MLB 2024 Season - It Shouldn't Be Legal For Shohei To Be This Good

Prederick wrote:

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A major league baseball park, soon.

Way more capacity than they need.

Prederick wrote:

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A major league baseball park, soon.

Looks fine to me.

/Arizona Coyote fan

Hrdina wrote:
Prederick wrote:

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A major league baseball park, soon.

Way more capacity than they need.

This is so crazy. What an embarrassing club.

And it's not because they're embarrassing because they're a bad club; they're embarrassing because they're bad at being a bad club.

@JeffPassan wrote:

Within one week’s time, Shane Bieber and Eury Perez have needed Tommy John surgery and Spencer Strider has serious elbow concerns. Gerrit Cole is out until at least June with elbow issues, too.

Pitching is a brutal business.

From March, via The Athletic:

One of the game’s leading orthopedic surgeons is sounding an alarm on pitching injuries — and citing the advent of the sweeper and power changeup as significant reasons for the spike.

Dr. Keith Meister, the Texas Rangers’ head team physician, said teams are exacerbating the problem by emphasizing pitchers’ performance over their availability.

“These front offices, unfortunately, are living more in the moment than taking a longer, broader-term view,” Meister said. “There is a way to manage this. What if a guy doesn’t have a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 0.8. What if he has a WHIP of 1.1 but he’s able to play 162?”

Meister, who pioneered the hybrid elbow procedure that combines a traditional ligament reconstruction with the addition of an internal brace, said surgical techniques changed markedly over the past decade in response to how pitching evolved.

As teams increased their emphasis on velocity and stuff, injury-list placements for pitchers rose from 241 in 2010 to 552 in 2021 before decreasing slightly each of the past two seasons, according to a Major League Baseball spokesperson. The days pitchers spent on the IL more than doubled over a slightly longer span.

Pitching injury crisis has no easy fix, but baseball’s leaders better get to work on one

(The Athletic paywall)

On Saturday at Wrigley Field, I had a conversation with a fellow media member about pitching injuries. His summary of the problem was on point, but made me want to scream.

The hyperfocus on velocity and spin, he said, was achieving the desired results. Pitchers have never been as nasty as they are today, and teams win by pushing them to their physical limits.

Well, what is your definition of success?

Pitchers might experience spikes in performance. Their respective clubs might draw the accompanying benefits. But no one can possibly say the current trend is good for the game.

Nor is it good for the pitchers or clubs, not when you look at it with even a minimal amount of detachment.

Ask the Atlanta Braves about their World Series aspirations without Spencer Strider, whom they signed to a six-year, $75 million deal in Oct. 2022.

Ask the Cleveland Guardians about their postseason chances without Shane Bieber, whose $13.125 million salary accounts for nearly 15 percent of their payroll.

Ask the Miami Marlins about even trying to be respectable without phenom Eury Pérez, who also is about to join their staff ace and biggest long-term investment, Sandy Alcantara, on the seemingly endless list of pitchers to undergo elbow-ligament repair surgery.

New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Loáisiga also joined the Exploding Elbow Club over the weekend, while rival executives throughout the sport held their breath, knowing it was almost inevitable they eventually would be hit with bad news, too.

I don’t know the answer to the problem. I don’t know if there is an answer to the problem, considering that it goes back decades. But the entire sport should hit the pause button.

Pause on bowing to the Driveline gods and all of the technology and data that makes pitchers better but not necessarily healthier.

Pause on rewarding 120 innings of max effort from starting pitchers when 180 from command-control specialists might prove even more valuable.

And pause on the latest tired bickering between the union and league, this time about the effect of the pitch clock on pitching injuries.

Union chief Tony Clark seized upon the latest wave of injuries Saturday to issue a statement decrying the league’s decision — over what he called “unanimous player opposition” — to shave two seconds off the clock with runners on base. Naturally, the league fired back, citing an analysis by Johns Hopkins University that found no evidence that the introduction of the clock last season produced a greater number of injuries.

Clark, by using the clock as a bogeyman, came off as opportunistic and a little shrill. Pitchers didn’t just start getting hurt with the inception of the clock. They get hurt even when their teams try to protect them. They get hurt even if they aren’t max-effort types. They get hurt under the sun, moon, stars and solar eclipses, and the sport has yet to figure out a way to slow down the pace of injuries, much less stop it.

