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Travis Burten

Steven Strasburg SP WAS

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I think people take themselves way too seriously around here. It seems like everyone wants to be an 'expert and' they are always trying to disprove or ridicule posters who don't agree with them.

Baseball is a game and we are playing fantasy baseball. Relax and enjoy both.

I think much of the value of these boards is the diversity of opinions. If everyone came here and no one offered any differing opinions it would be kind of useless imho. I would probably be one of those people who take it too seriously LOL, but if fantasy baseball becomes that obvious or predictable you could just plug in the ADP numbers and be happy with your autodraft team.

As long as the opinions have some logical reasoning attached, I am more than happy to read what others have to say. In the case of Strasburg (or any other kid pitcher for that matter), I think long term durability can be something to consider. You can bet the team's looking at Strasburg in June will enter that into the equation.

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I actually don't feel ridiculed at all. It is just the general sentiment in the Rotoworld forum in general. It is the main reason why I don't contribute here.

For instance, I post a game write up about the best college pitching prospect we've seen in a long time, which I'm guessing none of you have actually seen him in game before and all the responses are about how terrible his mechanics are and his future is doomed. Anyway I'm not sure why I'm even wasting my time. B)

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I actually don't feel ridiculed at all. It is just the general sentiment in the Rotoworld forum in general. It is the main reason why I don't contribute here.

For instance, I post a game write up about the best college pitching prospect we've seen in a long time, which I'm guessing none of you have actually seen him in game before and all the responses are about how terrible his mechanics are and his future is doomed. Anyway I'm not sure why I'm even wasting my time. B)

There are some pretty hardcore fans here Yoda ... you might be very surprised at how many of the posters have seen him pitch. In some cases, they may have watched detailed video from multiple angles at length, often a frame at a time. No, everyone is not like that but several are and they generally have a very good idea what to look for.

I am sorry that you feel like these boards are a waste of time, but I just haven't found that to be the case. In fact, some of the posters here are light years ahead of about 99% of the "columnists/writers" who put out the reams of birdcage liner magazines every spring. You might want to look at things from a different perspective?

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Just so that people are clear about my motivations and point of view...

1. I may question people's opinions, but I never attack a person. Everyone's entitled to their opinion.

2. I do baseball instruction for a living and am trying to drive down the rates of injuries among pitchers of all ages (I work with 3rd grade pitchers through to minor league pitchers).

3. I do believe that it is possible to drive down injury rates, and the best ways to do that is by reducing overuse, improving conditioning, and improving mechanics.

4. Kids emulate the pro players they see. If we can clean up the mechanics of pro players, you're going to clean up the mechanics of kids by osmosis and via emulation.

5. One of the barriers to efforts to drive down injury rates is the (somewhat to fairly) fatalistic assumption that pitching injuries just happen and that there is nothing you can do about them. As long as you assume that there is nothing you can do to solve a problem, you're not going to be very motivated to solve that problem.

6. If we're going to encourage kids to copy players, let's encourage them to copy the durable guys with proven mechanics and not the flavors of the month like Stephen Strasburg.

I and a bunch of people like Kyle Boddy are trying to question the assumptions people have made about the causes of injuries.

We're not always correct, but we're trying (and IMO getting closer to the truth every day).

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Great. Stepehen Strasburg is "flavor of the month". Whatever. B)

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Just so that people are clear about my motivations and point of view...

1. I may question people's opinions, but I never attack a person. Everyone's entitled to their opinion.

2. I do baseball instruction for a living and am trying to drive down the rates of injuries among pitchers of all ages (I work with 3rd grade pitchers through to minor league pitchers).

3. I do believe that it is possible to drive down injury rates, and the best ways to do that is by reducing overuse, improving conditioning, and improving mechanics.

4. Kids emulate the pro players they see. If we can clean up the mechanics of pro players, you're going to clean up the mechanics of kids by osmosis and via emulation.

5. One of the barriers to efforts to drive down injury rates is the (somewhat to fairly) fatalistic assumption that pitching injuries just happen and that there is nothing you can do about them. As long as you assume that there is nothing you can do to solve a problem, you're not going to be very motivated to solve that problem.

