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Thread: Reds sign Mark Prior

  1. #136
    KungFu Fighter AtomicDumpling's Avatar
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    I'm not blowing off pitch counts and innings limits. What I'm talking about is the assertion that elevated pitch counts and/or innings automatically equals break down. Comments like these:

    I understand that the more you pitch, the more wear you are going to have on your arm. I don't think that I need to read up on any studies to tell me that.

    I agree with the concept, but do we really have true evidence that pitchers break down at a materially higher clip with more use? Or can we really say that Prior's fall was a direct result of the use he endured in 2003? I think that is an awfully big leap and probably has more to do with the bias against Dusty Baker in the sabermetric community than anything else.

    Prior missed the first two months of 2004 with an achilles injury, who knows what that did to his season. In 2005, Prior led the majors in SO/9 and also was on his way to a pretty solid overall ERA campaign (more so than he finished up with) until he took a line drive off his elbow. ERA of 2.93 before, 4.07 after.

    I don't disagree with the sentiment but it is really hard to look at this as an absolute. For every Prior we can go through a number of pitchers who have appeared to have been overused who haven't gotten injured, yet. But that's a convenient part of the argument, pitchers do tend to get injured no matter what the usage. Liriano was babied. Joba Rules. I can link the Webb/Johan/Peavy thread again. On the other end of the spectrum, Verlander was ridden pretty hard in 2009 and has been pretty good since. People were fainting after what happened to CC in Milwaukee...I think he's been ok as a Yankee. But I'm sure that if one of these guys ends up with an injury, we'll get some sort of in depth analysis about usage. And if they don't get injured, they'll just be some sort of superfreak that defied the odds.

    Again...my argument isn't that pitch counts and usage limits are dumb. Quite the contrary It's more about how trying to link a specific 10 start stretch or even one season to an injury while ignoring everything else. Including human nature.

    Eh...I'd be a proponent of soft limits, but to freak out b/c of one specific number is a bit much. Give a guy an extra day of rest, limit him some after throwing a lot the start before, keep an eye on usage if you are either headed to the playoffs or completely out of it. Absolutely. But stop the presses because you hit the magic 110 pitch number? No.
    OK then maybe we agree more than we realized.

    I agree that nobody can say for certain that Mark Prior's drastically reduced effectiveness after 2003 was directly caused by Dusty Baker (or his pitching coaches Larry Rothschild and Dick Pole) overworking him in 2003. It is impossible to prove that. I agree there were other contributing factors as well. I have not been one of the people who blame Dusty Baker for ruining Mark Prior (I expressed that clearly in posts #73 and 86 in this thread). But I also realize that Prior was indeed overworked in 2003 and I would strongly caution any manager from handling a pitcher in that manner. We simply know better these days. We now know that handling a pitcher in that manner is very likely (but not certain) to lead to reduced effectiveness and greatly increases the odds of getting hurt.

    My point is merely that we know with 100% certainty that overworked pitchers are much more likely to get hurt and they are much more likely to experience drastic performance declines. By the way, overwork can be a matter of too many innings in a season, too many pitches in a game, or not enough time to recuperate between outings.

    I agree with you 100% that not all pitchers who are overworked are going to get hurt or suffer drastic performance declines -- but they do at a much higher rate than non-overworked pitchers.

    I agree with you 100% that not all pitchers who got hurt did so because of overwork -- pitching is dangerous even when handled carefully. Perhaps they would have broken down even earlier if they hadn't been babied.

    Some smokers live to old age. Some non-smokers get lung cancer anyway. We can't say for certain how many cigarettes it takes to kill you. Some people can safely smoke more than others. But we still know that smoking is very dangerous to your health.
    Some overworked pitchers don't get hurt. Some babied pitchers get hurt anyway. We can't say for certain how many pitches it takes to ruin you. Some pitchers can safely throw more than others. But we still know that pitching too much is very dangerous to your health.
    Last edited by AtomicDumpling; 03-04-2013 at 04:59 PM.

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  4. #137
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    If I may try to boil the last couple (very well written) posts down...

    Overworking pitchers leads to more injuries.

    Yet it is impossible in one individual case to be certain it was caused by overuse.

    Sounds good to me.

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  6. #138
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    I would hypothesize that pitching 230-240 innings in today's baseball is just as stressful to an arm than 280-300 innings in the 1950s and 60s. There's no Dal Maxvill in today's lineups, which means more effort on each pitch because you can't take any hitters lightly. Therefore it is prudent to reduce workloads.
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  8. #139
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    My point is merely that we know with 100% certainty that overworked pitchers are much more likely to get hurt and they are much more likely to experience drastic performance declines. By the way, overwork can be a matter of too many innings in a season, too many pitches in a game, or not enough time to recuperate between outings.
    I think we are in a much better place so I am scared to open this back up but...how do "we" know with 100% certainty that "overworked" pitchers are much more likely to get hurt? That's the part that sticks with me.

    I kind of view this in the same way some have described chemistry, where chemistry seems to exist in winning situations. "Overworking" seems to be more prevalent when pitchers get hurt.

