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Jeff Samardzija is Inigo MontoyaWhen Jeff Samardzija was allowed to throw 126 pitches on Monday night, I expressed displeasure at that time, and wrote about the interplay between pitch count and the W/L statistic (short version: don’t let a guy throw a ton of pitches just so he can get a “win”). Pitching injuries cannot be predicted with a ton of accuracy, but we do know that, for many pitchers, the number of pitches they throw each night (especially in stressful situations) can have an impact on their future health. It’s simply not worth pushing a guy over 110/115 pitches in any single outing, however well he might be able to do it that night.

That was that, and I was going to leave the pitch count discussion alone for the time being, because I already knew that there was no way Rick Renteria was going to allow Samardzija to go that high again any time soon.

Well, the situation got folks talking, though, and we’ve now heard from all of Renteria, Samardzija, and the front office (by way of Jed Hoyer). Among their comments to the media, roughly in the order in which they took place:

  • Renteria said that he could “couldn’t tell you I’d do it again,” when asked about the high volume of pitches. (Cubs.com, CSN) He elaborated a little, sounding like it was a matter of doing right by his player: “I couldn’t do this every time he goes out. Again, why would I put him in jeopardy by doing this continually? So it’s easy for me now, down the road, possibly to say, ‘You know what? I won’t do it again because I’ve already done it to him once.’ If I do it twice or three times or four times, before you know it, he’s throwing 130 to 140 pitches every outing. It’s ridiculous.” (Tribune)
  • And in case you were wondering, Renteria said that, if Samardzija hadn’t got that doubleplay ball, he wasn’t going to face the next batter (which would have taken him well over 130 pitches).
  • Hoyer essentially admitted that high pitch counts like that are a concern, “In general, you don’t like to see a guy get up that high,” but deflected a bit by saying that it depends on how stressful the outing was, it depends on the individual pitcher, etc. (Cubs.com) Hoyer did say that the front office would monitor Samardzija’s health/performance/pitch counts, and they met with Renteria to discuss the outing. (CSN) That’s not necessarily as ominous as it sounds, although Samardzija’s subsequent comments make you wonder …
  • Samardzija got very candid when asked about this whole situation, as you would expect – both because he’s the pitcher involved, and because that’s just the kind of guy Samardzija is. You can and should read his comments here, here, here, and/or here, because he pretty much implied that, on this issue, the front office should butt out. “This is an on-field issue for uniform personnel. That’s all there is to it. I’m a grown man. I’m 29. I’m not a prospect or 22. I feel good. I think I’m grown up enough and responsible enough to understand when I can go and when I can’t go. I’m going to go off that. I’ve earned my right in athletics to be able to understand my body and where I’m at.” Samardzija added that it’s not like he wants to go 120 pitches every night, and he doesn’t think the pitch count story should really be a story at all.
  • In some ways, Samardzija is right that it’s his body, and he’s got as much to lose by suffering an injury as anyone. On the other hand, he is a contracted – sorry for the word – employee of the Chicago Cubs, and they have an interest in ensuring that he can continue to perform at his best not just on any given night, but for the next year and a half (or longer or shorter). Sometimes, organizations/coaches/etc. have to protect players from themselves. I have no doubt that Samardzija is an absolute physical beast, and there is no way I – or anyone – can say that throwing 126 pitches on Monday definitely put him at any increased risk for future injury. We just don’t know for sure. But we do know that it’s possible, and it’s avoidable.

 

  • Jon

    “It’s unfortunate that we’re getting to a point in the game where this is becoming news because it shouldn’t,” he said. “It should be the other way around — why did this guy throw 75 pitches and then come out of the game after five innings? What’s that about? I think the light is in the wrong direction.”

    Send that quote to Kevin Towers and the Shark for Archie Bradley trade gets done today.

    • Rebuilding

      Yeah, that’s just the kind of quote that gets Towers up in the morning

      • Jon

        With Bradley on the DL with a flexor strain(Towers language “he’s a wuss) I really think this deal is possible. Don’t tell him his team is 2nd worst in the NL. They just need to cowboy up the 2nd half.

    • Darth Ivy

      I figured that the DBacks’ bad start took them out of contention of being a buy team. I wouldn’t be in buy mode this year if I were that team’s GM

      • Jon

        It’s just a bump in the road, They need more girt. They should def. buy this deadline.

        • JB88

          I know you say this jokingly, but the Cubs are bad this season and I wouldn’t have a huge problem if they traded some of their surplus minor league players for a good OF’er, if certain teams are sellers at the deadline.

          It would probably be better for their draft pick status to do that in the offseason, but I think we are getting to the point where, in addition to natural matriculation to the ML level, we have to start seeing some offloading of surplus parts to start acquiring talent.

          • Darth Ivy

            I’ve been saying for a while that they’ll probably trade some minor league players an MLBer this coming offseason. Pair that with an impact free agent signing or two, and that’s a pretty quick year to year turn around. It would also get a bunch of fans interested again

            • Darth Ivy

              “…*for* an MLBer…”

            • Chad

              Do they really have that much surplus of minor leaguers that could make it worth while in a trade? Who are you going to trade to get a very good OF? It’s going to have to involve some of the elite prospects and are the cubs really at the point to do that? I guess it would depend who you would get and exactly who you give up, I’m never against a trade that improves the team, but the cubs won’t want to set themselves back for one OF. again depends who it is. Could you get Kemp for lesser prospects if you took most of his contract? Is Cargo really an option? Heyward has the same years as Shark so that’s possibly not as prospect costly. I think it will depend how the rest of the season go for the prospects that are close and those in the 11-20 range for trade value.

              • JB88

                I think they are getting to a point where their middle IF depth is starting to become a surplus. They definitely have a surplus at the upper levels of the minors with 3B candidates.

                All of these are clearly developing questions. And another reason to hope on the development of just about every prospect in the system.

                • Darth Ivy

                  Trading infield surplus for pitching is a move that makes sense to me. Pitching is harder to come by than OF

                  • JB88

                    Pitching is overvalued at this point. Outfielders aren’t. I think there is a real opportunity to add a very good player without having to give up as much.

                    Plus, with the likely FA class available this offseason, you can acquire a pitcher or two for money.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      About pitching being overvalued, exactly. That’s why I thought it makes more sense to trade for one. I’d STILL want them to pay for one, as well. But it just seems easier to get OF in free agency than SP

                    • JB88

                      But if the cost (i.e., prospects given up in a trade) of getting you a 4 WAR outfielder is significantly less than the cost of trading for a 4 WAR pitcher and one or more 4 WAR pitchers are available in FA, I think you have to take that into consideration.

                      Right now, we all understand that the roster makeup is far too RH. If you could land a guy like CarGo, for example, only, that would go a LOOOONNNNNGGGG way toward a better lineup. Keep Bonafacio in CF and now your roster starts evening out nicely.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      I don’t have stats with me to back this up, but my own perception is that it’s more costly to buy a free agent pitcher than to trade for one. And it’s certainly more costly to get a free agent SP than free agent OF. So if they’re going to trade up, I’d rather they go for the position that’s harder and more costly in the free agent market.

