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Stradling

Pitching Injuries

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Who is to blame for the increase in pitching injuries on the Angels, or is it mostly blameless?  Is it the players fault?  Managers fault?  Training staff’s fault?  Is it the front office fault for acquiring these guys?  Or is it simply bad luck after so many years of good luck?  If I asked you who was the last major league pitcher the Angels had prior to Skaggs that underwent TJ surgery while with the team, we would probably struggle to know the answer (except for AO).

What I am really hoping for is well thought out posts from guys that are level headed and might be able to teach us a few things along the way.  If any of you have read anything over the years that has shed some light on the cause of TJ surgery that would be great.  I have read articles that say it is from throwing too much as a teenager and I have read articles disputing that.  

My belief without doing much research on it would be we have acquired some damaged goods, since only Richards has been with us his entire career and needed the surgery.  But that is simply a belief based on my personality.  

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It has nothing to do with the Angels per se, the league has a problem with pitching injuries that is much higher than it was ten years ago. When you look back Weaver, Saunders, Santana, Washburn, Frankie, Sheilds, none of those guys and most of the supporting staff had elbow problems requiring surgery. Lackey required Tommy John surgery after he went to the Red Sox. 

I think it has to do with how many of these young players had spent their youth in year round baseball. You can't undo 10 years of amatuer pitching with coaches that want to win now because that kid will be someone else's player in a year or two. There is no long term development that is based around these kids future health. It's a meat factory and the parents are all for it to get junior drafted. 

It may find its way to position players as well and you will see more fall off a cliff in production simply because wear and tear catches up. 

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I dont think blame is the right word, aside from the fact that there are reasons why certain pitchers become available and weve spent a lot of time looking for bargains.  Bargains have higher risk typically.  Luck is a factor, but guys with exceptional stuff also generate exceptional force on their bodies.  Very few go injury free throughout anymore it seems. 
 

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1 hour ago, Stradling said:

Who is to blame for the increase in pitching injuries on the Angels, or is it mostly blameless?  Is it the players fault?  Managers fault?  Training staff’s fault?  Is it the front office fault for acquiring these guys?  Or is it simply bad luck after so many years of good luck?  If I asked you who was the last major league pitcher the Angels had prior to Skaggs that underwent TJ surgery while with the team, we would probably struggle to know the answer (except for AO).

What I am really hoping for is well thought out posts from guys that are level headed and might be able to teach us a few things along the way.  If any of you have read anything over the years that has shed some light on the cause of TJ surgery that would be great.  I have read articles that say it is from throwing too much as a teenager and I have read articles disputing that.  

My belief without doing much research on it would be we have acquired some damaged goods, since only Richards has been with us his entire career and needed the surgery.  But that is simply a belief based on my personality.  

As @Blarg indicated it is not limited to just the Angels, we just happen to have had more recently grouped together.

The main issue is that as K/9 rates rise (pitchers throwing harder) corresponding injuries increase as well. The human body was not meant to throw a baseball at 100 mph, much less even 90 mph. A side effect of this is what you are seeing in baseball organizations hiring experts and specialists in kinesiology, nutrition, and strength and conditioning to combat the various health concerns stemming from increasingly high velocity.

Generally the more "mileage" you put on an arm the more likely that arm will wear and tear, so starting earlier in life as a teenager and consistently throwing over the years is probably not good.

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League wide arm injuries have increased along with average velocities. There is a sort of 'natural selection' going on here in that arm injuries, particularly elbow injuries are tied to velocity, movement and usage, and velocity and movement are tied with success thus leading to additional usage.

It then makes sense that this era has lead to an increase in bullpen usage and starters not going as far into games (as stuff decreases with fatigue).  Pitchers are given more opportunities to come in and go max effort for a shorter time. When injuries strike, we now have corrective surgery to get a guy back on the mound where once his career would be over. 'Natural selection' used to favor endurance, it now favors the sprint.

In terms of the Angels, we can place the blame squarely on the organization's inability to produce homegrown pitching talent. Both Dipoto and Eppler have had a personal belief in their own abilities to pick up useable pitching talent off the scrap heap... one has fared better than the other, BUT their approach here isn't all that different.

The pitching talent we have acquired in trade has generally been seemingly greater than what we gave up, the common denominator being that these guys we've acquired have gotten hurt. It isn't all that big of a surprise as their original organization knows these players far better than anyone else (the data bares this out, as players as a group perform worse for new teams than players retained by their current team). 

It's like the old saying goes... you get what you pay for. If you think you are getting a great deal there is probably a hidden reason for that. The Angels have been buying used cars off TrollDaddy for well below market value and wondering why they keep breaking down.

