans nothing they shouldn't already have known. The sexy sheen of a steroid probe involving Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi is a story that lays itself out on a silver platter for a lazy journalist that will not allow the thought to cross his or her mind that there have been no accusations of usage by these athletes or any other baseball players. Worse, by putting the word "steroid" and "Bonds" or "Giambi" in the same headline, the color of impropriety is almost impossible for these athletes to overcome. There is simply no way to ever give either a fair trial or even a reasonable testing, but there's nothing wrong with this fact. Innocent until proven guilty is not a doctrine in American athletics; we've moved to a tabloid-style stoning by innuendo and rumor.

"Do you think (insert favorite player's name) is on steroids?"

"Mickey Mantle never used steroids."

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May 30, 2003 12:00 am

Under The Knife: A Visit with Dr. Tim Kremchek

0

Will Carroll

There is no other hospital I have ever seen that includes its Astroturf infield in the tour. Hidden away just off the Interstate in northern Cincinnati, I was invited to go into, what for me was essentially the mouth of the beast. Swerving through the new construction of a suburban office park, almost anonymous from the outside, Beacon Orthopaedic Clinic beckoned me to come inside, to let my guard down, and to face the man I'd criticized in print more than any other. It was the equivalent of Rush Limbaugh being invited into the Clinton White House. It was Doug Pappas being invited to a Selig family picnic. In my years as an injury analyst, there was no name that had come up more than Ken Griffey Jr.. When speaking of Griffey, there was no way to avoid involving Dr. Tim Kremchek in the discussion. Like many, my opinion of Kremchek had descended from joking derision. My views were colored by incidents which, from the outside, supported my views. More recently though, Reds Assistant General Manager Brad Kullman convinced me to keep an open mind, that I might be wrong about Kremchek. I decided to try and find out for myself.

In my years as an injury analyst, there was no name that had come up more than Ken Griffey Jr.. When speaking of Griffey, there was no way to avoid involving Dr. Tim Kremchek in the discussion. Like many, my opinion of Kremchek had descended from joking derision. My views were colored by incidents which, from the outside, supported my views. More recently though, Reds Assistant General Manager Brad Kullman convinced me to keep an open mind, that I might be wrong about Kremchek. I decided to try and find out for myself.

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