                • Chad

                  Here’s my problem with that thought. There are really 3 IF prospects worthy of trade value right now. Baez, Alcantara, and Villanueva. I think Bryant can make the move to OF easily and be a big piece out there. Villanueva is an easy trade candidate in my opinion but he doesn’t have that much value. I like Villanueva and think he could be a good 3B/super utility guy, but who knows. Other than that a lot of the other guys are much lower ranked and what are they really going to return in trade. I’m just concerned that the cubs are not deep enough quite yet to make it work at the ML level and in trade, just quite yet.

              • Darth Ivy

                I don’t know. I’m not good enough with trades to answer those questions. But to my novice view point, it seems like this coming offseason would be a good time to trade some of their minor league talent for major league talent. I was thinking more of getting pitching, but getting OF would be nice, too. I’m not going to pretend I have the answers here. Just one casual fan’s opinion. If they call up a couple nice bats, trade for something and sign a couple somethings, 2015 might be pretty fun. It just seems like a recipe for a fast turn around

                • Chad

                  Part of that might depend on what they get in the Shark trade. Could always flip someone back out of that trade, or the draft could make someone expendable.

                  • Darth Ivy

                    I can only imagine the excitement leading up to this year’s trade deadline. This will be (should be) the pinnacle of the turn around.

                    • ncsujuri

                      How many hours of straight blog coverage are we gonna get?!?!

              • Jon

                If you are taking Matt Kemp and most his contract, you shouldn’t have to give up anything, basically.

                • Chad

                  Agreed, that is why I put it as an option.

  • Rebuilding

    Hopefully all of the scrutiny will shame Renteria into never doing that again. Or a call from up top

    • Voice of Reason

      I don’t know how far up top you are talking about, but there is no question that Jed and Theo talk with Renteria every day and the topic of Shark’s pitch count was certainly addressed in one way, shape or form.

      • Rebuilding

        Yes, of course. Although one might ask why a maximum pitch count on your biggest asset wasn’t been discussed before. Or did Renteria just go off script

        • Rebuilding

          Sorry, typing on phone. “One might ask why a maximum pitch count hadn’t been discussed before”

        • itzscott

          >> Or did Renteria just go off script <<

          Script?

          More like improv

      • itzscott

        >> but there is no question that Jed and Theo talk with Renteria every day <<

        I'd hope so, but I wonder.

        We don't see the bunting anymore but I wish they'd talk to him about managing his pitching staff with 13 options and not pulling his pitchers when it's clear they're toast.

        Also, maybe a crash course in making up a lineup could be time well spent.

        • Jon

          Maybe Theo and Jed should take a crash course in constructing MLB roster as well?

          • Darth Ivy

            burn

          • roz

            I’ve heard there are some experts that could teach this course that are here in the comments of this very website.

            • jp3

              Who me?

  • SenorGato

    As a non-supporter of the pussification of everything, I love – love – Samardzija’s attitude. More guys like this should be Cubs.

    • Rebuilding

      Well, if they keep throwing him out there for 120+ pitches a start he’ll have to be tough for the grueling rehab sessions after surgery

      • SenorGato

        Ugh, we get it. He’s done it once in his entire career, including three full ML seasons of starting.

        • Rebuilding

          My bad…when you said you are a “non-supporter of the pussification of everything” it made it sound like you wish they did it more often

    • Jon

      ^This. His quote wants me to go find a bum on the street and beat the shit out of him while I sing Go Cubs Go. It just gets you jacked about winning.

      • ssckelley

        Damn, you get lucky last night? Your posts have a little extra flair today and I love it.

        • Jon

          Today is my Christmas(NFL draft)

          • ssckelley

            I forgot all about that is on tonight……..thanks, now I am jacked!

            • jp3

              I love the draft but this shit where it is strung out 3 days now is for the birds and they are talking about taking out one more day to 4 days of draft. I love the draft but who gives a shit to watch the draft on Sunday for round 6 and 7? I want to know who my team gets in that round but it shouldn’t be delayed out that long.

              • Jon

                They should just start the day after the superbowl and make a pick per day.

              • ssckelley

                I hear ya but people must be watching it or they would not drag it out for 3 days. I do enjoy the coverage, the post draft coverage if fun also.

                • nick5253

                  I really enjoy the 3 days coverage. I can watch Thursday night only and get my weekend back. Reading Monday morning online is more than enough for the later rounds.

          • roz

            Please tell me your a Bears fan.

            • Jon

              Diehard Bears fan. Trestman was talking about “rebuilding” the defense the other day and I thought to myself thank got Theo doesn’t run the Bears. The defense wouldn’t be fixed till 2020 in that case!

              • roz

                Oh thank god. I don’t know if I’d be able to handle your pessimism about the Cubs if you were a Packers fan. As to rebuilding, I think it’d be a lot easier if MLB contracts didn’t have to be fully guaranteed.

              • Jed Jam Band

                Football and baseball rebuilding processes are so entirely different that I cannot even begin to compare them.

                • Jon

                  That is true. Tanking in football actually makes sense sometimes as it’s really the only way to get a franchise quarterback.

      • SenorGato

        I’m a grown man. I’m 29. I’m not a prospect or 22. I feel good. And I’m grown up enough and responsible enough to understand when I can go and when I can’t go. I’m going to go off that.

        “I’ve earned (the) right in athletics to understand my body and where I’m at.”

        I love the last line. He has earned the right. I always get the feeling fans never respect that stuff – though they have their reasons and generally it’s safe to think that way.

        • NLIADad

          Wasn’t this the same logic NFL players used for the last 20-30 years and now those same players are the ones who are suing the NFL for all the concussions & other career ending injuries?

          • half_full_beer_mug

            Yeah those are exactly the same.

          • SenorGato

            Once you eliminate every single ounce of context – yes this is kind of the increasingly outdated mentality of guys who let themselves get hit in the head for a living.

            • NLIADad

              The context I bring up is one where we as humans (men to be more exact), tend to blow off rules/authority that are there trying to protect us. I just went to a funeral yesterday of a co-worker who at 35 ignored the symptoms of a failing liver until it was too late.

    • itzscott

      >> More guys like this should be Cubs. <<

      Yeah great…

      I read that and immediately thought of boxers who become vegetables at an early age, football players who knew their bodies and felt it was okay to head butt and lead with their helmets, hockey players who wouldn't wear helmets until it was mandated and all of those other athletes with huge egos who thought they knew their bodies and believed they were immortal but now are severely arthritic in their 40's, can't remember their own names in their 50's and only live into their 60's because of the miracles of modern medicine.

      • SenorGato

        Cool – you have the right to put as much drama into one game as you want. Still, baseball doesn’t offer that level of physical risk. The destruction of ego is part of the pussification process. I’m getting too philosophical here….One start for a 29 year old isn’t that big a deal.

        OTOH, I am catching onto the sense that he’s going to be traded. Yankees for Gary Sanchez, Banuelos, and friends please!

        • Jed Jam Band

          There’s no such thing as the “pussification process.” I’m gonna combat you with some clear logic. It has been proven that throwing that many pitches EVEN ONCE raises the risk of injury. So, why would you want anyone doing it? Was it necessary? Did Samardzija HAVE to finish that game? Had he not already thrown a pretty good number of pitches? Stop whining about “pussification.” Of course his attitude is gonna be “Well, I can do it! Put me out there, Coach!” But this is pretty common with athletes. Just look at football where guys ask to be put back in with concussions and ligament tears. No, baseball is not football, but it’s still stupid to risk the health of your players for….well, for nothing, really.

