Why Are So Many Arms Breaking Down?
This is what a typical Little League scoreboard looks like these days (I snapped this photo from the field down the street from my house):
With the news of yet another major leaguer needing TJ surgery (Jose Fernandez of the Marlins) I started wondering (again) about the reasons for this bizarre rash of arm injuries that we have seen this season. Even if you believe it’s caused by something (ie, overworked arms, underworked arms, etc….) it still wouldn’t make any statistical sense that a cavalcade of pitchers would go under the knife all of a sudden in 2014.
I do think it’s funny that “pitch count” gets so much attention. Limiting the number of pitches thrown by a player in a game is probably a good idea. But when you play year round baseball, limiting your pitches doesn’t really do much. Up until 10-15 years ago, kids played baseball about three months out of the year. Now, in any good weathered state they play year round. The dullest mathematician can figure out that no matter how limiting your pitch count you are still going to end up throwing way more pitches in a season than anyone did up until recently. The wear and tear of each pitch on an elbow and a shoulder probably can’t take that yearly abuse.
But unless this happens again next year I’m inclined to believe that this season of arm injuries is just a statistical anomaly…..