6. If we're going to encourage kids to copy players, let's encourage them to copy the durable guys with proven mechanics and not the flavors of the month like Stephen Strasburg.

I and a bunch of people like Kyle Boddy are trying to question the assumptions people have made about the causes of injuries.

We're not always correct, but we're trying (and IMO getting closer to the truth every day).

Yoda - This is a VERY good example. I have repeatedly said I am no expert on mechanics as it relates to injury. However, I am 100% convinced that it does or at least can do exactly that. Therefore, I read everything Chris O writes here and I am a regular visitor to Driveline where I have GREATLY expanded my knowledge of that aspect of evaluating pitchers.

Most of the posters here aren't trying to take themselves too seriously, they are genuinely trying to share their opinions and at the same time learn from the posts of others.

EDIT - and I will go out on a limb here and say that very few people who are familiar with me at all would say my opinions of pitchers are "flavor of the month" LOL

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Yoda - This is a VERY good example. I have repeatedly said I am no expert on mechanics as it relates to injury. However, I am 100% convinced that it does or at least can do exactly that. Therefore, I read everything Chris O writes here and I am a regular visitor to Driveline where I have GREATLY expanded my knowledge of that aspect of evaluating pitchers.

Most of the posters here aren't trying to take themselves too seriously, they are genuinely trying to share their opinions and at the same time learn from the posts of others.

EDIT - and I will go out on a limb here and say that very few people who are familiar with me at all would say my opinions of pitchers are "flavor of the month" LOL

I do visit Driveline to check out their analysis so please don't think that I'm oblivious to this stuff. I just don't believe in absolutes and IMO there are many contributing factors to injuries like genetics (key just like talent), diet, flexibility, wear and tear, etc. Any combination of these factors including bad mechanics will increase the chances of injury.

On the other hand, if anyone has done a study then I'd love to see it. Thanks.

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I do visit Driveline to check out their analysis so please don't think that I'm oblivious to this stuff. I just don't believe in absolutes and IMO there are many contributing factors to injuries like genetics (key just like talent), diet, flexibility, wear and tear, etc. Any combination of these factors including bad mechanics will increase the chances of injury.

On the other hand, if anyone has done a study then I'd love to see it. Thanks.

I don't have studies, but I have started collecting testimonials like this...

Chris O'Leary is definitely on to something helpful with his mechanical analyses of pathological baseball pitching techniques. His "Inverted W" and "Inverted V" demonstrate what is essentially a textbook means of developing shoulder impingement and rotator cuff dysfunction. I am a physical therapist who treats shoulder injuries, as well as former baseball player myself, and I most definitely believe from what I have seen that his ability to identify mechanical issues such as these that can lead to future problems is spot on.

Steve H. PT

Madison WI.

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Great. Stepehen Strasburg is "flavor of the month". Whatever. B)

Stephen Strasburg is the current hot pitcher who has lots of upside but no history of long-term durability (or even performance at the next level).

I define a flavor of the month as anyone who hasn't pitched well, and durably (e.g. largely injury-free), in the big leagues for at least 10 years.

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I don't have studies, but I have started collecting testimonials like this...

Chris O'Leary is definitely on to something helpful with his mechanical analyses of pathological baseball pitching techniques. His "Inverted W" and "Inverted V" demonstrate what is essentially a textbook means of developing shoulder impingement and rotator cuff dysfunction. I am a physical therapist who treats shoulder injuries, as well as former baseball player myself, and I most definitely believe from what I have seen that his ability to identify mechanical issues such as these that can lead to future problems is spot on.

Steve H. PT

Madison WI.

That's awesome and I'm being sincere.

I'm wondering if you ever considered doing any studies that show X leads to Y. If so, when do you think it would be available? Or is it even possible to do a study?

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Yoda, trust me, I understand exactly what you are saying.

Last season I was in absolute awe of what Lincecum was doing down the stretch and instead of talking about Lincecum all guys could do was talk about the abuse and the PAP system, etc. I was rather amazed that he was throwing complete games with HUGE pitch counts. He was claiming the Cy as his own and I thought it was awesome.

Please go look at the Lincecum thread. About half of it is me arguing with guys over Lincecum being "different."

Unfortunately, it's just part of the baggage of discussing young pitchers.