          • SenorGato

            Has that been proven? In what context?

            Not whining, just calling it what it is.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Simple statistical correlation shows a non-random association between injury and throwing high pitch count games. Put another way, the idea that there is no association is falsified.

              • SenorGato

                I’m not saying there isn’t an association. I’m saying one game from a healthy arm with no injury history to speak of isn’t something everyone is obligated to react to.

        • itzscott

          >> Still, baseball doesn’t offer that level of physical risk. <<

          True, except for pitchers where it's been shown that pitch count matters.

          The arguement that Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale and other pitchers of that generation weren't on pitch counts and pitched complete games throughout long careers is moot because they didn't throw as hard or put as much strain when tossing sliders or curves.

          Wondering if you'd change your tune if a sweet deal was struck for Samardzjia and he suddenly developed soreness, had to be shut down and the trade put off for another year…. which diminished his value and questioned the health of his arm (see Matt Garza).

          • Edwin

            It’s also somewhat survivorship bias, isn’t it?

          • SenorGato

            Pitch count is a factor in injuries, not THE factor. Pitchers, usually prime aged guys like Samardzija, still have games where they reach the 120s once in a while.

            Obviously it would suck if that happened, but I don’t see both of those things happening.

            • itzscott

              Okay…. forget the concept of “pussification” or being macho and all those other things relating to emotion.

              Known fact that the Cubs are going to trade Samardzjia if they can’t get him to agree to sign at their price….

              If the overwhelming possibility is that you’re going to trade him, why tempt fate…. which history shows ALWAYS comes out snake-eyes for the Cubs??

              Isn’t that like really, really dumb and pretty much indicates Renteria doesn’t see the bigger picture…. which indicates he’s really, really dumb and pretty much jibes with the bunting debacle, how he manages his 13 man pitching staff, putting Barney & Baker in the same lineup, etc???

              • SenorGato

                The odds are against snake eyes always coming up. The context of Samardzija – a large athlete with no past health issues who was considered draftable into two pro sports and is throwing his fastball almost 2/3 of the time this year – gives me alot of confidence that this is just people reacting to stuff because why not react.

                • itzscott

                  >> The odds are against snake eyes always coming up.<<

                  Riiiiight….. The next time that happens will be the 1st time.

                  It's the Cubs we're talking about not red or black on a roulette wheel.

                  • SenorGato

                    #Science

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Also, the goal 50 years ago was 10 pitches per inning. Lineups had a lot more Darwin Barney types who put the first pitch near the strike zone into play and then got praised for not K’ing.

    • ssckelley

      As a supporter of the pussification of everything, I love – love – Samardzija’s attitude as well.

      :D

    • DarthHater

      [img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7337/13951991410_2f6bc81369_n.jpg[/img]

  • Pauly68

    Based on how the front office has handled itself in the past three years, I take anything they say as I would a politician. I’m with Samardzija. Stay off the field and try…. pleeeeaaaase try to build some sort of competitive team.

  • Bails17

    I would much rather see Shark throw a relatively easy 126 pitches in 9 innings then see him labor through 6 innings and 100 pitches. I had no problem with RR decision to send him back out there.

  • JulioZuleta

    I feel like I would normally like a guy with Samardzija’s attitude, but he has been rubbing me the wrong way for a while now. Maybe it’s my deep rooted hatred for Notre Dame.
    He also feels to me like a guy that, if he got injured in the next few weeks, would blame RR for his injuries. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I cant get too excited about a guy coming off a horrendous year talking about what “he’s earned.”

    • SenorGato

      My guess is it’s the ND thing + you imagining him blaming other people for future injuries based on…nothing he’s said or done.

      • JulioZuleta

        I guess I just haven’t gotten the impression that he is a great teammate. Not saying a guy needs to be all “rah rah,” but whenever you hear him talk, it seems to be something with a negative tone.

        And my feeling that he might be the type to blame others, well, I draw it from him talking about how awful the team was last year without acknowledging that he was terrible. He says things like he “just wants to be part of a winning culture,” fresh off a year where he was 80th out of 81 qualifying pitchers for ERA in the second half. I know ERA isn’t a perfect stat by any means, but 80 out of 81, with only Chen Mieng Wong being worse, means he was terrible.

    • baldtaxguy

      I am not sure how you are seeing that. His comments tell me the opposite – I can’t imagine he would blame anyone for an injury he suffered.

  • http://BN Sacko

    So what is really the thinking by the FO; don’t do that so we can trade him? or don’t do that because he is part of our future?

  • N.J. Riv

    Okay guys I know how to turn this ship around by 2016:
    1) Extend Shark
    2) Baez (3B), Alcantara (2B), Bryant (LF) and Edwards should be up.
    3) Sign another starter: Masterson, Billingsley, Anderson, Cueto, Lastos, Fister, Porcello
    4) SIgn Austin Jackson
    5) Trade the rest of the big 4 and others for Stanton (RF).
    Fantasy yes, but not too far out there, good video game line-up though.

    • Jed Jam Band

      The problem with this is that Shark does not seem to want to sign an extension with us. Theo and Jed cannot control the signing habits of players. Still, in an ideal world, this would be great.

    • Pauly68

      I like your thinking except for the 2016 part. If the Cubs are not at least semi-competitive by next season, Theo and Company’s asses should be blistered red from the doors of Chicago on their way out.

      No one should take 5+ years to rebuild. It’s inexcusable and disrespectful to ask fans to support 100 loss teams for that many seasons.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Satchel Paige threw that many just to warm up before going 9 each game and he pitched until age 65– quit babying these guys and lay off the weights

    • Jon

      [img]http://cdn2.everyjoe.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/john-wayne-swim.gif[/img]

    • SenorGato

      I read a long time ago – got to be 10 years by now – that the A’s thought Rich Harden lifted TOO much and ruined his flexibility.

      I think you should lift, but pitchers can’t sacrifice flexibility and athleticism for bulk.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Pitchers who don’t lift weights will get out-performed in the short-term by those that do. Like all selective processes, it’s what happens here and now that counts.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        You are for the most part correct. Shoulder/chest exercises should be more focused on functional strength rather than bulk, but bulk is totally fine when it comes to the lower body.

    • jp3

      They should do Hot Yoga

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        This might be a joke, but yoga is actually great for pitchers!

        • SenorGato

          Pilates too…Curt Schilling was into those.

        • jp3

          I was half joking, The Hot part is a bit much. They need to maintain flexibility not necessarily do it like that

  • Rebuilding

    Since we didn’t get Eaton last year/offseason, this season I’ll keep beating the drum to find a way to get Corey Dickerson. He’s slashing 348/373/587 (960 OPS) and that’s not a fluke as his career minor league slash was 322/380/601 (981 OPS) and he was too young for every league. He’s 24 and can play CF. And he has nowhere to play in Colorado (CarGo, Blackmon, Cuddyer, Stubbs) with more prospects (Kyle Parker) on the way. Colorado is right in this thing and desperately needs pitching. My dream is that Hammel keeps pitching well and we can flip him for Dickerson

    • Jed Jam Band

      I’m actually quite bullish on Dickerson too. That would be interesting and I’m sure it’s an angle the Cubs would consider and the Rockies would too, if they are still in the race at that time.

