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View Full Version : Sports Illustrated: Homer Bailey at risk for burning out his arm?



Ghosts of 1990
02-16-2010, 02:03 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/tom_verducci/02/16/verducci.effect/

Good read here. Reds need to be careful with Homer. He has been worked hard.

Caveman Techie
02-16-2010, 03:17 PM
Interesting read, thanks for posting it.

improbus
02-16-2010, 03:19 PM
Dusty throwing out young pitchers arms? It can't be...

TStuck
02-16-2010, 04:21 PM
I read this and honestly couldn't get all that excited about it.
Homer throws a majority of fastball/changeup and has good mechanics - free and easy motion. Just don't see where he's putting a lot of extra undue stress on things. So he pitched 55 more innings than the year before..... so, what would the author have considered acceptable?? only 20 more? 30 more? than the year before?? If the object is to build innings from the previous year, why is 55 considered too many for a pitcher like Homer? Overall, # innings doesn't even seem like the best benchmark - wouldn't total pitches thrown be the more meaningful indicator??
I would expect that Homer's innings total would be fairly comparable this year with at most only a slight increase of innings from last year. My greater hope is that he becomes more pitch efficient this year and can cut his total pitches/inning down to allow more innings pitched with the same or fewer total pitches thrown.

Kingspoint
02-16-2010, 05:49 PM
So he pitched 55 more innings than the year before..... so, what would the author have considered acceptable?? only 20 more? 30 more? than the year before?? If the object is to build innings from the previous year, why is 55 considered too many for a pitcher like Homer? Overall, # innings doesn't even seem like the best benchmark - wouldn't total pitches thrown be the more meaningful indicator??


Yes. Total pitches would be the correct way to measure things, but innings are what's used.

30 Innings is the "acceptable" amount. Anything more than that as an increase and it is considered risky for a young pitcher.

55 Innings is too many and the REDS did screw up in having him pitch that many more than the year before.

He was pitching so well that they ignored common sense, which is how you injure pitchers and shorten the effectiveness of their careers.

To go from 147 to 202 is WAY too huge of a jump. They didn't learn from Daryll Thompson, whom they had just screwed up the year before.

177 innings would have been the correct amount and then they should have shut him down.

He could pitch 207 this season then.

Then there's the Baker-factor. Now that Homer will be playing on an over-worked arm in 2010, Baker could ruin him by having him go 8+ innings too often.

The effects of the innings pitched last season show up in the career statistics, not next season or the year after.

Kingspoint
02-16-2010, 05:51 PM
The best thing that could happen to Homer is for him to start the season on the DL, so that he can't be overused this season. 200 Innings should be the max for him, but Dusty will try to squeeze every inning he can out of him, probably getting somewhere in the 220-230 range.

And, he only pitched 120 innings in 2007. That 205 last year was an explosion and an abuse of his arm.

Vottomatic
02-16-2010, 06:54 PM
Have the Reds Management seen this report? I hope so.

redsfanmia
02-16-2010, 06:57 PM
Dusty throwing out young pitchers arms? It can't be...

Totally unfair and untrue.

Griffey012
02-16-2010, 07:29 PM
Yes. Total pitches would be the correct way to measure things, but innings are what's used.

30 Innings is the "acceptable" amount. Anything more than that as an increase and it is considered risky for a young pitcher.

55 Innings is too many and the REDS did screw up in having him pitch that many more than the year before.

He was pitching so well that they ignored common sense, which is how you injure pitchers and shorten the effectiveness of their careers.

To go from 147 to 202 is WAY too huge of a jump. They didn't learn from Daryll Thompson, whom they had just screwed up the year before.

177 innings would have been the correct amount and then they should have shut him down.

He could pitch 207 this season then.

Then there's the Baker-factor. Now that Homer will be playing on an over-worked arm in 2010, Baker could ruin him by having him go 8+ innings too often.

The effects of the innings pitched last season show up in the career statistics, not next season or the year after.