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I don’t know about all of them. But Richards not last year but I think it was year prior came into spring training throwing 100. I blame that injury on Mike and training staff. For the rest of them I think you need to take every case separately. Not every injury is the same. 

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I think Blarg and ALF nailed it. Combo of kids being overused before they hit the league, and us being in a position where we had to take riskier guys to begin with.

Look at the thread on snydergaard. And the japanese kid. Even ohtani. There are already red flags...but we need pitchers.

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I think you basically have to expect that pitchers are going to get hurt.  The only solution here is to grow your own pipeline of pitchers.  That way at least you’re getting the miles out of your guys to go along with the inevitable downtime when they get hurt.  The Angels are in a position where they have to look externally for arms so it’s likely we’ll continue to pay for guys who have been “used”. 

to me it doesn’t seem much different overall then how NFL organizations burn out running backs.  The quality of pitch required to be effective in baseball just damages arms.  It is what it is.  

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I think the following contributes to the increased pitching injuries:

1.  More athletes maximizing their physical abilities through improved understanding about nutrition and strength training (Today's hitters and pitchers are better athletes than at anytime in MLB)

2.  Preference for power arms (Maximum effort with every pitch)

3.  Using data about spin rates instead of game-outcomes to monitor developmental progress (Maximum spin=maximum torque)

4.  Reducing the role of the pitcher to getting outs instead of innings (Maximum effort with maximum spin being thrown by athletes who have maximized their physical capabilities)

 

All of those items repeated over time reveals the limitations of a human body. 

The adjustment for reducing such injuries will not be found in bio mechanics or physical conditioning but in how the game is played.  The pendulum has swung to its furthest point and therefore must swing back to deception, disruption of timing, changing speeds and pitch location.  The swing and miss era will eventually come to an end because of the physical costs to the pitchers.

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9 hours ago, ettin said:

As @Blarg indicated it is not limited to just the Angels, we just happen to have had more recently grouped together.

The main issue is that as K/9 rates rise (pitchers throwing harder) corresponding injuries increase as well. The human body was not meant to throw a baseball at 100 mph, much less even 90 mph. A side effect of this is what you are seeing in baseball organizations hiring experts and specialists in kinesiology, nutrition, and strength and conditioning to combat the various health concerns stemming from increasingly high velocity.

Generally the more "mileage" you put on an arm the more likely that arm will wear and tear, so starting earlier in life as a teenager and consistently throwing over the years is probably not good.

https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/11/19/mlb-draft-high-school-pitchers-velocity-tommy-john-surgery-problem?utm_medium=social&xid=socialflow_twitter_si&utm_campaign=si-mlb&utm_source=twitter.com

White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech threw 90 mph at age 14, 94 mph at 17, 99 mph at 21 and now not at all at age 22. The rookie right-hander blew out his elbow and will miss virtually all of next year while trying to come back from Tommy John surgery.

 

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The throw as hard as you can until you're ennifective is part of the problem. These guys, after a couple of warm up pitches start the game trying to announce their presence with authority, to steal a line from Bull Durham. 

Ryan used to start the game in the low 90's and round about the 6th the real heat started coming. He may have cut one or two loose earlier to keep them honest but his highest velocity came in the final innings not first. 

One of the reasons he could consistently go long is he wasn't physically spent in 80 pitches. He ramped up and was able to maintain for 8 or more innings. 

But the current philosophy is pound them hard and let bullpen pitchers try and fill in four innings of work. It's pretty ass backwards. 

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I will take my crack at this, although it won't be anything you guys haven't heard from me before.

 There is an epidemic of pitcher injuries everywhere for a variety of reasons you have all heard.

If the Angels are having more lately, there are a few things to consider.

-We are talking about very small samples, statistically. Say a team has 25 pitchers in the majors in one season, and one team has 7 get hurt and another team has 2, that's such a small sample that it's hard to draw any conclusions. It's probably just a fluke. Like when Mike Trout has 10 hits one week and 5 hits the next week. Was he twice as good a player?

-Many of the Angels recent pitching injuries occurred to pitchers they got off the scrap heap. JC Ramirez, Blake Wood, Parker Bridwell, John Lamb. That's three TJ's right there. All of them had issues before the Angels got them, which is partly why they were on the scrap heap. The Angels don't really care if a pitcher is a ticking time bomb if they got him for nothing. They got JC Ramirez for nothing and got 150 innings and 24 starts out of him before he broke. Bridwell threw 130 innings and started 20 and won 10 games. If they'd found out the day they acquired them that they were going to get hurt, but they'd do what they did first, they'd still take it. Even Ohtani showed up with a grade 1 sprain of his UCL, but the Angels (and every other team) were willing to take the risk with him because the upside was so high and the cost (financially was so low). 

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1 hour ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

I will take my crack at this, although it won't be anything you guys haven't heard from me before.