    • Jon

      I don’t think they would want to block Almora.

      • Edwin

        I don’t think they should worry about blocking a prospect who is that low in the minor leagues.

        • Jon

          haha, need green font :)

      • Rebuilding

        Dickerson is naturally a LF, who is good enough defensively to play CF in Coors. And I’m not counting on Almora yet (and maybe you were being sarcastic)

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        I’m not so sure that maybe at some point Hanneman surpasses Almora.

        • jp3

          Where is all the Hannemann love coming from? He’s striking out at 30% clip at Low A and has an OBP of .328 that was preceded the year before by an OBP under .300? He’s 21 years old and looks like he’s not that great at low a, he’s got 3 HRs in about 200 minor league ABs. I think he’s got potential but I just don’t see him better than almora at any point

        • Drew7

          Age/level matters way more than you seem to think.

      • YourResidentJag

        They might need Almora as the centerpiece of a trade for a younger TOR. You know, given that they’re not into signing ones in the 29 age range variety.

  • ChiTownHero

    Has anyone seen Almora’s splits right/lefty? I know its still early but holy crap

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Ya that’s pretty pronounced, but he was 308/350/468 last year against righties so I’m not really worried.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    We have a really tough stretch of games coming up with the Brewers,

  • Stu

    I think that Shark just telegraphed what is going to happen. His comments about the FO just guaranteed his ticket out of Chicago this season. No way they like it when a player openly criticizes them.

    I don’t blame him. Is it his fault that the Cubs were artificially setup through the sell by Zell to be cheap through 2019?

    I look forward to watching Shark next year on a winning baseball team that believes in winning next year. He has the attitude you want in a player, not the other lame players who just go through the motions and just spout the party line.

    signed, an inconvenient troll

    • Blackhawks1963

      Samardzija has an ego (nothing wrong with that) and wants to bet on himself (nothing wrong with that also) and ultimately wants to get P.A.I.D. big time (can’t argue with that either). He’s the one major trade chip left to Theo and Jed to exploit. He most assuredely is in his last few months with the Chicago National League Ballclub.

      • cubfanincardinalland

        They simply do not have the money to sign him at market value. It is the shining example of the complete and utter disaster that this team has become.
        From a lifelong Cub fan, I am begging you Ricketts family, please sell this team. Take your massive profit, and get the team in the hands of someone with the ability to run it like the big city team it truly is. Please.

        • YourResidentJag

          Well, if you believe the Sun Times, one of their creditors has encouraged them to do just that. If you believe, the reporting of the Sun Times, that is.

        • Wrigley1

          If only things were simple black and white. The thing that many people such as yourself don’t seem to understand is that anyone approved by Major League Baseball to buy this team would be in the EXACT same position the Ricketts family is in now. MLB did not want to approve Mark Cuban, or someone like him, someone who would spend like a Steinbrenner. Not to mention Cuban has publicly stated he would not have bought the team with cash, meaning had he bought the team he would still have had to borrow money from somewhere, which is what the Ricketts had to do.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            Which anyone who bought the team through borrowing the money would be in the same boat the Ricketts are in and wouldn’t be able to spend like Steinbrenner.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Sabergeek obsession with pitch counts has gotten ridiculous. Look at the 20 some pitches who have gone down with Tommy John surgery the last year plus. Nearly every one of them was babied from an innings and pitch count perspective their entire young careers.

    I grew up in an era of 4 man pitching staffs and the top guys in a rotation pitching 240 plus innings. 10 man pitching staffs too. And there were relative LESS injuries of major severity. All these pitchers are getting hurt today because of lousy mechanics in the name of becoming power pitchers and the explosion of throwing splitters and sliders.

    Samardzija’s pitch count is bloody damn fine ! He’s demonstrated that he’s a bull too.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “Nearly every one of them was babied from an innings and pitch count perspective their entire young careers.”

      Embarrassingly incorrect.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Yes, I like how having guys throw harder than ever before and having them throw more breaking stuff than ever before is equal to “babying” them! It’s not “bad mechanics,” it’s the Red Queen: keep up with the competition or lose. And any team that had it’s starters try to pitch like it was 1965 would lose often and big. After all, that’s why they stopped doing it that way.

      • Blackhawks1963

        No. You’re 100% wrong about that. Jarod Parker, Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg, Brandon Beachy, Kris Medlen, Patrick Corbin, Josh Johnson, Dylan Bundy….these hi-ceiling kids were treated like Faberge eggs once drafted.

        The obsession of making guys “power pitchers” and throwing all these assortment of fancy breaking balls, coupled with terrible mechanics (the leg kick is dead) is what has caused all the issues. Your position statement is sabermagic run amuk and I fundamentally disagree with all the Poindexter assessments on pitcher injuries. Some of you people literally go into vapor lock when a starting pitcher hits the 100 count in a game ! And there is little indicative evidence that pitch counts and innings totals are leading to the injuries and ruination of young pitchers.

        Look at Samardzija…and Chris Sale. Both these guys are bulls and can take the punishment. PITCH THEM. CC Sabathia was a refreshing throwback who logged a shit ton of innings and got to 200 victories and won a World Series. Now, as a big man with a lot of innings under his belt, he is clearly on the downside…but that’s what happens people ! Was the right approach to make Sabathia a bubble-boy pitcher in his early career? Hell no.

        I’m an intelligent person. I get sabermetics and analysis, as I own a MBA as well as another master’s degree in statistical theory. This total and complete horseshit about pitch counts and the like has gotten ridiculous. And it has NOTHING to do with traditional fans not having the “intelligence” to grasp analytical concepts.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          You realize Chris Sale is currently on the DL with an elbow injury right? I’d also like to know why you think all of their mechanics are awful but you choose to select Sale as a poster child for throwing more innings, when he has the worst mechanics out of all of them?

          • Jon

            lol, could there be a worse example than Chris Sale!

            Also, I drive a dodge stratus.

            • Blackhawks1963

              Good grief. Chris Sale is going to spend 15 friggin days on the DL and is already scheduled to make his next start. He had a mild injury that was cautiously treated and he shall go right back to the mound and maintain his status as one of the elite pitchers in baseball. And the White Sox aren’t afraid to PITCH him.

              But your answer? He’s a bad example, to include the implication that the Sox are making a HUGE mistake by not hermetically sealing him in plastic wrap after each inning.

              • Jon

                He got hurt after Ventura FOOLISHLY left him in for 125+ pitches. Directly correlated to overuse.

                My goodness, you are dense at times.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          “these hi-ceiling kids were treated like Faberge eggs once drafted.”

          Even if you were right about that, you see the problem, yes? I bolded it for you.

          • Blackhawks1963

            Whatever Brett. I complete and totally disagree with your assessment. Guess what…pitching is unnatural and pitchers get hurt. Look at all the weeping and gnasing of teeth (and ripping to shreds of TheoJed by some) when the excessively managed and protected CJ Edwards came up lame a few weeks ago.

            It’s ridiculous. Yes, young gifted power pitchers need to be treated carefully and patience needs to be in order with their development. But it is the genetic disposition of most of these kids…coupled with extreme focus on becoming power pitchers and horseshit mechanics that is killing them off. And YES, we also have clear empirical evidence that (all things being equal) Latin American bred pitchers don’t go down with nearly as many serious arm injuries versus their North American bred counterparts. Why? Well, this obsession with throwing sliders and splitters and largely ignoring mechanics becomes the blueprint for these kids BEFORE they are drafted in high school and college. Whereas the Latin American bred pitchers, in general, don’t have nearly the 24/7 microscopic obsession about throwing hard and throwing the breaking ball shit.