Thompson has always had a fragile arm to begin with, I believe he was hurt early on in his days with the Nats. As far as Bailey I think the reds had to let him continue to dominate late in the season to build his confidence. If we shut him down after 2 or 3 good late starts it would not have build his confidence the way his last 6 or 7 great starts did.

Another thing with Bailey is pitch counts as you mentioned. His pitch count probably did not increase as nearly the same proportion his innings did, mainly because last year he seemed to turn the corner and go after hitters instead of run a full count with everyone. And thus lasted much longer into games.

markymark69
02-16-2010, 07:34 PM
This just in. Any pitcher can develop arm problems!!!!!!!!!!! This is just another piece to get all the Dusty haters worked up.

mroby85
02-16-2010, 07:52 PM
This just in. Any pitcher can develop arm problems!!!!!!!!!!! This is just another piece to get all the Dusty haters worked up.

Agreed, I'd challenge them to find a team that doesn't have pitchers with injuries. The # of innings you pitch often does depend on how well you're pitching. I don't hear people complaining during the season when he's throwing a shutout in the 6th to run him back out there in the 7th, or 8th. The game dictates how many innings you pitch, not a number on the back of a baseball card.

TStuck
02-16-2010, 10:34 PM
Totally agree with you marky and roby.

Kingspoint
02-17-2010, 04:53 AM
People, it's common knowledge, and has been for over 20 years that you risk a developing pitchers career any time you go over 30 innings from his previous season (unless it was something less than 60 innings, as you can always go to 90 innings on someone even if they hadn't pitched the year before).

This isn't some seat-of-the-pants article the guy wrote. He wrote it because there's 100's and 100's of examples of proof where pitchers have been ruined when the "30-rule" has been ignored.

Griffey012 covers the reasons why the REDS did it. I know Jockety knows the 30-rule, also. I believe that Baker doesn't believe in it, but he also believes players with OBP's of .300 should bat leadoff, so Baker's ideas aren't worth a hill of beans.

From Griffey012: "As far as Bailey, I think the Reds had to let him continue to dominate late in the season to build his confidence. If we shut him down after 2 or 3 good late starts it would not have build his confidence the way his last 6 or 7 great starts did."

Jocketty obviously weighed the cost of letting Bailey pitch beyond the "30-rule" versus the value of letting Bailey cross over to that next level that he'd been trying to reach for the last 3 seasons, that of "knowing he can get Major League batters out on a consistant basis without walking a ton of hitters".

That's not the decision I would have made. I've seen G.M.'s make that decision that he made a number of times and it usually has come back to bite them. But, that's what he gets paid the big bucks to do.

Jockety already knew that he'd have no Volquez for 2010. He witnessed an aging and declining Harang pitch like one of the worst Pitchers in the Majors for the last two seasons, with no indication that 2010 would be any different. He saw Thomspon, a pitcher who should have been a starter in 2010, go down with an injury because he pitched his "recuperating" arm too many innings. He saw Arroyo turn it around in the 2nd Half, but knows that he is clueless as far as what to expect from Bronson in 2010. He traded away a potential 2010 starter in Zach Stewart.

So, he took the chance that opened up when Homer began to pitch well, that if he allowed him to go a few more starts, he might just have himself a top-of-the-rotation pitcher for 2010.

I can't say that it was a bad gamble. It was a gamble worth taking. I just wouldn't have made it. Hopefully, it pays off and there's no downside in "2011 and beyond". Because of the gamble Jockety took, the REDS do have a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in Bailey in 2010.

I think that Bailey's going to be our best pitcher in 2010 and that's because Jockety had him go the extra innings/starts.

Carolina Red
02-17-2010, 04:54 AM
The amount of innings isn't as important as the amount of pitches. Every inning has a different amount of pitches thrown. Homer could have thrown 55 more innings and not have thrown that many more pitches than in the year before. He did have a marked improvement in the last half of this past season and was able to go deeper into games.

