Originally Posted by Brutus
There's absolutely no evidence that suggests the overcaution of pitchers has led to healthier pitchers. In fact, there might be more trips to the DL now than 30 years ago.
I don't think there is overcaution, but rather smart caution and it keeps good pitchers throwing at peak effectiveness more often. Today, teams are more likely to put a pitcher on the DL if he has pain or soreness than they used to be. They used to have guys pitch hurt all the time. Eventually they realized that guys don't pitch as effectively when they are sore or have minor injuries. Maladies are now diagnosed more readily due to improved MRI technology. So actual injuries can now be distinguished from "normal soreness" and treated properly with modern medical procedure to quickly return the pitcher to maximum effectiveness instead of letting him continue to pitch at reduced effectiveness like they did in times gone by.
Compared to 30 years ago, pitchers today throw several mph harder on average.
- When a pitcher in yesteryear got hurt they continued to pitch in a less effective manner, or else they broke down and were permanently replaced by a less effective pitcher.
- Pitchers today get better medical care and soon get back to full effectiveness. The best pitchers stay on the mound longer and at a higher rate of effectiveness than if they pitched in prior decades. This is a major reason why strikeouts are up and scoring is down.
Compared to 30 years ago, pitchers throw several mph harder on average. The fact that pitchers are throwing harder than ever before puts a lot more torque and stress on their ligaments and rotator cuffs, which leads to increased risk of injury. Some of this strain is alleviated by more careful handling, pitch counts, innings limits etc.
Bigger, stronger pitchers throwing harder means more risk of injury.
Better, more careful handling of pitchers means less risk of injury.
Careful handling of injured pitchers prevents minor injuries from turning into career-ending injuries and keeps pitchers performing at peak effectiveness more often.