That said, Clark had a point. The league, before continuing its “let’s shave five more minutes off the time of game” roll, could have spent multiple seasons studying the effect of the clock. But instead of continuing to gather data and anecdotal information, it waited only one year after making what Clark accurately called “the most significant rule change in decades” to further push down on the accelerator.

The Hopkins analysis has not been made public. It currently is in the peer-review process. Yet, the league already is treating it as gospel — a rather odd position when the possibility certainly exists that the faster pace is creating greater fatigue for pitchers, making them more vulnerable. The clock is the one variable in this maddening equation the league controls. And if the two-second reduction increases the risk of injury by even one percent, it’s too much.

The league’s search for answers, though, extends beyond the Hopkins analysis. According to a spokesperson, it has interviewed more than 100 people in all phases of the game, including medical officials, for a comprehensive research study it is conducting on pitcher injuries. Once that study is complete, the league expects to form a task force. The league should include the union in that process. And the union should offer solutions instead of just criticisms.

At this point, due diligence in any form is welcome. But the cause of the problem, at least, is not as complicated as it might appear. Dr. Keith Meister, the Texas Rangers’ head team physician and one of the game’s leading orthopedic surgeons, identified the right target in an interview last month.

“These front offices, unfortunately, are living more in the moment than taking a longer, broader-term view,” Meister said. “There is a way to manage this. What if a guy doesn’t have a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 0.8? What if he has a WHIP of 1.1 but he’s able to play 162?”

Front offices aren’t asking those questions. In emphasizing performance over availability, they’re cycling through pitchers as if they are old pairs of spikes, used up and discarded. Club officials will be the first to tell you they do not want pitchers hurt. Of course they don’t. But injuries are the unintended consequence of their fixation on short-term results.

The league, then, must intervene, just as it did when front offices — again, in the pursuit of optimal performance — implemented defensive shifts that sucked the life of the sport. Where this gets difficult is in trying to determine how to fix the problem.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said during last year’s World Series the league would consider reducing the maximum number of pitchers on a 26-man roster from 13 to 12 after the 2024 season. The idea, Manfred said, would be to restore the importance of starting pitchers. Working with fewer relievers, managers would be forced to stick with their starters longer. Starters in turn would need to take a more craftsmanlike approach to pitch deeper into games, rather than going as hard as they can for as long as they can.

Such a change, though, actually might produce the opposite effect, with front offices trying to preserve pitchers by limiting them to three- and four-inning bursts. Teams also might try to shuttle pitchers relentlessly back and forth between the majors and minors, necessitating greater restrictions on how many times players can be optioned.

Even more problematic, the number of injuries might not reduce if the rule has its desired effect and starting pitchers are extended beyond where they are accustomed. Similar limits on roster size also would need to be enacted in the minor leagues. There, too, a higher injury rate for pitchers could be the unintended consequence.

Again, there are no simple answers, not when even teenage pitchers are chasing the improvements in velocity and stuff that get rewarded at the professional level, and breaking down in the process. But this is a full-blown crisis, and has been for some time now.

Fundamental changes need to take place — changes in mindsets, changes in training methods, changes incentivized by rule, if necessary. I’m not sure baseball can wait for the recommendations of a task force that has yet to be formed. The best and brightest in the sport need to get busy, and quickly.

“This is the kind of pitching that wins,” is not an acceptable answer. Ask the Braves, Guardians and Marlins. Ask the next club to fall victim to the scourge of pitching injuries. Teams are not “winning.” The sport is not “winning.” Not even close.

Like clockwork:

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Some sports have a Have/Have-Not problem (see NBA) and some sports have a Random Champion Generator problem (see the NHL).

MLB is so special it has both.

Yeah I'm convinced the NHL only has ties/overtime losses as a separate column to make the win loss ratio look better.

Feds say Ohtani's ex-interpreter stole $16 million. You'd think that'd shift the cloud of suspicion off of Ohtani...

Rat Boy wrote:

Feds say Ohtani's ex-interpreter stole $16 million. You'd think that'd shift the cloud of suspicion off of Ohtani...

Explains his contract.

