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.
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.
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.
Could PITCHf/x have held the key to preventing season-ending surgeries for two of this season's Tommy John victims?
We’ve gotten much better at designing buildings that refuse to fall down, but science still hasn’t made much headway in the field of earthquake prediction. Although we can estimate how many quakes of a certain magnitude we’ll experience over a span of time, we can’t pinpoint exactly when, where, or why they’ll occur. A big quake is often preceded by a smaller foreshock, but not always. And the only way to know whether any given disturbance is the main event or merely a precursor is to wait and see if something worse happens, which doesn’t lend itself to life-saving.
Athletic trainers can commiserate with seismologists. 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.
Remembering the late Dr. Frank Jobe's medical marvel.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
On September 22, 2004, Baseball Prospectus published the following feature on Tommy John surgery to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the first time the procedure was performed. On June 15, 2009, Will Carroll reran that feature to accompany a new audio interview with Tommy John and Dr. Frank Jobe, who pioneered the surgery. Jobe passed away on Thursday at the age of 88; in his honor, we republish both Thomas' feature and Will's interview today.
Did the Mets underestimate the potential cost of Matt Harvey's high-pitch-count outings?
If you haven't heard the news, New York MetswunderkindMatt Harvey has been diagnosed as having a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Harvey has said that he wants to avoid surgery if possible, but this sort of thing usually ends up with a visit to Dr. Tommy John for James Andrews surgery. As per usual, everyone on Twitter remembered their extensive medical training and pitching mechanics expertise and did the most productive thing that they could: lay blame for Harvey's unfortunate circumstances at the feet of his pitching coach, his manager, his conditioning, his conditioner (the hair kind), his genetic makeup and, of course, dumb luck.
Did the Orioles make a mistake by exhausting all the other options before sending Dylan Bundy to surgery?
When the news broke yesterday that Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy would have to have Tommy John surgery, most of you probably wondered why he hadn’t had it sooner.
It’s been almost three months since we became aware of an issue with Bundy’s elbow. The first reported red flag, “mild tightness,” was followed by an MRI that showed no structural damage, a few weeks of rest, a visit to Dr. James Andrews—who prescribed more rest and a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection—and several more weeks out of action. Bundy recently resumed a throwing program, but he suffered a setback that sent him back to Dr. Andrews and, ultimately, the operating room.