What I don't get however, is the attack of the community here. We are all here to share our knowledge and it is a give and take. Some things are positive (I love Strasburg's stuff) but we have to sprinkle in the other stuff as well. I'm sorry that you feel that this is a waste of time. A lot of the guys that have posted in this thread bring a lot of knowledge to the table. We are having a discussion, not trying to be "experts." That discussion has been on all things Strasburg. Some of us have raised concerns that I do think are legit.

I hope that you stay an active part of the community and I've seen your posts over at the Cafe and I think you are a very knowledgable guy that enjoys baseball. For whatever reason (maybe justifiably), you feel attacked here and that is unfortunate. Believe me, that was not my intent at all.

I hope that you continue to make posts and share your knowledge here.

I want to watch Strasburg as well and YES, he is one of the guys that I will go out of my way to see when I get a chance.

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Stephen Strasburg is the current hot pitcher who has lots of upside but no history of long-term durability (or even performance at the next level).

I define a flavor of the month as anyone who hasn't pitched well, and durably (e.g. largely injury-free), in the big leagues for at least 10 years.

Just out of curiosity, what do you think is the average shelf life of a big league pitcher? If you define anyone with less than 10 injury fee years as flavor of the month then most pitchers fit your definition of flavor of the month no?

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People still have not learned their lesson after Prior, Wood, Sheets, Harden...
Here is a great write up on the inverted W

http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/Baseba...eInvertedW.html

I was just looking in the Liriano thread from last season.

There truly are knowledgable posters on this board. You should read the quotes from above that were from last March. That guy knows his stuff. B)

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I was just looking in the Liriano thread from last season.

There truly are knowledgable posters on this board. You should read the quotes from above that were from last March. That guy knows his stuff. B)

Yes but Prior, Wood, Harden, Liriano all have a history of breaking down. Strasburg does not. Well, not yet at least anyway. If/when he does then the risk of future injuries escalates.

For the record, I never said that mechanics were not important nor am I dismissing the analysis. I hope that is clear.

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Yes but Prior, Wood, Harden, Liriano all have a history of breaking down. Strasburg does not. Well, not yet at least anyway. If/when he does then the risk of future injuries escalates.

For the record, I never said that mechanics were not important nor am I dismissing the analysis. I hope that is clear.

Well, I will be drafting Strasburg in leagues as well and like I said, I can't wait to see him in the bigs.

The one common denominator that we are all pointing out is that inverted W and Strasburg's is BAD.

Not every guy that has the TJ or the inverted W is doomed either. John Smoltz has had a very nice career and AJ Burnett seems to be on his way.

I think it should be discussed though. When all of the guys that you mentioned all have the inverted W in common and ALL of them go down to injury, it would only seem to be a matter of time. I can't think of a single inverted W guy that has lasted without TJ (Smoltz is the longest career guy), so that makes us very skeptical of Strasburg.

I definately don't think we are wasting our time in discussing him though and I sincerely hope that you don't think you are wasting your time here. Like I said, I've seen your posts at the Cafe and you appear to be much easier going there for whatever reason and I really hope that you bring that here (meant as a compliment). I know from what I have read of your posts that you know your stuff. B)

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So, were those pictures from your view? That's an amazing view. Can't get that in a MLB stadium unless you own a company.

Is the "Straslider" just nasty or what?

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Well, I will be drafting Strasburg in leagues as well and like I said, I can't wait to see him in the bigs.

The one common denominator that we are all pointing out is that inverted W and Strasburg's is BAD.

Not every guy that has the TJ or the inverted W is doomed either. John Smoltz has had a very nice career and AJ Burnett seems to be on his way.

I think it should be discussed though. When all of the guys that you mentioned all have the inverted W in common and ALL of them go down to injury, it would only seem to be a matter of time. I can't think of a single inverted W guy that has lasted without TJ (Smoltz is the longest career guy), so that makes us very skeptical of Strasburg.

I definately don't think we are wasting our time in discussing him though and I sincerely hope that you don't think you are wasting your time here. Like I said, I've seen your posts at the Cafe and you appear to be much easier going there for whatever reason and I really hope that you bring that here (meant as a compliment). I know from what I have read of your posts that you know your stuff. B)

Thank you for the kind words. I am unusually cranky today.

