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DrCrawdad
08-14-2003, 12:28 PM
Of course you remember Sirotka and Shoulder-gate. Then the Sox had a string of pitchers going down with arm injuries. But do you remember the mocking of the Sox by the media and many Cub fans?

Well it seems that now the Cubs are having their share of arm injuries.

The Cub Reporter picks up a Baseball America report stating that 2002 1st-round draft pick Bobby Brownlie has been shut down for the year. He's having shoulder pain. But Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita says "[t]here's nothing wrong with him," this is just a precautionary measure.

Right.

Brownlie. Angel Guzman. Luke Hagerty. Justin Jones. Matt Clanton. I don't know enough about injury analysis or how the Cubs handle their minor league pitchers to know whether this is random chance or points to some fault with the Cubs player development system, but that is something that needs to be evaluated.(DrCrawdad Comment: IIRC We Sox fans were saying much the same thing in 2001-2002.)

Link (http://cubs.june24.net/posts/000755.html)


An alarming problem
Lately, the Cubs' minor league pitching has looked like a scene from M*A*S*H, not a future major league staff.
Link (http://www.jacksonsun.com/jaxx/pitchers_injured.shtml)

Those who run the Cubs' farm system aren't the only ones wondering what's happening. Jackson Sun (the hometown paper of Double-A West Tennessee) reporter Kary Booher has the rundown on all the injuries Cubs' pitching prospects have incurred this year. There is nothing in the article that suggests the Cubs are anywhere close to figuring out the problem. In fact, the opposite seems true -- the Cubs are ascribing the injuries to Chance.

Perhaps that's the correct answer to why this has happened. But that shouldn't stop the Cubs from re-evaluating their minor league program.

Yesterday, Baseball Prospectus's Joe Sheehan wrote an article (subscription req'd) explaining his continued adherence to the assertion that there's no such thing as a pitching prospect. One reason is what has happened with the Cubs (Sheehan didn't specifically mention the Cubs) -- young pitchers "get hurt with stunning frequency, sometimes enough to cost them a career, more often just enough to hinder their effectiveness." While significant progress has been made in surgically repairing arms and in pitcher rehabilitation, the fact remains that the vast majority of low minors pitching prospects do not make a significant mark in the big leagues.

I'll continue to use the term pitching prospect. I still believe there is such a thing. But we should all understand the significant limitations of the term prospect when discussing young pitchers.
Link (http://cubs.june24.net/)

Randar68
08-14-2003, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by DrCrawdad
Well it seems that now the Cubs are having their share of arm injuries.

Don't forget Bean-Ball Ben. 2nd straight year.

Seems to be a cyclical thing. In the minors, pitchers are getting hurt all the time, and all over the minor leagues.

Better and more-frequent long-toss throwing routines. Pitchers today don't build muscle-memory and strength in the joints (via supporting muscles/ligaments) because they just don't throw enough from an early age. Personally, I think the obsession with the radar gun and with competition (W/L) at the HS level (and in some cases earlier) is causing a lack of fundamentals and development. Nobody is thinking about long-term health for these kids anymore.

When you see kids throing sliders and 3/4 arm-angle curves at age 13, it makes me want to slap them or their parents silly. Fastball, change-up and location. All you need until you reach varsity HS or college/pros.

Anybody seen a HS pitcher who can effectively add and subtract off his fastball? Been a while. Everyone wants to throw 95+ every pitch.

It's a problem not with any one team, it's a flaw in the system. Goes down to parents, coaches, and not understanding the fundamentals of pitching and how it relates to health.

Unlike hitters, you can't just lift weights to strengthen the need joints/muscles, you have to have the dexterity and flexibility and localized strength (legs, abdomen) as well as the "arm-strength" that can ONLY come from throwing a LOT.

Tom House has a better grasp on the issue than any organization in baseball (http://www.tomhouse.com/main.asp)

Vsahajpal
08-14-2003, 01:41 PM
Originally posted by DrCrawdad
Of course you remember Sirotka and Shoulder-gate. Then the Sox had a string of pitchers going down with arm injuries. But do you remember the mocking of the Sox by the media and many Cub fans?

Well it seems that now the Cubs are having their share of arm injuries.

Brownlie was shut down as a precaution. He was throwing 2 months before minor league camp opened and had gotten more work in than any other pitcher. He was going through a dead arm phase (as every pitcher does), there wasn't any structural damage. They shut him down and he's currently in rehab building up his arm strength.

Clanton was an overdraft, he was injured and barely pitched the season he was drafted. Damaged goods before he even signed.

Guzman's injury bothers me, shoulder instead of elbow. They sent him to Andrews (or maybe Yocum) and he didn't think surgery was necessary. He thought he could be back pretty quickly, but the Cubs shut him down anyways.

Hagerty had TJS, he'll be fine.

Jones' situation is similar to Guzman, this worries me too. He's a stud.

Vsahajpal
08-14-2003, 01:47 PM
Originally posted by Randar68
Don't forget Bean-Ball Ben. 2nd straight year.

Seems to be a cyclical thing. In the minors, pitchers are getting hurt all the time, and all over the minor leagues.

Better and more-frequent long-toss throwing routines. Pitchers today don't build muscle-memory and strength in the joints (via supporting muscles/ligaments) because they just don't throw enough from an early age. Personally, I think the obsession with the radar gun and with competition (W/L) at the HS level (and in some cases earlier) is causing a lack of fundamentals and development. Nobody is thinking about long-term health for these kids anymore.

When you see kids throing sliders and 3/4 arm-angle curves at age 13, it makes me want to slap them or their parents silly. Fastball, change-up and location. All you need until you reach varsity HS or college/pros.

Anybody seen a HS pitcher who can effectively add and subtract off his fastball? Been a while. Everyone wants to throw 95+ every pitch.

It's a problem not with any one team, it's a flaw in the system. Goes down to parents, coaches, and not understanding the fundamentals of pitching and how it relates to health.

Unlike hitters, you can't just lift weights to strengthen the need joints/muscles, you have to have the dexterity and flexibility and localized strength (legs, abdomen) as well as the "arm-strength" that can ONLY come from throwing a LOT.

Tom House has a better grasp on the issue than any organization in baseball (http://www.tomhouse.com/main.asp)

You make excellent points as usual.

DrCrawdad
08-14-2003, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by Vsahajpal
Brownlie was shut down as a precaution. He was throwing 2 months before minor league camp opened and had gotten more work in than any other pitcher. He was going through a dead arm phase (as every pitcher does), there wasn't any structural damage. They shut him down and he's currently in rehab building up his arm strength...

The Cub fan blogger quoted above is suspicious of that.

Hey, I'm not ripping the Cubs on this arm injury matter. I do however remember reading and hearing quite a few Cub fans mocking the Sox on the rash of injuries the Sox had a couple of years ago.

It's a long road between prospect to ML pitcher.