            Samardzija has CLEARLY demonstrated to me that he is a bull. A throwback in fact to the big inning pitchers of the 70′s and 80′s. Give him the damned ball and let him pitch. ENOUGH with this bubble boy pitching management philosophy. It’s ruining baseball.

            • Jon

              Serious question

              *Jeff Samardjza was a two sport athlete in high school and college. I don’t know of his college pitching workload, but I can tell you that from August-November, he was playing football, not throwing a baseball

              *He join the Cubs and from 2006-2010 never pitched more than 100 innings in a given year. (Yes he was a reliever).

              *When he broke in as a starter in 2012, they had a no questions asked pitched limit for the year. When he hit it, he was done. That was it. Much to Jeff’s objection.

              Have you considered that these “babying techniques” allowed Shark to be the healthy “bull” he is today?

            • mjhurdle

              “we also have clear empirical evidence that (all things being equal) Latin American bred pitchers don’t go down with nearly as many serious arm injuries versus their North American bred counterparts. ”

              I asked you once for a source on this evidence (even provided my own showing that the numbers of injured pitchers roughly matched the ratio of North American vs Latin pitchers) , but I never got anything back.

              Any chance you could actually provide this data?

              • Blackhawks1963

                Look at the NAMES in the last 18 months who have gone under the knife with Tommy John surgery professor. Unless of course you can make compelling argument that this technique is inherently racist and that names like “Dylan Bundy” and “Brandon Beachy” are actually commonplace in the Dominican, Venezuela, etc., and in fact not North American born. Crikey

                • mjhurdle

                  That is your “empirical evidence”?
                  I was hoping for something more like a study of some sort, not some random person looking through names and saying “hmm, sounds American”.

                  Approximately 23% of MLB pitchers are Latin, while 72% are North American. So we would expect a much larger number of North American pitchers to be injured.

                  Does the ratio of injured Latin pitchers vs injured North American dip below the ration of overall Latin vs North American pitchers?
                  That would be much more interesting to know, and that would actually support your argument.
                  If this is such a proven thing, i don’t know why it is so hard for you to produce something like this.

                  http://sabr.org/bioproj/topic/baseball-demographics-1947-2012

                • JulioZuleta

                  Here are Matt Harvey’s pitchcounts from 6 starts over a 2 and a half month stretch (he started more games, but the pitch counts were under 120):
                  March 5-120
                  MArch 19-127
                  March 26- 135
                  April 23- 157
                  May 15- 130
                  May 20- 124

                  Good call though, he was babied.

              • Darth Ivy

                “But in a sport in which 24.2 percent of players on Opening Day rosters grew up in Latin America, only one of the 20 Tommy John patients came from there (Detroit reliever Bruce Rondon, of Venezuela).”

                http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20140415/tommy-john-surgery-high-school-pitchers-jameson-taillon/#ixzz319SEM8xf

                • YourResidentJag

                  So what you’re saying is that the Cubs should go after IFA SPs who are probably going to younger in age anyway that their American FA counterparts.

                  • Darth Ivy

                    uh, sure?

                    I wasn’t saying anything but providing the info that was being seeked. But, maybe that’s not a bad idea.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      or, sought

                • mjhurdle

                  Ivan Nova is from the Dominican Repub. I believe, but I don’t know if he actually has had surgery or not.

                  I agree that over-working pitcher at a younger age might lead to more injuries at the professional level. But I was looking for something longer term. Like a study over a few years that compared North American starters vs Latin starters.
                  It might very well be that Latin pitchers get injured less. But one year or a few names isn’t enough to convince me one way or the other.
                  I would really be interested in seeing a detailed study on this.

                  • Darth Ivy

                    maybe the sample is too small. I just thought 1 of 20 seemed fairly significant compared to the 24% stat. And the article was written before Nova got hurt, so you can make that 2 of 20 (yes, he is getting, or already got, TJ)

            • Edwin

              I think the Mechanics thing is way overblown. However, it does remind me of this article I saw on MLB.com recently:

              http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/tb/old-school-deliveries-becoming-prevalent-once-again?ymd=20140429&content_id=73711858&vkey=news_mlb

            • Rebuilding

              This is by no means “proof” of anything, just an interesting article by Verducci about pitching injuries (and yes, some difference between American and LA players):

              http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20140415/tommy-john-surgery-high-school-pitchers-jameson-taillon/

        • modje03

          I honestly think it is more about what they have done before they were drafted. There is way to much mileage on some of these kids arms before they are even drafted. Their college, high school and travel coaches are abusing some of these arms. A lot more kids today are playing baseball year around and are being overused. Sooner or later that will catch up with a pitcher.

          • Edwin

            I wonder how much damage is done in high school trying to get max velocity at showcase events just to be noticed.

        • JB88

          Let me ask you this question: Do you have any evidence to support this idea that high pitch counts DON’T have a correlation between pitcher health and injury?

          • SenorGato

            Since it’s doubtful anyone actually believes there’s not some correlation between the two, where is the proof that one start for a perfectly healthy 29 year old is the bringer of doom?

        • DarthHater

          So you think increased injuries are due to making pitchers throw harder and throw more breaking stuff, rather than due to pitch counts. It’s a fair point for discussion, but does not require rants about sabergeek obsessions, Poindexter assessments, and horseshit. It’s a good thing you’re such an intelligent person, because I can’t imagine what kind of dreck you’d be spewing if you were a moron.

          • Blackhawks1963

            Call me a throwback, but immensely hate listening to a Cub game and having the anal retentive Len Kaspar give me a minutely update on how many pitches the blankety-blank pitcher on the mound has thrown. Or reading on this site that I’m no longer allowed to like reading the batting averages of players because it’s a false statistic, as if I’m too stupid to understand that BA is but ONE statistic to look at. Guess what, I still LOVE knowing which of my favorite players around the league are hitting .300 plus ! It does’t mean I ignor OPS or the myriad of other offensive benchmarks, its just that batting average has been and shall remain a big deal for me.

            • DarthHater

              You’re a throwback. :-D

              Personally, I like reading batting averages (and W-L records, too, for that matter). I know they are of limited value and, like you, I trust myself to not give them more weight than they should receive. Whether people on this site do or do not go overboard in criticizing those stats is their problem. I don’t mind reading the discussions, because they can sometimes help me understand how much weight I should or should not give to the stats. But even if I hated the discussions, my remedy would be to not read them, rather than interpreting them as trying to tell me what stats I can like and then getting bent out of shape over it.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Blackhawk: your understanding of pitching mechanics is nonsensical. It is not that these guys are throwing the wrong way to hit 95 consistently or to get consistently hard breaking sliders: it’s just that is what you have to do to consistently do these things consistently.

          You seem to hold some delusion that pitchers did these things differently in the old days. They didn’t: they didn’t do these things period.