Kingspoint
02-17-2010, 04:58 AM
The amount of innings isn't as important as the amount of pitches. Every inning has a different amount of pitches thrown. Homer could have thrown 55 more innings and not have thrown that many more pitches than in the year before. He did have a marked improvement in the last half of this past season and was able to go deeper into games.

True, but there's no "pitch-rule" when it comes to how many pitches a season a developing pitcher throws. There is though a "30-rule" and it refers to innings pitched. It's just what's used. Less accurate? Yes. But, it's what's used.

double21d
02-17-2010, 07:09 AM
I understand where the article is coming from and certainly we don't want Bailey's arm to suffer. However, if last year he was only supposed to pitch 30 innings over his previous total, that would be 150...meaning 180 for this year. Would we be satisfied with out number 3 or 4 pitcher pitching 5 1/2 innings per start? Would that be good for the bullpen.

Also, now that he has pitched 200+ innings last year, does that mean his limit this year is 230 innings?

At this pace, Mike Leake will never make an impact on the major league level.

Are the Texas Rangers worrying about this?

Red Rover
02-17-2010, 10:52 AM
I personally am not worried about Homer Bailey. He lowered his WHIP & BB/9 in 2009, and also lowered the number of pitches thrown per inning. So the impact of the 55IP increase is not as dramatic as is seems.

IIRC, Homer is out of options and has to remain on the 2010 roster all year. If you would have shut him down last year, before finding out exactually what he could do in the Majors, he more than likely is not on the 2010 Reds.

Griffey012
02-17-2010, 10:55 AM
People, it's common knowledge, and has been for over 20 years that you risk a developing pitchers career any time you go over 30 innings from his previous season (unless it was something less than 60 innings, as you can always go to 90 innings on someone even if they hadn't pitched the year before).

This isn't some seat-of-the-pants article the guy wrote. He wrote it because there's 100's and 100's of examples of proof where pitchers have been ruined when the "30-rule" has been ignored.

Griffey012 covers the reasons why the REDS did it. I know Jockety knows the 30-rule, also. I believe that Baker doesn't believe in it, but he also believes players with OBP's of .300 should bat leadoff, so Baker's ideas aren't worth a hill of beans.

From Griffey012: "As far as Bailey, I think the Reds had to let him continue to dominate late in the season to build his confidence. If we shut him down after 2 or 3 good late starts it would not have build his confidence the way his last 6 or 7 great starts did."

Jocketty obviously weighed the cost of letting Bailey pitch beyond the "30-rule" versus the value of letting Bailey cross over to that next level that he'd been trying to reach for the last 3 seasons, that of "knowing he can get Major League batters out on a consistant basis without walking a ton of hitters".

That's not the decision I would have made. I've seen G.M.'s make that decision that he made a number of times and it usually has come back to bite them. But, that's what he gets paid the big bucks to do.

Jockety already knew that he'd have no Volquez for 2010. He witnessed an aging and declining Harang pitch like one of the worst Pitchers in the Majors for the last two seasons, with no indication that 2010 would be any different. He saw Thomspon, a pitcher who should have been a starter in 2010, go down with an injury because he pitched his "recuperating" arm too many innings. He saw Arroyo turn it around in the 2nd Half, but knows that he is clueless as far as what to expect from Bronson in 2010. He traded away a potential 2010 starter in Zach Stewart.

So, he took the chance that opened up when Homer began to pitch well, that if he allowed him to go a few more starts, he might just have himself a top-of-the-rotation pitcher for 2010.

I can't say that it was a bad gamble. It was a gamble worth taking. I just wouldn't have made it. Hopefully, it pays off and there's no downside in "2011 and beyond". Because of the gamble Jockety took, the REDS do have a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in Bailey in 2010.

I think that Bailey's going to be our best pitcher in 2010 and that's because Jockety had him go the extra innings/starts.

As far as pitch counts are concerned, you may be a little more worried. As am I. I was reading this thread in tORG and they mentioned Bailey had counts over over 110 almost every single one of his late season good starts. THAT however is horrible planning by Baker and Jocketty. I understand the philosophy of continuing to send him out there, but he does not need to start the 7th or 8th inning already at 100 pitches when we are out of playoff contention.

