Friday, August 27, 2010

Strasburg, Tommy John and Insanity

If you were a pitcher in the big leagues, there are so many things in Tommy John's career I am sure you would wish for.

Pitching in 26 different seasons...
AVERAGING 200 innings a year...
A pair of Cy Young runner up seasons...
Three 20 win seasons...
A 13 win season at age 44...
288 career wins...
Multiple All Star berths...
Pitching on the biggest stage in three different World Series...

Name me a young pitcher today that wouldn't take a career like that!

Yet when pitchers hear his name, they act like the pilots wives when the creepy preacher showed up in The Right Stuff.

It's the death knell.

OK, maybe not that bad... but it probably means a lost year.

Now of course pitchers can heal after Tommy John Surgery and make the tendons more strong, basically make the movie Rookie of the Year come true.

But there is a certain amount of insanity here.
The Nationals treated Strasburg with scientifically precise kid gloves and no doubt had each bowel movement weighed.

And the result? Two trips to the disabled list and 2011 probably lost.

Have I missed where the kid glove treatment has resulted in great successes?

I'm not talking about avoiding blowing out pitchers arms (Clay Buchholz and David Price were held back a little early on and are now Cy Young contenders) but this insane bean counting and arbitrary pitch numbers seems to be doing more harm than good.

You can no longer look me in the eye and say that this babying of pitchers works.

How did the Glavine/Maddux/Smoltz of the world combine for 50 some odd years in the big leagues and get only ONE Tommy John Surgery (for Smoltz in 2000 after he was already building his Cooperstown resume) and a Strasburg can't even last 1/2 a season without 2 trips to the DL?

Are pitchers like Halladay and Sabathia just freaks of nature and we need to keep handling pitchers like Joba Chamberlain until his career is ruined?

I REALLY don't want to include Strasburg on the list of "Can't Miss Aces Who Missed"... but so far it DOESN'T look good.

If only those guys could have Tommy John's career.

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1 comment:

  1. I was just looking up some older pitchers and came across Bob Feller who debuted on July 19 1936 at the age of 17, and pitched 62 innings, at age 18 he pitched 148.2 innings and they continued to baby his arm in 1938 at age 19 and he only pitched 277 innings.
    One had to wonder when the Indians were going to let him air out his arm as he only pitched the next 3 years 296.2 innings followed by Only 320.1 innings and then in 1941 only pitched 343 innings,
    So you see Babying a pitchers arm works