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Caleb Smith 2019 Outlook

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2 minutes ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

Why would he?  He just turned 28 years old today the 28th.  He isn't some baby-faced youngster.

Because he has a history of injury, they’re not trying to win anything, and he’s an asset they may need to sell at some point. They need him healthy.

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1 hour ago, Backdoor Slider said:

Because he has a history of injury, they’re not trying to win anything, and he’s an asset they may need to sell at some point. They need him healthy.

But what does pitch counts and limiting innings have to do with health?  I don't believe in any of it personally.

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1 hour ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

But what does pitch counts and limiting innings have to do with health?  I don't believe in any of it personally.

You don’t believe in...math? It’s simple probability. Just like the more times I walk in the street, the likelier I am to be hit by a car. A pitcher can get hurt at any point, but as you increase innings, you increase probability.

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8 hours ago, Backdoor Slider said:

You don’t believe in...math? It’s simple probability. Just like the more times I walk in the street, the likelier I am to be hit by a car. A pitcher can get hurt at any point, but as you increase innings, you increase probability. 

 

It's a lot more nuanced than that, actually.

Injuries to young professional baseball pitchers cannot be prevented solely by restricting number of innings pitched.

Quote

RESULTS:

No significant correlation was found between innings pitched and future injury or consecutive season innings pitched difference and future injury. No significant differences were found when pitchers were split into groups based upon consecutive season innings pitched difference cutoffs.

CONCLUSIONS:

Based upon the evidence presented, strength and conditioning coaches, sports medicine specialists, and team trainers cannot rely solely on inning counts to accurately measure the tissue demands of professional baseball pitching. Therefore, inning limits alone cannot be used to protect young professional pitchers against the threat of injury.

 

Q&A: Pitcher Workloads and Innings Limits: Two Industry Perspectives

Quote

BL: So does that make the concept of an innings limit a little too reductive, do you think? I mean, could a guy theoretically pitch any number of innings as long as he’s properly managed?

GF: Yes. You’re correct. There’s pitch count limits or innings limits—for instance, doing the research that Dr. [James] Andrews and myself did, pitch count became part of Little League, but even though I’m essentially the reason why there’s pitch counts in Little League, I can tell you, in an ideal world, there should be no pitch count rules or limits. And while that might be surprising for the guy who did the science studying that, that’s because, in an ideal world, pitchers and coaches should use pitch counts as guidelines to say where are you if you feel where your arm is. But the pitch counts shouldn’t be rules, they should be guidelines to give you a feel for if he has had a high workload or not.

 

Obviously, there are limits.  You're not going to let a pitcher throw 500 innings based on these findings.  What they do suggest is that there is no empirical support for the "Verducci Effect" idea that you can only add 20 or 30 innings each season, or that every additional inning or pitch increases the probability of injury.  Some guys get hurt, some don't, and we don't yet have a good handle on why, but adding some extra innings hasn't been shown to change the outcomes.

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32 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

 

It's a lot more nuanced than that, actually.

Injuries to young professional baseball pitchers cannot be prevented solely by restricting number of innings pitched.

 

Q&A: Pitcher Workloads and Innings Limits: Two Industry Perspectives

 

Obviously, there are limits.  You're not going to let a pitcher throw 500 innings based on these findings.  What they do suggest is that there is no empirical support for the "Verducci Effect" idea that you can only add 20 or 30 innings each season, or that every additional inning or pitch increases the probability of injury.  Some guys get hurt, some don't, and we don't yet have a good handle on why, but adding some extra innings hasn't been shown to change the outcomes.

100%. I don’t believe in some weird “100 pitch limit,” the Verducci Effect, or any other beliefs held with no evidence. 

That said, it’s literally true. If Smith pitches 5 innings rest of season, he’s less like to get hurt than if he pitches 20, and then less likely to get hurt than if he pitches 50. He CAN get hurt at any point, but the more you do something the higher the likelihood of getting hurt. I’m not talking about wear and tear, I’m talking about probability. 

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35 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

 

It's a lot more nuanced than that, actually.

Injuries to young professional baseball pitchers cannot be prevented solely by restricting number of innings pitched.

 

Q&A: Pitcher Workloads and Innings Limits: Two Industry Perspectives

 

Obviously, there are limits.  You're not going to let a pitcher throw 500 innings based on these findings.  What they do suggest is that there is no empirical support for the "Verducci Effect" idea that you can only add 20 or 30 innings each season, or that every additional inning or pitch increases the probability of injury.  Some guys get hurt, some don't, and we don't yet have a good handle on why, but adding some extra innings hasn't been shown to change the outcomes.

I think throwing 100 MPH or close to it ruins most people arms (elbows) regardless of how many innings they pitch or how many pitches they throw per start. 

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3 minutes ago, Backdoor Slider said:

I’m not talking about wear and tear, I’m talking about probability. 

