MASH Report (4/27/14)

• Updated and complete HURT and PAIN rankings.

• Mike Reinold looked at five reasons Tommy John surgeries are on the rise:

  1. Injuries Are Higher in the First Month of Season
  2. Preparation for the Season
  3. Velocities are Increasing
  4. What Goes Around Comes Around (Youth Injuries)
  5. Pushing Past Our Physiological Limits

And he summarizes his findings:

To summarize, I don’t think Tommy John injury rates in general are going to slow down, as I don’t think any of the above factors are going to change anytime soon. If what I wrote above is correct, we should see Tommy John surgeries increase even more over the next decade. Remember, what we are seeing now is the summation of the last 10+ years of players career.

I hate seeing all the articles in the media asking about why injuries continue to rise despite the greater focus on injury prevention. It’s not the medical teams fault. It’s not the strength coach’s fault. It’s not the players fault. It’s the nature of baseball right now.

Ivan Nova will be out for a while with a torn UCL. Nova is relatively young (26-years-old), but he did have a few injury red flags. He has been on the DL for arm issues in each of the past two seasons. He throws a high percentage of curveballs (30%). Finally, he had problems consistently throwing strikes last season (45%).

Felipe Paulino has been dealing with shoulder discomfort all season.

But the right-hander, who has struggled mightily over his four White Sox starts, admitted Saturday that he has felt the soreness for a little bit.

“It’s something that’s going to be for me for a little while. I try to fight with this,” Paulino said. “I can’t pitch or function right now. It started bothering me more and more and more.

“I just tried to maybe take a little rest right now. And I’m thinking it will be better for me to rest right now. My shoulder has a little soreness every time.”

Players like Felipe Paulino are tough to notice injuries with because they are coming back from surgery and we should expect them to have a period of adjustment. His velocity was down 2 mph from 2012. Only 46% of his pitches were in the strike zone (down 5% points from 2012). For pitchers coming back from major surgeries, they may need up to a year of adjustment time.

Tanner Scheppers is headed to the DL with an inflamed elbow which he had experienced for a while.

“I think he’s probably been dealing with some soreness,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “He indicated yesterday to us he’s been dealing with some soreness. He had not been getting treatment. We weren’t aware with it. He had a little bit of soreness in Spring Training. He was examined at that time and was fine and pitched through. I think knowing that now it might be connected. He wasn’t feeling 100 percent and probably wasn’t performing at 100 percent level because of it.”


“It’s something that I thought was tendinitis,” Scheppers said. “I got the MRI results and it was clean. All good news. It’s just I’m not feeling 100 percent out there and I’m not going to be helping the team by going out there and pushing through some injuries and not giving them everything I can.

“It started as soon as spring. It’s something I kind of felt towards the end of last year. It’s something I kind of battled through spring. It quite hasn’t gotten better the way we would like. Right now we kind of want to take a step back, get healthy because there’s no point going through and pushing through something like this.”

Again, it is tough to pick out this injury since he was moving from reliever to starter. Pitchers experience a drop in velocity with the transition and Schepper’s 2.5 mph drop was not abnormal.

• The two main indicators I have for injuries are in order, drops in Zone% (pitches in the strike zone) and velocity. Joe Nathan and his dead arm agree:

“There’s different 91s, different 92s, but today, at least finishing pitches, it felt like it was jumping out of my hand better.”

Nathan averaged about 92 mph on the 11 fastballs he threw in his 18-pitch outing. That’s not much different than the velocity he had last week. The big difference, however, seemed to be the command. He not only threw strikes — 11, including seven on fastballs — he threw quality strikes.
“Command was the key today, especially with my fastball,” Nathan said. “I was able to go in and out with it, get Santana on a good fastball inside, be able to run a couple inside on [Mike] Aviles and then get him out with a slider away.”

Clayton Kershaw threw three simulated innings and was touching 90 mph.

It was the latest step in the rehab process from inflammation in his left upper back for the left-hander, who topped out at 90 mph while pitching to catcher A.J. Ellis, facing hittersChone Figgins and Drew Butera.

Cole Hamels is expected to come off the DL Wednesday.

• The Ranger’s Matt Harrison will start a game this weekend.

David Robertson should return from the DL tomorrow.

Jake Arrieta should join the Cubs this up coming weekend with his velocity near last year’s range (93.9 average mph fastball).

What has also been encouraging is that his stamina and velocity are strong, with his fastball in the low- to mid-90s.

• Will Carroll talks Tommy John surgery

Players on or Probably on the DL to Start the 2014 Season

(*) 15 Day Disabled List
(**) 60 Day Disabled List
(***) 7 Day Concussion List
(****) Free Agent
Red colored entries are updates since last report.

Major League Report


Minor League Report

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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9 years ago

For pitchers coming back from major surgeries, they may need up to a year of adjustment time.

And some of them may never come back. Yocum and Andrews have been quoted giving the overall success rate for TJ surgery as 85%; the outcome for any other procedure probably is less optimistic than that. We tend to think these pitchers going under the knife will bounce right back and in a year or two will be as good as new, or even better, because if often happens. But often is not always.