Ghosts of 1990
02-17-2010, 12:27 PM
I personally am not worried about Homer Bailey. He lowered his WHIP & BB/9 in 2009, and also lowered the number of pitches thrown per inning. So the impact of the 55IP increase is not as dramatic as is seems.

IIRC, Homer is out of options and has to remain on the 2010 roster all year. If you would have shut him down last year, before finding out exactually what he could do in the Majors, he more than likely is not on the 2010 Reds.

Best post in the thread. So what if the extra innings take a year off the end of Homer's career? That's what I say. Those innings that he logged down the stretch last year, coming into his own as a big league pitcher; well those might be as important as any he goes on to log.


Hopefully he's monitored closely and they take good care of him. But if not, I feel like if arm troubles are going to happen then they're going to happen no matter what.

Red Rover
02-17-2010, 02:09 PM
Best post in the thread. So what if the extra innings take a year off the end of Homer's career? That's what I say. Those innings that he logged down the stretch last year, coming into his own as a big league pitcher; well those might be as important as any he goes on to log.


Hopefully he's monitored closely and they take good care of him. But if not, I feel like if arm troubles are going to happen then they're going to happen no matter what.

The whole just of the original article was stressing how the extra inning on younger pritchers could lead to arm injury. By no means, should anyone want to ruin a player's career by overuse. I'm just stating that the extra 25 innings, over the normal 30 innings, are excessive, but on average Homer threw about 1 less pitch per inning in 2009 than he did in 2008.

In 2008 Homer threw 148 innings at about 18.75 pitches per inning. If we added 30 innings to that in 2009 it would have been about 3,338 total pitches.

In 2009 Homer threw 203 innings at about 17.75 pitches per inning. Which gave him about 3,603 total pitches.

So in theory, Homer only threw 265 excessive pitches or 15 innings over the normal 30 inning increase instead of 25 over. Plus, the fact that Homer throws mostly fastballs, which have less stress on the arm.

Lets not stress about the extra innings, and wish Homer the best of luck. I know I'll be rooting for him, and if an injury does occur, I won't blame it on anyone's overabuse.

Kingspoint
02-17-2010, 05:31 PM
I understand where the article is coming from and certainly we don't want Bailey's arm to suffer. However, if last year he was only supposed to pitch 30 innings over his previous total, that would be 150...meaning 180 for this year. Would we be satisfied with out number 3 or 4 pitcher pitching 5 1/2 innings per start? Would that be good for the bullpen.



You didn't take into account his minor league innings. He had 147 total innings in 2008, so 177 in 2009 would have been appropriate and 207 this year.

Kingspoint
02-17-2010, 05:38 PM
Also, now that he has pitched 200+ innings last year, does that mean his limit this year is 230 innings?

At this pace, Mike Leake will never make an impact on the major league level.



As far as Bailey, because he went 55 innings more than the year before, I wouldn't go 30 more this year and I'd leave him at the same rate. Leave him at the 203 or whatever the total was last year for this year.

As far as Leake.

You have to use the 30-rule with him just like anyone else.

He threw for 117 innings in 2007.
He threw for 121 innings in 2008.
He threw for 161 innings in 2009, including 19 in the Arizona Fall League, where he had a 3-month break after the College World Series
He should be kept to 181-191 innings in 2010. That should be no problem as Minor Leaguers don't play enough games to get more than that.

Then he comes into 2011 ready to be a full-time starting pitcher for the REDS, ready to take his lumps that he'll surely take as a Rookie as either a #4 or #5 starter. There shouldn't be any problems with Leake when it comes to injuries.

Kingspoint
02-17-2010, 05:41 PM
I personally am not worried about Homer Bailey. He lowered his WHIP & BB/9 in 2009, and also lowered the number of pitches thrown per inning. So the impact of the 55IP increase is not as dramatic as is seems.