 

And the first link shows, with actual data, from actual pitchers, that you're wrong.  Intuition does not refute analysis.

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2 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

 

And the first link shows, with actual data, from actual pitchers, that you're wrong.  Intuition does not refute analysis.

No, it doesn’t. They’re looking for arm injuries and specifically mentions “overuse.” That’s just one of many things. 

Let’s consider a liner back to the head. Would you say that if I pitch 1 inning and you pitch 200 innings, we have the exact same likelihood of being hit with a liner?

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Just now, Backdoor Slider said:

Let’s consider a liner back to the head. Would you say that if I pitch 1 inning and you pitch 200 innings, we have the exact same likelihood of being hit with a liner?

 

Of course not, but it's a terrible analogy.  You're assuming that with every additional inning, the probability of an injury on any roll of the dice (pitch) is the same, which is not the case.

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7 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

 

Of course not, but it's a terrible analogy.  You're assuming that with every additional inning, the probability of an injury on any roll of the dice (pitch) is the same, which is not the case.

But you just admitted the opposite? Liner to the head, turn an ankle on the mound...probability increases the more times he steps on the mound. 

Here’s why it’s not a bad analogy. Let’s use the “roll of dice” probability as a simplistic example. If rolling a six is injury, you’re correct that each time you go out, the probability stays the same. In this example, 1 in 6. But if I have to roll once (one outing), and you have to roll 13 times (13 outings), probability of you rolling that 6 increases. Obviously an injury isn’t 1 in 6, but you get the point. 

There appears to be no correlation between inning limits and arm injuries. That doesn’t mean the less Smith steps foot on the mound, the more the team is protecting their asset.

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1 minute ago, Backdoor Slider said:

There appears to be no correlation between inning limits and arm injuries. That doesn’t mean the less Smith steps foot on the mound, the more the team is protecting their asset. 

 

I took your reference to his injury history as being related to his arm -- specifically the lat strain that ended his season last year.  If you're talking about random injuries that happen during a baseball game, then yeah, obviously more exposure creates more risk.  That didn't seem to be where your argument was coming from, so if I misread, I apologize for the derail.

At the same time, I think we forget that there are benefits to having him on the field, regardless of whatever small increase in risk each appearance adds.  Building up arm strength, learning more about how to attack hitters, dialing in his mechanics...  All of these can have a positive impact that far outweighs the chance he eats a comebacker.   Just because they aren't playing meaningful baseball games right now doesn't mean they're best off locking him in his hotel room to avoid injury.  Every pitch he throws is experience, and may actually be helping him reduce his future injury risk by making him a more efficient starter.

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4 hours ago, Backdoor Slider said:

100%. I don’t believe in some weird “100 pitch limit,” the Verducci Effect, or any other beliefs held with no evidence. 

That said, it’s literally true. If Smith pitches 5 innings rest of season, he’s less like to get hurt than if he pitches 20, and then less likely to get hurt than if he pitches 50. He CAN get hurt at any point, but the more you do something the higher the likelihood of getting hurt. I’m not talking about wear and tear, I’m talking about probability. 

But a pitcher sitting because of pitch count or innings limitations can just as likely be injured because he isn't pitching as in slipping on a banana peel while hanging out back in the clubhouse.  Unless you bubble-wrap a human well people can easily get injured for most any reason. 

I mean we know Adenheart died in a car accident when a drunk broadsided a car he and his friends were traveling in.  So I guess we could say pitchers should never travel in  cars either because it increases their mortality rate?  Or put another way, all people increase their chance of injury or death by riding in cars so maybe we should limit the number of miles people should be allowed to be in a car on a yearly basis.

Bottom line is that pitchers have to pitch like drivers have to drive or even as soldiers have to soldier or any other profession you can name.  There are no guarantees in life except that we die in the end.  You can't hide away as some bubble boy then still die without ever having lived.  Well I guess you can but what's the point of doing that. 

And for pitchers -- and all other athletes in general -- your professional career is extremely limited anyway by age so you only have a few years in the sun so you better darn well use them when you can.

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The point isn't whether or not it's actually true that Smith pitching 150 innings vs say 125 makes him more likely to get hurt -- the only thing that matters is what the Marlins brass thinks. And given how often we see pitching limits on young/recently injured pitchers, the prevailing thought around MLB seems to be that limiting innings is the thing to do. That's why I think it's more likely than not that he gets shut down in early/mid September.

I'm sure we'll have the same argument about Kopech next year. He'll be starting the season roughly 20 months post injury w/ a lengthy rehab behind him, but the White Sox will baby him and then cap his innings, and if he's pitching well and/or they're fighting for a playoff spot, anger will spout from every which way (a la Stras). But it's just what teams do, regardless of what the data says.

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6 hours ago, tonycpsu said:

 

And the first link shows, with actual data, from actual pitchers, that you're wrong.  Intuition does not refute analysis.

