Not to add to your basement time but I wonder how much of correlation there is to fastball velocity and
(a) the reason for being in the DL (shoulder, elbow, oblique, etc.)
(2) whether a player has more or less time off than average rehabbing from the injury type.
I see that Phil Hughes, after a very lengthy rehab for what was essentially a dead arm, is throwing much harder now than earlier in the season. It remains to be seem whether he’ll maintain that (he averaged 93-94 in a 4 inning stint and peaked at 95) but he wasn’t close to those numbers in any of his earlier starts with the Yanks.
I’m not sure how to respond to this because it paints such a broad stroke and I’m not sure that’s what we’re after.
I mean, DL work and PFX work could have a death match to figure out whose analysis is more tiresome and repetitive and it would result in one of those blockbuster clichés where the antagonist grabs the protagonist and screams, “If i’m falling off this incredibly inconvenient 1000 foot drop, you, too, will fall!”
With that said, I’d never ask you to root through your data and separate shoulder injuries from elbow injuries from leg injuries from the flu and then separate the values based on length on the DL.
I can just smell the pfx system’s desire to piss you off by misclassifying heaters and running hot or cold depending on the day (too many people see desire, I enjoy smelling it).
Even looking at Matusz’ variance last year, it’s a headache and a half. Your data tells a very interesting story, but I’m not sure if we should be applying it to any one pitcher at this point. I don’t think we can realistically peg Matusz’s chances of regaining his velocity…
There is a slight correlation between pitchers that throw hard and pitchers that land on DL. This article explain it best: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2011-06-02-hard-throwers_N.htm
However throwing hard doesn’t mean one will blow their arm out, a lot of it lies in the mechanics as well as conditioning. Verlander, Hernandez, Ryan, Johnson, Clemens, etc all threw hard, all had/having nice long careers because of good mechanics. If a player has bad mechanics and throws hard it puts extra stress on the elbow and or shoulder, thereby allowing it to fall apart more easily. Whereas a pitcher with good mechanics doesn’t put all that extra torque on the elbow/shoulder and it becomes evenly distributed. Now good mechanics are not the end all, do all because ultimately each pitch thrown is a step closer to the pitchers last, there is naturally only so much the human body can endure before breaking down. However, there is another catch, for some pitchers their high velocity is because of their flawed mechanics, hence changing them may not allow them to be near or as effective as before. Also it should be noted that most of the changes in mechanics needed are not slight adjustments and to try and break muscle memory over all those years as well as continuing that their success is slim.
As for the Hughes part, his mechanics are worry some, and the sudden lack of velocity is very peculiar. Most of the time a drop in velocity points to a shoulder issue of some sort, which would inevitability ruin his career if surgery was needed. However, because this happened over the offseason and because in his rehab starts he’s regained his velocity, I believe for now he is fine and the reason for the drop was probably due to conditioning in the offseason. He should be back soon and hopefully better than ever.
Some work over at The Book blog shows that fastball speed has an r=0.50 after just 1 or 2 pitches. Basically the pitcher’s fastball speed stabilizes immediately. Ignoring even if the player came back from the DL, drops in speed can’t not be discarded.
Comment by Jeff Zimmerman — June 21, 2011 @ 8:38 am
I can look. I am doing a quick into wrist injuries right now for “someone” that just got hurt with them.
I added the bands and High and Low values for what people can expect for a player to improve. It seems after just one game, the best in change (higher or lower) is 2 MPH
FYI Neshek was the high gainer after 1 game and Kazmir was the dropper after 1 game
Comment by Jeff Zimmerman — June 21, 2011 @ 8:44 am
Comment by Jeff Zimmerman — June 21, 2011 @ 8:45 am
Just to be clear though, I’m not looking for factors that contribute to the likelihood of sustaining an injury, but rather, for the set of pitchers who are injured, which sort if injuries and rehab times and methods are associated with more or less velocity loss upon their return.
To get back to your point about velocity as a cause of injury, in your linked article, someone asserts a correlation but I would be curious to see the data that establishes it. Quite a number of years ago I believe Bill James asserted the opposite: Pitchers who throw with less velocity are more likely to be injured because they must throw at their peak velocity more often than does a hard-thrower,
Would it make any difference to specifically look at pitchers who return with a signifcant drop in MPH? The likelihood is that most pitchers return immediately to their career average and therefore are likely to remain there. Those pitchers would dominate the data. In Matusz’s case we are already looking at an extreme outlier who’s fastball is several MPH slower than his career.