Wendy Sanny, PT, ATC, from the Athletes’ Training Center in Omaha provides simple guidelines for protecting the arms of youth baseball players. She believes potential superstars, who can be identified as early as eight years old, are at greater risk.
After years of talks and crunching numbers, the Rockies attempted the four-man experiment because their free-fall by June made it a plausible path. It wasn’t so much a failure — the Rockies’ starters numbers improved slightly — as a model impossible to sustain for the season’s first five months.
An army of arms in Colorado Springs — all with minor-league options — would be necessary to make it work. Even future Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, who set a record for bullpen moves in the last World Series, said he didn’t see how a four-man staff on a 75-pitch count could be pulled off long-term.
The idea was to force starters to become more efficient, to understand the value of pitching to contact. Instead, they became prisoners of the pitch count.
After all these decades of baseball, the best way to preserve and use a pitcher’s arm still is a remarkably inexact science. Injury rates continue to rise, even as methods become more sophisticated.
Pitch count was tracked for the first time in 1988 by Stats, LLC. Since that year, the number of times a starter throws more than 125 pitches has shrunk progressively … and dramatically.
There hasn’t been a season with more than 74 of those games since 2001, after years of triple digits. Still, injury rates climb. So simply limiting the bullets in the gun is no panacea.
Author Matt Spiegel leans toward fusing what Nolan Ryan and the Baltimore Orioles are doing:
You have to throw to be strong, while using something like biomechanics to save your ace from himself.
Read Spiegel’s Daily Herald story.
ESPN’s John Kruk revealed Matt Moore’s tell on Baseball Tonight.
Moore’s tell is pretty simple: When he taps the ball in his glove as he’s getting ready to pitch, he throws a fastball. When he doesn’t tap the ball in his glove, he throws an off-speed pitch. This trend holds true whether Moore is pitching from the windup or stretch.
Writing on Grantland, which we don’t find quite as interesting as Fake Grantland, detail-oriented dermatologist Rany Jazayerli expends 5,000 words explaining why the Nationals were wrong to shut down Stephen Strasburg.
But the main reason the Nationals are wrong to shut down Strasburg is simply this: The risk they’re trying to mitigate has already been mitigated for them. Major League Baseball has changed the way it uses starting pitchers, and has succeeded in reducing pitcher injuries. The Nationals’ failure to recognize this is putting them at needless risk for something else — a quick exit this October.