Ohtani doesn't even pay attention to the money he has he didn't care how the Dodgers were going to pay him. Pay me later? Ya cool.

It all comes back to why did the bookie think that Mizuhara could cover the bets he was making?

Jackson Holliday needs to relax and let outfielders field. Two pretty bad errors with him hogging position in two games.

Whoever is in control of the Cardinals Twitter account has set the bar pretty high for the rest of the league.

Prederick wrote:

Whoever is in control of the Cardinals Twitter account has set the bar pretty high for the rest of the league.

I must be too old to understand the reference here.

ukickmydog wrote:
Prederick wrote:

Whoever is in control of the Cardinals Twitter account has set the bar pretty high for the rest of the league.

I must be too old to understand the reference here.

A reference to real or fake hot girls that put "nudes in bio" or some variation in posts to get you click links in their bio to their onlycans or whatever.

ukickmydog wrote:
Prederick wrote:

Whoever is in control of the Cardinals Twitter account has set the bar pretty high for the rest of the league.

I must be too old to understand the reference here.

I’m happy I’m not the only one. Probably doesn’t help that I bailed on Twitter in 2016.

It's quite a recent thing (note the link is censored). I think it started due to twitter down-ranking replies with images, and so the reply-bots started spamming messages like this instead of images.

But the other bit is that Nootbaar is returning after a fair while on the DL. Really an A+ posting job

I have been remiss, in not using this thread for its ideal purpose, which is occasionally Remembering Some Guys.

We start today with a triple header:

Randy Winn

John Jaha

Todd Hollandsworth (I remember him winning Rookie of the Year, and dude didn't even get to 1,000 hits.)

I don't know the guy, but I am always up for Noots on Main.

Digitally inserted ads in the pitcher's mounds is the worst idea ever.

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It's not even that long of a name. They're going to have a name completely circle the number at this rate.

Saltalamacchia had a jersey like that and his teammates called him "Pits" because the name went from one ampit to the other.

What MLB pitchers think of baseball's pitching injury rise

How bad is MLB's pitcher injury problem right now?

Trevor Rogers, starter, Miami Marlins: It's definitely something that's alarming. A fan that wants to see a game, it's different when [Jacob] deGrom is on the mound or Gerrit Cole or Sandy [Alcantara]. Guys consistently going down is alarming.

Caleb Ferguson, reliever, New York Yankees: I definitely think it's more now. And, to your point, it's definitely the faces of the league.

Kirby Yates, reliever, Texas Rangers: I don't know where the numbers are, but I think over the last two or three years, pitchers have been getting hurt at a very, very high rate [34.4% of MLB pitchers in 2022 and 35.3% in 2023 had undergone Tommy John surgery, according to baseball injury researcher Jon Roegele]. It's getting magnified now because some of our best have been getting hurt. It's definitely a concern. But with the way the game is going, and the way velocities are, how good hitters are, how small the strike zone has gotten, I don't know how you change it.

Max Fried, starter, Atlanta Braves: There are injuries every year. There are definitely more high-profile injuries this year, but it's definitely a tough subject just because there are so many different variables for why players get injuries.

Clarke Schmidt, starter, Yankees: It's definitely scary and it's something you definitely have to be cognizant of. But, obviously, you can't just sit there and worry about it all day long. But I think it's in the back of guys' minds. But it's just part of the game. Definitely a factor -- and a little scary that they're picking up a lot.

Velocity has been cited as one of the factors in rising injuries. How much do you believe that plays into the problem?

Ferguson: There's a common theme with all these guys that are going down: They all throw 100. We've pushed velo so hard in the game that this is where we're at and we have to try to figure out how to fix it.

Fried: There's a correlation to it: The more velocity you have, the more stress it puts on joints, ligaments, etc. It's obviously something that's part of the equation.

Rogers: The past two years I was hunting velo and I got hurt. Thankfully it wasn't season-ending. It was something I had to learn -- that velo helps, it always plays. But there is more than one way to get a guy out. That's by pitching and having velo. If you just focus on velo, it's only a matter of time.

Drew Smyly, reliever, Chicago Cubs: Players know that "the harder I throw, the nastier my pitches are, the more money teams will throw at me." That's a real thing, too, and something every team promotes. The time of commanding pitches down and away and mixing speeds, that's just not how the game is. Players know how to make money. That's another element. There is so much information now. It goes all the way down to the high school kids. They know what spin rate is, what vertical movement is and what velocity they need to get to.

