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Bruz

Assessing Injury Risks with Pitchers

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What do you think about Kershaw and Bumgarner's deliveries? Assuming you have watched film on them, any injuries you see in the future based on your research? thanks!

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Good post Bruz. Do you have a short list (or long list) of current MLBers to avoid in 2013 due to poor mechanics?

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What do you think about Kershaw and Bumgarner's deliveries? Assuming you have watched film on them, any injuries you see in the future based on your research? thanks!

Kershaw does a nice job with his mecanics... He is able to get his hand above his elbow (although it could be a little higher), he does an EXCELLENT job in his follow-through. Glove right infront of his body, arm properly following through without recoil. If there is one downside to his delivery it would be that he takes HUGE stride. Pitchers that over-stride find themselves more suceptible to lowe back or knee injuries. However, that is just nit-picking. I like his mechanics and do not feel he is at risk in the short-term so long as he continues to train properly and keeps his mechanics clean.

Bumgarner I have a bit of a problem with...

2. Any pitcher that swings their arm behind their shoulder line or (like Lincecum or Porcello) sticks their arms straight down (Jarrod Parker), is in jeopardy.

Bumgarner swings his arm so far back that he loses the integrity of his sholder line. His shoulder line is actually closed off, (facing the left handed batters box), so there is added stress on his shoulder when delivering the ball... I could see him developing some shoulder issues down the line, but there are a few things he does well... He gets his hand above his elbow, and does a nice job following through. Overall: I wouldnt run away from Bumgarner, but be aware that an issue could arise. My advice: I would watch his velocity charts very closely and if you see a dip in MPH, try to trade him. Usually you will see the velocity go as the shoulder soreness builds up in the shoulder.

Hope this helped. Thanks!

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Good post Bruz. Do you have a short list (or long list) of current MLBers to avoid in 2013 due to poor mechanics?

Currently at work right now, but i can work on putting together a short-list for you guys when i get some free time. Maybe Sunday...

All the info is in my head so I will need to sit down and actually put the pen to paper on this. Off the top of my head, Jarrod Parker, Shelby Miller, Jeff Samardzija are a few names that come to mind... Look for more in the coming days. Thanks!

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Good post Bruz. Do you have a short list (or long list) of current MLBers to avoid in 2013 due to poor mechanics?

Currently at work right now, but i can work on putting together a short-list for you guys when i get some free time. Maybe Sunday...

All the info is in my head so I will need to sit down and actually put the pen to paper on this. Off the top of my head, Jarrod Parker, Shelby Miller, Jeff Samardzija are a few names that come to mind... Look for more in the coming days. Thanks!

Dang! I really like Samardzija and Parker for this year.

Looking forward to your list.

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I wouldnt necessarily shy away from drafting Parker this year... His arm has taken extremely well to the surgery... and remember what i said... Post Tommy John tendons have a 5-10 year shelf life... I think he should be safe for at least 1-2 more seasons before these issues pop up again. He is more someone to beware of in a dynasty league.

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Posted · Hidden by Patrick Bateman, March 8, 2013 - No reason given · Report post

im kinda annoyed they merged this thread with the pre-existing Verducci thread... I think the quality of the information i've posted deserves it's own thread. If it remains buried in here, no one will read it, and thus no one can benefit from the time and effort i put into writing it.

I get that the mods want to keep everything organized and avoid overlap, but i'd rather just rename the post to "How to evaluate pitchers at risk of injury"... any shot i could do this?

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Posted · Hidden by RotoRaysfan, March 8, 2013 - No reason given · Report post

Many thanks to Patrick Bateman for helping get this post it's own thread!

As I said, if anyone has any other questions, do not hesitate to ask.

Thanks!

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Great post man.What do you think about Hammels,Doc,Greinke,King Felix,Lee?I probably named too many of them but I'm interested in subject not just fantasy perspective.

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This is what brings me back to this site daily

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The common knock on Bumgarner is that he throws a significant amount of sliders, which many analysts say will be his demise. Liriano and others who throw a lot of sliders fell victim to major injuries, and experts/analysts again attribute it to the reliance on a slider. Most, and you, may agree that the slider puts a lot of wear and tear on an arm.

