Stephen Strasburg already had it. Matt Harvey may need it. It is Tommy John elbow surgery, named after the pitcher who had it decades ago and made it famous.
The real issue is whether anyone has any idea how to manage ball players who throw the ball to the batters. This resource costs about 40% of team payroll. It seems to have increasingly become a gamble. High priced college hot shots like Strasburg and Harvey appear to be as vulnerable as any even though they receive the most attention and care and are treated like the costly resource they are.
In the 1960s Sandy Koufax pitched a million innings in a season, struck out a million batters and completed a lot of games. Then at the age of 30 his left pitching arm fell off and he retired. It does not seem like baseball professionals have learned very much since then.
It seems like almost all pitchers can now throw the ball at least 90 miles per hour (MPH). The Major Baseball League (MBL) could put in a rule that prohibits pitches that are more than 89 MPH. It's feasible since the speed of all pitches is flashed on the screen immediately. What do you think? Will a league run by Allen Huber "Bud" Selig try something so radical but practical?
One problem with this is that it might not protect the pitchers, who may then work extra hard on their Bugs Bunny pitches and put even more stress on their arms.
Here's another of my golden oldie ideas.
Friday, March 9, 2012
12 man pitching rotation
SO% for relief pitchers: 29.8%; for starters 25.8%.
More ammunition for my idea that at least lousy teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City should try something radically different like a 12 man pitching rotation: three pitchers throw three innings each game. Forget about trying to match the big spending teams on pitching and spend your limited resources on defense and hitting. Relief pitchers are a dime a dozen. Get 14 or so and rotate them as needed.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
12 man pitching rotation refinement: 2 pitchers at once.
Start one pitcher at first base. The best mix is a lefty pitcher and a righty pitcher. Switch them between the mound and first base as needed. If both pitchers are right handed, then maybe mix a fastballer with a junk baller. Best would be if the rules permit: switch pitchers during a plate appearance ... as needed:
- mess up a switch hitter
- with the count 0-2, have the breaking ball pitcher throw it; so what if the batter thinks it's coming.
When the first base spot in the batting order comes up, pinch hit and replace with another pitcher as needed. Even if this is done only in the first three innings, it should provide a competitive advantage.
The basic 12 man pitching rotation is best implemented if the middle pitcher is lefty and the staring and ending pitchers are righty. That messes up the opposing team's lineup.
The entire pitching thing has devolved from a nine inning starter to a six inning starter. Just dump the idea of a starter as a pitcher who throws more than three innings. Simple, safe and cost effective. But probably too radical for MBL teams.