Steven Wilson, reliever, Chicago White Sox: There is a strong correlation between velocity and arm injuries. But there is also a strong correlation between velocity and people not hitting the ball. Guys want to get paid so they're chasing velocity, which I don't think is wrong. And I don't think it's going to change because if it is harder to hit, that's what we're trying to do.

Will Smith, reliever, Kansas City Royals: Velo is king right now, that's for sure. Guys are chasing the high velo, and it makes sense. It's harder to hit. I mean, if you give a guy less time to make a decision, they already don't have much time to make a decision with the 90 [mph] now, and 100, 101 just cuts it in half almost. ... When you see results like you do, you can't help but to chase it down.

What about the pitch clock?

Mark Leiter Jr., reliever, Chicago Cubs: It's probably the main factor. You have less time to recover. It's really like we're a big experiment and they're seeing what they can do.

Fried: I don't think [the pitch clock] is the sole reason, but it's one of the variables. I think there's a certain way to pace yourself, but any time you have to speed up and you're tired and out of sync, you're more susceptible to get out of rhythm.

Smyly: There are times throughout the game you definitely feel rushed or tired and not able to catch your breath, which could promote an injury. Our trainers say there have been studies that the oxygen in your [shoulder] muscles -- when you're doing something quick without a chance to recover -- that could increase your chance for injury. With the pitch clock, sometimes you don't have that time to take a deep breath.

Adam Ottavino, reliever, New York Mets: I don't buy it as, like, the reason. But we don't know the effects of the pitch clock. I mean I personally haven't felt like it's putting that type of stress on me, like, acute fatigue or whatever, something that would lend itself to me getting really hurt. But at the same time, if you have a really long inning out there and you have a hard time stopping yourself -- you can get pretty gassed. Maybe that has some effect.

Ferguson: I think they made it too quick [by taking two more seconds off]. I'm telling you right now, my pitches in between innings have never felt more rushed. And like when I run out from the bullpen, I've never felt like I've been as rushed as what I have these past couple years -- this year especially. ... It's just like, at what point are we just doing too much harm to put more butts in the seats?

Wilson: For lack of a better term, we s--- the bed with that. We reduced the game by 37 minutes last year and they wanted more? How about a 20-second pitch clock all the time? There is a reason powerlifters don't go rapidly. There needs to be a certain amount of recovery time in between max effort. Being fatigued can put you in a bad spot mechanically, and you can do it on one pitch.

Gerrit Cole, starter, Yankees: It is something that we have to adapt to. And every time you adapt to something there is a cost. I can't sit here and show you exactly what the data is that says what exactly the cost is. ... Everybody's talking about the effect of the pitch clock just in one year. But what are MRIs going to look like 10 years from now? Five years from now? What are guys' elbows going to look like pitching under the pitch clock for a prolonged period of time?

Haha wow San Diego, y'all are chumps

Mike Trout currently has 10 HR and 13 RBI, the kind of hilarious ratio only Angels baseball can produce

It's wild that Trout is an all-timer who has spent his almost his entire career on terrible teams and he seems -- at least publicly, which may not convey how he really feels about it -- totally fine with it. All the high level athletes I've ever known (these are all olympic-level swimmers, so not all that comparable to actual 'professional' athletes) were the most competitive people you could ever meet. They wanted to win more than anything. I wonder if for Trout it's just a job. He certainly wouldn't be the only player to feel that way. I can remember John Halama, when he played for the Mariners, talking about how much he hated baseball. He didn't like playing or watching it growing up, but he was good enough to make a (short) career out of it so he just went with it.

Edit:

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Haha wow San Diego, y'all are chumps

I tried looking around -- what's this about?

Trout is a very weird case, because if he demanded a trade, I don't think anyone, including Angels fans would have a gripe with him.

(I think his situation also underlines how fans are broadly hypocritical about "loyalty" because he gets clowned online for remaining loyal to the franchise.)

Maybe he's just comfortable there, I guess? But yeah, he's gonna be one of the weirdest HoFers in history, because at the current pace, it'd be a career highlight to get swept in the ALCS.