My question is do you think someone who relies on a slider can avoid major injury if they train properly and have good mechanics as you described? Or does throwing a slider require flawed mechanics? I'm not too knowledgeable about the whole science of pitching. Your insight from the original post was extremely informative.

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I have traded barbs with Bruz via PM dating back to last year. This guy knows what he is talking about. His post count may be low, but he is very informative. Great post Bruz, looking forward to seeing your list and seeing how it goes this season. Appreciate the time and effort you are putting into this for the rest of the board.

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Great post man.What do you think about Hammels,Doc,Greinke,King Felix,Lee?I probably named too many of them but I'm interested in subject not just fantasy perspective.

Hamels - I like Hamels delivery a lot. Gets his arm in proper throwing position, has a good follow through, and nice stride. I do have an issue with the way he over-supinates his hand when throwing his slider (which is why a lot of pitchers who overuse their slider have arm issues) Turns out I was right, because Hamels wound up needing bone chips removed over the offseason.

My hope is that the bone chips were a result of built-up wear and tear from improper supination on his slider. Luckily, there is a bright side here...The main thing that gives me a little relief with Hamels is the development of his cutter which he uses more now. The cutter puts much less stress on his arm than his slider did, and it has been an effective pitch for him thus far. If he continues to use the cutter, and becomes mainly a (fastball, cutter, change) guy, I think he will stay healthy and have a lot of success in coming years. His shoulder apparently acted up on him in the offseason, but I am willing to bet that is because he was babying his elbow coming off surgery and the comensation put extra stress on the shoulder. Once he is into the flow of things, i think he will be okay.

Halladay - Doc does a lot of things right in his delivery, and he has for MANY years... However, there was always one thing that i knew would eventually do him in... His arm angle. The lower a pitchers arm angle, the greater the stress that is put on their shoulder. Halladay's arm angle is simply too low for me to feel confident in his health this season... Thus I would definitely avoid him.

When your shoulder hurts a few things happen. 1.) you start losing velocity on your FB... just like Halladay last season. 2.) and this is the funny part... your arm tries to tell you "hey, don't lift me so high, that hurts!"... Thus, pitchers begin to lower their arm angles even FURTHER, which is obviously counter-productive. Your shoulder is not meant to be in an upright throwing position. It is not natural. Thus, when the shoulder is damaged and in pain, it tries to stop you from bringing your arm back into that position... The result is that pitchers continue to lower their arm slot in an attempt to "protect" the shoulder, all the meanwhile doing more damage to it.

Greinke - Like his mechanics... quiet, great balance, good arm positioning when his stride foot lands... i don't think the recent "forearm tightness" is anything to worry about. Draft with confidence.

King Felix - Felix's mechanics look fine to me... the amount of torque he gets from his core is amazing. The decreasing velocity troubles me a bit, but he certainly was overthrowing early in his career... The jury is out as to whether or not the dip in velocity is part of his gameplan (he has greatly improved his bb rates year after year). I think he will okay from what i've seen, but he is one to watch closely.

Cliff Lee - I love Cliff Lee's mechanics. He

has such a nice repeatable delivery. He has a shorter arm circle so he is always in a nice position when his foot lands, and his arm angle is nice. Doesn't overstride... However, Cliff Lee does bend A LOT. His

lower back will bark from time to time no matter how hard he works to strengthen it... As far as arm injuries go, I doubt you ever see Lee hurt his arm. As far as lower back and oblique goes... it is very possible.

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Great post! But what does supinate mean?

Also, my father in law is a high school coach. He talked to a fellow coach about pitching mechanics . He said a lot of young kids come up these days not caring about good mechanics, but rather anything to gets the most speed and movement on the ball because that is what scout like to see. Most of them figure it's much better to make it, then get surgery after the fact, rather than practice solid mechanics that won't give you that "dazzle"

Have you heard or seen anything about that? It makes sense.