    I think my main point is that, in my opinion, this isn't as drastic as "100% certainty" or "much more likely". If there is solid evidence that this is really true, I am sure we would've seen it by now.

  9. #140
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    I think we are in a much better place so I am scared to open this back up but...how do "we" know with 100% certainty that "overworked" pitchers are much more likely to get hurt? That's the part that sticks with me.

    I kind of view this in the same way some have described chemistry, where chemistry seems to exist in winning situations. "Overworking" seems to be more prevalent when pitchers get hurt.

    I think my main point is that, in my opinion, this isn't as drastic as "100% certainty" or "much more likely". If there is solid evidence that this is really true, I am sure we would've seen it by now.
    I would hypothesize that we're still in a place where we're over-genericizing things. While training, nutrition and bio-mechanical analysis have improved, the human physique is still essentially what is has always been. I would imagine that pitching is much like any physical activity and repetitive use injuries (even those that culminate in a traumatic event) are in large part of a function of the specifics of a given pitcher's body -- it's "design", it's recovery rate, etc.

    One thing not taken in to account is the selection effect. If pitchers in the 60's were expected to throw 300 innings, the ones who were particularly susceptible to repetitive use injuries were more likely to get injured via overuse early in their baseball careers, lose effectiveness and fail make/establish themselves in the major leagues to begin with.

    Would Rich Harden or Mark Prior have "survived" long enough to make the majors in 1966? It's possible that the pool of major league pitchers 40 years ago had already been filtered of it's most injury prone pitchers, making it appear that the average pitcher had greater ability to give innings. It's also quite possible that a number of pitchers today could be 300 inning guys were they given the opportunity to do so.

    Add in the lack of the slider, an extremely stressful pitch to throw, and the increase of power throughout the lineup requiring a more sustained effort of the pitcher and it's easy to see the variety of explanations adding up.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  10. #141
    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    The slider has been around for a long time. They just didn't always call it a slider. Hard curve, or fast curve, was a term used by a lot of old timers. My grandfather was a catcher and played in the 30's and he always talked about the "hard fast hook" or curve that a lot of pitches threw at that time. His description of the pitch and how they threw it is the same pitch as the slider.
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  11. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN INDY View Post
    The slider has been around for a long time. They just didn't always call it a slider. Hard curve, or fast curve, was a term used by a lot of old timers. My grandfather was a catcher and played in the 30's and he always talked about the "hard fast hook" or curve that a lot of pitches threw at that time. His description of the pitch and how they threw it is the same pitch as the slider.
    Nickle curve was one name, for it, I also think its what the 19th century guys called a off shoot curve

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  13. #143
    KungFu Fighter AtomicDumpling's Avatar
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    I think we are in a much better place so I am scared to open this back up but...how do "we" know with 100% certainty that "overworked" pitchers are much more likely to get hurt? That's the part that sticks with me.

    I kind of view this in the same way some have described chemistry, where chemistry seems to exist in winning situations. "Overworking" seems to be more prevalent when pitchers get hurt.

    I think my main point is that, in my opinion, this isn't as drastic as "100% certainty" or "much more likely". If there is solid evidence that this is really true, I am sure we would've seen it by now.
    Those questions have already been answered earlier in this thread. Please read those resources before claiming we don't really know. If you don't find those books and websites convincing I can show you plenty more. Again, there are good reasons why every baseball team in the country has adopted this philosophy.

    Regarding chemistry, I think winning breeds good chemistry rather than good chemistry breeds winning. When players are playing well, having good years and winning games they tend to be happy, cheerful and get along with each other. When they are playing poorly, making mistakes and losing games then tempers get short and they get aggravated with each other. Chemistry advocates are getting their cause and effect mixed up.

  14. #144
    KungFu Fighter AtomicDumpling's Avatar
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I would hypothesize that we're still in a place where we're over-genericizing things. While training, nutrition and bio-mechanical analysis have improved, the human physique is still essentially what is has always been. I would imagine that pitching is much like any physical activity and repetitive use injuries (even those that culminate in a traumatic event) are in large part of a function of the specifics of a given pitcher's body -- it's "design", it's recovery rate, etc.

    One thing not taken in to account is the selection effect. If pitchers in the 60's were expected to throw 300 innings, the ones who were particularly susceptible to repetitive use injuries were more likely to get injured via overuse early in their baseball careers, lose effectiveness and fail make/establish themselves in the major leagues to begin with.

    Would Rich Harden or Mark Prior have "survived" long enough to make the majors in 1966? It's possible that the pool of major league pitchers 40 years ago had already been filtered of it's most injury prone pitchers, making it appear that the average pitcher had greater ability to give innings. It's also quite possible that a number of pitchers today could be 300 inning guys were they given the opportunity to do so.

    Add in the lack of the slider, an extremely stressful pitch to throw, and the increase of power throughout the lineup requiring a more sustained effort of the pitcher and it's easy to see the variety of explanations adding up.
    I agree that breaking balls are used at a much higher rate than ever before. Not only are they thrown more often, they are thrown harder and there are more varieties.