          That is why 1960′s pitchers in todays game would have to greatly modify their pitching approach (i.e., crank it up and not pace themselves), or get swept by the wayside. I’m sure that you cling to the delusion that Bob Gibson would have come in and shown those kids a thing or two. Well, what would he have done when umps didn’t call anything over the belt a strike? What would he have done when his fastball, which looked good relative to yesterday’s pitcher in 1968, looks slow compared to yesterday’s pitcher in 2014? What would he have done when facing batter after batter that didn’t just slap the first pitch into play?

          Either he would have adopted what you ignorantly call “bad mechanics” and kept up (and thus helped his team), or he would have fallen by the wayside. Ditto this for all of the pitchers of that era. The game has gotten a lot smarter since then, and those styles are as useful as a sabre while charging a machine gun nest.

    • JB88

      It would be fascinating to see the pitch counts of those players in those seasons. It is terrifically hard to know if: (a) the game has advanced to something arms can’t stand; (b) something is different now from then; or (c) something unaccounted for generally.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        It is almost certainly B. Starters used to pace themselves to go 8 or 9 innings. However, something happened starting in the early 1970′s: teams that started using closers started to make post-season a lot. Starting in the 1980′s, teams that were using solid setup men started to make post-season a lot.

        Other things happened: people quit starting guys like Darwin Barney at SS, 2B, CF and C, and started putting in hitters. A big reason why offensive production increased was that teams stopped giving away 3-4 outs per run through the lineup (and frequently 3-4 quick outs, too.) Funnily, those teams were the ones clustering towards post-season, too.

        And that’s the basic pattern right there: teams stopped doing things the way that they had done them in the past because the teams that were winning were not playing those games anymore.

        • JB88

          What you describe is actually closer to what I was thinking in (A), but I generally agree.

    • Medicos

      BLACKHAWKS1963: Agree with you 100% about pitching staffs from 50-years ago and the shoulder-elbow problems of present day hurlers. JIM KAAT and STEVE STONE, two former MLB pitchers, made their views known concerning so many arm injuries. Kaat would like to see pitchers up to the ages of 14-15 throw only from flat, level surfaces. Stone feels curves and sliders should banned from from baseball until players reach high school competition.

  • Stu

    Did Bob Gibson blow out his arm? How about Warren Spahn? Tom Seaver? Anyone?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Had they pitched like modern pitchers to anything looking like modern lineups AND put up the same innings, then they almost certainly would have done so.

      • http://becomehealthier.com drcub1908

        DocPW – not sure how you come to the conclusion that would be the case.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Simple: they would be throwing a much greater number of harder fastballs and harder breaking balls. If you want to be a successful pitcher now, then you cannot pitch in the relatively laid-back style that worked 50 years ago.

      • JB88

        Also, any pitcher comparison with a pitcher in the 60s is a bad one, given the height of the mound. It would be like trying to compare pitchers in the steroid era against pitchers in just about any other era.

    • Jon

      Sandy Koufax retired at 31 because TJS hadn’t been invented yet.

  • http://becomehealthier.com drcub1908

    “It is not what people know or don’t know that is the problem, it is what people know that aint so, that is the problem.”

  • half_full_beer_mug

    So the FO comes out and openly criticizes a manager’s decision. Player comes out and publicly backs up the manager and states that decisions like this should be made by people in the dugout. Now fan’s are supporting the FO and not the player and manager. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this and probably won’t be the last. Anyone else think this might not be the best tact to recruit high level free agents?

    • http://becomehealthier.com drcub1908

      The FO is not going to allow even perceived mismanagement of the largest Cubs trade chip.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      I just saw hoyers comments this morning. Shame on you Jed. Absurdly unprofessional.

      • baldtaxguy

        What was considered unprofessional? Other quotes from Hoyer beyond Brett’s links?

      • mjhurdle

        What exactly did he say that bothered you?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m trying to find the part where they openly criticized Renteria’s decision. I think you have to read a lot that isn’t there to get quite that far. It looks to me like Hoyer was very careful not to do that.

      As for fans … I don’t think they’re supporting the FO at the exclusion of anyone. They are supporting the idea that it’s probably not worth Samardzija throwing 126 pitches in a random early May game. That’s supporting Samardzija, too, even if not agreeing with him 100%.

      • JB88

        I’d add that I think most fans would openly criticize any manager for leaving his pitcher in to bat in a tie game in the bottom of the eighth, no matter what.

        • Orval Overall

          I wouldn’t. Have you seen our bullpen lately? Shark is by a wide margin our best pitcher, and gave us the best chance of winning that ballgame. I wouldn’t do it all the time, but he can go that deep every once in a while without elevating risk unacceptably.

      • Orval Overall

        Do you see a big difference between openly criticizing RR and leaving him twisting in the wind?

        The way to handle this would have been for Hoyer to say publicly: “That’s a manager’s call, he was trying to get the TEAM a win. Jeff was still going strong, felt good, and in those situations it’s for the manager to decide who gives us the best chance of winning.”

        Then privately tell him – “That’s a lot of pitches, we’d rather not see him go that deep again.”

        Do that and there’s no controversy.

      • Wrigley1

        A player is never going to say “I threw too many pitches”, especially one who is trying to get out of town like Shark is. He’s not going to admit to being soft and fragile and he’s not going to question a manager’s decision to leave him in either. Plus he does have a huge ego so he thinks he’s fine to throw 126 pitches

      • half_full_beer_mug

        OK, I agree, he was very careful to use enough lawyer speak to give himself an out is anyone said he criticized the person he helped hire in public. However, to this uneducated person it sure read that way.

        • mjhurdle

          SO what you are saying is that he didn’t technically say it, but people that were biased towards feeling that way would read into what he said?

          • half_full_beer_mug

            Evidently Jeff thought what he said was out of bounds. So evidently someone other than my self took it that way.

            The whole ‘hopefully Jeff understands he doesn’t have to get a win’ to me never needed to be said in public. If it’s important to the player that’s enough for me. I’d much rather have a pitcher that wants to pick up a win every game than one that doesn’t.

    • JB88

      It is unlikely that any FA is ever going to consider this back-and-forth in deciding whether he is coming to Chicago or not.

      The thing that will likely matter is $$$ and the Cubs should have some to put out there this offseason.

    • Orval Overall

      Agreed, it’s absurd. Hoystein need to keep stuff like that in house. Make it public, no surprise that Shark backs up his manager.

      Fans that have a problem with that because “Oh my god, he told the FRONT OFFICE to shove it??” need to re-think their loyalties.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        So, when the media was pressing Hoyer on whether he thought it was good or bad to have Samardzija throw 126 pitches in that game, he should have said …

        He defended the manager. He explained why it was probably not a big deal in that situation. He complimented Samardzija. He said, generally, you don’t want to push pitch counts that high.

        Where’s the beef?

        • Orval Overall

          See above. The comments should be: “That’s the manager’s call, we have no problem with it.” Period. Everything else said after that created the (perfectly reasonable) impression that what he was really saying was “I can’t believe RR did that, but we’ve educated him on it now and it won’t happen again.:”

        • half_full_beer_mug

          Not sure where he defended the manager in his comments.

          One things for sure there was enough double speak in the quotes contained the the article linked in yesterdays blog post.

          To me I just think since it was a one time thing, Jeff was pitching great…had more hits than most of his teammates…and wanted the chance to finish the game off I’ve got very little problem with it.