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The common knock on Bumgarner is that he throws a significant amount of sliders, which many analysts say will be his demise. Liriano and others who throw a lot of sliders fell victim to major injuries, and experts/analysts again attribute it to the reliance on a slider. Most, and you, may agree that the slider puts a lot of wear and tear on an arm.

My question is do you think someone who relies on a slider can avoid major injury if they train properly and have good mechanics as you described? Or does throwing a slider require flawed mechanics? I'm not too knowledgeable about the whole science of pitching. Your insight from the original post was extremely informative.

Can someone who relies on a slider avoid major injury? Absolutely, yes. Is it easy to do? No...

Pitchers with big sliders often do a few things "wrong" in order to make their pitches bite. Good examples would be Cole Hamels, Vance Worley, Sabathia, Bonderman, Brett Anderson, Scott Kazmir, Shaun Marcum...

As I touched on in the post above, a slider causes you to supinate your arm(rotate your wrist/forearm so that your palm is facing up). Over-supination is often what causes injury. All the pitchers I've named above are guilty of this transgression... and all have had arm issues (bone chips, or shoulder problems).

Another reason the slider can cause injury is because many pitchers lower their arm angles in an attempt to "get around" the ball. Think of it this way, if you throw with a directly over hand arm angle... how are you going to rotate the baseball sideways out of your hand? It is nearly impossible. Pitchers that throw overhand often use more of a 12-6 curveball that has more downward break. To throw a slider, you need to get your index and middle fingers around the outside of the baseball, then cut your wrist, and in order to do that, you must throw with a 3/4 arm angle or lower. The lower the arm angle, the more stress on the shoulder.

When I was in college, my catchers were convinced that I had one of the best sliders around... that it was a major league caliber offering... The reason it bit so hard is that I cut my wrist/arm so damn hard and threw at a slightly below 3/4 arm angle in order to get that ball to move. The slider is probably a main reason why my arm never held up, but it is a double-edged sword because it was also responsible for much of my success.

Many pitchers are starting to use cutters nowadays and I think that is a great thing. Why? Because cutters do not require supination. Cole Hamels has begun using it much more lately... Zack Greinke as well. These pitches have similar effectiveness, and much less risk attached to them.

So my answer is this, can a pitcher use a slider and stay healthy? Yes. Does a pitcher who throws over 30% sliders put himself at a much higher risk to be injured? Yes, absolutely. However, if they do throw the pitch correctly, and not over-supinate, how often they use it may not ever wind up mattering.

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Great post! But what does supinate mean?

Also, my father in law is a high school coach. He talked to a fellow coach about pitching mechanics . He said a lot of young kids come up these days not caring about good mechanics, but rather anything to gets the most speed and movement on the ball because that is what scout like to see. Most of them figure it's much better to make it, then get surgery after the fact, rather than practice solid mechanics that won't give you that "dazzle"

Have you heard or seen anything about that? It makes sense.

I touched on all these things in my above post... Your father is right, I too am guilty of going for the dazzle rather than the proper mechanics. Pose any 17-21 year old with the option of either success, or totally re-working their delivery and learning proper mechanics at the expense of effectiveness and i guarantee they will choose success. It is just human tendency...

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Thanks for the "supinate" explanation Bruz. Now I finally understand what that means.

I've heard MadBum throws a high % of sliders but I've also heard that they are actually cutters. What's the true scoop?

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Thanks for the "supinate" explanation Bruz. Now I finally understand what that means.

I've heard MadBum throws a high % of sliders but I've also heard that they are actually cutters. What's the true scoop?

He actually throws both... Marcum used to throw strictly a slider... which is usually around 80 MPH and has a bit more movement from right to left. The cutter is usually around 84 MPH or so...with a less drastic break. If you watch the video of him on MLB.com's fantasy preview you can see the difference between the two pitches.

He has seen his fastball decline 3 MPH from it's peak, probably due to the wear and tear he has put on his shoulder. I think that Marcum's usage of the cutter is probably his only chance of staying healthy. The slider however, is probably his only chance at staying successful. Quite a conundrum...