    Pitchers also throw their fastballs much harder than in the golden age. Pitchers are much taller and stronger than they used to be. The average fastball velocity has been rising every year. Throwing harder puts more stress on the shoulder and elbow.

    Pitching is more difficult than ever because the fences are closer, the balls are bouncier, the bats are denser, the strike zone is smaller, the mound is lower, and the hitters are bigger, stronger and better than ever before. The days of facing only two or three real threats in a batting order are long gone. The pitcher has to throw with max effort and concentration on every pitch, making the strain on his arm much more severe.

    Since the turn of the millenium, smarter handling of pitchers along with highly effective modern surgical and rehabilitation procedures have kept many star pitchers on the mound that would otherwise have been replaced with lesser pitchers. This is the major reason why scoring has been declining since the year 2000. In the 80's and 90's all the changes to the game favored the hitters, but in recent years the science of pitching has evolved so much that it has offset most of the offensive advantages. Improved defensive metrics have increased the understanding and value of good defense, which has also contributed to the recent decline in scoring even though players are bigger and stronger now than they were during the steroid era.

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  16. #145
    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    Here's what some of our Cubs fans seem to think about this....


    Championships for MY teams in my lifetime:
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  18. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    I agree that breaking balls are used at a much higher rate than ever before. Not only are they thrown more often, they are thrown harder and there are more varieties.

    Pitchers also throw their fastballs much harder than in the golden age. Pitchers are much taller and stronger than they used to be. The average fastball velocity has been rising every year. Throwing harder puts more stress on the shoulder and elbow.

    Pitching is more difficult than ever because the fences are closer, the balls are bouncier, the bats are denser, the strike zone is smaller, the mound is lower, and the hitters are bigger, stronger and better than ever before. The days of facing only two or three real threats in a batting order are long gone. The pitcher has to throw with max effort and concentration on every pitch, making the strain on his arm much more severe.

    Since the turn of the millenium, smarter handling of pitchers along with highly effective modern surgical and rehabilitation procedures have kept many star pitchers on the mound that would otherwise have been replaced with lesser pitchers. This is the major reason why scoring has been declining since the year 2000. In the 80's and 90's all the changes to the game favored the hitters, but in recent years the science of pitching has evolved so much that it has offset most of the offensive advantages. Improved defensive metrics have increased the understanding and value of good defense, which has also contributed to the recent decline in scoring even though players are bigger and stronger now than they were during the steroid era.
    That's pretty much what I said, only you said it a lot better than I did.

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  19. #147
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph View Post
    Here's what some of our Cubs fans seem to think about this....

    Noted that the Cubs fan was not smart enough to realize that the pic of Prior is in Baker's defense, since that is from when he busted up his shoulder landing on it during a baseball play. All the losing has them not able to use logic and reason.
    Can't win with 'em

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  20. #148
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    Noted that the Cubs fan was not smart enough to realize that the pic of Prior is in Baker's defense, since that is from when he busted up his shoulder landing on it during a baseball play. All the losing has them not able to use logic and reason.
    pft. that was a very clever pic. i 'm still laughing at it.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  21. #149
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    pft. that was a very clever pic. i 'm still laughing at it.
    I refuse to give a Cubs fan credit for anything.
    Can't win with 'em

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  23. #150
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    Re: Reds sign Mark Prior

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I would hypothesize that we're still in a place where we're over-genericizing things. While training, nutrition and bio-mechanical analysis have improved, the human physique is still essentially what is has always been. I would imagine that pitching is much like any physical activity and repetitive use injuries (even those that culminate in a traumatic event) are in large part of a function of the specifics of a given pitcher's body -- it's "design", it's recovery rate, etc.

    One thing not taken in to account is the selection effect. If pitchers in the 60's were expected to throw 300 innings, the ones who were particularly susceptible to repetitive use injuries were more likely to get injured via overuse early in their baseball careers, lose effectiveness and fail make/establish themselves in the major leagues to begin with.

    Would Rich Harden or Mark Prior have "survived" long enough to make the majors in 1966? It's possible that the pool of major league pitchers 40 years ago had already been filtered of it's most injury prone pitchers, making it appear that the average pitcher had greater ability to give innings. It's also quite possible that a number of pitchers today could be 300 inning guys were they given the opportunity to do so.

    Add in the lack of the slider, an extremely stressful pitch to throw, and the increase of power throughout the lineup requiring a more sustained effort of the pitcher and it's easy to see the variety of explanations adding up.
    This is an excellent post Rick. Even recently there are very good examples of playing it safe and taking things by the book and they work out for some and not for others. I can never see Strasburg being a 300 IP horse without breaking down, but I could see Verlander being a 300 IP horse and not breaking down. I think the toughest thing to determine is going to be how to tell which pitchers can handle what, is it mechanics, body build, etc. Until that happens, if it ever does happen, I get the feeling no side of this argument will be completely right or completely wrong, its likely somewhere in between.
    "Today was the byproduct of us thinking we can come back from anything." - Joey Votto after blowing a 10-1 lead and holding on for the 12-11 win on 8/25/2010.


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