How do we know which hurlers will have long careers?
In the recent past, we’ve seen the rise of a generation of young and highly talented pitchers. From Corey Kluber to Chris Sale, from international acquisitions like Masahiro Tanaka to the sadly injured Jose Fernandez, young hurlers occupy an increasing share of the game’s best pitching matchups. Indeed, of the leaders in this year’s Cy Young race, only four of the top 10 are over 30. It’s easy to forget that even veteran aces Felix Hernandez and Johnny Cueto are still only 28. With the exception of some old stalwarts like Adam Wainwright and Mark Buerhle, the game’s best and brightest seem to be tilting toward youth.
If it seems to be the case, that’s only because it is. Younger pitchers are piling up the WAR(P) at an accelerated rate relative to the past couple of decades.
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How do state pitch count limits for amateurs affect future elbow injury rates?
According to Wikipedia, Tommy John went to high school at Gerstmeyer High in Terra Haute, Indiana. I have to wonder how many pitches he racked up during those four years. Had he been pitching in high school today, he would have had to abide by Indiana’s state rules that a pitcher may not pitch more than 10 innings on three consecutive days. But had he been born in a state like Louisiana or Massachusetts, the sky would have been the limit.
Can we detect signs of impending injury in the start BEFORE a pitcher's fateful outing?
Last week, I wrote about Jose Fernandez, his attorney’s comments about the cause of his season-ending injury, and warning signs that preceded his exit from his final start of 2014. After I wrote that article, I began to think more about the righty’s second-to-last start. Could this injury have been prevented a week earlier? I also took to heart a popular criticism of the “injury zone” research supporting that article. Some argue that it doesn’t identify injury risk in time to actually prevent a ligament from tearing, and that it instead picks up on injuries that have already occurred.
There's a new list of recommended ways to prevent serious elbow injuries. Now, how do we implement them?
On Wednesday, we had a news story involving Drs. James Andrews and Glenn Fleisig and Tommy John surgery. Normally when that’s the case, it means that someone’s season is over (and sadly, that’s been happening a lot lately). But this time, it was the good doctors responding to what they termed an “epidemic” of ulnar collateral ligament transplants (the actual name for Tommy John surgery) and offering some helpful tips to prevent the elbow injuries that require the procedure.
Prince Fielder's injury may have ended the Rangers' hopes of contending. Could it have been avoided?
As Daniel Rathmannoted in today’s edition of What You Need to Know, Thursday was a rough one for the Rangers, despite their 9-2 victory over Detroit. Heading into the day, Texas had already established a sizeable lead on the next-closest team in terms of games missed due to injury, which had limited a club that the Baseball Prospectus staff (though not PECOTA) had picked to win the AL West to a fourth-place, sub-.500 start.
Does PITCHf/x suggest that the Marlins' injured ace should have been pulled from his final starts sooner?
In a statement released last Friday, the attorney for injured ace Jose Fernandez—who underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his torn ulnar collateral ligament the same day—accused the Marlins coaching staff of not picking up on an “unanticipated change” in his delivery caused by discomfort in his second-to-last start preceding the surgery.
Are recent Tommy John surgery victims about to become a new kind of contract extension candidate?
About a year ago, Sam Millerspeculated about the future of contract extensions, which had by then been embraced by big-market teams after years of mostly being the province of small-market clubs. “When that happens,” Sam wrote, “the market inefficiency might as well be gone.” To regain an edge, teams would have to get more creative with the kind of extensions they offered.
One of Sam’s suggestions was that we might start to see much longer extensions—contracts that would pay a player for 15 years or more. That hasn’t happened yet. However, Sam made two more predictions that have come to pass. First, he suggested that a team might offer a player an extension before his big-league debut, which has since occurred in the cases of George Springer and the Astros and Gregory Polanco and the Pirates. And second, he proposed that teams that lock up more marginal players than had previously been considered extendable. “Of the 20 players who have signed extensions longer than four years since the start of last season, all are, if not stars, something close to it,” Sam wrote. Since then, non-stars Jedd Gyorko, Yan Gomes (debatable), and Jose Quintana have signed five-year deals, not to mention Michael Brantley and Sean Doolittle, who’ve inked four-year pacts.