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Thanks for the "supinate" explanation Bruz. Now I finally understand what that means.

I've heard MadBum throws a high % of sliders but I've also heard that they are actually cutters. What's the true scoop?

He actually throws both... Marcum used to throw strictly a slider... which is usually around 80 MPH and has a bit more movement from right to left. The cutter is usually around 84 MPH or so...with a less drastic break. If you watch the video of him on MLB.com's fantasy preview you can see the difference between the two pitches.

He has seen his fastball decline 3 MPH from it's peak, probably due to the wear and tear he has put on his shoulder. I think that Marcum's usage of the cutter is probably his only chance of staying healthy. The slider however, is probably his only chance at staying successful. Quite a conundrum...

Thanks for the analysis on Marcum ... but I was actually asking about Madison Bumgarner

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Thanks for the "supinate" explanation Bruz. Now I finally understand what that means.

I've heard MadBum throws a high % of sliders but I've also heard that they are actually cutters. What's the true scoop?

He actually throws both... Marcum used to throw strictly a slider... which is usually around 80 MPH and has a bit more movement from right to left. The cutter is usually around 84 MPH or so...with a less drastic break. If you watch the video of him on MLB.com's fantasy preview you can see the difference between the two pitches.

He has seen his fastball decline 3 MPH from it's peak, probably due to the wear and tear he has put on his shoulder. I think that Marcum's usage of the cutter is probably his only chance of staying healthy. The slider however, is probably his only chance at staying successful. Quite a conundrum...

Wow I totally misread MadBum for Marcum... and I just realized that. Haha, I apologize! Let me write something up for you on Bumgarner.

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Thanks for the response to my previous question.

What do you think of the mechanics for these pitchers:

Justin Verlander

Kris Medlen (I've read somewhere that his mechanics/style compare to Cliff Lee's)

Aroldis Chapman

Matt Moore

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Great post, what are your thoughts on Adam Wainwright entering his 2nd season post-tj? And a horse like Verlander who consistently throws 230ish innings? I understand you saying it's not the amount of innings, but about 950 in 4 years is a ton.

Great post though, you really know your stuff. I also read that Bumgarner's velocity did dip a lot down the stretch, so if it does not rebound this spring he is probably an avoid guy.

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Thanks for the "supinate" explanation Bruz. Now I finally understand what that means.

I've heard MadBum throws a high % of sliders but I've also heard that they are actually cutters. What's the true scoop?

He actually throws both... Marcum used to throw strictly a slider... which is usually around 80 MPH and has a bit more movement from right to left. The cutter is usually around 84 MPH or so...with a less drastic break. If you watch the video of him on MLB.com's fantasy preview you can see the difference between the two pitches.

He has seen his fastball decline 3 MPH from it's peak, probably due to the wear and tear he has put on his shoulder. I think that Marcum's usage of the cutter is probably his only chance of staying healthy. The slider however, is probably his only chance at staying successful. Quite a conundrum...

Thanks for the analysis on Marcum ... but I was actually asking about Madison Bumgarner

Bumgarner definitely throws a slider, so let's be clear on that. I have never seen him throw anything that resembles a cutter, although I admit, I haven't seen every one of his starts. People probably call it a cutter because of its velocity (87mph) which is hard for a guy who only throws 91-92 with his fastball. There is one main reason that I know it is a slider. The movement. No one except Mariano Rivera can get that kind of break on a pitch without supinating their forearm/wrist. If you watch MadBum in slow-mo you can clearly see his wrist turning over when delivering the pitch, thus, it is truly a slider. I think Bumgarner

Bumgarner's delivery in itself, as i mentioned before is a bit troubling because of how he throws across his body and does not keep his shoulder line intact and moving towards home-plate but that's a whole different story...

I see him eventually having shoulder trouble down the road, mainly because of his mechanics. Th high usage of sliders also makes him a higher risk but his delivery of the pitch is decently sound...

My take: I do not own him in any leagues, nor do i plan on it. Just not a risk I would recommend taking, but if i have him in a keeper league, i wouldn't necessarily run to trade him because he does do a lot of things right.

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