          It’s not like RR has made a habit of doing this to Jeff or any other pitcher. The only valid criticism I’ve heard is over use of certain bullpen arms, but with the lack of success from many of the pitchers I can understand riding the “hot” arm.

        • cubfanincardinalland

          Per the sun times, on Tuesday comments, hoyer when asked about shark throwing 126 pitches. “I don’t love it”. “After the second walk, it raised some eyebrows”.

          Obviously been on damage control since.
          Nice deflection though from the real issue, which is constructing an offense who in the last 5 games, over 48 innings, has 23 hits. Three of the games against the #26 team in team pitching, with their ace on the DL.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Pretty sure the front office wouldn’t want to try and deflect from the bad offense by creating a dustup involving the team’s manager and its top pitcher/trade piece, especially not one involving a theoretical future risk of injury.

            • Kyle

              I guarantee the next trade conversation involving Samardzija is going to have the other team saying “well, I dunno, look at how many pitches you guys have him throwing…”

              • Orval Overall

                Oh, really? 89, 113, 98, 113, 113, 109, 126.

                Mean: 108 per start.

                Median (and Mode): 113 per start

                Teams are going to think his arm is about to fall off because of that?

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      You guys will make a mountain out of a mole hill. It was a one time thing as RR said. I’m sure he heard about it right after the game. We will have to wait untill after Shark is traded to possibly get some dirt on the FO from Samardzija. Seeing that Shark and Garza are buddies and talk on a regular basis I would have to think that he has taken that “pitch your way out of Chicago” to heart. It’s understandble that Sharl is going to have RR’s back in a situation like that. Hoyer should have kept his mouth shut and dealt with it internally. He could have just told reporters it was a one time situation and left it at that. Now this will be in the news cycle for the next week.

  • Kyle

    That’s the most confrontational thing Samardzija has said about the front office yet. He’s so gone.

    • http://becomehealthier.com drcub1908

      I hope he has a passport for Toronto

      • YourResidentJag

        Or better yet, Washington or Baltimore.

    • DarthHater

      I have a meeting with my boss in 25 minutes. I think I’ll tell him that the issue is between me and my immediate supervisor and he should butt out. I’m confident that approach will work out great…

    • Orval Overall

      If Theo or Jed gets their nose out of joint because of those comments, then they shouldn’t have their jobs.

      • YourResidentJag

        They should ignore it publicly while talking to Jeff privately about matter knowing that he’s all but gone.

    • baldtaxguy

      And I’m believing that the feeling is mutual. Samardzija does come across as a fan of little smart FO boys who never played professional baseball.

    • CubsFaninMS

      I agree. IMO, the writing was on the wall when he mentioned “protecting future big leaguers” by not succumbing to one of those “bad” contracts. His wording may’ve been a bit passive but it is now difficult to dispute, based on his comments, that there is a serious separation between what he wants and what the front office wants.

    • JB88

      That reads as a lot of unexpressed frustration with the FO over the contract negotiation. He’s probably gone, but I doubt this comment has anything to do with it.

      If I’m his agent, though, I’m telling him to “shut the hell up” this morning.

  • Rebuilding

    Seriously, I can’t believe we are having this discussion in 2014. When EVERY team in baseball now looks at pitch counts there are still some of you who don’t believe in them? It’s one of the things even the “old-schoolers” have come around on. Here is the original article published in 2001 that found the correlation between high pitch counts, injuries and future ineffectiveness:

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1477

    • Rebuilding

      I really wish some of you “experts” would actually read this. It is beyond debate that after a high pitch count game pitchers are FAR less effective the 3 starts following. It is beyond debate that the risk of future injury goes up in a linear fashion every pitch over 100 a pitcher throws.

  • Rebuilding

    “The research presented here has shown, in essence, that not all pitches are created equal. It is the high pitch count outings that represent the greatest risk for both short-term ineffectiveness, and long-term potential for injury. The PAP^3 system represents the most comprehensive attempt to date to quantify the impact of starting pitcher usage over both time horizons, allowing us to estimate, based on empirical evidence, the tradeoffs of having a star pitcher throw deep into a game.”

  • Rebuilding

    “Long pitch count outings noticeably decrease expected short-term performance, and high stress workloads over time increase the chances for serious injury. Any strategic analysis of pitcher usage will have to consider the tradeoff between winning the current game and the long-term cost.”

    • SenorGato

      We’re at the outing part of this whole thing.

      • Rebuilding

        And why take the chance even once? For a meaningless game in May, with a player you are going to trade anyway?

        • Rebuilding

          And you guys missed the part where it says that Samardzija is FAR more likely to be less effective in his next 3 starts at least

    • half_full_beer_mug

      So you’ve linked two graphs and an article that you’ve also quoted in later posts. So all of this information is an average of all pitchers that have thrown over 100 pitches per game. There is nothing there that says what the pitcher did the prior start to throwing 100+ or what they did in the start after.

      I for one had no problem with what happened with Shark the other night. However, if that had been happening on a regular basis with him or any other starter on the team I would have a problem with it.

      You and the rest can keep calling all of the research proof (not Doc he’s got it right) but it’s not. There is no way it can be PROVEN that pitch counts cause injury.

      • Rebuilding

        You seem to miss the nuance of probabilities

      • DocPeterWimsey

        So, is it “unproven” that smoking causes lung cancer? Moreover, this is the part of “correlation does not equal causation” that gets abused. Occam’s Razor says, do not multiply explanations without need. A correlation exists between pitch counts and injury. We know empirically (from basic biophysics) that pitching involves very unnatural movements that put greater stress on (and induce strain in) muscles, ligaments and tendons. A “good pitching motion” is like a “good cigarette puff”: i.e., it’s the one not made or taken.

        What you are left with is trying to find something that causes both high pitch counts and injury as side effects. For example, the spread of electricity caused the spread of televisions and washing machines; therefore, there was a correlation between houses having washing machines and declining academic achievement in the 1950. In other words, you need an analog of electricity that causes high pitch counts AND either injuries or something that causes injuries.

        I’ll stick with the simplest explanation!

        • Rebuilding

          Well said

    • JB88

      So this is what it feels like to yell into the wind … ;)

  • Stu

    Maybe Shark is tired of the condescending attitude from the FO and wants them to STFU for a change.

  • Blackhawks1963

    In address of the person who calls bullcrap on the argument that North America bred pitchers are incurring more injuries than their Latin American counterparts…

    Off the top of my head, here is list of the pitchers who have gone under the knife with Tommy John (I’m sure I’m missing a few). The clear cut point is that the vast majority of these following names are NOT Latin-American born players. And this supports the theory that the development of young pitchers in North America is far more rigorous and obsessive on “power pitching” and throwing the breaking ball then is the case in the Latin American countries.

    1. Matt Harvey
    2. Dylan Bundy
    3. Jarrod Parker (2nd surgery)
    4. Patrick Corbin
    5. Josh Johnson
    6. Ivan Nova (guess what, a Latin American name !!)
    7. Brandon Beachy (2nd surgery)
    8. Kris Medlen (2nd surgery)
    9. AJ Griffin
    10. Matt Moore
    11. Bobby Parnell
    12. Jamisen Taillon
    13. Corey Luebke
    14. Brandon Morrow

    Nuff said

    • JB88

      For a guy who claims to have a masters degree in statistics, you do understand that this is just anecdotal evidence, right?

