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This is a really fantastic 'explainer' article. In particular I found the comparison between American pitching prospects and Latin American pitching prospects to be near-revelatory.
A Latin American pitcher can be signed by an MLB team at age 16. His development will then be closely monitored by the signing team.
A 16 year old in the US will try to max out his velocity from ages 16-18 (for draft/college reasons). He will have an increased injury risk as a result.
On MLB Nutwork...Mitch Williams confronted Verducci about all of this with how he never once soft-tossed in the bullpen and how every pitcher should throw as hard as they can at all times to build up muscle. Or something.
Ah, yes. The Mitch Williams that was essentially done as a pitcher when he was 28. We should listen to him because his longevity and wisdom.
The travel ball, youth league, and high school coaches don't have the same incentive. That said, the parents are just as guilty for letting their kids play that many games and racking up those innings.
The parents actually don't have a lot of say here. The elite kids are going to play travel ball, and once they get into the travel ball and showcase circuit, it's all about pushing as hard as they can to show what they have every time out.
Man has been throwing spears and rocks and such for eons.
The oldtimer advice I got was: "throw a lot, pitch little". Which makes sense to me. Catch, long-toss, etc. But not high intensity pitching with lots of breaking stuff.
My kid also played three sports from middle school through HS graduation, and as a result eventually had to stop playing travel baseball except in the summers. He'd throw maybe three times a week during football and swim seasons -- long toss in the fall and bullpens in the winter (but no breaking stuff until January). Never had so much as a twinge in his elbow or shoulder. Still went to some showcases, and had some DIII offers. I kinda doubt that making him a one-sport specialist from the age of 12 would have turned him into a DI prospect.
In one of the biggest studies of youth pitchers, a 10-year prospective study published in 2011, ASMI tracked 481 pitchers between the ages of nine and 14. Researchers found that pitchers who threw 100 innings or more in a calendar year were three and a half times more likely to be injured than those who pitched less. They recommended that no youth pitcher exceed 100 innings in a year and "no pitcher should continue to pitch when fatigued."
My oldest is only turning 6, but we play baseball in the spring and soccer during the fall. I only played baseball growing up (it was my choice - however, I decided not to give my kids that choice). So far, he really loves playing both sports. Realistically, his favorite thing to do is run and if his body type stays the same (long and lean) he'll probably be a distance runner. Even more realistically, he is a smart kid and his greatest successes will be in the classroom rather than on the field. We'll just see!
It's not one of those living out of a hotel room every weekend kind of deals, but a team that plays one mid-week game and a nearby tournament each weekend.
First, here is a basic understanding of how the arm works. It is “accepted wisdom” that pitchers break down because the act of throwing a baseball is “an unnatural motion.” That is flat out bunk. The oldest skeleton ever found, the Nariokotome skeleton, which is about 1.5 million years old, showed the biomechanical adaptation for overhand throwing found in the modern Homo sapiens. Man has been throwing spears and rocks and such for eons.
OTOH, I can't join in with all of the ringing endorsements of cross country. My daughter spent most of her HS career dealing with various over-training injuries, as did a ridiculously high percentage of her teammates. It seems there are just way too many bad coaches in that sport.
Injury was defined as elbow surgery, shoulder surgery, or retirement due to throwing injury.
The cumulative incidence of injury was 5.0%. Participants who pitched more than 100 innings in a year were 3.5 times more likely to be injured (95% confidence interval = 1.16 to 10.44).
Pretty sure no MLB pitcher has thrown that many pitches in less than 8 innings in the last decade, unless Edwin Jackson did it in his no hitter.
I'm talking the days when kids would play pick up games (50's, 60's I guess), so there would be pitching involved.
Ok, I can't be the only one surprised by all the leading comments being so laudatory. Thanks for noting that so we know to actually RTFA.
(and why you don't see QBs with elbow issues).
Not trying to negate your point, which was spot on. But I think a person who has blown out their arm from over use, would be a good person to listen to on the issue, if they happened to have any self awareness.
That doesn't quite make sense, KT :-)
since the start of the 2010 season, only four MLB pitchers have thrown 134 or more pitches. Three were no-hitters, one was Brandon Morrow's 17-strikeout one-hitter in 2010, and all four spread those pitches over nine innings rather than Rodon's 7 2/3 innings
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