Worthwhile Weekend Reading

For your enjoyment:

The good writing entry

Jonah Keri’s A Not-So-Brief History of Pitching Injuries

Easily one of the finest pieces of baseball writing and reporting produced this year. The plethora of quality here left me feeling jaded as I decided which paragraph to display in order to entice your click-through. In the end, I think this quote by Barry Zito exemplifies that he is more aware than expected:

“Baseball has always been the good old boys sport,” said Zito, whose father Joe was such a big believer in long-toss that he insisted on a clause in Barry’s first contract guaranteeing that the A’s wouldn’t interfere with his son’s regimen. “You’ve got a lot of old-school guys with old-school methods. It seems other sports will adjust and change with technology, whereas baseball has always been slow to adjust to the times, and to new technologies.”

The hardcore statistics entry

Kincaid’s ZiPS ROS Projections as Estimates of True Talent

This is FanGraphs-related. There is a lot of math there that supports what can be intuitive. The smaller the sample size, the more volatile the results can be. There is a tendency to ignore what exactly the projected numbers stand for. Maybe that is unavoidable, so an occasional reminder like this requires my appreciation.

The Joe Posnanski entry

Amazing Baseball Stuff

A collection of worthwhile baseball writing without Posnanski is like the best of soul music without any Marvin Gaye. Much like the aforementioned Keri piece, this much quality spread throughout this much quantity produces an insane overload that we should be more thankful for than we already are. What I’m saying is that Posnanski is a robot.



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Jishwa
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Jishwa
5 years 10 months ago

You do know that plethora has negative conotation right? So perhaps you meant to say the ABUNDANCE of quality here left me feeling jaded…haha, i’m bored and figured i’d be a dick. I’m sure that’s an interesting read though. It’s just crazy how guys back in the day could throw for years (Satchel Paige, Nolan Ryan, Cy Young, etc, etc) and years and pitch complete games without batting an eyelash, yet guys today can’t throw 100 pitches without tweaking their elbow or something crazy.

Anon
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Anon
5 years 10 months ago

Plethora just means overabundance. To say it has a negative connotation is quite a stretch.

Bill
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Bill
5 years 10 months ago

I don’t see the negative connotation either. But, it doesn’t feel right to me to use plethora for any thing other than discrete quantities. I can’t find anything to back this up, so it’s probably just me.

pft
Guest
pft
5 years 10 months ago

For every Nolan Ryan, Cy Young and Satchel Page there were a 100 young pitchers who blew out their arm. Large bonuses and large salaries for young players were virtually unheard of, and if a pitcher did not have the right DNA, there was another one ready to take his place for 6 months salary (salaries were so low that players had to work in the off season).

It was only after the cost of acquiring talent increased did teams try to protect their health.

Also, we did not have accurate measure on velocity back in the day, and I am sure there were not many pitchers who hit 95 mph. Pitchers are bigger and stronger (weight training, nutrition), and have greater arm speed. Unfortunately, humans have not evolved much and ligaments are no stronger than they were 50 years ago, so that greater arm speed means more injuries.

And lets not forget that the talent pool was pretty diluted up until 1970 with segregation, and the various wars all keeping talent out of MLB, and the parks were enormous and the ball not as juiced. Those pitchers setting all those records 50 years ago and more might not make Triple A if you could send them here in a time machine.

Socrates
Guest
Socrates
5 years 10 months ago

and is isnt only hitting 95 mph that is hurting pitchers. A lot of injuries are being caused by players putting more and more stress on their shoulder’s and elbows with the arm action required for different pitches. Look at Prior, Strasburg, Wood, etc. Their stuff is devastating (almost without the velocity) but they are hurting themselve when they are throwing their breaking pitches.

astrostl
Member
astrostl
5 years 10 months ago

Enjoyed, thx!

Thenickbusch
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Thenickbusch
5 years 10 months ago

Comparing a baseball writer in reference to his craft, as Marvin Gaye anything is ridiculous. Marvin Gaye > any comperable writer on this site in what they do.

Eldingo
Member
Eldingo
5 years 10 months ago

Joe Posnanski> Marvin Gaye

Brian Tallet's Moustache
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Brian Tallet's Moustache
5 years 10 months ago

I don’t think you’ve read Posnanski . . .

vivaelpujols
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5 years 10 months ago

Regarding Kincaids post, why not just use the actual numbers to compute wOBA then round them off in the raw totals?

Thenickbusch
Guest
Thenickbusch
5 years 10 months ago

Eldingo. You’re high as shit and should trade your computer for a radio

Adam
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Adam
5 years 10 months ago

One of the things I find most amazing, and that doesn’t seem to be talked about very much, is the health history of Greg Maddux. From 1988 to 2008, he started at least 33 games(save for the two strike seasons when he certainly would have). He managed to his entire career as a pitcher without ever being injured.

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
5 years 10 months ago

Greg Maddux had perfect mechanics, and he had those mechanics as a prep. He didn’t throw hard or violent, and he didn’t throw a slider.

Nolan Ryan was a freak … and a freak that was crazy about conditioning, and used his lower body as well as any pitcher ever has.

The big differences to me in regarding to pitching unities are …

1. Age of pitcher when they start throwing breaking balls.

2. Number of game innings throw by age 18 … And then by age 21.

Modern pitchers are playing in multiple leagues, year round, travelling, and playing A LOT of high stress games, often before the age if 14. They simply do not get rest.

Prep pitchers and colle guys start throwing in Jan, play spring, then showcase/travel leagues, then fall ball. Pitchers of previous generations did nothing of the sort.

These talented kids don’t just pitch, they are ridden so the program and coach look good. It’s one thing to be ridden for a season and then have an off-season or play a different sport. It’s an entirely different thing to be ridden in consecutive seasons or in multiple leagues simultaneously. Pitch count limitations have been negated by multiple leagues. 75 pitches for 3 starts a week for a 12 or 13 yo is ridiculous, but far too common.

Here’s 2 examples. I’m a pitching coach, and our #1 went 13-0 with many of those game easy wins. He got a scholarship to a very good JuCo. For his summer team I advised him to tryout as a 1B or RF. His coach wanted him to pitch, so he got another 15 starts. He’s now out for fall ball with an elbow injury. 28 starts over 6 monthes is too much for an 18 kid.

My son is an advanced 9yo flamethrower. He’s the type of kid that needs protected from himself b/c he’ll throw 100 pitches every other day if you want him to, and many coaches will want him to. He just made a 10yo travel team that starts training in Jan. He made the team as a C and will not pitch (my stipulation). He will pitch 3 IP per week in our regular city league. That will be enough for him to use what he learns from practice. He doesn’t need to pitch 25 Ip per week for 2 teams to “get better”. What he needs at this age are controlled bullpen sessions at lower intensities focusing on location and using a changeup. Blowing away kid after kid, inning after inning is not productive for anyone, except the coach. My preference for youth teams is to have 3 starters and use a 3-2-2 format for IP. All 3 get to stay sharp via regular work and none pitch when they are tired. If I had my way, this is how it would be done up until varsity baseball. Kids need protected from themselves many times.

slash12
Member
slash12
5 years 10 months ago

these were all quite enjoyable, thanks for passing this along!

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