 There is an epidemic of pitcher injuries everywhere for a variety of reasons you have all heard.

If the Angels are having more lately, there are a few things to consider.

-We are talking about very small samples, statistically. Say a team has 25 pitchers in the majors in one season, and one team has 7 get hurt and another team has 2, that's such a small sample that it's hard to draw any conclusions. It's probably just a fluke. Like when Mike Trout has 10 hits one week and 5 hits the next week. Was he twice as good a player?

-Many of the Angels recent pitching injuries occurred to pitchers they got off the scrap heap. JC Ramirez, Blake Wood, Parker Bridwell, John Lamb. That's three TJ's right there. All of them had issues before the Angels got them, which is partly why they were on the scrap heap. The Angels don't really care if a pitcher is a ticking time bomb if they got him for nothing. They got JC Ramirez for nothing and got 150 innings and 24 starts out of him before he broke. Bridwell threw 130 innings and started 20 and won 10 games. If they'd found out the day they acquired them that they were going to get hurt, but they'd do what they did first, they'd still take it. Even Ohtani showed up with a grade 1 sprain of his UCL, but the Angels (and every other team) were willing to take the risk with him because the upside was so high and the cost (financially was so low). 

Heaney came from the Marlins, and Skaggs came back from the D'Backs. I think Richards is the only TJ pitcher who has spent his whole pro career with the Halo's. Though, the org has had a few minor league pitchers have TJ surgery.

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1 hour ago, ScottT said:

Why do people need someone to blame?

How many other teams' fans are asking the same question?

I’m not a blame guy.  I just wanted to create some conversation here because it was sort of dead.   Usually the hot stove season is one of the more times with the most discussion and traffic.  

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11 hours ago, Stradling said:

I’m not a blame guy.  I just wanted to create some conversation here because it was sort of dead.   Usually the hot stove season is one of the more times with the most discussion and traffic.  

We didn't see an upper tier FA sign last year until December 7th (Chatwood), a day that may live in infamy with Cubs...  It's looking like more of the same this year.

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^kudos for the day of infamy reference, lol. Hes another guy a lot of us wanted....pitchers have become such a gamble, its crazy.

I think more and more its becoming a case where free agency needs to come sooner than 6 years. Obviously owners wont like it. But the window of these guys being safe bets has gotten smaller and smaller, including position players.

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On 11/24/2018 at 8:46 PM, Inside Pitch said:

White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech threw 90 mph at age 14, 94 mph at 17, 99 mph at 21 and now not at all at age 22. The rookie right-hander blew out his elbow and will miss virtually all of next year while trying to come back from Tommy John surgery.

It is insane that they had him throwing that hard that young. Joints have a finite life, and the more stress that is put on them, the sooner that they will be gone. This kid is probably looking at his arm being close to useless by the time that he is 45-50.

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On 11/24/2018 at 4:28 PM, eligrba said:

I think the following contributes to the increased pitching injuries:

1.  More athletes maximizing their physical abilities through improved understanding about nutrition and strength training (Today's hitters and pitchers are better athletes than at anytime in MLB)

2.  Preference for power arms (Maximum effort with every pitch)

3.  Using data about spin rates instead of game-outcomes to monitor developmental progress (Maximum spin=maximum torque)

4.  Reducing the role of the pitcher to getting outs instead of innings (Maximum effort with maximum spin being thrown by athletes who have maximized their physical capabilities)

 

All of those items repeated over time reveals the limitations of a human body. 

The adjustment for reducing such injuries will not be found in bio mechanics or physical conditioning but in how the game is played.  The pendulum has swung to its furthest point and therefore must swing back to deception, disruption of timing, changing speeds and pitch location.  The swing and miss era will eventually come to an end because of the physical costs to the pitchers.

This is pretty close to the answer which I believe is the correct answer with today's kids.. 

I also believe that supplements and antibiotics have something to do with it as well.  A brittling of tendons type thing.

I can only use myself and others that played during my time of the game. We were a bit different we were getting shot up with cortisone and all kinds of experimental stuff and things we were told we didn't want to know what it was. That all happened in the late 80's..You bitched about it and you were pretty much told to pack up and asterisked.. 

Not every arm can put forth maximum effort from the same release point. I do have issue with today's coaches attempting to make everyone into the same cookie cutter mold mentality. I have heard travel ball gurus, collegiate coaches and scouts telling kids that they throw great but they need to raise their arm slot and learn a slider or other pitches and adjustments. well, what do you know the kid popped his UCL or started having arm issues a month to two months later. This has happened on more than one occasion.

Once again, I threw from many different arm slots. I maxed out at 89mph but I could throw multiple innings and multiple days out of the bullpen and spot started also. 

just my two cents.

 

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