The "results" have nothing to do with the stress that's put on the arm. Developing arms usually do very well even when overused. It's the long-term effect of the over-use where the problems occur. It shows up pretty quickly beginning in the 2nd year "after" the overuse. It just doesn't show up in the first year. There won't be any effects from it this year. The effects, if there turns out to be any bad ones, will be in 2011.

Kingspoint
02-17-2010, 05:44 PM
As far as pitch counts are concerned, you may be a little more worried. As am I. I was reading this thread in tORG and they mentioned Bailey had counts over over 110 almost every single one of his late season good starts. THAT however is horrible planning by Baker and Jocketty. I understand the philosophy of continuing to send him out there, but he does not need to start the 7th or 8th inning already at 100 pitches when we are out of playoff contention.

I know it's Dusty's philosophy to stretch out arms whenever he can. Having watched Dusty learn how to handle pitchers from his time as a Dodger and as a Giant behind Roger Craig, he learned from two of the worst in baseball in Lasorda and Craig when it comes to ruining guys arms, especially young pitcher's arms.

Dusty's reputation isn't a "reputation". It's who he is. He's bad for any pitcher's arms.

Kingspoint
02-17-2010, 05:48 PM
Best post in the thread. So what if the extra innings take a year off the end of Homer's career? That's what I say. Those innings that he logged down the stretch last year, coming into his own as a big league pitcher; well those might be as important as any he goes on to log.


Hopefully he's monitored closely and they take good care of him. But if not, I feel like if arm troubles are going to happen then they're going to happen no matter what.

It's not a year off....it's 5-10 years of being less effective, and several years off. I've seen it a 1000 times, and that's not an exaggeration. Baker doesn't give a crap. This is Baker's last year in his contract, and Bailey's just a tool for him. He's going to get the most out of him that he can while he has him, future be damned.

Kingspoint
02-17-2010, 05:51 PM
The whole just of the original article was stressing how the extra inning on younger pritchers could lead to arm injury. By no means, should anyone want to ruin a player's career by overuse. I'm just stating that the extra 25 innings, over the normal 30 innings, are excessive, but on average Homer threw about 1 less pitch per inning in 2009 than he did in 2008.

In 2008 Homer threw 148 innings at about 18.75 pitches per inning. If we added 30 innings to that in 2009 it would have been about 3,338 total pitches.

In 2009 Homer threw 203 innings at about 17.75 pitches per inning. Which gave him about 3,603 total pitches.

So in theory, Homer only threw 265 excessive pitches or 15 innings over the normal 30 inning increase instead of 25 over. Plus, the fact that Homer throws mostly fastballs, which have less stress on the arm.

Lets not stress about the extra innings, and wish Homer the best of luck. I know I'll be rooting for him, and if an injury does occur, I won't blame it on anyone's overabuse.

That's a positive with the pitch count. Thanks for doing the research. I've always considered 15 innings over the "30-rule" to be the limit of how much more is still in the "safe" area. That's about where they were with Daryl Thompson when Thompson's arm went, but Thompson still had the weakness in it from the past surgery, so they should have been more cautious.

TStuck
02-22-2010, 02:39 PM
Kingspoint - After all of your emphatic defending of the Verducci Effect and how everyone knows it and it's common sense, etc. etc. you might want to take a look at a sabermetrics examination of the Verducci Effect.
Here's the link - thanks to C Trent posting today.

http://www.sabernomics.com/sabernomics/index.php/2010/02/testing-the-verducci-effect/

In short........it's bunk.

Kingspoint
02-22-2010, 09:55 PM
Kingspoint - After all of your emphatic defending of the Verducci Effect and how everyone knows it and it's common sense, etc. etc. you might want to take a look at a sabermetrics examination of the Verducci Effect.
Here's the link - thanks to C Trent posting today.

http://www.sabernomics.com/sabernomics/index.php/2010/02/testing-the-verducci-effect/

In short........it's bunk.