    • KSUCub

      Shockingly you left off:

      1. Johan Santana
      2. Rafael Betancourt
      3. Jaime Garcia
      4. Manny Banuelos
      5. Neftali Feliz
      6. Tsyuoshi Wada (not Latin American, but not North American and relevant to this website)
      7. Michael Pineda
      8. Joakim Soria
      9. Rubby De La Rosa

      Also, a guy you’d call a “horse” like Samardzija who threw a ton of pitches and also had Tommy John:

      1) Mark Prior

      He certainly wasn’t ‘pussified’ but I think that 113 pitches he threw per game in 2003 probably contributed to his short career.

      • Darth Ivy

        Reading the Tom Verducci article, he talks about how the high school culture has been changing recently, putting more and more pressure on guys to throw harder and more often (yes, there has been some of that forever, but the point is that it’s becoming worse lately, probably due to the surge of money in the game)

        So it’s not just about whether guys from other countries get hurt, it’s about the increase in Americans getting hurt. That’s really the issue. Young Americans are becoming riskier and a faster rate than international guys. And we have to look at youn pitchers because they’re the ones who were in high school during the change of culture that Verducci talks about. That’s not the case with older guys

        • Rebuilding

          I think the Showcase events are terrible for young pitchers – and they have them in Latin America too. The example of Taillon and how many pitches he threw during the summer during high school is sad

          • Rebuilding

            Although according to some here it’s time for these 17 year olds to “man up” and get gritty like Samardzija.

          • Darth Ivy

            It seems that’s all they really have in Latin America, are showcases. And my impression from Verducci’s article (you can tell that one article has shaped my thinking on this) is that there’s simply more throwing in the states and they’re pressured to throw harder. Maybe it’s because there’s more competition, and the American kids are actually competing in their own leagues that they want to win.

            • Rebuilding

              I really think the money that has come flooding in for the Latin American players has made them a lot like their American counterparts. They are pressured to throw more and harder and younger and younger ages

              • Darth Ivy

                I don’t think they are throwing as much as american kids, according to Verducci, at least. American kids have more tourneys, more competition. That would explain the less percentage of latin players who got TJ lately than Americans

              • Rebuilding

                This is purely anecdotal before anyone jumps my case, but one difference I see in Asian pitchers is that they very rarely pump their fastball. They instead use a variety of grips to get all kinds of movement, but rarely dial it up. It’s possible that’s why they throw 150 pitches + in Japan and seemingly don’t have more injuries than in the States.

                I’ve watched all of Tanaka’s starts and he sits around 92 with crazy movement. But he is definitely not straining to throw that hard – he changes grips and cuts the ball in and out. In crucial situations though he will up the fastball into the 95-96 range

                • Darth Ivy

                  that’s an interesting point.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Otani’s not that way. However, if he progresses well enough, I’d like the Cubs to acquire him. He just started regularly pitching and is currently in his early 20s.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Lots of questions with Otani…most prominent is his control. He’s gotten rocked in a few international tournaments as well. But you are correct, he doesn’t fit in the Tanaka mold as he seems to try and throw as hard as he can on every pitch

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  Not jumping you case, just looking at the list I have. 3 Japanese pitchers have had TJ since the start of 2010 (Daisuke, Tazawa, and Fuji), which is obviously a larger % than the total population.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Oh yeah. No doubt, but that is also after years of abuse in Japan where Dice-K for instance was throwing 150 pitches a game regularly (and in a couple of cases 200). Darvish has also started to see creeping arm troubles

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Agreed, just thought I’d share the numbers since I had the spreadsheet in front of me

                  • Rebuilding

                    I guess my point is how do those guys even survive long enough to get to MLB with those kinds of workloads starting when they are 16

    • mjhurdle

      6. Ivan Nova (guess what, a Latin American name !!)

      He grew up in the Dominican Republic. Wouldn’t that be an example of a Latin pitcher getting injured?

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Since the start of the 2010, 99 Major League pitchers have had Tommy John surgery. 24 of those 99 were born in Latin America (or Cuba).

      That number is pretty much exactly the same as the percent of the total population of Major Leaguers that are Latin American.

      • Darth Ivy

        read my post right above

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          That very well could be, but that is not BH’s point

          • Darth Ivy

            Maybe I’m caught between two different discussions

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              “And YES, we also have clear empirical evidence that (all things being equal) Latin American bred pitchers don’t go down with nearly as many serious arm injuries versus their North American bred counterparts”

              This is the point that BH has been claiming for months, but has yet to provide any evidence of it. That article has some great points, and it is a big problem. Like Rebuilding, I absolutely hate the showcase circuit, it is the worst possible thing for those kids’ arms.

              • Darth Ivy

                doesn’t that article provide the fact that in today’s game Americans are getting hurt at a higher rate than Latin players, according to the overall percent of MLB demographics? Sure, it may not have always been like that, but the point is right now, that is the reality

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  The article was strictly looking at 2014 while the numbers I have were from 2010 to the present. I don’t have any idea where he got 20 from though. I’m looking right now, and I have Matt Moore as the 13th MLB pitcher to have Tommy John this year, not the 20th.

                  • Darth Ivy

                    I’d rather only look at the game right now if we’re to judge today’s game. I don’t want to look back to 2010 to judge where the game is now

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      17 MLB players have had TJ so far this year. 3 are Latin American born. I used 2010-present because just this year is WAY too small of a sample size to be significant.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      I don’t consider 21 pitchers to be that small of a sample size to look at TJ. And 2010 is too long ago to look at today’s game

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      The number isn’t 21, it is 17, and 3 of those 17 have had TJS

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      3 latin americans that is

                    • Darth Ivy

                      if we want to judge today’s game, where it is right now, let’s look at right now and not how it was. But if you want to judge how it’s changed over the last 5 years, then you have to break down the change and not just throw out the number as a whole.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      I’m going off the source I’m citing, which is 20. Then add Nova, it’s 21.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      And I’m telling you Verducci is wrong

                    • Darth Ivy

                      oh, ok

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Not sure if he’s including minor leaguers or what. I’ve got Corey Luebke, Kris Medlen, Luke Hochevar, Brandon Beachy, Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin, Bruce Rondon, David Hernandez, Peter Moylan, Erik Davis, Bobby Parnell, Cory Gearrin, Matt Moore, Josh Johnson, Ivan Nova, Pedro Figueroa, and AJ Griffin.

                  • Darth Ivy

                    From the article, you can add Nova since he got hurt after this article came out, I think.

                    “Matt Moore of the Rays is the 20th pitcher this year to undergo Tommy John surgery. But in a sport in which 24.2 percent of players on Opening Day rosters grew up in Latin America, only one of the 20 Tommy John patients came from there (Detroit reliever Bruce Rondon, of Venezuela).”

                    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20140415/tommy-john-surgery-high-school-pitchers-jameson-taillon/#ixzz319gc03bJ

      • Rebuilding

        It is exactly the same. Imagine that…

      • Jon

        24% chance a player is latin!

  • Jon

    Blachhawks might have a MBA and a masters in statistics, but he obviously flunked Geography 101. The Dominican Republican and Mexico are considered part of North America. So there goes that theorem.

    • Funn Dave

      They’re also both part of Central America, which makes them part of Latin America. Which makes Blackhawks’ “point” no less ridiculous.

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