Fack Youk has a post up about what went wrong with Chien-Ming Wang. I was originally just going to comment there, but I had some issues getting it to take and figured, why not put it here? So read the post, then come back and this will make more sense. My response is:
“There’s also the major problem of whether the internal mechanics of his shoulder were at issue. The sinker requires a great deal of pronation (turning the thumb down at release or “pouring out the can”). Go ahead and try this at home and you’ll feel the head of the humerus (the bone of the upper arm, where it meets the shoulder) rotating inward. Studies by Jim Andrews and his team have shown that pitchers tend to have an anatomical change called “humeral retroversion” - very simply, their bone changes to accomodate the demands of pitching. Combine changed anatomy with damaged biology and altered mechanics and things get bad quickly.
Stunningly, the Yankees have never done a biomechanical analysis of the type Andrews offers at his Birmingham facility - not just on Wang, but on ANY of their pitchers. Some pitchers, like Sabathia, have had this done before coming to the Yankees. As far as I know, no team has asked Wang or any other pitcher to have one of these analysis done as part of a condition of contract. I’m not sure it’s “legal” in the sense that a team could even ask for it, but then we’d have to ask the question, why not? Why would a team commit millions of dollars to a pitcher, especially a risky pitcher, without having this kind of information?”
(Should I quote myself? I don’t know, but that’s what I was going to put in comments.)
Wang and Brandon Webb are two very interesting cases. They’re similar pitchers, in pitch type at least, and have similar shoulder issues. Al Leiter made the point on MLB Network that a sinkerballer might get some positive effect from shoulder surgery. I have no idea on that and I’m not sure Al does either, but he knows more about sinkers and surgery than I do, so it’s another thing to watch.