I came up with it long (probably 15-20 years) before Verducci did.

It's been fact for me for a long time. It's not some theory. It's goes way beyond Verducci's understanding of it, and certainly way beyond C. Trent's understanding of it.

The evidence that it's true is overwhelming. I didn't even know that there was a "30-inning" rule until the last year when Doug D pointed it out to me. I'd had my own knowledge of it as fact for the last 30 years. But, after Doug D pointed out that it's referred to as the "30-inning" rule, I looked that up and found that it's been common knowledge among baseball teachers/analysts for years, enough for the baseball community to come up with the "30-inning" rule.

You also have to remember that every player is an individual, and that no one has to fall under "the rule". It's a guide that if you're wise, you pay heed to it when developing a player. "Better safe than sorry" is why you would pay attention to it. There's too much of an investment to not follow the "better safe than sorry" route when it comes to the health of pitcher's arms.

I assume you're talking about "Tom Verducci", as that's the only Verducci I've ever heard of.

Anyone who wants to say that the "30-rule" is bunk is just ignorant of the evidence that's out there that proves it's a good guide to follow when developing young arms. You can be stupid and ignore it and let the chips fall where they may and some arms won't get injured and some arms will, and the blame can be placed onto other areas. But, in the end, when you follow the "30-rule", you'll have fewer arm injuries overall.

I assume anyone who doesn't agree with the 30-rule just hasn't studied the minor league and major league pitchers from the past 55 years enough, or they are just putting together the information that's available in the wrong way and coming up with the wrong conclusions. Kind of like doctors from 30 years ago or doctors 30 years before that or doctors 30 years before that or doctors 30 years before that. Each of them had a lot of the same information, but they just didn't know how to interpret it.

I have to add, the development of children over the last 150 years has changed dramatically with each generation. How a young person's arm reacts to the throwing of a baseball has changed with that. Each generation has become weaker and weaker and weaker when it comes to stamina with the arm and body. The increase in arm injuries took a dramatic rise in the 60's. That's when it became evident that some precautionary measures had to be taken.

When going over the histories of "every" ballplayer 30 years ago (for the previous 20 years), it was pretty easy to see that when young pitchers weren't given increases of more than 30 innings per year they were less likely to be injured during their developments as pitchers.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was even worse today and that the number should be reduced to 25 innings. That would take a pitcher four years to get from 100 to 200 innings. That's an acceptable growth rate. 70 years ago pitchers were throwing 450 innings a season (combined minor and major). There was no number to watch. But, then again, 70 years ago most of them spent their lives working a farm and they spent the off-season working the farm, too. The human body was totally different.

Also, pitchers are now 50% from poor countries around the world, not from the United States, but many of them are also from areas where they aren't living on a farm, where they are malnutritioned, etc. The factors involved are far beyond Verducci's understanding and the scope of his study (or C. Trent's).

The bottom line is that there is "a number" where when you pass that number then you risk injuring a developing pitcher's arm of an "average" pitcher, with every pitcher being + or - on that spectrum.

I don't know what that number is today. 30 years ago that number was 30. For the average pitcher now, you have to take into account the living conditions of where the ballplayers come from these days and see what kind of lifestyles they come from. With that you'll see a trend, most likely a negative one, but it could be a trend where the average "foreigner"'s body was developed more similarly to the bodies of those from the first half of the 20th Century in America. But, I don't think that's the case.

You can't wait until a guy says, "my arm's sore" to make your decision. You could, I guess. That's how they used to do it, but that's because the recovery process was so much easier 75 years ago and that's because of the overall strength of the average person's body. You can't measure strength with "muscle-mass". True strength comes from doing the every day chores that come from living life.....12 hours on a farm, NEVER having ever watched a TV program or touched a computer. Spending no more than a half hour of daylight inside of a house while growing up. All of these factors and many more like them contribute to arm "stamina".

There's a number. Nobody can deny that a number exists. It's my "guess" that the number is probably still around 30 for this time period. And, it's better to be safe, than sorry.