Like I said, I don't believe in absolutes when it comes to baseball. It would still be interesting and worthwhile to see a study done in regards to pitching mechanics.

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So, were those pictures from your view? That's an amazing view. Can't get that in a MLB stadium unless you own a company.

Is the "Straslider" just nasty or what?

There were only about a 1000 people in the crowd. Surprisingly small number considering the match up: USD #11 and local rivalry with Stras on the mound. But it was a Thursday afternoon game.

He threw plenty of sliders with great command. I can't wait to see how he looks against pros because as everyone knows, it's a whole different ball game.

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That's awesome and I'm being sincere.

I'm wondering if you ever considered doing any studies that show X leads to Y. If so, when do you think it would be available? Or is it even possible to do a study?

ASMI may have the data and I want to try to figure out how to work with them.

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Just out of curiosity, what do you think is the average shelf life of a big league pitcher? If you define anyone with less than 10 injury fee years as flavor of the month then most pitchers fit your definition of flavor of the month no?

Correct.

I think we should be teaching kids, and everyone, to pitch like the best of the best.

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John Smoltz has had a very nice career and AJ Burnett seems to be on his way.

Both of those guys don't exactly have clean injury histories.

I don't think Burnett will be worth the money they spent.

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Both of those guys don't exactly have clean injury histories.

I don't think Burnett will be worth the money they spent.

What is wrong with Smoltz's career? He had a HOF career.

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What is wrong with Smoltz's career? He had a HOF career.

He also had major shoulder and elbow problems (TJ in 2000), due to some borderline Inverted W.

He was/is a great pitcher, but I wouldn't tell kids to copy him.

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Stephen Strasburg is the current hot pitcher who has lots of upside but no history of long-term durability (or even performance at the next level).

I define a flavor of the month as anyone who hasn't pitched well, and durably (e.g. largely injury-free), in the big leagues for at least 10 years.

Hmmm ... Chris, although I agree with much of your analysis and I am very much in favor of teaching young players to avoid things that have proven to be physically damaging (a brief footnote here, I was a DOMINATING LL pitcher at age 10-11 because I was already 6' tall, had all kinds of velocity, and could break off a curve that was like nothing kids that age had ever seen - by the time I was in HS I had elbow problems and I was pretty much done ... back in those days, the "coaches" didn't know any better) I might be hard pressed to list more than a handful of pitchers who meet that criteria which would make it very difficult to apply to a typical Roto league. It would be hard to only draft pitchers over age 35 with no injury history LOL

Anyway, Chris, if you could share your thoughts, I have seriously watched baseball for many years and way back when it was not that unusual for pitchers to throw 300+ innings and even though they didn't officially keep pitch counts I know they likely hit or exceeded 200 in some outings yet the serious arm injuries were far less prevalent. Is the inverted W (and other mechanical flaws) something that has just come about in the past 10,15 or 20 years? 

It is very difficult (as I believe has been mentioned here) to evaluate mechanics without high quality video that allows frame by frame viewing from the appropriate angles and while over the years I have clearly seen major changes in stride (Lincecum is sooo old school - and rare -  in that respect), release timing and foot strike, etc. I cannot point to a date or a point on a timeline and say that is where pitching mechanics began to deteriorate and pitchers became significantly more fragile - if that is even an accurate statement.

Chris, can you share your thoughts on how today's pitchers differ from the pitchers of the 60's and 70's who could pitch forever and never come up with a major injury as well as any ideas (if it fits) on how or when it happened or started to happen?

Thanks! 

Bog

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Both of those guys don't exactly have clean injury histories.

I don't think Burnett will be worth the money they spent.

Well, that was exactly the point I was trying to make.

Just because a guy had Tommy John surgery and the inverted W, doesn't mean that it is the end of the world. They can go on to lengthy, quality careers.

Not everyone goes the way of Wood and Prior and it isn't a career ender. Smoltz and Burnett are guys that seem to be just as good post surgery. Jury is still out on so many though like Liriano. Neither guy has a clean history, but both have had good careers.

I'm just saying that just because Strasburg throws that way doesn't mean he won't have a good career.

I'm still trying to find an inverted W guy that hasn't needed TJ and pitched for an extended period though.

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