The link actually does not refute what Backdoor was saying in his original comment. He was talking simple probability of an event occurring, not causality or correlation.

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5 minutes ago, cs3 said:

The link actually does not refute what Backdoor was saying in his original comment. He was talking simple probability of an event occurring, not causality or correlation. 

 

This is a distinction without a difference.  If you're not demonstrating what caused the injury, then you have not made a compelling case to cap the innings.

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I don't disagree with that. 

The issue is balancing utility to the team with risk of injury. But so far, nobody has really proven with any degree of confidence what measures will reduce future injury - besides knowing that throwing a baseball is bad for your arm and.

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Are some people in this thread seriously trying to argue that Smith has an equal chance of getting hurt on the bench as he has throwing 90+mph pitches on the mound?

Have we really reached the point where we are so obtuse that we completely throw common sense out the window based on studies that we clearly don't understand?

Every single pitch carries risk, so limiting the # of pitches clearly limits the risk of injury. What the study is claiming isn't contrary to this. What the study is claiming is that each additional pitch doesn't carry MORE risk than the past pitch.

It's a simple concept, but seems to be flying right over some heads.

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58 minutes ago, Roto4500 said:

Every single pitch carries risk, so limiting the # of pitches clearly limits the risk of injury. What the study is claiming isn't contrary to this. What the study is claiming is that each additional pitch doesn't carry MORE risk than the past pitch.

 

That does not follow at all from a reading of the abstract, nor the study itself, which is paywalled (I have institutional access through my employer.)  For those who haven't read it yet, here are the excerpts that unequivocally state that their conclusions refer to risk of the additional inning workload in its entirety, not just measuring the delta between the risk of pitch N and the risk of pitch N+1:

 

Quote

A regression analysis was performed using the ordinary least squares method, where the explanatory variable was total innings pitched during year N and the dependent variable was number of days spent on the DL during year N+1. An additional regression analysis was performed using the difference in total innings pitched between consecutive seasons (year N and year N-1) as the explanatory variable and number of days spent on the DL during year N+1 as the dependent variable. A criteria of p < 0.05 was used to reject the null hypothesis.

[...]

The results of our study showed that for young pitchers total number of innings pitched in a season was not a significant predictor of injury the following season (Figure 1). The difference in number of innings pitched between two consecutive seasons also was not a significant predictor of injury (Figure 2).

Further investigation of year-to-year innings pitched differences (Figure 3) revealed for a cutoff of 10 IP year-to-year increase, injury rate was markedly less for the pitchers in the less than cutoff group compared to the greater than cutoff group (23.21% and 26.29% respectively). For the 30 IP increase cutoff, the injury rate was nearly identical for both groups (25.40% for the less than group, and 25.00% for the greater than group). The largest disparity in injury rate was found in the 40 IP increase cutoff, where the less than group had a remarkably higher injury rate than the greater than group (26.54% and 23.44% respectively).

With respect to average number of days spent on the DL for each group (Table 1), no statistically significant differences were found. However, similar trends as reported in injury rate were present. For the 10 IP increase cutoff, the average number of days on the DL for the less than cutoff group was less than the average number of days on the DL for the greater than group (14.76 days and 17.79 days respectively). Average time spent on the DL for the 30 IP less than group was similar to that of the greater than group (16.27 days and 17.15 days respectively). The greatest difference was again noticed for the 40 IP increase cutoff (18.54 days for the less than group and 14.28 days for the greater than group).

 

The last two paragraphs completely refute your interpretation.  There is no relationship between injury rate nor days spent on the DL for members of the "less than" group vs. members of the "greater than" group.  If your assertion were true, then injury rates and/or DL time would go up with additional workload.

The study does, however, note that there are limitations to using innings as a proxy for workload, given that some pitchers throw more or less pitches per inning, and suggests further study using pitch counts.  It makes reference to a prior study from one of the same authors that found no statistically significant correlation between pitch counts and injury, but notes that study, unlike the one using innings pitched, did not focus exclusively on young pitchers.

If you're able to find such a study that doesn't have these limitations and shows a meaningful correlation between increased workload and injury, or if you have anything else to defend your argument besides "common sense", please share it.  Common sense can tell you that if Caleb Smith pitches 1,000 innings this season, he'll probably get hurt.  It does not, in any way, show that the kinds of inning increases we're talking about (50 IP or less) have any impact at all on injury rate.

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34 minutes ago, mcmlxxxiv said:

Think I'm going to trade Caleb Smith and let another owner read this thread.

Welcome. An epic 1st post 😂

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8 hours ago, mcmlxxxiv said:

Think I'm going to trade Caleb Smith and let another owner read this thread.

 

This! I agree with this. 

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solid outing against a tough offense.  bbs are a little worrisome, but all things considered....so are we thinking he gets shut down at some point soonish?

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